Business · Community · Thrifting

Top 5 Vintage Stores in Boston

When it comes to the vintage scene, Boston is starting to make a serious footprint. There are all kinds of vintage stores across the US that have a stronghold in areas that are both remotely and in crowded cities. From LA to NY there are hundreds of some of the most iconic vintage stores packed with original Levis and adorable swing dresses. Many times, these stores are the places that Hollywood turns to for outfitting dated movie and television scenes. In fact, one of the names on this list has been featured in many movies across the big screen and they’ve been in Boston this whole time!

What is vintage? The term “vintage” and “antique” oftentimes overlap when spoken about from day to day. In terms of “true Vintage” we, at Diversity Consignment reference that phrase to anything that is at least 20 years old. Many department stores and boutiques will carry new “vintage inspired” outfits that may contain elements that one would commonly see in a vintage piece. These elements could include natural frays, dyes, or patina characteristic of a true vintage, aged garment. Not as good as the real thing in my opinion.

For this list we scoured the internet and by car for places within our home-town, Boston, Ma. in search of the absolute best true vintage stores in the area. There is no particular order to which of the top 5 is better than the others; this list is more of a comprehensive list of high-quality true vintage stores within Boston. Get ready…Go!

Bobby From Boston

Bobby From Boston is the OG Boston vintage store. It was established in 1995 by the true legend Bobby Garnett. Bobby started off his career in the vintage game by establishing his personal collection and growing it into his personal showcase. He must have been a true pioneer at the time when vintage clothing certainly didn’t have the mainstream buzz that it does today.

He eventually evolved his personal collection into an internationally sensational storefront. Bobby From Boston has outfitted countless movie sets and inspired incredible fashion designers. They have thousands of pieces from every era throughout fashion history. I believe that they do not accept anything later than the 80s to be brought into their showcase for sale.

Prices are on the higher side of second-hand outlets; however, you are sure to find exactly what you’re looking for and more! Today, Bobby From Boston is run by Bobby’s daughter Jessica since his passing in 2016. Jessica continues to run the warehouse with the legacy of Bobby in mind while adding her own creative twist.

The warehouse is absolutely massive. It’s barely even a store really. There are thousands of garments and outfits from every era imaginable. The focus is certainly male-oriented but as we know, anything can be and should be worn by anyone. The place is a museum of hand-picked gems and should be recognized as one. Maybe it will be someday!

They are currently located in their warehouse at 545 Washington St. in Lynn, Ma. Bobby From Boston is exclusively open to the public on Sundays from 11-4.

40 South St.

40 South St. in Jamaica Plain may be one of Boston’s greatest hidden gems. The store has been in business for over 30 years and run by former rock star Hilken Mancini. Hilken was a rock star from the golden age of punk and was a member of bands such as Fuzzy, The Count Me Outs, and Shepherdess.

The store brings out that punk rock energy in such a terrific way. There are hundreds of true vintage gems all over the place! Included in the inventory are vintage rock shirts, womenswear as well as a vast selection of menswear. The place is a real vibe and Mancini contributes to that energy in a great way. She really is the queen of vintage Boston. It is easy to get lost in the mix of colorful 60s, 70s, and 80s fabric.

The store is certainly on the smaller side and is loaded with clothing. The place is vibrant and colorful. It is located at 40 South St. in Jamaica Plain, Boston. The store is open Thursday 12-6, Friday 12-6, Saturday 11-6, and Sunday 12-5. Definitely come check it out!

Vivant Vintage

It’s pronounced “VeeVaunt”! Vivant Vintage pays homage to the rebirth of clothing. After all, the word vivant itself is the French word for life. Vivant Vintage has that goal in mind; to resurface life into cast-away and discarded clothing, shoes, and accessories and wow are they giving them life!

From the Traveling Spectacular cart owner Justin Pomerleau constructed in 2011, to the brick-and-mortar store he has today, Justin has created a legacy. So detailed, in fact, you can read the play-by-play history on the Vivant website. It is a true American Dream brought to life.

Vivant Vintage is housed in a unique location within Allston. It is close by to a candle factory so oftentimes there is a fresh candle-making scent lingering nearby. I think this adds to the charm of the shop. The store itself is organized in a very aesthetically pleasing organized clutter. Not to say that it is cluttered, because it certainly is well organized. The store just screams vintage. Hundreds of vintage jeans. Everything there is hand-picked by Justin and his team of experts. Nothing is not vintage, and that passion shows. They have an excellent selection of all things old but jewelry in particular is what stands out the most. Check it out for yourself!

Vivant Vintage is located at 318 Lincoln St, Allston Ma. They’re right there at the end of the footbridge. You may also see Justin and the team on the road as they stick to their roots by regularly scheduling pop-ups throughout various marketplaces in Boston.

High Energy Vintage

Another vintage shop in Boston with humble roots in the street markets is High Energy Vintage. High Energy Vintage began on the streets of SoWa Vintage Market in Boston’s South End. In 2012 they were able to secure their first location in Teele Square, and in 2016 they moved to their current location at Union Square.

High Energy Vintage is one of those places that once you’re there, you never forget. The place is decked out in neat decor and childhood nostalgia (I guess if you were a child near the time I was, at least). The place is laced in vibrant, colorful clothing and some staple classics. Think 1980s as a store front and you’ve envisioned yourself within the walls of High Energy Vintage. The owners really do bring the energy when it comes to the decor and the vibes. They have a fairly large storefront and always have plenty of gems to choose from at very reasonable prices.

High Energy Vintage is your 1 stop shop for all things nostalgic. They even have a rad selection of vinyl records and VHS tapes! Also, I have to admit, their Tiktok and social media pages deserve more views and likes than they get. The marketing is absolutely fabulous!

Find High Energy Vintage at 429 Somerville Ave. in Somerville, Ma. They’re open every day except Tuesday. You can also find High Energy Vintage on the road as well! They’re oftentimes setting up shop at the local markets and have a schedule to see where they’ll be right there on their website.

