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Secondhand News Washingtonian

Area consignment shops are thriving in the down economy.

Want to hear some good news about the economy for a change? At least one industry seems to be booming in the midst of economic apocalypse: consignment shops. “I’m recession-proof,” says Inga Guen, owner of Inga’s Once Is Not Enough.

Guen says in the past six to eight months, her consignment shop in DC’s Foxhall Village, which deals exclusively in high-end labels, has seen a dramatic increase in consignors—many of whom are first-timers—looking to sell their clothing, jewelry, accessories, and more for cash. The result? A store brimming with once-rare designer goods at a fraction of the price.

Birkin bags, the waiting-list-only handbags manufactured by Hermès, used to come into Guen’s shop about once a month. Now, she says, it’s once a week. Guen sells the bags for as little as $3,000—less than half of what they cost new.

And that’s not all. “I have so much Chanel right now that you wouldn’t believe,” says Guen. Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and Gucci labels have also become regulars. Secondhand Manolo Blahnik shoes, which sell new for $600 to $800, can be had for $150 a pair.

Inga Guen modeling a blond-mink Fendi fur coat—originally $28,000, but selling at her shop for $13,000—and a Chanel handbag.

Inga Guen modeling a blond-mink Fendi fur coat—originally $28,000, but selling at her shop for $13,000—and a Chanel handbag.

Fur coats have been on the rise as well. Guen remembers one consignor who’d purchased a mink coat from Neiman Marcus for $15,000. Two months later, after losing her job, she brought it to Guen to sell. The coat sold in two days for $3,000.


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