As I do every spring and fall, I've been cleaning out my closet. I make different piles when I do this ... things to keep, things to have altered (either myself or by the tailor), things to donate. This year, I had a lot of great, like-new dresses in my "things to donate" pile. They were just too big, and not worth altering. Dresses are such an investment though! So I was feeling a little financial guilt at the idea of just donating all these great dresses. I started thinking about selling them on eBay.
I don't know if any of you have ever sold on eBay, but it's a lot of work. I knew I'd likely list a few, after doing all the work to measure and photograph them, eat the fees and be out money and still looking for another option.
So I started looking for consignment stores and that's when I came across Buffalo Exchange. It's a national chain of secondhand stores and they've been around for decades -- they're actually celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. (The in-store festivities are today!) And they don't work like typical consignment shops, where you usually take your clothing in and wait for it to sell before you get a portion of the proceeds. Buffalo Exchange offers walk-in selling and they offer you either store credit or cash on the spot for the items they choose to buy from you. Once they decide to buy an item and set a price for it, you get 50% of that in store credit or 30% in cold, hard cash.
I had polled Twitter a little and the general consensus was that the Logan Circle store was the best in the area (there's also one in Georgetown). So that's where I went.
I came in with two large reusable shopping bags full of mostly dresses, one spring coat, one skirt, two tops and a pair of pants.
When I arrived and walked in, they asked if I was there to sell. I said I was, they told me how many people were in front of me, took my name and said they'd call me when it was my turn, and invited me to shop around the store. This was perfect, because I wanted a chance to look around first and get an idea of how their items were priced. I also wanted to see if there was anything I'd like to take home with me!
Right away, I loved how organized the store is. I found a couple of cute dresses to try on and snatched up a pair of Kate Spade black patent peep-toe flats. I live in peep-toe flats in the spring and summer and needed a pair of black ones. These were in my size so I considered it fate!
After going through all of my items, they bought everything except the spring coat, which was a little dirty on one cuff. They are pretty picky about this, so be sure everything you take in is spotless! But I had a great experience. Their retail price of everything they bought from me came out to around $290. I took a combination of store credit (to get those great Kate Spade flats) and the rest in cash. So in the end, I left with a new pair of shoes and $60 in cash! Not too shabby.
This was really a great experience for me and a nice way to feel a little less financial guilt from items I was already purging from my closet in the first place. But be warned ... you'll get home and start looking at your closet with dollar signs ... "what else can I sell?!?" Or maybe that was just me.
I've been back in to that Buffalo Exchange with the rest of the dresses I figured they would buy and sold $80 more in cash. For point of reference, I also checked out Crossroads, a competitor secondhand store a little further up 14th at U Street. They offer slightly more in cash -- at 35% -- but I just found that I really like the people at Buffalo Exchange better. They were friendly, chatty, and made the experience fun. Also, I washed that spring coat and the "metro grease" didn't come off that cuff, but Crossroads bought it anyway. I came away thinking that I might sell things there in the future, but I won't shop there, knowing they aren't as discerning with the items they buy.