Walking into Trading Closets one can’t help but to notice the old glamour Hollywood style of this new consignment clothing store.
The wall prints of Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and many other iconic stars hang throughout the shop with oldie songs like Frank Sinatra playing in the background.
Trading Closets, the new kid on the block in Downtown Greendale, sells gently used women's and men's clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry and home furnishings. It opened on June 18 at the old Caesar's Pet location.
Three women who were looking for a change came together to open the boutique. New Berlin residents Holli Surges, Jill Farina and Suzi Bales have been friends for years. Surges is a former dietician and interior decorator. Farina worked at Aurora Healthcare for about 25 years. Bales previously worked in shoe display retail.
The boutique carries high-end brand names such as Ralph Lauren, White House Black Market, BCBG, Calvin Klein, Coach and Dooney & Burke.
The women said they have received great feedback from customers and the other shop owners. One of their biggest cheerleader has been Diane Chilinski, who owns the children's resale shop They Grow Like Weeds.
The two stores compliment each other, said the women.
Resale and Consignment Shops
The three women researched areas in Waukesha County but found that Southern suburban communities didn’t really have consignment or resale boutiques.
“The three of us stood in front of the space and said it’s perfect,” Farina said.
There is a difference between resale, consignment and thrift shops:
- Resale shops buy merchandise outright from the individual owner.
- Consignment shops pay owners a percentage of the merchandise if and when the items are sold.
- Thrift shops are run by a Not For Profit organization to raise money to fund their charitable causes, such as the Salvation Army.
Trading Closets only accepts items that fit their clientele. The shop decides the price of the items based on demand, label, style and condition. The shop keeps 60 percent of the item sold and the consigner receives 40 percent. A consigner needs at least eight items to open an account with Trading Closets.
With change of seasons and styles it’s becoming harder for fashion-forward individuals to keep up with their favorite luxury brands on a budget. Resale and consignment shops’ popularity is growing. The number of resale and consignment stores opening nationally in the past two years has grown 7 percent, according to the National Association of Resale Professionals, a networking and advocacy group based in the Detroit metro area.
One of the reasons the popularity of these shops is growing is because the public has an increased awareness of recycling and would rather consign, sell or donate their items than trash them.
“It’s a form of recycling,” . “Kids do grow out of clothes so quickly.”
Another simple reason is the love for the search of a bargain.
Trading Closets says they are taking one day at time and seem to be off to a great start. The owners say that over time they will continue expand and include more furniture and formal wear such as prom dresses.