Did last weekend's spring cleaning gig leave your apartment with new decor in the form of garbage bags stuffed full of clothes, accessories, and shoes? Yep, we have those, too. Before you decide to bequeath your unwanteds to the Sanitation Department, remember that your trash could be another man's treasure—and line your own treasure chest, too. Indeed, New York is home to a handful of dollar-doling consignment and re-sale stores who will pay for your stylish rejects. And while not everyone has an unworn Prada they're willing to part with, there are plenty other boutiques who will happily take the gorgeous and still-pristine H&M suede top that's made one too many appearances in your Facebook photos. But wait—before you load those suitcases, read these handy reminders to make sure you get the most bang for your buck (and time).
1.) Before hauling your backbreaking load, take time to call your secondhand store of choice and ask for particular styles and labels they are buying. Pre-editing will save you (and the buyer) precious time and energy. Currently, boutiques are on the lookout for spring/summer pieces like dresses, shorts, and sunglasses.
2.) Location matters. Your cutoff denims and beat-up brogues will find a more receptive market in an East Village or Williamsburg shop than a Madison Avenue spot. Take note of how people dress in the neighborhood, and you'll have a better idea of what will sell.
3.) Most stores have their own pricing guidelines, but shops like Tokio 7 let consignors set their price. In any case, trust the buyer's judgement—they know what sells for their particular market and for how much—but don't be afraid to speak up (nicely, please!), and explain the value of a particular piece if you feel they are underpricing an item.
4.) Find out if you need to schedule an appointment with a buyer. For stores on a first-come, first-served basis, it's best to go on a weekday when there are less people around.
5.) Be present when the buyers are evaluating and appraising your merchandise. This will give you the opportunity to point out an item's value and heritage on the spot, and possibly score you a better price.
6.) Most importantly, only bring in items in good, clean condition. The catchphrase used by each and every re-sale shop is "gently worn." Make sure all items are laundered and dry-cleaned when brought in, otherwise they won't be spared a second glance.
So, are you ready, willing, and stocked? Click through to view our list of cashola consignment and re-sell hotspots in the city.
If Bravo deems it worthy of a reality series, then Second Time Around is undoubtedly on top of the consigning heap. And while consigning can be a befuddling business (hey, that's why we came out with this guide!), this boutique has it down to an organized art, having been in the business for more than 38 years. With merch that spans designer to more current contemporary labels, you'll probably have a better chance selling some of your most recently regretted purchases here, within the 90-day selling period. You can consign your items in three ways: 1.) Schedule an appointment at the location nearest you; 2.) Book an appointment online
262 Mott Street (between Prince and Houston streets); 212-965-8415; or click here for a complete list of stores.
Encore has a pretty impressive history (Jacqueline Kennedy is said to have bought and sold here), and racks full of designer threads to match. Though the store has a reputation for having a less than pleasant staff, a recent interior makeover, and a consistently lust-worthy selection (think vintage Chanel jewelry and tweeds, Gucci gowns, vintage Thierry Mugler, and heels from Lanvin and Manolo) supplied by its ritzy neighbors is enough reason to trek to this Upper East Side bastion. If you've got some fancy labels hanging around your closet, take them to Encore and they'll accept new or gently worn clothing and accessories, as long as they are season-appropriate and not more than a few years old, or are of good vintage quality. Encore will list your items on a contract, and if they sell within the three month mandatory period, you will get 50% of the selling price. However, take note of the frequent price reductions. Any item $85 or less will be reduced by 20% after 30 days, and any item over $85 is reduced after 60 days. If you choose to leave the items for the optional fourth month, they are reduced an additional 50%. Reselling is done from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and while you don't need to book an appointment, it's recommended you come in early on weekdays. If you have tons of stuff to sell, Scott, Encore's office manager, suggests bringing in a selection of pieces first to see how successful they are instead of bringing in your entire haul (and risk the possibility of lugging them home again).
1132 Madison Avenue (between 84th and 85th streets), 2nd and 3rd Floor, New York; 212-879-2850.
Eva Gentry Consignment
This chic consignment shop in Brooklyn feels more like an of-the-moment boutique, and though most of their stock is not currently in season, they are no less covetable. Expect the same discerningly curated goods you'll find on its sister boutique Eva Gentry's racks, but at prices that are more attainable. Consignment specializes in avant-garde wares from the likes of Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garçons, and Maison Martin Margiela, but they won't turn their noses up at a good Marni, Lanvin or YSL, for which you can get 40% of the selling price if it gets rung up at the till. Unlike most consignment stores, stocks stay on the floor for a full season, and are marked down (typically at 40% off the original consignment price) at the end of the season. At this point, the consignors get 20% of the selling price. You can choose to pick up any unsold items by this time, or leave them to be donated to the CAMBA women's rehabilitation center and homeless shelters located in Brooklyn. Be sure to call to make an appointment before dropping off your goods.