Great Eastern Trading Co

Certainly, the oldest vintage shop on the list is the Great Eastern Trading Co. Originally created as an army/navy surplus store in 1969, Great Eastern Trading Co has a long and detailed history. I won’t go into all the details within this article, but the information is readily available on their website. The current owner, Nephtaliem McCrary has brought the store to the forefront of the “modern” vintage scene of Boston.

With locations in Cambridge, Malden, and Somerville, the Great Eastern Trading Co has roots that stretch to all corners of the city. The stores themselves are what you would want to walk into when desiring something different. The store specializes in true vintage garments and costumes. They have a huge selection of the perfect costumes for any party/event and especially Halloween. The stores are stocked full of eclectic displays and decor. The characters are really brought to life anytime someone tries something on and poses for a photo for the web page or social media.

When I tell you this place has energy, this place has energy. There are gorgeous styles from all eras (20’s – today). Owner McCrary really loves to test the limit of sanity with the fun stylings and displays inside and outside of the store. You can find all sorts of fun events scheduled on their website to keep you in the loop of what’s happening within the vintage world. Be sure to keep Great Eastern Trading Co on your list of must-see vintage shops in Boston.

Conclusion

So, there you have it! My list of the top 5 true vintage stores in Boston. Like I said, Boston is on the rise for cool and eclectic vintage shops, and I hope that this list guides you. Don’t forget to check us out as well! Diversity Consignment has been doing its thang, although I would not consider us a true vintage store, we definitely carry some awesome vintage stuff!

I hope that more stores carry on the tradition of recycling clothing and forgotten gems. The world could use more funk and I love to see the future generations rockin’ some unique stylish stuff as opposed to the cookie-cutter styles ugly department stores continue to push on us. Stay humble, stay cool.

-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

Why You Should Give Used Gifts

Now, obviously, certain used gifts are not for everyone. Giving a pair of worn-out shoes that your toe sticks out of the front to your new fiancé would probably not be the best idea. Some things can be more of a liability than an act of kindness. Another example could be gifting a car that is missing an engine, unless it’s something super-rare and you can work on it yourself and you enjoy that type of thing.

Many people will scoff at the idea of receiving a used gift as a present, and that is fine if you feel like you’re “above” second-hand gifts. I’m not here to convince you that you’re not bougey, I’m just here to explain some of the benefits of gifting and receiving used items.

Some of the topics I will cover in this article are the benefits to gift used items, some of the trends we have been seeing, and where the future of gift-giving may be trending.

The Benefits of Gifting Used or Second-Hand.

The stigma of the embarrassment in gifting used or second-hand gifts can finally end. There are so many benefits to gifting used gifts!

  • You can save money: The holidays are often-times traps by corporate America to force us to buy, buy, buy. No doubt we can give gifts if we have the resources to do so, but why does it all have to be so new and expensive? It doesn’t when you shop second hand! Imagine paying anywhere between 50% to 90% off! That’s more money to use for the things you love, and the recipient will appreciate the fact that you thought of them (If they truly care about you).
  • You can get awesome, unique stuff: This holds true for every category. What they serve you in the retail stores is just what they think you’re interested in today. Imagine opening up a world where the interests of today can be expanded to the interests of all-time. Let me explain. In other words, you can find treasures that were beloved from all eras. Imagine finding a super-cool board game only produced for a few years 30 years ago! If your partner loves board games, that could be an awesome, unique gift for them.
  • Many times, you are supporting a small business or benefitting charities: Most of the second-hand industry is run by local re-sellers or charity organizations. Imagine the impact you can make on the many people that you shop from by choosing to buy used. In this day and age where everything is turning into a giant corporate-driven mess, you can pledge your allegiance to what you believe in by supporting local, sustainable shops.
  • It’s wicked sustainable: As if you didn’t need any more quality reasons to gift second-hand gifts. By gifting used cars, you’re keeping them out of car graveyards, and by gifting used clothing you are keeping them out of landfills. Keeping things in economic motion can have a huge impact on the planet we all share!

The Stigma

No one is quite sure where the negative stigma associated with gifting used items came from but it’s time to end it. If you spent the time researching and finding a second-hand gift for someone, they should appreciate it or else you should dump them as a friend. They’re not really worth your time or effort.

In no way, shape, or form should you be embarrassed about giving or receiving a second-hand treasure. Like I said, there is a lot more effort and thought behind the gift and is often times more personalized.

A lot of the time while thrifting you’ll see something very unique, and that person that it’s perfect for just pops into your head! What’s more thoughtful than that!? The answer is nothing.

Here at Diversity Consignment, we see and hear this happening all the time. “OMG so and so would love that!” “I’m buying it just for them!” There’s nothing more beautiful to hear.

Giving a gift card to a second-hand store can also be a sneaky way of giving something new and used at the same time. Try it out.

The Future of Gift-Giving

As time goes by, more and more people are shopping more sustainably. This is true especially for personal shopping, but also moving in the same direction for gift-giving during the holiday seasons.

More emphasis on sustainability and more awareness on the benefits of shopping used items means a better world for us all to enjoy. I say the future holds a reversal on the stigma. Let’s gooooo!

-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment

Business · Thrifting

Is Savers / Value Village A Charity Thrift Chain?

I guess I’m in a spicy mood today to do a little revealing dive into the relationship that Savers has with charity. I will be un-partial in this article to whether or not I think Savers’ operation is good or bad and provide facts that are readily available to the public through various credible websites.

What we will cover includes if Savers is in fact a charity thrift chain, some relationships that they have been a part of and a general outlook on this type of business model.

Is Savers / Value Village a Charity Store?

The simple answer to this question is no. Savers is not a charity thrift store. In fact, they explain this in detail several times on their website. “We’ve chosen to keep our business model this way—to buy our supply from local nonprofits.” We pay our nonprofit partners for your stuff, helping them fund programs in your community.” “Shopping in our stores does not support any nonprofit.”

It sounds a little tricky, if Savers is a for-profit “charity” thrift store, what type of business model is this actually?

To be honest with you, the type of business model is actually genius from a capitalistic standpoint. Savers has a relationship with a charity organization within their stores and essentially pays the charity by-the-pound for your donations. Things they want and think they can sell; they pay a certain $ per pound (this information is unavailable to the public) and things that they don’t want and do not think fit their store standards they pay a less amount per pound and then “recycle.” Like I said, this amount is undisclosed to the public but certain partners have gone on record saying that Savers will pay $40,000 and then flip that donation for $1 million.

