Are you new to consignment shopping and/or buying and selling pre-loved fashion? There’s so much about the world of luxury consignment you may not know about! I learned so much from my delightful interview with Kirsten Prosser, the owner of the successful luxury consignment store, On Que Style, based in Corona Del Mar, California. My appreciation for luxury fashion has certainly grown after this interview and I can’t wait for you all to gain some valuable insight about consignment from someone who knows it best!
Q: What was your inspiration for starting/opening On Que Style?
A: I’m half Danish and half Swedish so the first job I had when moving to the U.S. from Sweden was at Donna Karan Collection. I ended up doing the buying for the store and I was the VIP Sales manager. It was lots of fun and I did that for 6 years. I decided I wanted to do something else and I actually had a lot of clients from my time at Donna Karan. I was styling my clients at their houses so I decided to quit Donna Karan and pursue this full time. When I was redoing closets, I received a lot of finer items from my clients. I was thinking “What do I do? Do I give it away? This was really pretty stuff.” That gave me the idea to open a consignment store with all these items people don’t want anymore. When I had up to 10 clients, work got a little heavy so I had to make a decision of what the next step was. One day, my husband and I drove by here and we decided to take the lease for the first store. My husband helped me get going and we’ve been working together since. We opened up the first part of the store and then we took over the other 2 stores because we grew so fast. People thought we were only going to last 6 months. Since I had really good connections, I started doing trunk shows at South Coast Plaza and that’s how we really got started. Sometimes you bring in more people when you’re running pop-up stores at different locations. The first Fendi pop-up we did, Fendi sold more than they ever had from any of their previous trunk shows. People started talking about that, so then we did Versace and a lot of other designers. People began to learn about us very quickly. Some of the clients that I had from the very beginning are still here with me today. A lot of my clients are my friends and it’s really awesome. It’s really nice to get someone into the store, even if they’re just buying a phone case. I appreciate small purchases just as equally as my more expensive purchases!
I have a degree in fashion design from Denmark and I also owned my own boutique in Sweden. Fashion is so exciting and it’s always changing and new.
Q: What are some “myths” people might have about consignment/pre-loved fashion?
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A: Sometimes people might think that since it’s pre-owned, it’s very used. But if you think about the amount of times people try on things at department stores, it’s actually not as new as you think. People oftentimes aren’t thinking “okay I need to dry clean this” because they think it’s new but it’s really no different than pre-loved goods. Whatever comes in here is dry cleaned. We live in an area where people shop a lot so I would say at least 50% of the items we get have never been worn. People ask “who shops consignment?” and a lot of younger girls do as it’s a trend now. Magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar are writing about consignment shopping. Going green also ties into this.
Q: What are your top tips when shopping consignment pieces? What should we look for and what should we avoid?
A: Number one — When you shop consignment, you need to have an open mind. You have to be open to what there is and you can find great things. In the second-hand world, Birkins are actually more expensive than they are in the store but they’re hard to get in the store and you have to shop for a long time and spend lots of money to get that one bag. Something special we do is that we allow our clients to use their other designer bags (e.g. Louis Vuitton or Chanel) as a form of payment, similar to an exchange. You can trade it for something else and get a little more, or you can consign it through a “special consignment” policy. There are a lot of different things you can do and it’s different from bag to bag. Our clients can dictate their prices and we work with them and we’re more flexible.
Q: What are your top tips for selling second-hand pieces? Which platforms do you recommend?
A: One thing I recommend about shopping consignment is to always do your research and check Yelp. Yelp is a really helpful tool, along with Google reviews. You have to be really careful because there are a lot of fakes out there, and sometimes when you do online returns it takes awhile to get your money back. Selling online doesn’t give you as much control because it takes longer for a payout. Internally, online consignment stores might not have as strong of a team that does authentication checks. They might not have enough time to really learn the products. If you’re paying $20,000 for a bag, you better make sure it’s real. I don’t authenticate, but we have 2 amazing people, one of them being my husband, that do authenticating and they’re trained really, really well to do it. Authentication is something you must consider when shopping and selling consignment because there are a lot of fakes that look and feel exactly like the real thing. You can google the product numbers, because there are specific numbers that Chanel doesn’t use, for example. But you also have to check the stitching, zippers, everything. In every business, there are things that might slip by so you have to be really careful.
Q: Which designer brands and styles hold the most value over time?
A: When it comes to handbags, it’s definitely Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès. Even a vintage LV that’s 20 years old will still hold its value. These brands are always a guarantee. When it comes to handbags these are the 3 best designers you can buy. Some other brands will drop a lot in value as the styles are no longer popular or trendy. YSL and Prada are very popular right now, but next season they will have something new. Hermès is classic and they will always look the same. Chanel is also a good choice for accessories, but accessories can change quickly.
Q: Do you see the fashion industry moving towards a more sustainable future through reselling, consignment, or renting?
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A: I think it’s going to be bigger in the future. We want to save the environment, so it’s going to be bigger and better. You can get one really good high-end piece that you can mix and match and it’s going to last forever because the quality is so good. In Europe, they shop a little differently because you shop for a certain amount of pieces this season and in the next year you actually build on to what you already have. You buy some new pieces and you put it together with your old pieces. While in America, you wear clothes for one season and it goes. And God forbid you’ve been on Instagram, you can’t wear it again! In Europe, there’s a lot of value in inheriting furniture and other things like that. It’s precious to have things passed down. For clothes, there’s nothing like a Chanel jacket. I have one myself and both my daughters wear it and I can never give it up. The quality and style is so amazing — it fits into any day and anytime and it’s just so beautiful and classic. Pieces like that are special.
A Look Inside On Que Style
You can find more information (and plan a visit!) at their website HERE. They also have items available for sale on their website. Want more? Check out our article The Best Consignment Stores To Score Luxury Pieces.
What did you learn from our interview with Kirsten? Will you be checking out On Que Style? Share with us below!
About Kirsten Prosser
Kirsten is the owner and head stylist of the luxury designer consignment boutique, On Que Style, where she can be found most days helping her clients build their amazing wardrobes. Kirsten is also well known as a cast member of the hit reality show, Danish Hollywood Wives.
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