371 Atlantic Avenue (between Hoyt and Bond Street), Brooklyn; 718-522-3522.
If U.E.S. is for old-school designer threads, and Brooklyn has the funkiest thrift, consider Tokio 7 the perfect middle ground. The beloved Japanese-staffed store reigns supreme as the premier East Village consignor, and if you're sartorial tastes are more of the cult and emerging designer variety, your still-lovely threads will be welcomed here. You can set the price for whatever you bring in, but buyers will suggest the prices they feel will get your goods moving fast. Like most consignment shops, Tokio 7 retains the standard 50% commission fee of the actual selling price, but unsold merch is subject to a reduction of 20% after 30 days, and 50% after 60 days. Be sure to pick up your goods after the three month selling period. Anything left seven days after the expiration date elapses becomes the property of Tokio 7 without further notice or compensation.
83 East 7th Street (between First and Second avenues); 212-353-8443.
On a normal weekend, rain or shine, you will notice a decent handful of people trekking on North 11th Street with sacks and suitcases filled with, you guessed it, clothes. And they're all headed to Beacon's Closet, a 5,500-square-foot emporium brimming with vintage and used fashions supplied by Williamsburg's most stylish hipsters. Beacon's calls itself a clothing exchange store, which means you get cash or credit on the spot the moment a buyer appraises your closet cleanouts. The store buys every day, until half an hour before the store closes, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The best time to go is on a weekday when wait times are non-existent (going on a weekend often means a two-hour wait). Buyers tag the items right at the counter, in your presence if you choose, using general pricing guidelines. If your goods pass muster, you can opt to be paid in cash for 35% of the retail price, or for store credit at 55% of the price. You need to bring a government-issued I.D. in order to do business with them, and there is a four bag limit per person, per day for each exchange. Anything that is not chosen will be handed back to the customer, or can be left behind to be donated to the five different charities that pick up at Beacon's.
88 North 11th Street (between Berry and Wythe streets), Brooklyn; 718-486-0816.
You can often find thrifters shuffling back and forth between the Brooklyn outposts of Beacon's Closet and Buffalo Exchange, because whatever does not sell in one boutique might be picked up at the other. But we like the 'Billyburg location for their friendly and helpful staff, who will patiently walk you through the re-selling process if you're a newbie. The wait is also more manageable, but busy days can mean an hour's wait. If you have a flair for fashion, but don't have the big name brands to re-sell, fear not, your threads will not be snubbed here. Buyers generally don't look at the labels when they select for stock, so you have a good chance of selling pretty much anything, from a cute Old Navy floral romper bought last summer, to a kitschy Marc Jacobs frock. A good rule of thumb: Trends you see in retail stores will be appreciated and picked up by the buyers. When they do, expect to get 30% in cash of the selling price, or 50% store credit. Make sure to bring a government-issued I.D. if you decide to sell.
504 Driggs Avenue (by North 9th Street), Brooklyn; 718-384-6901.
No consigning or re-selling here, but your unwanted threads are sure to be welcomed with open arms at Salvation Army. Though you won't get any cash or credit for donating, your qualified charitable cast-offs will still earn you bucks in the form of tax deductions. A clerk will issue a receipt if you drop off your goods at a local Salvation Army Family Thrift Store or Corps, otherwise truck drivers will give you the receipt for any goods that are picked up. The Salvation Army website has a nifty Value Guide
208 Eight Avenue (between West 20th and West 21st streets), New York; 212-929-5214; schedule a pickup by phone at 1-800-728-7825.
INA is one of New York’s most established designer consignment store, with five New York City locations. They accept and sells only the "finest designer clothing, shoes, and accessories," all carefully curated by their highly trained staff. They've been an authority for, like, ever—INA opened its first store in 1993 and keeps on growin. Their online site is a great way to see the kind of clothing INA accepts. In addition to choosing merchandise that's only the mintest quality and condition, INA's employees are attuned to current fashion trends, as well as being collectors and followers of couture history, examples of which often find their way into their stores. INA takes clothing in by appointment Monday-Friday at each store, so consignors should call to set up appointments at whichever location is most convenient for them. INA has three Women's stores, one Men's, and one (pictured, top left) that is both Men's and Women's. INA does just over a double markup from what the consignor is receiving, which works out to roughly 45% for the consignor, and 55% for the store. INA's stores are all in high traffic, fashion savvy neighborhoods—Nolita, Soho, Noho, and the Upper East Side—so there is a great deal of foot traffic and ample opportunities for your items to be sold.