Clothing swaps, consignment shops and trade events are nothing new: savvy fashionistas have long been taking advantage of these means of procuring good-as-new outfits. But — thanks to a troubled economy and a nation-wide shift in spending patterns, these age-old ideas are suddenly getting mainstream attention (Good Morning America mentions swaps here; there’s a web site for how to swap and businesses like Divine Consign Show have popped up to host symposium-sized sales).
Asheville’s answer is SheTrade, created by friends Gwen Keller and Wendy Murel (above), “both have wonderful things in their closets and wanted a place to take them for quick sale.” But the two went a step beyond a house party where their friends could exchange cast-off goods for new, gently worn garments. Keller and Murel dreamed up a a bi-annual consignment sale (happening next on Tuesday, March 23-Sunday, March 28) for women featuring exceptional quality brand name clothing, handbags and shoes.
The way it works is, women clean out their closets, collecting stylish, good-quality items for resale. They then register with SheTrade for a consigner number. A 2”x3” cardstock tag must be attached to each garment with information including consignor number, an item description, size and price. (Shoes should have tags taped to both shoes; small jewelry tags can be affixed to rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.) A printable form can be found here. Consigners decide the price for which they wish to sell each item; SheTrade keeps 30-percent of that price. For that commission, SheTrade hosts the event and consigners need only to drop off items, along with a SASE to be mailed a check. If items don’t sell, they can be picked up by the consigner, or SheTrade will donate them to a charitable organization.
Detailed instructions can be found here, but here are some pointers:
• All dresses and blouses must be on wire hangers.
• All pants and skirts must hang on metal clip hangers.
• Shoes must be in excellent condition, with minimal scuffs or visible signs of wear.
• SheTrade accepts new and gently used items in excellent condition without stains or tears, along with jewelry and accessories. High quality high-end casual, designer, brand-name items, petite through plus sizes.
• SheTrade does not accept discount brand clothing (such as Merona or White Stag), or clothing with tags removed.
Finally, “We love children but want you to get the most out of your shopping experience. Shopping weekend is adults only, please.”
The SheTrade event takes place Tuesday, March 23-Sunday, March 28 at Four Points Sheraton (22 Woodfin St., Asheville, 253-1851). The schedule is as follows:
• March 23 and 24: Drop off items from 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
• Thursday, March 25: Volunteer & Consignor Pre-Sale (volunteers, 4-8 p.m.; consignors, 6-8 p.m.)
• Sale is open to the public on Friday, March 26, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 27, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, March 28, noon-6 p.m. (most remaining items are marked down to half price)
• Monday, March 29: Pick up unsold items from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (all remaining items are donated to charity at 3 p.m.)
• Checks are mailed to consigners by Thursday, April 15.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter