Category Archives: SHOPPING

The Secondhand Shopaholic’s Shopping Guide: Plum Consignment (Colorado)

This week I’m bringing you the second interview as a part of the Shopping Guide series. I interviewed Crystal, Owner of Plum Consignment in Denver, Colorado. Her boutique is beautiful! I love the décor, which she explains in the interview is mostly up-cycled items, so her store is an all-around eco-friendly experience. Her store is full of amazing designer finds in “plum-perfect” condition, including women’s and children’s clothes, shoes, and accessories. So read on to find out more about this must-visit boutique in Denver. I will most definitely be making a visit if I’m ever in Colorado! :)

Plum_consignment_co

Plum Consignment
{fresh designer consignment + sweet deals}
Address: 2373 Central Park Boulevard #106, Denver, CO 80238
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; Sunday 12-5pm
Founded: 2012
Contact: 303.322.PLUM {7586}
Website:  www.plumgood.com

1. Tell us a bit about you. Fun fact?

As mother of two school aged girls & future Plum fashionistas, when I’m not scouting for finds, you might catch me doing yoga, running, cooking and commuting to/from work in my Stapleton Denver neighborhood on my “green” golf cart.

Crystal_Golf_Cart

2. Why did you decide to start a consignment store?

I guess you could say I’m passionate about consignment. So much, that I traded my corporate restaurant industry career in sales and marketing to take on the mission of redefining resale.  My goal: Create an uncommon consignment experience {while supporting sustainable clothing practices for the environment & my community}. PLUM is the fruit of that labor.  PLUM specializes in mint condition carefully curated clothing, shoes & accessories for women + children on consignment.  We are discriminating in our consignment process & therefore offer a great selection of name brand clothing in pristine condition. When you come to shop, you’ll find our merchandise will be close to Plum-perfect.

3. What’s the best part about your job?

Resale is a great solution for fashion pollution.  I love providing Moms a means to recycle their previously loved wardrobe for new designer threads & to continue to fashionably outfit their kiddos as they grow.  Consignment provides a fashion-forward way to be earth friendly while saving savvy shoppers some green!  Clients are relieved to find an outlet for purchases gone awry, to recoup a portion of their initial investment.  People bring clothes to PLUM they want to sell & I provide a space to showcase them. I enjoy meeting new PLUM friends & fashion forward consignors!

4. What types and/or brands of things could a shopper find in your store?

Plum specializes in boutique brands, Nordstrom brands & Anthropology brands. From Polo to Prada, Plum has you covered!

5. To give readers a better idea of what great things they can find, what is one (or some) of your favorite pieces in your store right now?

My favorite piece in Plum’s designer display case right now is a retired Louis Vuitton carry-on travel bag that is in pristine condition & very rare.  $2,500 and it’s yours!

2012-09-30_storefront

6. What is one thing that sets your store apart from the rest/makes it unique?

I believe our distinguishing difference is the overall value we bring to the community, starting with legendary service & offering “uncommon consignment.”

PLUM has a unique boutique feel, complete with wooden hangers to showcase fresh inventory daily.  In keeping with the concept’s eco-friendly focus, most of our interior décor items have been repurposed into up-cycled displays, providing an urban eclectic edge and hip shopping experience.  As for selection, we hand pick each new or nearly new item for resale, which means they are close to PLUM perfect for a fraction of the cost of buying new designer duds.  And If you’re looking for something special, you can add it to our “wish list” and PLUM will contact you when we have what you’re looking for (before it even hits the floor)!

7. What’s the best part about being in the location (city/state) your store is in?

I LOVE having the Rocky Mountains in our backyard!  Keeps us in tune with Mother nature & a constant visual reminder of why our sustainable shopping practices at Plum are so important.

