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Meet Kaitlin LaRue of Urban Exchange Resale and Consignment Boutique in Northampton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin LaRue.

Urban Exchange opened in 2007 on Main Street in downtown Northampton. The store specializes in gently used brand name and designer clothing and accessories for women. Items are reviewed and hand selected by employees who curate a collection of high-quality items reflecting current trends. Shoppers have a place to find high-end clothing and accessories at a fraction of retail pricing as well as an outlet for unused items in their closet. Many customers have been shopping and consigning with us since 2007.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The world of consignment has changed and is continuing to change. Our struggle has a lot to do with our selectivity. We do not accept all labels and we are very strict about the condition of the items i.e. no signs of wear, rips, stains, or worn out fabric. We are also selective regarding the style. We want to stock items that people are wearing now, not 20 years ago.

We also want to select items that will hold up and are built to last. In the world of fast fashion, it is easy to find a lot of discarded and worn items from large retailers but these items do not hold their value and deteriorate quickly. Styles are also changing faster than ever before so we work to keep up with the latest trends so our customers can shop with confidence and ease.

Please tell us about Urban Exchange Resale and Consignment Boutique.
As a consignment shop, we have two types of customers: those selling clothes and those buying (often they do both). We sell items for a consignor and they make a percentage of the sale which they can take in cash or spend in the store. We love paying people for their items, it’s like found money. When a consignor sells an item and gets cash in hand you see a light bulb go off. They are starting to think about all the other things in their closet that they could sell.

When a shopper purchases a cashmere sweater for $50 (originally selling for $150) you can see a smile of satisfaction. They’re thinking about how they couldn’t afford this item when it was new, but now it’s accessible. Urban Exchange has done well as a consignment shop because we try to make the most money for our consignors while also passing on the cost savings to the shopper. Our customer base continues to grow due to word of mouth recommendations. People want to brag about the money they made on consignment or the money they saved shopping consignment.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
We need more space! I would have looked into a larger store location.

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