Consignment shop customers can be trendy, inexpensively

Trendy Consignment Clothing Shop owner Nancy Read adds new inventory to her racks.  - Charlie Bermant
Trendy Consignment Clothing Shop owner Nancy Read adds new inventory to her racks.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

The shaky economy has forced those striving toward fashionability to redefine their behavior, seeking alternatives to spending hundreds at Macy’s or Nordstrom to prepare for a special event.

“Everyone is on a tight budget these days,” said Nancy Read, owner of Trendy Consignment Clothing Shop in Towne Center Port Orchard. “In these tough economic times, shopping in a quality consignment store is a great way to wear designer labels at a fraction of the original cost.”

Read, who has lived in Port Orchard most of her life, began her career as a social worker.

She opened her first consignment store in Tacoma “because I sill wanted to work with people and having a store was less stressful and more fun than being a social worker.”

She closed the Tacoma store 10 years ago when she moved to Arizona for a short time. Upon her return to the area, she decided to get back into the game by opening the store last summer.

She acknowledges that Towne Center isn’t the best location, but the rent is reasonable and there is no other good space available. While business hasn’t boomed as much as she would have liked, there is some cause for optimism.

In December she moved into a larger store and has expanded her inventory.

The consignment process, as applied by Read, is simple. She determines the value of a piece, first by judging its original price-tag and estimating how much she can ask.

This is a subjective measurement, depending on cleanliness, condition, and the customer’s previous relationship with Read.

Anyone bringing in an item for consignment should make sure that it is clean and fashionable, or they could be disappointed.

While Read has no intention of offering standard mens’ clothes, she hopes to expand the inventory into young adult designer wear “because that’s what people are buying.” 

She also sells small home furnishings, and is “really proud of my shoe section.” 

Read consigns clothing on a 60 pecent to 40 percent split, with the latter going to the customer after the sale. She also offers a unique service, and will buy clothing outright for 35 percent of the projected sale price,

Read buys clothes outright that she can sell, and will send customer a check within two days. Read said this is a great deal for people who don't want to wait 90 days to receive payment.

Read keeps a special rack with clothes that still have price tags, but tagged merchandise is displayed throughout the store.

“It’s amazing how much new stuff I get,” Read said. “People get clothes they think they will like, but when they get it home it just sits in their closet. I don’t know why they don’t just return it. Maybe they just don’t want to take the time to drive to Silverdale, or they wait too long to return it.”

Read said her mission is to sell customers what they want, and “won’t let anyone leave with anything that doesn’t look good on them.” 

This narrows the chance that what she sells will return to her store in the future.

“Recycling clothes makes sense,” she said. “These days, it really is the way to go.”

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