8. Quick! You have one minute to convince someone why they should start shopping secondhand…go!

Designer resale shopping is a great way to stretch your wardrobe dollars. Added bonus: the thrill-of-the-hunt! You can find mint condition or never worn merchandise at a plum good price, allowing you to stake your claim on current designer, high-end apparel and accessories for a fraction of full retail cost. And you are helping out mother nature by being sustainably fashionable!

9. Do you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter, or blog where readers can learn more or stay informed about events, sales, etc.?

Website:   www.plumgood.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShopPlum
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=9746267&trk=tab_pro
Twitter: @plumconsignment
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/plumconsignment/
Blog: http://plumgood.com/blog/
Appointments: http://plum.appointy.com
Wish List: http://plumgood.com/wish-list/
Email Sign-up ~ Plum Good News: http://www.facebook.com/ShopPlum/app_100265896690345

10. Any last comments?

We are plum pleased to be your Stapleton neighborhood go-to shop for curated women + children’s clothing on consignment.  Come say hi ~ we are always excited to meet new friends and fashion-forward consignors!

Thanks Crystal!

If you’d like to offer some input on locations (cities/states) I should cover in the future or if you are a resale store owner, please let me know in the comments or go enter your location in this poll.

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The Secondhand Shopaholic’s Shopping Guide: Your Stuff & Kids’ Stuff Consignment Boutiques (Virginia)

Today is the first of my new series, The Secondhand Shopaholic’s Shopping Guide (I’m still deciding on an official name for the series, so we’ll just go with that for now).

Sorry it’s a bit late – I was ripping out carpet again today.

The first store to be featured in this series is my personal favorite and the reason this blog exists, Your Stuff and Kids’ Stuff Consignment Boutiques in Danville, Virginia. Kids’ Stuff opened in 1993 and Your Stuff opened in 2002. I interviewed the owner, Sylvia Josey, to learn a bit more about her and the store (well, I know her rather well, so I interviewed her so YOU could learn more :) )

storefront

Tell is a bit about you. Fun Fact?

When we were kids growing up in New York City and Washington DC, my mom shopped for us at consignment shops.  In New York City, she found a shop with mostly wealthy clientele, so I got some very nice frocks and toys.  As I got older, I worried that my friends might see me in the second hand shops, but my mother snorted and said “well if they do, they will be here too!”

Why did you decide to start a consignment store?

I really just needed a project for a college assignment.  I had to go through all the steps to open a business, including finding a physical location and researching required permits and licenses.  I chose a consignment shop because the inventory was free, thus simplifying my project and lowering projected expenses.  I didn’t really intend to do it.  I justed wanted my A grade (which I got).  Then ten years later, I said “why not?”

dance camo

What’s the best part about your job?

 It’s like Christmas everyday.  We never know what someone will bring in the shop.

What types and/or brands of things could a shopper find in your store?

Twenty years ago, I started out with Kids Stuff, then ten years ago, I rented the space next door and opened Your Stuff.  Now I have everything except furniture.  I figure one day I should open Home Stuff, but it’s not in the cards right now.  As far as brands, we accept anything from Target on up to Louis Vuitton as long as it is cute, current and clean. Our consignors bring stuff from foreign countries even!

To give readers a better idea of what great things they can find, what is one (or some) of your favorite pieces in your store right now?

Right now, I really like the pewter ColeHaan handbag in Your Stuff, and I really like the wooden dollhouse from KidKraft in Kids Stuff.  I hardly ever have time to look through the clothes for myself.  In addition to our sales staff we have three full time employees pricing incoming goods all day, so it is hard to keep up with!

colehaanshoes

What is one thing that sets your store apart from the rest/makes it unique?

I’m a neat freak so my shop is usually very organized.

What’s the best part about being in the location (city/state) your store is in?

Since my store is in a small city of less than 50,000, our rent is lower than in larger cities.  This allows me to afford more space and offer a wider variety.  Many consignment shops in big cities only offer designer brands, but we even have Mossimo from Target.

yourstuffkidsstuff

Quick! You have one minute to convince someone why they should start shopping secondhand…go!