The recycling is where things can get a little tricky. If they take after the model of the textile recycling centers, what that usually means is that they would ship the unwanted clothing overseas to a buyer that will pay them more per pound than they purchased it for. I’m not saying that is exactly what they do at the Savers recycling warehouses, but it would be hard to convince me that they send clothing over-seas on their own dime.

Savers and Charity Relationships

Several of the nearly 100 charity organizations that have been associated with the Savers organization have severed ties. According to an NBC article, 3 of 6 have cited unfavorable terms and conditions. Director of the Boston area Big Brother Big Sister Foundation was cited saying the following: “If you’re making a million, and we’re making $40,000, how is that helping charities?” “It may be legal, but it’s not right.”

Other charities associated with the Savers organization have openly come out in the defense of the for-profit conglomerate stating that public funding for charities has dried-up and if it weren’t for Savers’ purchasing contributions, they may not make it.

It’s fair to say that the business model that Savers has developed has certainly benefited charities as well as itself. Although Savers does not report its financial performance to the public, their yearly revenue has estimated to reach $1.2 billion according to Moody’s Investor’s Service.

Outlook

As a business owner myself, I find this business model to be fascinating. The problem I could see would be if the general public is deceived into thinking that their donations go directly to benefiting the charity associated with the business, when actually it does not. In the case of Savers and Value Village, the charity does receive compensation by-the-pound when Savers pays for the clothing. They then put the clothing into their stores and price them to make a profit. What is unwanted goes into their recycling center.

I know in recent times; Savers has created an announcement that plays over the telecom during business hours reinforcing the fact that they are a for-profit company. The next time you are in Savers, try to pay attention to the telecom to hear the message.

-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment

Business · Thrifting

How To Successfully Sell on Ebay

So, you’ve decided you’re done with the traditional 9-5 and you’ve decided you’re going to begin your new venture or side-hustle selling on eBay. Firstly, I would like to say Congratulations on taking a risk! Maybe you’ve decided you’re not quite ready to start diving head-first into selling, but you’d like to gain a little insight into the best way to navigate the e-commerce giant. If either of these cases hit home to you, you’re in the right place.

In today’s article, I’m going to get you started on how to sell on eBay successfully and provide to you the lessons I have learned throughout my eBay selling career that can help guide you! I will be going over why you should sell on eBay, my personal experiences selling on the platform, what things to avoid selling on eBay, and some of the Pro’s and Con’s to selling things online.

My History Selling on Ebay

I want to start this article by sharing a little information about my past experiences selling on eBay which has ultimately brought me to where I am today.

I began my eBay career in 2015, shortly after dropping out from college. At that time, I was in desperate need of a way to make some money to maintain my independence. I got a job across the street from the bedroom I was renting out at one of the 100 or so Dunkin’ Donuts in the neighborhood. At that time, making Dunkie’s coffee was really the only job I was qualified for. I had enrolled in nursing school around the same time to get myself involved in a potentially practical career. Juggling aggravatingly minimally paying work and long hours studying and going to classes became my new life.

I had always been a frugal shopper and my favorite brand to purchase at that time was Polo Ralph Lauren. I know, champagne taste on a beer budget. Luckily for me, I was always able to find my favorite brand hidden in the racks of my local Goodwill. $5 for a button down was all I needed to grow my wardrobe and trust me I grew my wardrobe. So much so, in fact, that I honestly had all the Polo I needed. My closet was full but the thrill of sifting through the racks to find my brand was left unnourished. That’s when eBay entered into my life.

I thought to myself that if I could find this expensive brand for only $5 at the local thrift store, there must be a way to sell it for at least 1/4 of what it costs in the retail stores, right? I downloaded the eBay app one night after class and began searching for what a used Polo shirt would sell for and quickly realized that there was a lot of potential.

I used all of my tip money that I would get from working at DD and began buying shirts, listing them on the eBay app, and was surprised how quickly they sold. Shocked, I thought to myself, “If I do some research, there must be a whole bunch of brands that I’m not even aware of that I might be able to find on the racks as well.” Days and days of research eventually opened an entire new world of second-hand fashion before my very eyes.

I eventually quit my job and finished nursing school, only to begin my thrifting career and go on to open multiple storefronts throughout the following years. I will save the minutia for my autobiography lol. The moral of the story is this: I utilized an e-commerce site to become an entrepreneur and so can you! The key is to find your own path and use some key insights. The things I wish I had known a lot earlier on in my career I will share with you today.

Why Choose Ebay to Sell?

There are many reasons why one would choose eBay as their primary means of selling. One reason may be that they allow you to sell used clothing (a category I took full advantage of). If clothing is your primary focus, the fact that you can sell used clothing on eBay is a huge bonus. I’m guessing that clothing is what has brought most of you to this article. 😉

Currently, eBay has one of the largest numbers of active shoppers out of all the online e-commerce giants. Reports show that there are over 180 million active buyers on eBay worldwide. That is a huge audience to reach as a prospective seller! Another shocking statistic is that there are over 1 billion active listings on the website! A whole lot of buyers mixed in with a whole lot of things available for sale. This can be both a positive and a negative respectively which we will get into more detail about further down in the article.

It doesn’t have to be used clothing to get you to consider selling on eBay. Many people find success in a whole laundry list of categories: Auto Parts, Electronics, Accessories, games, and many more. The principles that I will share with you in this article will hold true no matter what your category may be.

What Should I Be Selling on Ebay?

Now that we have covered why you should consider selling on eBay, we can move on to what you should be selling on eBay. The following list should serve you in narrowing down your selections regardless of what category you invest in:

  1. Rare products within your niche
  2. Products you can source for very little up-front cost or even free
  3. Products within your category that aren’t commonly listed
  4. Products that are sold at a high rate

I get that you may be saying to yourself, “Dude this is so general and obvious” but hear me out. I will give you some examples of each bullet point within the used clothing category.

