Still looking for an outfit for New Year's Eve? Maybe you didn't get everything you wanted for Christmas? Want to keep building your wardrobe with quality items, but at a great price? Byrd Designer Consignment Boutique is your spot.
I first met Emily, the owner of Byrd, at a FGI event in late summer. I hit it off with her after we both realized we were relatively new to the fashion world. Since then, I've become a faithful customer! Since I love hearing more about people's paths and in this case, specifically about consignment, I thought I'd ask Emily a few questions.
Dacy: What’s your background and how did you get started with Byrd?
Emily: I actually do not have a background in fashion or retail. I like to explain that I have a background of over almost 20 years in start-ups and the funding of such through multiple sales and marketing methods. I helped to raise the revenue, anywhere from $5 to $15 million, usually within 12 to 24 months.
People always ask how I ended up owning Byrd! I have long been a resale shopper. While living in Los Angeles with my husband, I fell in love with designer consignment. We moved back to St. Louis, our home city, in 2007 and I wondered if a designer consignment shop here could be a viable business for me to open and operate. I pondered this notion for some time and when Byrd’s previous owner, Julie, changed the format of the boutique to designer consignment in 2011, I was thrilled and became a shopper and consignor. Over the course of 2012, I made preparations to buy a small business. I eventually made the decision that the one I was pursuing wasn’t going to be a good fit for me and instead decided to approach Julie with the offer that if she was ever interested in selling, to contact me as I would be interested. Turned out my timing was perfect as she was wanting to relocate to Kansas City for personal reasons and I bought her business in April 2013.
Dacy: How does Byrd consignment work?
Emily: Our consignment policies and practices are that I select the items we would want to sell in our store. I price the items, generally anywhere form 60% to 90% off of original retail price and send along this pricing to the consignor to review and approve. We pay out once a month for the previous month’s sales and we offer a 50% sales commission to the consignors.
The items we accept and look for are higher end designer labels – that’s the ultimate driving factor. Generally, if it’s a designer you would buy at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc. then it’s a designer we consider taking in on consignment. The other secondary considerations are wear/condition of the item, if it’s on trend or a classic. We do not take much vintage, unless it’s a coveted designer vintage label such as Chanel, Gucci, Dior.
Dacy: What type of jewelry do you sell at Byrd and is it all consignment?
Emily: I have two jewelry sections in my store; fashion / costume jewelry and fine jewelry. The fine jewelry is all from private consignors and I generally only take it if it has the original purchase receipt or appraisal documents – this is so we know how to price it (because we still deeply discount even the fine jewelry from its value) and it informs the customers what they are buying.
The fashion jewelry I have in the store comes largely from local jewelry designers. It is also taken in on consignment, so I pay them monthly when items sell. Those designers are: Jane Conrad – Lily Bead Jewelry; Jennifer Cook – Juxtapose Jewelry; Erica Dunk – Hyper Haute; Sutton Lasater – Sutton Lasater Jewelry; Kate Pollmann - Kate Pollmann Jewelry; and Krissy Torchin – Krissy Torchin Designs.
Dacy: What's your favorite thing about owning and running Byrd?
Emily: I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys operating in an environment that can change from day to day and offers a lot of variety. With Byrd, almost every day we’re getting in new items to consider for consignment and you never know what each day is going to bring you. One day last week a woman came by with a limited edition, and rather expensive, Louis Vuitton in mint condition. I was able to sell it in one day and for more than the consignor thought possible. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s energizing and rewarding.
Dacy: Is there anything we should know? Do you have any tips for consigning?
Emily: Unfortunately we have limited space and have to be selective about the items we take for consignment. My customers expect on trend high quality designer labels in excellent condition. So with barely 1,000 square feet of retail space, I have to carefully curate the items we have in store so that they sell quickly and we can continue to turn over product frequently to make room for new items daily.
Some tips for consigning:
- Keep the original price tags attached to your items until you actually wear the garment. I get a number of consignors who tell me they never wore the item, but the tags are no longer attached. That is hard to prove to a potential buyer. However, I can usually sell an item for a little more when the tags are still attached.
- If the designer label has come loose on your garment, take care to get it sewed securely back into place. If it doesn’t have a designer label, it won’t likely be an item we can take for consignment.
- Keep Authenticity Cards for handbags as well as original dust bags or shoe boxes when possible and bring them in with your items when you consign.
Thanks so much Emily! Everyone, go check out Byrd and say hi from me!