Next in the Getting To Know series is Jill from Jill’s Consignment. I have been a huge fan of hers for years and have made seamless purchases off her website. All of her items are guaranteed authentic and she has the wonderful distinction of literally being the first designer resale company online.
1. How long has Jill’s Consignment been around and what made you chose to work in this industry?
I opened Jill’s Consignment in 1996 (we celebrate our 20th. anniversary this year and we are the original online designer consignment shop). At that time, the designer handbag craze wasn’t near what it has become. It hadn’t caught on yet. There were only a handful of designer consignment shops around the country. I was fresh out of college with a journalism degree and finding it difficult to get a job at a “real” newspaper. One day I took some clothing to a local consignment shop for my mom and the owner and I became fast friends. I went to work for her just for something temporary to do. I ended up falling in love with the business, moved to Orlando, Florida from Jacksonville (for family reasons), found an empty storefront for lease and opened Jill’s Consignment.
2. How has the designer resale industry changed since you first started selling?
The industry has changed so much in the last five years. Everyone’s a reseller. It seems there is a consignment shop on every block. A new one pops up online seemingly every week. Resellers all over the place… on eBay, Tradesy and many other places. Unfortunately, many of these resellers don’t know designer handbags well enough and they are selling fakes to unknowing customers every day.
3. What changes have you seen since you opened 20 years ago?
Changes do need to be made but it’s unlikely changes will come about any time soon. The people who knowingly and unknowingly sell counterfeit handbags need to be shut down, and there needs to be a way for buyers to know without a doubt that a site they are buying from is legitimate. There are sites that you would never imagine would sell a fake bag that have sold and are currently selling fakes. Some of these fakes are so good they can easily go undetected. The problem is when you get too big. When you have multiple locations, and multiple employees doing the authentications, there is no way to ensure every item you sell is authentic. There should only be one person doing authentications per brand and that person needs to know the brand inside and out.
4. Without a traditional brick and mortar store, do you find it harder just selling online?
Selling online has it’s advantages and it’s disadvantages. Many people favor brick and mortar stores. They like to be able to walk in, brown the merchandise and talk to the owners. They want a more intimate experience. Many people are simply scared to buy designer handbags online from resellers and consignment shops. They may have been burned in the past and are wary. On the other hand, online stores with a proven track record of excellence do very well. Because there is little to no overhead (rent, etc.), online stores can pass those savings onto the customer. Of course there is also the ease, convenience and almost instant gratification of being able to shop online and have the item delivered to your door.
5. How do you gain new customers just selling online?
Maintaining my relationship with my consignors is paramount to my success. My very first and very best consignor is still with me today. In a world where people can sell on their own, or go to any of the thousands of consignment shops to sell their things, it’s very hard to get new consignors. Word of mouth always has been and always will be the best way to get new consignors. You trust your friends a lot more than you trust a fancy ad directing you to a website. I also feel people can get a real sense of a business by browsing the website or talking to the owner and employees. Many times I’ve been told by consignors that they chose me because they felt comfortable after visiting the website and reading what I had to say. If I had a bit of advice for any consignment shop owner it would be to treat your consignors like gold, they have many options and they don’t have to consign with you. I would add that you need to have high ethics and standards that you hold yourself to and to always DO THE RIGHT THING. That is how you maintain lifelong consignors who will in turn tell their friends about you and that’s how you will gain new consignors.
6.What do you do for fun?
This is my favorite question… because… unfortunately… I’m always working!!!! I can’t help it. I’m a workaholic. But, I do take time with my son of course (who is the other love of my life). On weekends we do lots of bike riding if the weather is nice and we stay busy with his swim team and music lessons during the week. I love to travel so we try to get in at least two trips a year, one of which is usually always snow skiing (which being from Florida we are not very good at).
Hermes A Vos Crayons Silk Scarf
7. What’s one thing you would like people to know about you?
I think the one thing people would love to know about me is that I am completely opposite of what you might expect of someone who sells very expensive designer handbags for a living. My wardrobe consists of sweats, jeans and t-shirts. Everything in my closet is white, black or grey. I find one bag I like that I can take from season to season and carry it for as long as I can. I am very practical and there isn’t a bit of flashiness in me.
8.What bag are you carrying right now?
Right now I’m carrying my classic Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 Bandoulier but I’m thinking my next bag will be a Bottega. Some days I’m completely over the logos, initials, etc. all over bags and when I feel that way I look to Bottega Veneta…. perhaps the most understated, yet well-made and fashionable bag out there that doesn’t have logos all over it.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best piece of (business) advice I ever received was: “the word ‘no’ should not be in your vocabulary”.
You can find Jill’s Consignment on the following social media channels:
Website: Jill’s Consignment