I once heard someone say “There are already enough amazing clothes in the world!”

Do you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter, or blog where readers can learn more or stay informed about events, sales, etc.?

Website: www.yourstuffkidsstuff.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourstuffkidsstuff, Twitter: @yourstuffkids

Any last comments?

Remember when I said as a kid I was worried someone would see me in a secondhand store?  Well in junior high school, one of the very popular girls in my class was bragging about her shirt she got at a yardsale for 25 cents.  It was then that the light bulb went off in my head and I thought “That’s what I need to do…I need to BRAG about my finds!”

Thanks, Sylvia!

Danville isn’t a big city, so just to give you some perspective on its location, here are some nearby, more well-known cities:

  • Greensboro, NC: 1 hour
  • Winston-Salem, NC: 1 hour 20 min
  • Roanoke, VA: 1 hour 30 min
  • Raleigh, NC: 1 hour 45 min
  • Charlottesville, VA: 2 hours 30 min
  • Charlotte, NC: 2 hours 30 min
  • Richmond, VA: 3 hours
  • Norfolk (VA Beach): 3 hours 30 min

I personally think it’s worth the drive if you live within a few hours or if you are visiting or passing through the area. It’s an amazing store. Danville itself has enough to do to make a fun day trip. It has an 8 mile river walk trail, the Tank Museum, an art/history museum, a science center, and a fun to explore antique mall. There are also many delicious local eateries - The Brown Bean (a great lunch spot attached to a cute home/garden/gift store), O’Kelly’s Deli and Pastries (so good they expanded their first location AND opened a second…one of them is right down the street from Your Stuff & Kids’ Stuff),  Jake’s on Main (a downtown bar/restaurant that supports local food), and Main Street Coffee Emporium (coffee, sandwiches, and sweets).

If you’d like to offer some input on locations (cities/states) I should cover in the future, you can (and please do!) let me know in the comments or go enter your location in this poll.

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I (really really) need your input!

Dear followers,

I’ve been considering adding a new monthly or bi-monthly article to my blog, and I’ve finally decided to go forward with it. Every month (or twice a month…still deciding), I’ll feature a different consignment, resale, or thrift store from around the U.S. I’ll ask the owner/manager questions so you can learn a bit about the shops, what makes them unique, what they offer, and maybe some shopping tips or something, and I’ll get them to share some photos. I want this series over time to build up and prove a valuable resource for secondhand shoppers – a means through which you can learn more about great secondhand stores in your own area or in an area you are traveling to. I love visiting consignment and thrift stores when I travel, and it’s also fun to discover new places close to home.

BUT, I need your input. I want to start off by focusing on areas of the country where my current readers are from. If you are a regular reader, or even if you’re not but you think this is something you’d be interested in reading, let me know where you’re from or where you travel to frequently. If you live in Maryland, say, and would travel anywhere in the state to visit a great store, then you can just list Maryland. If you are in San Francisco and never ever leave the city, then you can specifically list San Francisco, that’s fine, too. Be as specific or broad as you want. I just want to know where to research first.

It’ll just take a second…just type in a location in the poll below and click vote. Thanks ahead of time for your input!

 

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Secondhand Shopping Tips

There are “Thrifting Tips” articles all around the blogosphere – I know because I’ve read may of them. But being someone who has been shopping secondhand my whole life, I figure it might be helpful to contribute my own thoughts. So here they are…Maggie’s 8 secondhand shopping tips:

  1. Stay in the know. Subscribe to your favorite consignment and thrift stores’ Facebook pages, texts, Twitter accounts, emails, rewards programs, etc. Stores that are social media savvy will post pictures of new and desirable items to their Facebook/Twitter (recently, a store I follow on Facebook posted some amazing leather combat boots in my size. Unfortunately, I was out of town so by time I was back they had sold. I’m still bummed about that). It’s a great way to be the first to know about great items…and for me, a great motivator to go shopping too much. Emails are a great way to keep in the know about events and sales, and many emails contain coupons. There are all sorts of reward programs. Some stores have punch cards (get a stamp for every $10 spent, for example, and when the card is full you get 20% off) and some stores have VIP programs where members get special deals and discounts.
  2. Go often. The great thing about secondhand stores is that the inventory is always changing. It’s worth a look as often as you can go. Stop in quickly once a week or every other week to see what’s new. That’s how you snag the amazing leather boots or the designer dress in your color.

