Ways 2 Save: Clothing resale boom heats up in Buffalo

While traditional retail has struggled during the pandemic, stores that sell second-hand clothes are booming.

BUFFALO, NY – Step into Second Chic Contemporary Consignment in Elmwood Village and see it right away. The shelves are full of clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

“Immediately after quarantine. The doors opened and people came in,” owner Annie Adams told 2 On Your Side. They’ve had an influx of people dropping off clothes since.

Gloria Zona was one of those people. She made several hundred dollars by consigning a closet of vintage clothes she inherited in 2020. She prefers the ease of reselling in a store, then on her own.

“I just bring it, they hang it up and tag it, and the price, they take care of the money, and all I do is pick up the check,” she said. Explain.

While traditional retail has struggled during the pandemic, Adams reports that 2021 was its best year for sales in the twelve years it has been in business.

“We broke all sales records, monthly goals, yearly goals, everything,” she said. “We’re over the moon, we’re so excited. It’s been a truly magical year for us.”

Its staff at its Elmwood and Village of Williamsville locations schedule appointments every 10 minutes on six days a month when they accept garments.

“We fill all of these appointments,” she said. “People are on waiting lists to bring their stuff in because they don’t want it in their house anymore. They want to bring it here and sell it.”

Demand is strong to meet all supplies for consignment stores and thrift stores. According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, 33 million people bought second-hand clothes for the first time in 2020. The average thrifty bought seven second-hand items in the past year, which they would have otherwise purchased new.

“There’s stuff with labels on it that you can get,” Amherst’s Debra Jaeger told 2 On Your Side. “I very rarely spend more than $10.”

Jaeger has become a savings pro over the past two years. Just last week, she paid less than $30 for a Kate Spade coat at Savers in Hamburg.

“Brand new it was $368, then at Poshmark it was $265,” she said. “So for $24 I got this gorgeous designer coat.”

Jaeger says she’s seen bigger inventory and better selection since the pandemic.

“Especially after Christmas and after the seasons change,” she said. “There’s a selection there. It’s a good time to save money.

The ripple effect for nonprofits

Nonprofits that rely on clothing donations are also seeing the ripple effect of demand for second-hand clothing. The chapter of Buffalo Dress for Success, which provides free professional attire to women entering the workforce, has been unable to accept clothing for more than a year.

“We don’t have big facilities, we don’t have a lot of storage space,” executive director Michelle Barron explained. She says donations from women now working from home or who have retired have been piling up.

“It’s hard trying to explain to people that even though we want to take your clothes, we just can’t handle them,” Barron said.

Barron says they often have to turn away people who mistake the organization for a thrift store. In her eyes, this is further proof that people no longer want to pay full price to be fashionable.

“They don’t! They don’t want to spend money,” she said.

While typically the only way to “shop” at Dress for Success is to schedule a reference visit for an upcoming interview, the organization plans to host a stock reduction fundraiser in the coming months. to come.

Stay tuned to the Dress for Success Facebook page for an announcement.

Looking to sell your clothes?

If you want to make money in the resale business, Adams says one item is more likely to move than anything else: dresses.

“We’re still selling sweaters, still tops. Dresses are still, especially in the spring and summer, dresses are just selling out. It’s still our best-selling item.”

“Pants are the hardest sell,” she continued. “There’s a little more gray area with tops or dresses compared to pants.”

Western New York consignment and thrift stores:

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