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Popularity of Consignment Shopping Surges

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Consignment clothing shopping continues to grow in popularity, says Michele Scott-Costa, and for good reason. 

First, there’s the convenience of one-stop shopping. Most consignment shops carry everything from jewelry and accessories to shoes, coats and dresses. Shoppers can buy an entire outfit for what they might pay retail for one or two pieces. And they don’t have to travel from store to store—or park—to piece it all together.

But there’s another plus to the consignment approach, says Scott-Costa, owner of the Designer Consigner upscale resale boutiques in Hockessin and Rehoboth Beach: “It’s become a lot more mainstream because it’s the right thing to do. We recycle everything else in this world—bottles and cans and newspapers. Why not nice clothing?”

Upscale consignment shops like Designer Consigner offer customers gently used high-end brands at discounted prices. Scott-Costa accepts designer labels such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton and Valentino, but also takes popular brands like Banana Republic, J. Crew and Chico’s—nothing more than 3 years old, nothing sold for more than a third of its retail price.

“When people come into our store they expect a designer item in a current style in mint condition at a good price,” she says.

Designer Consigner takes inventory from more than 2,000 consigners in seven states. The shop has also handled closet cleanouts from as far as Maine, she says. Scott-Costa also boosted her inventory when Lady’s Image in Wilmington closed last summer, adding 52 formal gowns with a retail value of more than $9,000. That’s good news for those shopping for gala season and holiday wear.

With more than 8,000 customers on her mailing list, Scott-Costa is confident that consignment shopping’s popularity will continue to grow.

“It’s not necessarily considered bargain shopping because that kind of has somewhat of a bad connotation,” she says. “I think today it’s more considered smart shopping.”

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