TAMPA, Fla. — Champagne tastes on a beer budget. That's the challenge countless women have when they're shopping for high-end fashion.
Consignment shopping can be the answer. But there's a knack to doing it correctly.
If you're looking for high-end goods, you should go close to the high-end neighborhood in your community, but not in it. Those store prices are usually much higher.
Spring and summer are the best times to shop for bargains because people clean out their closets and college kids head home from class.
We spoke to one woman who turned her passion for finding a deal into a business success.
"We started out with 750 square feet," said Lauren Basil, owner of Mosh Posh.
Within a few booming fashion seasons, now there's a storefront five times larger.
To die for heels? At least a thousand dollars in other stores.
These two dresses? $3,200 for both of them.
At Mosh Posh, slash that total by 80%!
"I have found little pockets of phenomenal resale shops in Minneapolis, New York City and obviously in the local market in Tampa. And they are probably my go-to for everything," Else Li told Ivanhoe.
Basil's love of shopping — and an eye for bargains — combined to create her own consignment boutique she says is worth several million dollars, with more than 200,000 followers on Facebook. According to Facebook it's one of the most followed consignment shops in the world.
"I couldn't afford everything I wanted, so I had to find a creative way," Basil said.
It's a win-win business for bargain shoppers.
Li said, "I love wearing clothing that is amazing!"
And for consignors!
"Sometimes you got a piece that you really didn't wear that you paid a little bit more for. It's nice to take it to a place and get a little money back."
Don't try to pin Basil down on exact prices for fashion finds. She's got a staff of 10 and an expert authenticator for the details.
And everyone loves a great deal. Immediately a hit in Tampa, Basil's reach and exposure is going global.
"It's definitely a win-win," Basil said.
Basil said the best advice when consigning high-priced items is to make sure the store has an authenticator.
If not, get someone to appraise your item before selling on popular sites such as eBay. And be sure to sign up for the stores e-letter. They let loyal customers know what's going on and when deals happen. And don't just shop thrift stores. Antique stores can have some real treasures when it comes to clothes.
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