  3. Either go with some specific needs or go completely open minded. Completely opposite mindsets, I know. But there really are two ways I shop. I either go planning to spend two hours in the store trying on EVERYTHING I like and buy $100 worth…or I go thinking, “I need some jeans and a nice skirt. I’m JUST going to look at jeans and skirts,” and I just buy what I need. How you choose to shop depends on your time and your budget. If you go often, then you can probably go open-minded without needing two hours per visit because you’ll just be checking out what’s new since your last visit. Another reason going often is a good idea. :)
  4. Learn your favorite stores. There are a few stores in my area I consistently go to, and there are many secondhand stores I never go to. After visiting them all, I just stuck to the ones I like – the ones I know I can always find stuff that fits my style, have prices I can afford, and are neat and attractive. Visit all your local secondhand stores a couple times and figure out the ones that you like. Also, always check out consignment and thrift stores when you travel – it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s interesting to see how style varies from place to place, and I always find something unique.
  5. Go for the gold and be picky about the fool’s gold. I.E., learn to recognize quality and be picky about things of lesser quality. For example, if I find a J. Crew cashmere sweater that fits me perfectly, for $15, I’m definitely buying it. BUT, if I find a Target brand top (or some other cheap, for lack of a better word, brand), I’ll only buy it if it’s really cute, still in great condition, and super cheap because I know it’s not going to last as long as something high quality.

  6. Get familiar with the jeans that fit. I used to go in a store, grab every pair of nice jeans in my size, try them on, and only get one pair. Now I have a nice little mental list of the brands and correlating sizes that work on me (Gap and J. Crew are my main trusty, always-fit brands, but there are 3 or 4 others that often fit me well, so I always try those on too). Knowing this will help you filter through the overwhelming amount of jeans that many stores have and make shopping for them a little less onerous. Another little tip – always look at the jeans. At least for me, finding PERFECT jeans is very very rare, so I always make time to breeze through the jeans isle.
  7. Look at all sizes in tops. So yes, I’m normally a small, medium, 4 or 6 in tops, but I have a few extra smalls and a few larges that I love. I would have never found them if I didn’t look at all tops in every size. Of course, this takes a little more time, but if you have the time it’s worth it. I’ve also found many misplaced items – a small mixed in with the extra larges, perhaps – so you never know what a shopper might have quickly stuck in the wrong place to get it off their hands. Some stores are better than others about keeping their racks neat.
  8. Don’t ignore the items that look ugly on the hanger. As I said earlier, be open-minded. I often grab saggy-baggy or oddly shaped tops or dresses, only to try them on and love them. The human body is not shaped like…a clothing hanger, so don’t assume it will be ugly on you.

I hope these tips are helpful for you! Do you have any tips for secondhand shopping?

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Secondhand (Not Second-Rate) Gift Guide

secondhand_gifts

I’ve always been the homemade gift type of person. Whether just a simple card or a larger undertaking like a painting or jewelry, I just think they’re more heartfelt…at least for me. But some people just aren’t crafty or simply don’t have time. For those people, there are still ways to give amazing, heartfelt gifts without spending a fortune. Your first thought may be, “secondhand gifts…I don’t want to be a cheapskate and give a tacky, pre-owned gift.” But trust me, it’s completely possible to give secondhand gifts that aren’t second-rate. I’ve been receiving secondhand gifts for most of my life, and I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated them. Here are a few ideas and tips so you can master the art of secondhand gift-giving. (Note: This post is written specifically with ladies in mind, but you can probably modify ideas or come up with ideas of your own based on this list if you are shopping for a gentleman or a kiddo.)