  1. For example, rare products within the used clothing category may include certain eras of military clothing. Yes, they may be difficult to source and find, but the rarity itself makes them worth investing in; should you come across them.
  2. Many times you can find places that offer “by the pound” purchasing such as the “bins” at a Goodill outlet where you can get pounds of clothing for less than $1. Other times you may find people on Facebook Marketplace who are willing to give you things for free. It takes research, but these things do exist.
  3. An example of products within the category of clothing that aren’t commonly sold would be suits. I, personally, sold thousands and thousands of suits and suit separates simply because it is not typically a product that most people think to thrift. Find your “suits” in whatever category you choose to sell within.
  4. An example of a brand that is sold at a high rate (at least for now in 2022) within the clothing category is Patagonia. Patagonia is hot and so whenever you, as a clothing seller, can get your hands on it for a reasonable price; buy it. Find your category’s Patagonia.

What NOT To Sell on Ebay

Now that we have covered what types of things to research, let’s go ahead and cover what to not look for or try and sell. The Following is a list of things, that in over 6 years of selling on eBay, I have learned to avoid:

  1. Products that have thousands of search results – You’re simply going to get lost in the search results. Unless you are selling this product for the lowest price on all of eBay (people will search from Low-High for pricing). Most likely, if you have the lowest price point, people will either question the quality, or you will be losing out on profit margins. Don’t waste your time.
  2. Products with poor conversion rates – Do a quick filter under the “sold” section when you search for an item you want to buy. If there are thousands of listings that are active, and only a handful that have sold; don’t try to sell it. Low conversion can be subjective, but as a general rule of thumb, if you don’t see 500 active and at least 250 sold; don’t buy it to try to sell it.
  3. Custom made products or artwork – Ebay just doesn’t have the following for custom made goods or artwork. You would have much better results by switching over to Etsy if you’re looking to sell custom made goods or art.
  4. Inexpensive retail items – Why waste your time listing an item that you can realistically only sell for $5? Maybe if you have hundreds of them and do a bulk listing? Inexpensive retail items are better for huge eBay stores and most likely selling on Amazon.
  5. Generic Brands – People generally come to eBay in search of good deals on name brands. The platform has developed a reputation as a place where everything is heavily discounted. Generic brands don’t have the resale value that name brands carry. Unless it is a specific part or style that is needed or on-trend I would avoid anything generic.
  6. Products that you, yourself, can’t identify – If you don’t know what it is or what the use for it is why would anyone be searching for it or even know what to type in to find it? You would have to be insanely good at writing a description of what you thought it might be in order to get someone who might be thinking along the same lines while shopping. Low likelihood.
  7. Products that you dislike sourcing – If you don’t enjoy the process of the hunt, you’re not going to enjoy the sale. It comes down to burnout and lack of interest. These two things will make the entire process unenjoyable, and you’ll eventually give up.

Types of Tricks That Help Products Sell

The following is a list of some tried and true “tricks” that will help your listings sell:

  • The Title – This is easily the most important, frequently overlooked, and sure-fire way to get your listings into the eyes of prospective buyers. The title needs to have the following structure: Brand, Description, Type, Color, Size. Example: Hugo Boss Double Breasted Suit Jacket Brown Herringbone Size 42R. DO NOT just put “Hugo Boss Blazer” because you’re narrowing it down to about 500 other listings with that also included in the title. People might be looking for all the specifics mentioned in the former title and land right on your listing.
  • The Description – To avoid hundreds of unnecessary messages you’re going to want to create a pretty descriptive description. Always include measurements in the description. You’ll also cut down on your return rate by providing extra details.
  • Lowball to gain exposure – The way that the eBay algorithm works is that when you sell, you sell again. I’m not sure exactly what it is but anytime I would do a clean out of my inventory (starting bid .99 or $4.99) and sell hundreds of things after the 10-day auction, I would also get ensuing sales on regularly priced inventory. You need to gain sales in order to make sales and one of the easiest ways to do that is to clean house.
  • Stay Active – Post new inventory every day and answer messages. The eBay algorithm loves activity. There is also a way to “refresh” your listings! Edit in bulk. You don’t have to actually change anything about any of the listings, but by simply going through the process of “editing in bulk” you can create a whole mess of activity very quickly.
  • Free Shipping – This is a controversial one. It can be very smart to offer free shipping if you know your numbers and analyze your profit margins. Things sell quicker with free shipping. The downfall to free shipping is that people will take advantage of eBay’s return policy and you’ll be stuck paying return shipping regardless of your personal return policy. Those returns can add up to ruin your bottom-line the more you sell and the more that gets returned.

Conclusion

Ebay comes with a lot of fees. Be wary of what you are spending and sourcing and use the manager tools to track your profits and losses. Seriously, you need to treat this like a business if you want to be successful. Most people neglect this, and they wonder why they don’t make any profits.

The flipping game is difficult, if you’re doing it correctly you are hardly seeing any returns. You’re constantly using your profits to buy more products. This can seem like a never-ending battle of accumulating inventory. At some point, you need to start taking profits out and paying yourself.

Over time you will get better and better at sourcing products that work for you. Do what works best and source the things that sell quickly. Don’t hang on to inventory for too long in hopes that someone is just waiting 6 months to purchase it. Run a cleanout auction and get rid of it! You probably made your investment back on that haul anyway!

I have a love-hate relationship with eBay. The returns and messages overwhelmed me to the point where I finally gave up on it. I have love for eBay by helping me start my career, but I think it’s not the answer for the long-haul. It is always better to own your own than to have to use a 3rd party selling platform that eats away at all your profits. Best Wishes to you all!

-Ian Drake, Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

What Should I Expect at a Consignment Shop?

Consignment shops can be great sustainable places to re-sell or purchase slightly used or even new clothing. In many regards, consignment shops are some of the most sustainable forms of recycling due to the low impact on waste they tend to produce. The clothing goes in a simple cycle, from consignor, to consignee, to consumer.

Of course, what to expect at a typical consignment shop will vary greatly depending on the styles and types of consignment shops in question. They can range from beautiful boutique style clothing stores, hype beast shops, and even true vintage stores. I will say, however, that the vast majority of consignment shops I have seen tend to be more focused on the up-scale designer centric styles. This may be due to the fact that within these boutique types of consignment shops, one may find some great discounts on otherwise unaffordable brands.

