I haven't shopped in an actual mall for months. Since moving here last fall, I can count on one hand the trips I've made to the Capital City Mall - and it was only because I had multiple gift cards burning a hole in my pocket (and I'm pretty sure the after-Christmas sales were too good to pass up). I'm a pretty intense shopper - I almost treat it like a sport, trying to get the most for my $50, $30 or $20, depending on the pay week.
While shopping can be a thrill, it's not so thrilling on my bank account. And so, I bargain shop, which led me to my latest addiction: consignment shopping. Before, I hadn't given consignment stores much of my time or money, but once I moved out on my own and had to really scrimp and save to make ends meet, I found it to be a fun, guilt-free way to keep my hobby alive.
There are a number of thrift stores and consignment shops in the Harrisburg area. (Like reVAMP and Styles Boutique, for instance). My latest find, Hello Gorgeous, is an adorable boutique in Camp Hill, full of charm and style. It's a store built on the art of being thrifty. The owner, Donna, carries a variety of merchandise, including housewares, collectibles, books, unique charms, one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories handmade from local artists and a huge selection of reasonably priced designer clothing.
Another notable store quality: their friendly greeting, "Helloooo Gorgeous!" is as warm and easy as their consignment process.
Read on to learn how it works.
Here's how it works:
- Bring in any item of clothing that you know you haven't worn in the last year/probably won't wear again (this is my rule of thumb when donating clothes).
- Make sure it's on hanger (clothing not on a hanger won't be accepted), washed and wrinkle free. Clothes with dropped hemlines, holes, stains, missing buttons, etc. will not be accepted.
I did test this out. I went straight home after my first visit, grabbed a slew of dresses that I knew would never see the light of day again, hoping to consign for a ... decent price? new clothes? donations? I wasn't sure. This was purely trial and error. There's no minimum or maximum amount of clothes you need to consign, and you don't need to make an appointment.
So I walk in for the second time that day, this time with an armful of goodies, instead of leaving with them. The clerk carefully hung every item and spent at least five minutes going over each garment: smoothing the fabric, pulling buttons and zippers, ultimately judging if the piece would sell or not. If there was even a thread out of place, it didn't make the cut - which I was fine with. At least I knew that my earlier purchases were quality ones. In the end, only two of my six dresses were accepted.
Hello Gorgeous has perfected what I'll call entrepreneurial consigning, because they offer a variety of payments and shopping methods that are beneficial for the seller, customer and community. It's even laid out that way in their logo, "Earn local, shop local, give local." With my two dresses successfully consigned, here were my options:
- Earn Local: If either one of my dresses were to sell for under $100, I would get 40% of the sale price. If they sold for over $100? That means I get 50% of the price. I can get that money back in cash or a check.
- Shop Local: Say I don't need the money, but I want to use it towards future purchases. An avid shopper like myself might choose store credit - where I get an extra 10% of the money that's already in my account.
- Give Local: Sometimes I don't need the money and I don't feel like shopping, in which case donating would be my best option. All money would go to my charity of choice (maybe the Harrisburg Humane Society, Shalom House, or the Komen Foundation).
My dresses have nine weeks to sell. If they don't, I can pick them up myself or Hello Gorgeous will donate them to a local charity. If they sell, great. That's money in my pocket, or in the pocket of my charity of choice. If they don't sell, they will be passed on to a separate local charity. It may not be my charity choice, but at least it's a way to help someone in the community. And that's the really gorgeous part.