  1. Create a jewelry gift bag. Go to your local consignment/thrift store and I’m SURE you’ll find oodles of cute fashion jewelry and even some nice “real” pieces. Since they’ll probably have great prices, pick a few. Find a cute clutch, small purse, or cosmetic bag to put the jewelry in. Spending $20 on a few necklaces AND a clutch beats spending $20 on a single necklace at a department store!
  2. A scarf, purse, or other accessory. Consignment stores (at least the ones I’ve been to) ALWAYS have really cute, often new or even designer accessories…at amazing prices, of course.
  3. Gift basket. Grab a basket from a thrift store or the dollar store (or just use a gift bag) and fill it with all kinds of goodies from a consignment or thrift store. DVDs, picture frames, candles, jewelry, scarves, books…just go shopping with a specific person in mind and I’m sure you’ll find some stuff they’ll love. And with DVD’s likely not being more than $5 a piece, you can really fill that basket or bag!
  4. Look for items new with tags. If you’re concerned the recipient will be wary of the origin of untagged/unboxed items, you can usually find quite a few new items in consignment stores that are truly steals. Just hunt those down.
  5. A giftcard. Ask your favorite store if they offer gift cards. Obviously with this gift you need to be certain of the recipient’s stance on secondhand shopping.
  6. Have a little more time and a best girl friend who you love to go shopping with? Give your friend a shopping trip! Offer to chauffeur her to your (or her) favorite consignment or thrift store, give her some cash, and have fun! Maybe even take her to lunch before or after. I did this with my best friend recently, and she had a great time (I didn’t pay for her purchase, but I did pay for the gas…the store was an hour away. And my sister payed for her dinner).
  7. DIY. I always use secondhand clothes to create my DIY items. A personalized gift is always awesome. See this and this for a couple ideas.
  8. Go explore…this is kind of the same point I made in idea #3. There’s probably an unexpected gem waiting at your local consignment or thrift store, so go look around. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something really unique that would be absolutely perfect for that person you have in mind.

 

Now go shopping! Not sure where to go?

  • Local? Here’s a coupon for Your Stuff & Kids’ Stuff Consignment Boutiques.
  • Try Buffalo Exchange if you’re lucky enough to live near one. There are a lot of them in the southwest US, but they’re scattered all over the country.They’re very trendy, and even have some vintage finds. LOVE! (Unfortunately the closest one to me is still three hours away.)
  • Plato’s Closet locations are all over the US. Their target audience is younger…preteens/teens, but they can vary a lot depending on where they are. For example, there’s one in Charlottesville near UVa, and they normally have quite a bit of super nice J. Crew stuff there. But there’s another I’ve been to in North Carolina that is huge and has packed racks, and honestly it’s a bit overwhelming…too much teenybopper stuff to dig through to be worth the time.
  • Uptown Cheapskate locations aren’t as plentiful as Plato’s Closet…just check the map. They also cater to a younger audience, but more so to young adults than Plato’s so I actually like them quite a lot.
  • Often, the best places to go are little local boutiques. Here is a handy shopping guide by NARTS (Association of Resale Professionals). You can use it to search for consignment and thrift stores in your area that are NARTS members (which are always top-notch stores). I’ve been to a lot of these stores (in Scottsdale/ Phoenix, Palm Beach, St. Louis, Dallas) and they will be COMPLETELY worth your time if you’re near any and can visit.
  • (note: all stores are linked to locations page)

I hope this is helpful to you and HAPPY SHOPPING! :)

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What’s in Store

I was working in the store (Your Stuff Consignment Boutique) this weekend, and I noticed how much cute stuff is there! So I grabbed my phone and snapped some pictures. Have you found any really great things at your local consignment store(s) lately? (P.S. Have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet?)