In this article we are going to cover some of the tried-and-true basics of what one would typically find inside of a consignment shop regardless of the specific type of products they offer.

What Makes a Consignment Shop Different than a Charity Thrift Store?

I want to start by doing a little bit of classification on what a consignment shop is and what differentiates it from a typical charity thrift shop.

A consignment shop is defined as “a store that sells secondhand items (typically clothing and accessories) on behalf of the original owner, who receives a percentage of the selling price.” This is different than a charity thrift store in a couple of notable ways:

  • A consignment shop typically has a carefully curated selection of products.
  • You can make money by dropping off your personal items to a consignment shop.
  • Consignment shops are typically for-profit businesses, however; in some instances, that is not always true.

Organization (layout)

The organization within a consignment shop is typically uncluttered and well-structured. This holds true in most shops that I have personally visited. Why are they usually so well organized? It is much easier to keep track of consigned goods inside a more well-organized setting. Remember, many consignment shops can have thousands of different products belonging to hundreds or thousands of different clients at any given time.

If a consignment shop is cluttered and disorganized, it can be a warning sign to prospective consignors. Unless the aesthetic is “organized clutter” (I have definitely seen some consignment shops master this visual) the prospective seller may be left wondering “How are they going to keep track of my stuff?” Consignment stores rely heavily on the community to supply the store with merchandise, so it is important that they gain the trust of a potential client.

Boutique style consignment shops will have a wide array of department store style fixings. Glass showcases, neat tables, and minimalist decor. While vintage consignment shops may have a good display of organized clutter. A shop should fit the vibe they’re trying to portray. I wouldn’t expect a lot of glitter and glam inside of a vintage store, for instance. On the other hand, I would still expect it to be more well organized than a run-of-the-mill charity thrift store.

The Products

Like I mentioned earlier, consignment shops will have a well-curated selection of inventory. The inventory will likely match the clientele that the store is delivering to. For example, a consignment shop in Nantucket will likely have a lot of pastel colored clothing or nautical themed home decor. A hype beast consignment shop located in the inner-city will likely have sneakers, casual clothing, and streetwear designer brands.

The products you should find in a consignment shop should fill the void between “new” and “heavily used.” Most stores will not accept items that show major, obvious signs of wear. This is important to note because you are not likely to find basement prices on the new arrivals section of your neighborhood consignment shop. We will go into pricing expectations a little further down in the article.

Couches at furniture consignment shops should resemble new couches. Dresses at the boutique consignment shop should look as close to new as possible.

You will traditionally (or I should say should not see at all) fast fashion brands or inexpensively manufactured items at a consignment shop, if they are doing their job curating products. Low priced retail merchandise just doesn’t have enough markup value on the resale market and therefore has little to no value to a consignment shop.

You should expect a good selection of desirable merchandise at the consignment store. That desirability, of course, will depend on who the target audience is geared towards at that particular location. Like I said, if you are into goth-core styled clothing, don’t be shocked if the local boutique consignment shop doesn’t carry a decent selection of what you’re interested in.

Pricing

The general rule of thumb when it comes to pricing expectations should be somewhere between retail and bargain basement pricing. Consignment shop inventory as a whole, is typically between 90-95% used. Even clothing or household items that still have the tags and that are un-used should still be priced between 50-80% of retail value. Think about pricing on a department store clearance rack. I have seen some more boutique style shops that stick to near retail value and I have seen others that will go as far as 33% of retail value. The pricing should match the value that they deliver to you, the customer.

Consignment shops are places of discounted merchandise. It is not uncommon to see heavy discounts on sale racks (up to 90% off the original price tag). Usually, inventory is moving at a pretty rapid pace and new inventory is coming in hot. The stores need to make room for new arrivals and will put a good amount of inventory on clearance to make room for new merch. These sales can be great opportunities for customers to get some fantastic deals on excellent quality gems.

Consignment shops should deliver on value to prospective customers. They can justify higher prices than charity thrift stores by delivering on that value. How well the store in question performs on the following bullet points should help to determine the overall value of the pricing:

  • Customer service
  • Cleanliness of the store
  • Selection of the merchandise (curation)
  • Overall experience

If the store delivers 10/10 on all of these components, expect to pay a little higher in price.

What Makes Diversity Consignment Stand Out?

Here at Diversity Consignment, we try to differentiate in a few ways that help us stand out from the typical consignment shop experience.

Traditionally, clothing consignment shops have been cis-gendered and specialize in delivering excellent quality to either the female or male customer market exclusively. Here at Diversity Consignment, we have broken down the barrier of that exclusivity and welcome a non-binary shopping experience for all genders. Honestly, most people won’t really even notice this difference upon entrance because the racks are simply organized by inventory type (sweaters, hoodies, jackets, etc.) and size. This may not be the ideal layout for everyone, and we embrace that.

Another differentiator we offer is the products that we curate. In many regards it would be difficult to classify the inventory under one simple classification. We showcase boutique brands, instruments, vintage styles, vinyl records, and most importantly local artwork and custom creations. Really what we try to offer are things that our prospective customers would want to purchase. We try to communicate as best that we can with our existing customers and analyze the data on what is selling to narrow-down our future selections and curations. Again, our inventory is not likely for everyone, and we understand that.

We offer a calendar of events on our website and have a range of interactive activities for you to do while shopping! Swing by some time to shop or consign with us when you’re in the Boston area!

Conclusion

Consignment shops are fantastic places to stay frugal and in-style regardless of the type of consignment shop and what they offer. I would suggest finding one that aligns with your style and values, if possible. Don’t go in thinking you’re going to pay GoodWill prices; the consignment shops work hard to curate top-quality inventory and oftentimes work extra hard to make the inventory presentable.

The secondhand industry is continuing to grow as people become more aware of the impacts their spending has on the local community and the environmental impacts. Do us all a favor and support your local consignment shop!

Music

Top 5 Unknown Classic Rock Bands

We all know the heavy hitter of classic rock, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton, to name a few but there must have been thousands of other great bands coming out around the same time right? Yes! Absolutely!

