Customers reap benefits of high-quality clothing at significantly lower prices

When you walk into Changes Consignment Clothing, a high-end women’s consignment store in Marda Loop, you are welcomed by colourful clothing illuminated by the sun shining through multiple windows.

Customers bustle around picking from rows and rows of designer items that have been significantly marked down from their original prices by about 60 per cent.

Barbara Davis has successfully operated Changes for over 25 years and says that there has always been a misconception towards the word “consignment.” However, people are finally starting to realize the benefits of shopping at stores like this.

The biggest connotation that people sometimes associate with consignment stores is that they are the same as thrift stores, yet Davis says this isn’t the case at all.

Options for selling clothes

“The difference is that people donate to thrift stores, but consignment means that you actually lease items,” Davis says. “Women lease us their clothes for 60 days, and if they sell, then they will get up to 50 per cent back.”

She says that there are two options for people to keep in mind when leasing to her store.

Consignment stores offer huge discounts on designer brands.
Photo by: Lisa Taylor

The first option entails getting 40 per cent back of the price that it sells for, or the second option, where you will receive 50 per cent back as long as you commit to spending all your earnings at her store.

Lynn Durtnall manages the store and says that only items in perfect condition are accepted and that they aren’t afraid to turn down anything that’s not up to par. “We don’t want the customers to be able to tell the difference between what’s new and what isn’t,” she says.

Not only does Changes carry items from other people, but it also carries several new items from high-end retail stores like BCBG Max Azria, Lululemon Athletica Inc., Coach and even Prada.

“In fact, about 80 per cent of our clothing comes from retail stores, and only about 20 per cent is from other people’s clothing,” Davis says.

The store will be having a golf promo on April 19, which will offer an alternative to paying full price at pro-golf stores.

Through the customer’s eyes

Shopping at high-end consignment stores is a great way for people to look like a million bucks, without those million-dollar price tags. Hope Shamboul is one customer reaping the benefits of consignment shopping.

Not only does Changes have clothing, it also has an access of local jewelry.
Photo by: Lisa Taylor

“I’ve been shopping at Changes for almost four years now,” Shamboul says. “I love it because it’s so easy to find an outfit.”

Buried within the racks of hats, sunglasses, scarves and jewelry is another long-time customer, Aline Morin, who says she always goes to Changes because it’s convenient and has high-quality clothing.

Although Shamboul and Morin know the types of clothing that suit them best, the employees at Changes are always willing to give advice to those in need of some fashion expertise.

In-store expertise

“Women can call and book a free ‘Diva Den’ appointment with us where we will dedicate all of our attention to help them find complete wardrobes in about an hour,” Davis says. “But there is never any pressure on women to buy anything. They can take or leave whatever they chose.”

Manager Durtnall adds that during ‘Diva Den’ appointments, women can even bring in their favourite ‘go-to’ items such as blazers or skirts, and staff will mix and match outfits that work around those clothing items.

And for women looking to visualize how different outfits go together, there will be a fashion show taking place in the store on May 3 with models ranging from sizes four to 16.

Davis says that the consignment industry has come a long way over the years. She strives to convey the message that consignment shopping is just like retail shopping.

As long as stores continue to set their bars high in terms of quality, she believes the future of the consignment industry looks bright, says Davis.

ltaylor@cjournal.ca