After we purchased a home in Oak Park last fall, I fell into a dark hole of Pinning and pining over all the furnishings that we “needed.” I’d make a purchase and immediately feel guilty. I think it’s a post-recession thing.
Shoppers are smarter, stronger and kinder than the recession found us. While pinching pennies may not be as prevalent, there has been a definite shift towards more mindful consumption. We want it all – quality, aesthetics, convenience, a brand/seller that shares our core values – at the right price.
My own spiral of guilt led to a pledge to buy only used/consigned furnishings, making my coffee and conversation with Martha Hill, VP of Marketing and Public Relations at two of Oak Park’s most popular stores – Divine Consign (furniture consignment) & TRENDS (clothing consignment) – very timely (and fun).
Oak Park resident Kellie Scott opened Divine Consign in 2009, leaving behind a 16-year career in law to pursue her dream to work in design full time. The Divine Consign vision was borne of a personal need – after flipping a home she searched for a place to take the high-end, high-quality, nearly new furniture she was left with and found a hole in the market. She ended up selling it herself, with great success. This hole in the market became the focus of her business plan, which became Divine Consign. Since its opening, the store’s success has exceeded expectations and continues to grow, attracting new customers and amassing awards. Scott opened TRENDS, an upscale clothing consignment boutique (810 North Boulevard) in 2011. In 2012, Divine Consigns outgrew its original location and moved to its current location – a large showroom at 809 S. Oak Park Avenue.
Oak Park feels like exactly the right home for these stores.
“Oak Park is an amazing little town,” said Hill. “We have a wonderful school district, cutest downtown area and people with great taste who are very conscious, savvy and smart. You come here for the great neighborhood, the perfect house and you want to invest in what you put into it.”
I jotted down a few tips that that will help you overcome ANY obstacles in the way of you buying (and selling) furniture and clothing through consignment.
- If you…never seem to find what you’re looking for. P’shaw. While shopping consignment may not be quite as easy as Amazon Prime, it’s a lot more fun. Martha shared just a few of the ways to get exactly what you want when shopping consignment at Divine Consign:
- Create a wish list: “If you have something specific in mind – take a picture. Start a wish list (on the site or in person). When something comes in, we’ll call you immediately.”
- Customize a piece to your taste with custom upholstery: “We also have an upholsterer in house and we work with 3 different fabric companies. Kellie has amazing taste so even the less expensive fabric is very good quality. We can reupholster anything at all (bought here or not). As long as the frame is good, our upholsterer can work with it. Can stuff it, make new cushions. We’ll even pick it up and deliver.”
- Act Fast. Turnaround is quick, you have to come in ready to buy. The easiest way to do this is by letting the new inventory come to you. Sign up for the VIP mailing lists and follow on social media for a sneak peek of the goods and notifications of new shipments. If you see something you want – get there quickly! You can put items on hold (until close of business same day) if you want to go home and measure before making a commitment. There’s also a layaway option.
- If you… don’t like “old stuff.” As Kellie says, consignment doesn’t = used or old. The furniture at Divine Consign comes from a wide variety of sources – designers, Merchandise Mart, model homes and fellow customers. Martha knows you’ll find something that’s just your style because they: “cater to all different looks – Asian, modern, shabby chic, a little bit of everything. As long as it looks good, is good quality and in great shape, we’ll sell it.”
- If you…need help pulling it all together. Whether you just need the finishing touches or are staring down an empty house, Divine Consign can help. Unroll yourself from the fetal position and visit the talented design team of Divine Spaces Interior Design Studio, conveniently located right in the showroom.
- If you…have a Toyota Yaris. Me too. But is yours held together with duct tape? Didn’t think so. Don’t worry about fitting your purchase in your car, Divine Consign delivers (and can pick up pieces for consignment from your home)!
- If you…like helping others. You’re in luck. Both Divine Consign and TRENDS make huge donations to local charities using any unsold inventory that the consignor is willing to part with.
- If you…have clothes but no couch or a couch but not clothes. Martha shared that many people don’t realize that their store credit at one store can be used at the other. When your furniture or clothes sell, “we split the sales price with you 50/50. If you want a check, we’ll write you a check. If you want to use it for store credit, you can use it for store credit. And if you have a store credit at one of the stores (Divine Consign or TRENDS), you can use it at the other.”
- If you…get skeeved out by the thought of wearing clothes that someone else wore. Bring your new purchase from TRENDS directly to PJ Cleaners (238 Madison St.) and get 10% off dry cleaning. Good as (and much less costly than) new!
If you needed an excuse to shop at Divine Consign or TRENDS, you have many. If you needed a reason not to – sorry!