There were so many bands surfacing from the 60s-80s that got such little recognition! Labels were signing and pushing out records one after another during this golden age of rock and roll. If you weren’t getting signed to one of the major record labels, it was hard to get your name out there to the masses. In today’s article I am going to give you a top 5 list of my favorite lesser-known bands from that era. The list will be in no particular order.

If you’ve heard of these bands great for you! Leave your comments down below in the comments section!

Cold Blood

What a name right? Owning a record store sure has it’s perks; one of them being the ability to pick up a random record that has a cool cover just to hear what it sounds like. This is exactly what happened to me when I first saw the cover art on Cold Blood’s debut album “Cold Blood” from 1969.

Do you like Janis Joplin? A fan of Tower of Power? You’re in luck! Cold Blood has a combination of a powerhouse Janis Joplin style vocals with a funky TOP (Tower of Power) rhythm. In fact, Cold Blood played at the Fillmore West in SF and was even recommended by Janis herself! If you like the gospel style Funk hits, Cold Blood’s first couple albums will be right up your alley!

The band dissipated in the late 70s never really reaching billboard top charts. It’s really unfortunate because with the combination of Gospel lyrics, Joplin-esq vocals, and powerful full band funk jams, you would think they would have more recognition than they do. With only ~30K monthly listeners on Spotify today, they’ve been forgotten but are certainly not lost.

If you find yourself in a record shop and you see one of the early Cold Blood albums on the shelf do not hesitate to pick it up and give it a spin!

LOVE

The band is called Love. Founded in 1965, Love has a style and a sound that could withstand generations. Oftentimes described as Garage, Psychedelic, and folk– Love has that feel-good vibe that’s perfect for a chill day.

With incredible songwriter and leader Arthur Lee, the band came out with some early initial success, topping the top 40 hit “7 and 7 Is.” The band never really hit another top spot. My personal favorite from Love is the song titled “Everybody’s Gotta Live.” It’s a somewhat repetitive vocal loop that just hits the spot perfectly. Meaningful, powerful, and appropriate especially when considering the time period.

The band had several major split-ups and reunion attempts throughout the late 70s-90s but their hay-day will forever remain in the mid-late 60s. I would absolutely suggest giving them a try. With about 1 million monthly listeners today, they do have a larger following than most on the list. As a music appreciator, it’s all about the deep grooves.

It will be hard to locate a LOVE record at the local record store, but if you do happen to pick one up, cherish it.

Blind Faith

Okay, this is where the music buffs come in to criticize the article. Yes, I know Blind Faith is legendary, so much so, in fact, they are one of my top favorite groups of all-time. They just aren’t ever brought up in any serious discussion of top band lists EVER! Judging by their monthly listeners on Spotify, the people agree.

For those that don’t know, Blind Faith was an early supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. What an exclusive class of unbelievably talented artists to be on a top 5 unknown bands list!

Here’s the craziest part, they only made one album! The self-titled “Blind Faith” album came out in 1969 and produced a few exclusive singles. “Can’t Find My Way Home” will forever be solidified in the history books of classic rock. The best part about starting off listening to Blind Faith is the direction it will lead you by following each band member’s insinuating careers. Take Steve Winwood for example. This guy has played in some of the most iconic bands in music history and has remained somewhat behind-the-scenes.

Moby Grape

A band that has the sound you think of when you think of 60s rock with an added bit of progression would of course be Moby Grape. It shocks me that they, to this day, only have about 50K monthly listeners on Spotify.

Picture the beach boys if they had a bunch of hippy jam-banders in the group. Amazing guitar riffs, smooth west coast 60s vibe, and excellent harmonies. It’s a crying shame they didn’t have the same promotional backing that labels like Capital records could have given them. Shadowed by bands like Jefferson Airplane coming out around the same time, the potential for Moby Grape to be sitting atop the classic rock HOF list was there.

I would suggest searching a bit for some Moby Grape vinyl at your local thrift or record shop. You won’t be disappointed.

Quicksilver Messenger Service

Talk about a band with all the potential in the world coming out of — you guessed it — San Francisco in the mid 1960s. If you were around the area at the time there is no doubt that Quicksilver Messenger Service is one of your all-time favorite bands. But what happened to them?

The problem, I think, was the hard competition in the area at the time. Bands like Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead were emerging in the same area and competing for the floor space at the Fillmore.

Quicksilver has a much more avant-garde garage band style with some experimental jazz tones. It was certainly novel at the time and sounds amazing today. Crazy to think that these were just kids making this music back then. Definitely pick up some Quicksilver and give it a try if you happen to come across it!

Synopsis

So there you have it! My personal list of unknown classic rock bands that definitely do not get the recognition they deserve.

Of course there are many more bands that could fit on a larger list of unknown or even under-appreciated bands and musicians, but at the moment I really don’t have time for that. Maybe sometime in the future I will expand upon them!

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Art · Business · Community · Uncategorized

Why is Gender Neutral Clothing Important?

Listen people, it’s 2022. Clothing really has no business being gender specific! Taking a look at the newest fashion lines coming out will give you a perfect example of clothing androgyny and the progression we have made in the past couple decades.

In today’s article I’m going to explain why gender neutral clothing is important. I will cover freedom of expression, some of the challenges with gender neutral lines, the stigma, and where I think the future lies.

This is not an article forcing you to wear gender-neutral clothing or to make you, as a woman, dress like a man or vice versa. It is only my opinion based on what I have seen during my time in the clothing industry and an alignment of what our store Diversity Consignment believes in within our core mission.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression can be defined as : You have the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of your choice without interference and regardless of frontiers.

I will define freedom of expression within the clothing industry as the following : The ability to express oneself freely, without restraints, and voluntarily, through the clothing you choose to dawn regardless of specific constraints. Side note: I am not a proponent of blatant disregard for the sensitivities of specific cultures or the use of historical garments for appropriation.

Freedom of expression, especially within the confinement of the United States is a beautiful thing that should be embraced. One of the simplest ways to express oneself is through the clothing that one wears. Want to dress in Crayola colors? Go for it! Want to wear a plaid skirt with Dr. Marten boots? I say, you better take a picture and send it to us so we can promote it!

