2014 A Year in Consignment

I’ve been thinking about the last year and, like most, I’m wondering where the time has gone. What a year it’s been! There’s always something going on whether it’s in the store or on social media. For the most part it’s all good, however, from time to time we are faced with some pretty interesting situations that leave us in a state of disbelief. We have seen weather phenomena, legal threats, counterfeit items and theft. Whew!

In January 2014 a new phrase ‘polar vortex’ was added to our daily vocabulary. We had already heard whispers about this unusual weather event a month earlier. Human hibernation became the norm during the vortex. People stayed at home and ventured out only when absolutely necessary.

February had us debating when to start spring consignment. We were still in the midst of a deep freeze that gave no sign of letting up. Many people baled by heading south. What to do?

Record cold temperatures extend well into March. This lengthy weather phenomenon unfortunately resulted in hardship for many businesses because of a down turn in normal everyday activity.

Last year, a theft from our store resulted in the suspect being arrested and pleading guilty to charges laid. Apparently this suspect was part of shoplifting ring from the Greater Toronto Area. Because of the guilty plea Consigning Women did not have to go to court to testify.

The month of May saw the opening of the Outlet Collection of Niagara. Not just a regular size outlet, but, Canada’s largest outlet mall consisting of 100+ stores! It was built to entice the cross-border shoppers from spending their Canadian dollars in the US. Unfortunately the existing retailers in this area now have a smaller slice of the ‘retail’ pie.

Remember the Toronto ice storm in December 2013? That weather event was the birth of what Toronto Police called Project Yellowbird, named after the theft of a yellow Porsche Carrera. The overall value of stolen goods from this crime ring is estimated in the tens of millions. When this story broke in the media last August, we realized that one of the suspects, who had been arrested, was a consignor of ours. Merchandise in the store’s possession was returned to the Toronto Police.

On occasion we are confronted with a ‘bully consignor’. This is someone who threatens us with legal action because they did not get their way. We are a business, not a personal closet. Expectations of consignors run high in this business. We cannot stress enough the importance of reading and understanding your consignor agreement before signing it. If you have questions, please ask.

We will not knowingly consign counterfeit product. Counterfeit = theft. Most people don’t even realize that they are buying a knock-off, all they see is a bargain price. They are very surprised when we tell them it’s a fake. Today, approximately 10% of the world’s product is counterfeit. Basically, if the price is too good to be true, then it’s most likely counterfeit.

Our social media participation has surpassed all of our expectations. We have a huge following on Facebook, Twitter continues to grow and Pinterest is just plain addicting!

The internet continues to bring us the good, the bad and the ugly. As a business, we are continuously bombarded with spam through social media platforms. These internet interlopers:

  • use our platforms to further their products
  • try to sell us fake ‘followers’, which is misleading and deceitful
  • try to hack into our social media accounts
  • web site developers from around the globe try to sell us their services
  • or the good old “click here for a virus”

If you have a website with contact information, look out. Here are more “Do not click” items:

  • spam emails that appear to come from some of the major banks and financial institutions telling us that our account has been compromised. “Click here”
  • phishing attempts from Chinese manufacturers offering catalogues to sell us goods “Click here”
  • the web postmaster telling us that the email to Germany didn’t go through. What? We did not send an email to Germany.
  • “click here”
  • pornography
  • unhappy customers leaving messages all over the internet about how they will never shop here again without giving opportunity to rectify the problem, all the while sitting anonymously behind their computer screens.

The biggest challenge of all still exists six years after opening the store. This is a huge public misconception. The word ‘consignment’ does not mean that an item has been used. It has nothing to do with the condition of an item. It’s a way of doing business. If more people knew what the word meant there would be more people shopping consignment.

In retrospect, it has been an interesting year! Consigning Women is ready to do it all over again. Thank you consignors and customers, we couldn’t have gotten through 2014 without you! All the best for 2015!

Consigning Women has been serving the Niagara Region with the ‘best of the best’ in upscale & on trend retail fashion consignment since 2009.