If you know me well, you know I’m a huge bargain shopper. I love perusing Nordstrom Rack for two hours to find $500 pieces for $35 (true story). It excites me! I rarely buy anything full price and try to find the best deals for my clients as well.
Aside from off price retailers, I love quality consignment stores where I can find like new designer pieces for a fraction of the price, which brings me to how I met Gabby (formally known as Gabrielle). Gabby owns The Collective, a designer consignment boutique located in Summit, New Jersey. Chase and I like to hang out in surrounding suburban neighborhoods every now and then to get a break from the city and try some new restaurants. Lucky me, I happened to discover this gem and found out the owner is as great as the merchandise she carries.
Some of my favorite pieces I’ve found at The Collective are:
Stuart Weitzman authentic python booties
Helmut Lang silk white camisole
J.Crew authentic leather paneled cardigan
Bell Collection resort dress
I always tell people that quality dressing doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money and I’m proof of that misconception. I, along with most of my clients, are at the age where we don’t want to wear cheap fabrications or ill fitting garments anymore which is why I decided to highlight one of my favorite consignments boutiques that I think you’ll enjoy as well. Check out my conversation with Gabby where we briefly discuss what inspires her in both business and personal style.
Tell us a little bit why you started The Collective.
So I worked for a high-end consignment company that suddenly closed its doors in June 2017. I was super upset, anxious and worried about what I was going to do as I had loved my job and didn’t want to work for anyone that could possibly take that love away again. So I started my own consignment shop. I was really hesitant and nervous , not about the work itself or being an entrepreneur, but about the fear of failing. Once I committed to the idea, I dove right in and hustled. And I’ve now been in business for over a year and a half!
What excites you the most about owning your own store and being involved in the fashion industry?
To be completely honest, I love working for myself. Again, to touch on the previous question, I never wanted to work for anyone again that could take away something I loved. I love the control, I love knowing all the ins and outs of my business. It’s my baby. And the cherry on top is that I get to work with people and clothing all day. I love meeting people that wander into my shop, I love asking how they know about me or why they chose to come in. I truly value the relationships I’ve built. Fashion is a huge industry and the fact that I get to be a small part of that is super cool and something I don’t really think about because I more so focus on people, my relationships with them and the space I’m creating. I challenge myself to be the very best I can be on a daily basis.
What is the most appealing thing about consignment and why should customers gravitate more toward buying second hand versus buying something brand new?
The most appealing thing about consignment is the fact that it’s literally a treasure hunt. I encourage people to shop based on what they love and I absolutely love when people tell me they’re just browsing when I ask if they were looking for anything. That’s the best way to shop consignment, you never know what’s going to pop up, you never know what you’re going to respond to. A lot of customers recently have been telling me that they find more apparel at my shop as opposed to the mall and other retailers because the market is saturated with the “same old thing.” My customers are looking for something different, something that’s well made. They get the opportunity to buy something that was carefully curated at my shop or another consignment shop. It’s riveting.
What are some of the most memorable pieces you’ve consigned?
So just the other day, I went through every Instagram post I’ve ever done and I was amazed (sorry, but I was) at all of the pieces I’ve collected over the past year and a half. Some of the best things, surprisingly, were one-of-a-kind vintage pieces such as a plaid mustard yellow cape that sold in minutes. I’ll name a few more (but the list is endless): Issey Miyake windcoat from the 90s, a vintage beaded cropped blazer from the 80s that was so on-trend it sold in minutes, a Max Mara reversible camel coat (anyone notice my coat addiction) and countless amazing bags such as a reversible Chanel lambskin/rabbit hair evening bag, Stella McCartney Falabella, Givenchy Pandora, Hermes Evelyne and more.
In my opinion, you have a very spunky personal style which I love. What do you attribute to your healthy relationship with your wardrobe and what inspires you?
Well thank you! So my number one love is jewelry believe it or not but clothing is a very close second. I have a ton of clothes and I try to keep it neat and tidy but it always looks like an explosion at the end of the week. I also care deeply about my clothes and don’t just buy something because it’s a good deal. I maintain my clothing and have had several pieces for years. I like to dress based on mood (a la George Costanza) so I throw on whatever I’d like to wear on any given day. I like to think that part of my secret is that I look at the whole and not the parts… and what I mean by that is I don’t think about each piece of my outfit and think about how it works together, I just make it work. And then I add a lot of jewelry. The comment I hear the most about my outfits is that “I would never think to put that together.” My number one inspiration for this method is my Aunt Margie. She’s an artist and always just layers on clothing and jewelry and makes it work (although she mostly wears black and I rarely do). I’m also super inspired by the Japanese designer Sacai, nature and art.
For those outside the New Jersey area, everything at The Collective can be shopped on their Instagram feed or online. Be sure to follow on Instagram to get first glimpse of all the great designer merchandise available: @the.collective.nj