Clothing should not have gender constraints. They take away the very principle of freedom of expression that has been founded.

Challenges with clothing binarity

One of the major difficulties a lot of men, in particular, may find when clothing shopping in a gender neutral environment is sizing constraints. You see a cute skirt that you want to try on, but find out that the sizing is only constrained to XXS-L in “women’s” sizing. As a 6’4″ 240lb guy that can be a real challenge! What are the options out there?

The same can be said for women. The clothing companies do not take into consideration body shapes, differences, and tastes. There should be no reason why a skirt is not manufactured for men’s bodies as well as women’s. In fact, men have historically worn skirts as well as heels!

The simple fact is this — people come in all shapes, sizes, and with different interests. It’s time for retailers to embrace this.

Stigma

Another major challenge within the retail world is the stigma. It is challenging for opposing sexes to find a comfortable space where they can shop in the “other” section. There is a lot of separation between areas; men’s and women’s. When the general population sees a man in the women’s section they tend to do a lot of gawking and staring. That is super uncomfortable for that individual. The same can be said for women in the “men’s” section.

As we progress as a society, I must say, this is becoming less of an issue in specific geographical areas. The fact still remains that the stigma is continuously a huge issue that deserves recognition. Living in a diverse community of NYC will show a big difference in the stigma than an area in rural America. That is unfair for individual freedom of expression.

I want to explain a little bit about how clothing styles and sexuality corelate. They Don’t! Just because a man finds a certain blouse nice, does not mean that man is gay. If they are, great! Just because a woman is wearing a Carhartt top with Timberland boots does not mean that they are gay. It is simply an expression of taste through style. Period. Regardless, it’s honestly none of your business anyway so why should you even care??

The future of clothing androgyny

I, for one, am hopeful for the future of clothing and the elimination of stigma and judgement. I have already witnessed lines of bags and accessories that positively embrace gender neutrality. Many of the lines on the runway for 2022 showcase femme skirts on men as well as wide-leg “dad jeans” on women.

I am hopeful that more gender neutral environments will be opening up that decrease the divide. I really am not trying to be political in this article, as I believe that politics have nothing to do with freedom of expression and the comforts that should come with the concept.

We, at Diversity Consignment openly embrace gender neutrality and focus on creating a comfortable environment where men, women, and non-binary individuals can express themselves freely without judgement. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have seen burly, bearded men (prototypical essences of masculinity) trying on a dress and KILLING IT. I hope that we can continue in a progressive direction where everyone feels comfortable as a society.

-Much Love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

How to Style Yourself on a Thrift Store Budget

You may find it difficult to stay on trend without buying the newest releases coming out of the department stores. I’m here to tell you that it’s not only possible to stay on-trend, but even possible to become a trend-setter!

All it takes is a bit of knowledge on where to go and what to look for. If you’re creative, you may even be able to up-cycle and create new designs never before seen! Who says you can’t stay stylish on a thrift store budget??

I have been professionally thrifting for the past six or seven years (since the release of this article) and I can tell you first-hand that some of the most stylish people I know shop exclusively at second-hand stores.

What styles do you want to create?

Remember, styles tend to be cyclical. The new lines out today are almost certainly recreations of some style seen in the past. One of the best places to go to find a unique outfit from past couple decades would, of course, be at your local thrift store.

Today, designer brands are showcasing wide-leg pants and jeans, embezzled tops, leather, leather, leather! A perfect era of clothing to be looking for to find what’s hip today would be to try and source early 2000s-late 2000s brands. Miss me jeans, juicy couture hoodies, Marc Ecko cargo pants, are just a few brands that pioneered the styles of today. The greatest part? The thrift stores are huge honey-holes of early 2000s styles as people my age finally decided to donate their high school get-ups.

It doesn’t stop there. If you wanted to go for the Pharrell Williams look, I can guarantee there is a vintage fedora at your local thrift store just waiting for the perfect home. Take any pop icon or celebrity and there are plenty of similar outfits that can be found at the thrift. In fact, many YouTubers and vloggers have made it a fun activity to recreate celebrity styles through thrift store finds!

What about the designer brands?

There are soooo many designer brands at the thrift store! Don’t worry about not having your polo. Excellent brands can be found out there in abundance.

“I hate showing up to a party wearing the same thing as someone else.”

Well, you’re in luck! No more playing the game of who wore it better. When you style yourself sustainably, there’s no chance that you’ll show up to the wedding wearing the same dress as someone else! Yours might even be an incredible vintage 1960s floral gown you found at 1/10th the price!

It is time to get Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song out of your mind. Nobody is going to walk out of a thrift store wearing an antique fur coat and blinder-style sunglasses. You’re going to be frugal and find the same styles that are current today, only from the past. I, for one, think that’s way cooler than buying a new Givenchy top that you have to explain to everyone is legit.

She does look amazing though right?

Can you work a sewing machine?

If you can work your way around a sewing machine, you’re in luck! Countless people nowadays are reworking old clothing into new styles! All you have to do is type in “upcycling” into YouTube and you’ll find thousands of ideas of inspiration to cut and sew, dip dye, and tie dye your own creations!

Start doing something simple by watching and emulating a basic upcycling tutorial. You can get more advanced as your skills progress. It’s not only fun, but also a great way to become a style trend-setter in your local community!

Conclusion

Despite what you may think, you absolutely can find stylish trends at the thrift. Most of the time you’ll be able to pull out with an entire outfit easily under $30!

Try consignment shops to search through a more curated selection at a little higher price point. You can even find brand new styles at your local consignment shops at under clearance prices.

Don’t be like everyone else, feel free to dress in a unique way! Freedom of expression is one of the beautiful freedoms we have in this lifetime. It’s easy to express your creativity in the discounted racks of the thrift and consignment shops near you!

-Much love, Ian Drake – Diversity Consignment

Business · Community · Thrifting

The Potential Impacts of an Economic Recession on Thrift Stores

With thrifting on the rise, more people are spending frugally and saving what they have. One would think that this would be a great thing for the thrift industry, right? Yes, and no.

In today’s article I am going to explain to you a problem caused by an economic recession that could potentially impact the world of thrift: supply shortages.

The Problem

During tough economic times people tend to save money in many ways, one of which being decreased spending on superfluous purchases. The fact is this, the cost of goods is continuing to rise while the economy continues to fall. Clothing, upgraded furniture, and other luxury expenses will become unaffordable (if not already) to the average worker and therefore be an unnecessary expenditure. Why spend money on clothing when gas, electrical bills, and other necessities are piling up?

Okay, I get it. People may not want to buy clothing at retail stores, that’s a good thing for thrift stores, isn’t it?

Not so fast. While people may be turning to thrift stores to make their clothing and household purchases, they will not be so quick to get rid of the things in their closet. If we hold onto what we have, we won’t really need to get more, right? Here lies the problem.

Thrift Store Supply Shortages

While it may be a great idea to shop at thrift stores, we need to remain mindful of how they get their supplies; from us! In today’s day and age, we have become so engrossed with spending, buying, accumulating, and storing. What happens when we hit a hard recession that forces us to hold onto what we have? We make the decision to hold onto that old couch for a couple more years instead of upgrading and donating the old one to a non-profit.

Thrift stores will suffer. They rely so heavily upon us to supply their stores with donations. Those donations essentially turn into charitable organizations being funded when they sell their inventory to the general public. What we will be faced with (and already are beginning to see) is a recession that underserves donations to thrift stores. You can’t sell what you don’t have!

Without consumer spending going to non-profit thrift stores, many services available to those in need will suffer greatly. Aids relief, funding for jobs for people with disabilities, housing services, and a myriad of other publicly funded services will take the hit as well. Of course, this is a terrible situation.

I’m not trying to be Mr. Doomsday prepper or trying to convince you that the world is coming to an end. I’m simply reminding you that there is an entire industry of charitable organizations that are funded from our contributions; both buying and donating. We need to wake up to the possibilities of the near future!

The Answer

I recently read an article (I can’t remember the source) that was outlining several thrift stores in the Pittsburgh area significantly impacted by the recession-hoarding mentality. They are suffering from lack of inventory because people in the community are holding onto what they have, as opposed to donating it and keeping the thrift ecosystem in motion. My answer to the problem is simple.

Switch the consuming mentality from buying new to buying used. I know a lot of you reading this article will already be on board with this. I am hoping that those who find buying used garments and household items “repulsive” will find under-served charities more repulsive.

You, as a privileged American citizen (assuming you live in the US) can feel the same comforts in having something that is “new” when you purchase second-hand. We thrifters call it “new-to-you.” Now, you can upgrade or replace what you have with something new-to-you and donate what you no longer need. Trust me when I say it feels just as good, if not better. Thus, saving the charitable organizations from supply shortages and simultaneously supporting a good cause that benefits those in need.

You’re welcome.

-Much love, Ian Drake- Diversity Consignment

Business · Community

How Branding Adds Value

Branding is a great way to add value to your products or service. In fact, I would say that it is the number 1 way to separate your products from becoming a commodity.

You could be upcycling, buying-to-sell, creating something new from scratch, or even selling yourself! The same principles apply. You could even be selling the same exact thing as somebody else! Honestly it doesn’t really matter what you are marketing, the most important thing is to separate yourself from your competition.

The only sure-fire way to separate yourself or your products is through branding. In this article I am going to explain to you the different types of value that you add by creating a solid brand.

Elements of a Brand

The following is a list of some elements to focus on when building a brand:

  • Logo
  • Service
  • Environment
  • Quality
  • Marketing
  • Presentation
  • Cause Association
  • Community Efforts

All of these elements must align when establishing a quality brand. You cannot have marketing that doesn’t corelate with your community efforts. All elements within a brand need to work together seamlessly.

How Branding Helps you Increase Prices

Why are people willing to spend more on a shampoo with a certain label on it over another that does essentially the same thing? There is a lot that goes into a purchasing decision. Does it smell better? Is the packaging more eye catching?

A commodity is defined as “a raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as copper or coffee.”

So how can one coffee be priced at $1.50 and another coffee be priced at $5.50? The answer is simple. Brand. Sure, one may taste different than the other, but the simple fact is that coffee is coffee. The way to get your products or service separated from simple commodity economics is to create a well-established, trustworthy brand. Starbucks coffee offers an environment including a status symbol that is completely different than your local gas station coffee.

The separation of prices becomes synonymous with the brand associated with it. Quality is oftentimes seen in terms of pricing. If you determine that your products or service are worthy of a higher price point, prove it through differentiation. Taste, environment, smell, technique, are all ways you can differentiate your products or service. Teach people the difference about your brand by including it on your labels, tags, or website.

You can’t just put the price higher and hope that people will be willing to pay for it without any sort of reasoning or differentiation behind it.

How Branding Builds Loyalty

Humans, by nature, become attached to certain things. Once we try it and like it we tend to pick that product again over others when given the choice. Once you have established a trusted relationship with your customers, you add value by creating a life-long relationship.

With so many commodities out there in the world to choose from, how is it possible that a company like Coca-Cola can retain the top spot in the cola industry? The answer is brand loyalty. Sure they have more money than god, but the marketing that they have done has attached Coca-Cola to more than just soda. You see the logo and you automatically get reminded of good times.

It is significantly better for your business to focus more effort on retaining customers than finding new ones. Your brand needs to stick in people’s minds and remind them of something. This is an element and good side-effect of quality branding efforts.

Conclusion

It can be overwhelming establishing a new brand. The most important thing, in my mind, is to just start and develop things as you go. My advice to you is to take it one step at a time. It takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself as a quality, trusted, differentiated brand.

Avoid becoming the “cheapest” option out there. This can be a good way to get exposure without any effort but will have a lot of negative consequences including becoming an unbranded commodity. Over time people have no choice but to assume your products or services are cheap and will eventually go with a different option.

Time and effort are very hard to quantify until you reach the point of becoming a well-established trustworthy brand. Then, and only then, will you see the added values of branding. Put a tag on it.

-Much Love, Ian Drake- Diversity Consignment