Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spotlight on Fair Trade Consignment

An old Chinese Proverb says that "to open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art".  While the latter is most definitely true, most shop owners would probably agree that there is nothing at all easy about opening a shop.

Kim Kovach was a commissioned salesperson for nearly a decade before she decided to venture into business ownership.  She was a big fan of consignment shops, but found that there were no shops on her side of town that could cater to her discerning taste.  All of the shops with the atmosphere and quality that she desired were a prohibitive distance away from the West Phoenix metro area.  After researching the ingredients necessary to create a great consignment shop, Kim quit her sales job and joined the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops.  By attending one of their conferences, she gained the know-how, and more importantly the courage, to begin her journey from salesperson to shop owner, and Fair Trade Consignment was created.

Though Kim set out to only operate a quality women's consignment shop, she soon found that she gained much more than just the pride and satisfaction of owning and running her own business.  "I soon found out that that the best part of this business is the women.  I have met so many wonderful women since opening Fair Trade Consignment.  The kindness, warmth, charm, humor and friendships that come in every day is wonderful."

Fair Trade Consignment strives daily to help nurture these new relationships by offering customer rewards programs and birthday drawings.  They also keep their customers informed using a monthly newsletter and postcards three to four times a month.  Kim knows that her customers are busy women, so she makes sure that every email she sends will be of use to her customers and not just junk that fills up their inboxes.

Some information that Fair Trade supplies to most new customers is to help them differentiate between thrift shops, resale shops and consignment shops.  Thrift shops are generally run by non-profit organizations. The items they offer are donated and are sold to help a specific cause.  These types of shops will accept most any type of donation, regardless of condition or age.  Kim says, "There are treasures to be found, but you might have to look for that diamond in the rough."  Resale shops get their inventory by outright purchasing.  The quality found at resale shops will generally be better than thrift stores, but not always as good as consignment shops.  Consignment shops sell a customer's items and then pay that customer commission on the sales price.  Fair Trade Consignment, like most consignment shops, is very discriminate of what is accepted because they are catering to a very specific clientele - in this case, women.  The fashions must be current.  Juniors sizes, men's clothing, housewares and furniture are not accepted, which makes for a more personalized shopping experience for the women who frequent Fair Trade Consignment.

Unlike regular department stores, the inventory at Fair Trade Consignment changes rapidly from day to day.  Bargains abound!  For example, if a customer walked in today, she would find a $400 Coach handbag that's new (without tags) for only $178.  An Evan-Picone summer dress retails for $99, but can be picked up at Fair Trade for only $33 - a savings of 67%!  Some women spend a fortune on clothing, but women who shop at Fair Trade Consignment just look like they do.

To find out more about Fair Trade Consignment, please visit their website or "like" them on Facebook.

For those who are in the Phoenix area, or any who will be visiting soon, stop by Fair Trade and receive a free pair of designer sunglasses with any purchase (excluding clearance/charity items).  Just tell them that you're an Email Contact Customer!  Offer expires June 15, 2011.

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