Is fashion lovelier the second time around? Yes! Say La Jolla’s resale shop proprietors (and their customers)


By Ashley Mackin

La Jolla consignment shops, like much of La Jolla, do things a little more upscale than other places. Often called “boutiques” or by names synonymous with Hollywood glamour, La Jolla resale shops sell brand name, designer clothes.

There are nearly 10 consignment shops in La Jolla (and a Goodwill store coming soon to Girard Avenue) that offer previously owned clothing and accessories from top designers. The storeowners have theories on why La Jolla is a great resale-shop community, why having the right atmosphere is important, what their best sellers are and why consignment shopping is so accepted.

David Collett, owner of Take 2 Ladies Consignment Boutique, says La Jolla is a consignment store owners’ dream. The clothes, which have recognizable labels, come into his store in practically new quality.

“People in La Jolla don’t wear their clothes too hard,” he said. “They wear them (once) and consign them. So clothes are very new.”

Second Act West owner Patti Alksne has similar experiences at her Fay Avenue shop. “You have to be where the clothes are in a resale shop and in this area (the clothes) are in La Jolla. People don’t wear out their clothes, they change them, so the clothes are in very nice condition here.”

Alksne also said the habits of people in La Jolla and the weather play a big part. “In La Jolla, we have a lot of people who travel. They go to Italy, they go to Spain, they go to London and they buy clothes,” she said, adding they then consign them to Second Act. “You get a wonderful variety of clothing here that maybe you don’t get everywhere else.”

Comparing the weather in La Jolla to places like New York, where rain and snow can damage clothes, Alksne said the conditions in La Jolla also contribute to the great condition of clothes.

With chic clothing and brand names, many store- owners said it’s important to have the shop’s atmosphere also be upscale.

Amber Dupree, owner of Vintage Hollywood Consignment, said having a boutique ambiance is important in an area like La Jolla. “I always wanted to present that boutique-feel. When you walk into a consignment (shop), I don’t want people to think ‘consignment’ or think ‘thrift,’ (my store) definitely doesn’t read thrift,” she said.

Dupree said because of the vibe and the fact that people know she carries Marc Jacobs and Hermes, they come in frequently.

Similarly, Echoes Too boutique owner Lamara Sigalov — who also said her store feels like a boutique — said people have come to rely on her store for certain brands. Echoes Too has been at its Fay Avenue location for 28 years and sells Tommy Bahama, Burberry, Armani, and others.

Pricing items “on sale” all the time, pieces are often half the price that they would be at retail, Echoes Too also offers alterations if the pieces don’t fit just right.

Though clothing is the most common item found at consignment shops, La Jolla shop owners all reported a common bestseller: purses. “Every woman wants a designer handbag,” Dupree said. Alksne added, “An expensive purse is something that flies out of here the fastest.”

Collett, who sells Louis Vuitton items, said handbags are his bestsellers as well. “Labels, especially here in La Jolla, sell quickly.”

Some storeowners argue resale shopping is more common than ever, wherever you are, in both consigning and buying.

Collett and Alksne said people drop off clothes to their stores every day. From there, as with all consignment shops, the business-owners sell the garments and give the sellers a pre-determined percentage of the price.

For the consumers, the selling price is often around 50 percent of retail. Alksne said due to a shift in attitudes, that no longer bothers people. “That’s all over,” she said, “Recycling is part of this century, not only in clothes, but in everything else and people are way past (embarrassment).”

Similarly, Collett said, “People are always looking for a deal, it doesn’t matter where you live.”

Resale Shop Varieties

■ Resale shop:

Most often used for stores that buy their merchandise outright from individual owners, like a vintage store. A consignment or thrift shop can also be called a resale shop, but only a store that actually consigns its inventory can be called a consignment store, and only a store run by a not-for- profit organization is considered a thrift (store).

■ Thrift shop:

Run by a not-for-profit organization to raise money to fund a charitable cause. These range from the large Salvation Army or Goodwill chains to individual school, church or hospital thrift shops. Not For Profits can obtain goods through donations or operate on a consignment basis; some do both.

■ Consignment shop:

Accepts merchandise paying the owners a percentage when and if the items accepted are sold. The majority of such shops pay the owners 40-60 percent of the selling price, and have a policy of displaying goods 30-90 days, although there is a wide range of policies across the country. Some consignment shops also purchase items outright from individual owners and/or wholesalers.

Source: National Association of Retail Professionals

Consignment Shops in La Jolla

■ Echoes Too Boutique, 7705 Fay Ave.

■ Friends Resale Shop, 9500 Gilman Drive

■ Le Chauvinist Consignment for Men, 7709 Fay Ave.

■ My Girlfriend’s Closet, 8610 Genesee Ave. Suite 200

■ Second Act West, 7556 Fay Ave. #B

■ Take 2 Ladies Consignment Boutique, 6786 La Jolla Blvd.

■ Vintage Hollywood Consignment, 7920 Ivanhoe Ave.