Lots of pretty jewel tones! They look great paired with black and white.

Also lots of nice winter coats and accessories. I love that Coldwater Creek coat on the bottom right. Such pretty colors! The scarf with little flower details on the edges in the bottom left picture is really cute, too. We have it in several other colors.

Heels, heels, heels! Lots of options in every size!

A funky pair of Nine west heels (size 7 1/2, I think) and a nice pair of hiking shoes (size 6). I wish the hiking shoes were my size – I need a new pair.

So many boots – the entire front wall is covered! These are some of my favorites.

A lot of cute jewelry just came in. The display case is overflowing with rings!

Consignors have been bringing in lots of covetable gems, like this dress new with tags from Anthropologie (available in both size 8 and size 10).

Animal prints!

Some great items – a pleated black skirt, an artsy dolman-style tunic, a bright Talbots vest with a faux fur edged hood, a cute wool coat.

And here’s me! Exploring the shoes.

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Carbon Footprint

Yesterday, I went online to calculate my carbon footprint…just for fun. I tried about four different calculators that varied in terms of thoroughness. Though I’m sure all of my scores were inaccurate since I completely guessed on how many miles I drive in a year and how much I spend on heat/electricity, ALL calculators were missing one component that I feel is a pretty big deal. Clothes, or material purchases in general, really, are completely left out of the equation.

I think it’s really interesting to know how much buying a new shirt, say, or a new pair of shoes, contributes to this “footprint.” There’s a book called Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things that I once snatched from my brother to read. As the title suggests, the author John Ryan gives a history of many everyday items—how they were created (how the materials they were made with were created), and how they got to the store that you buy them from. So I grabbed the book and looked up the chapters on a t-shirt and shoes and here’s a summary of what Ryan says:

Polyester comes from petroleum. Not only does drilling the oil cause pollution and require a lot of natural resources (for example, to power the equipment used to get the oil out of the earth), but the refining and processing of the oil to make polyester is an industry that contributes to pollution more than nearly any other industry in the U.S.

Consider the weight of the polyester garment. Well, ¼ of its weight’s worth in air pollution is released during creation. 10x its weight in CO2 is released.

Most cotton fields are doused in extremely toxic pesticides, and wind and water spread these to places where they shouldn’t be. 10% of the world’s annual pesticide use is on cotton. The machines used to pick the cotton and make the fabric require fuel/oil.

Many toxic chemicals are used to finish and dye the fabric. With toxic chemicals comes toxic run-off, i.e. pollution.

Shoes are a similar story. The synthetic materials are made from petroleum, coal, and toxic gases (Ethylene). Even leather, a natural material, requires tanning which is normally done with toxic chemicals (vegetable tanning takes too long). Creating and refining these materials generates a lot of pollution and requires a lot of energy.

Packaging requires lots of resources as well (think of all the paper stuffed into those shoes, all the plastic your mail-ordered clothes are wrapped in). In addition, most clothes are imported, requiring fuel powered vehicles.

SO, in conclusion, buying used is always a better choice. Of course, we will all need something occasionally that we’ll end up buying new, but just think of how much less of an impact you’ll have if you have a mostly secondhand wardrobe with a few new essentials (…which you could always get from somewhere like Patagonia. Since you spend less money on used clothes, splurging for a few high-priced items wouldn’t be so bad).

And conclusion #2, someone needs to make a new carbon footprint calculator that factors in this important component. :D

I found a neat little interactive carbon footprint tool on edenproject.com. If you click on “wearing a pair of trousers a day,” you can see the impact that things such as manufacturing, washing, and drying have on the environment. It’s pretty interesting, so take a look.

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  • Hey! I'm Maggie, a graphic designer, crafter, devoted secondhand shopper, Doctor Who fanatic, and dog-lover. Stick around and explore!


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