There’s no denying it, resale is hotter than ever. Over the last few years, I’ve “toured” some of the many consignment shops around the world. Although they have the same basic concept…selling used goods, every country has a unique twist. Get your passports ready! We’ll travel from the Op Shops of Australia to the humorous auction-style of “Don Don Down on Wednesday” in Japan. I’ve updated each article with fresh information so off we go!
From flea markets on the streets of Tokyo to fun auction-style stores like “Don Don Down on Wednesday,” Japan is filled with fun resale places to explore. They range from a strictly American influence to something that would appeal to “the Lolita crowd” (I’m not really sure I want to know more about that). Shops in Japan are bursting with color, patterns and merchandise.
At SimpleConsign, we’re excited to have wonderful customers from Australia and New Zealand. Although these countries have to have the scariest creatures on the planet, they also have some fun places to shop. Like other countries, Australia is recognizing their responsibility to reduce waste and not give in to fast-fashion desires. As a result, Op Shops are popping up everywhere.
According to Closeteur, “there is much less of a pre-loved and vintage scene here (Hong Kong) than in Australia or the USA.” Nonetheless, the secondhand industry is thriving in Hong Kong. You’ll find every type, and limited real estate doesn’t stop their creativity. They’ve introduced The Cube Shop. The perfect way for even the smallest consignor to make money reselling items.
Like America, the UK is filled with people who have too many clothes. As a result, they’re also brimming with resale shops. However, if you’re looking for a women’s clothing consignment shop, you’ll find them under a different name. Care to find out?
With American names like Mayhem and So Vintage, it’s easy to see the influence the west has had on resale in the east. Like other countries, consignment offers families in Vietnam the chance for a healthy and in some cases, prosperous life.
Consignment shops worldwide are growing in numbers. In every shop, workers are busily merchandising, sorting and pricing. All around the world, this incredible industry is helping families in need of extra income or inexpensive merchandise. Consignment provides shop owners an opportunity to open their business and at the same time, help the surrounding environment. Be sure, wherever you travel, to encourage and support a local resale shop.
An article in The Guardian made the shocking statement, “UK shoppers own £10bn worth of clothes they do not wear.” In American dollars, £10bn is well over $13 billion. That’s a lot of unused clothing. The reasons for not wearing them sound very familiar. Like Americans, some were hoping to lose weight. Others were hoping the styles would come back into fashion. Regardless, unused clothing makes for a vibrant resale industry…with a different name.
The term “consignment” isn’t generally used in the UK. If you are a women’s clothing consignment shop, you call yourself a “dress agency”. In my research, I was surprised to find several online conversations where some Brits never heard of the idea of consignment. One woman said she generally “swished” her used clothing. I’m not sure what that means, but I doubt it has to do with a toilet (or the “loo” as they say over there). However, others in the United Kingdom are very familiar with buying and selling secondhand. Indeed, Brits know where to find the deals. One such company is The Pandora Dress Agency. Selling only designer label merchandise, this shop is located not far from Britain’s infamous Harrods department store. Or, seek out luxury goods at Sign of the Times Dress Agency. The shelves are filled with Prada, Chanel, Hermes, etc.
Like our Buffalo Exchange, the British offer “typical” American buy outright options like the MGE Shops. MGE stands for Music & Goods Exchange. They currently have 7 stores including the Retro Woman Clothing Exchange and the Retro Man Clothing Exchange. Interestingly, their tagline is “Nothing Legal Refused!” Another store is Cash 4 Clothes. This company offers cash based on the weight of items your bring in.
Like America, Europe has its share of online resale opportunities as well. In London, you’ll find HEWI, translated as Hardly Ever Worn It. This company began out of Monaco where (as their website states), “outfits are never repeated.” Their vibrant website lists items for women, men and kids. Rebelle is another popular online site. They allow you to enter your items on their site or have them do it all for you. Before anything is sold, however, your items go through a rigorous authentication process.
Many of these shops use the same social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but there were a few things a bit different. For instance, you don’t hang your clothes on a rack, you hang them on “rails.” You don’t stand in the checkout line, you get in the “queue.” Finally, when giving directions to your shop, never say you’re close to the subway. You’re close to the “tube.”
Their love for resale is just one more reason to appreciate the Brits. I, for one, would really enjoy making a visit to a “dress agency” across the pond. Wouldn’t you? Cheerio! If you enjoyed reading about consigning in the UK, read Consignment Around the World.
It’s fun to see how others are running their resale shops. If you’d like to hear more about how SimpleConsign customers run their businesses, visit them here.
My husband and I traveled to Hong Kong in 1990 and were amazed at the number of people, apartment buildings and shops residing there. With a population of almost 7.5 million in an area of only 405 sq miles, real estate in Hong Kong is a premium. It is extremely difficult to open a full-scale consignment or resale shop in the popular shopping districts. So, consignment in Hong Kong has come up with a very creative solution…the “Cube” shop.
According to 12hk.com, at Cube Shops “anyone can get store space and open for business to sell on consignment.” Like our booth space in an antique mall (although on a much smaller scale), consignment cubes rent on a monthly basis. Vendors choose small plastic “depots” about one cubic foot in size. There can be as many as 100 cubes in a shop. The vendor/consignor displays their merchandise with price tags and the shopkeeper manages the sale.
According to a Wikipedia article on Cube Shops, the rent varies depending on the placement of your consignment “cube.” Like our grocery stores, the premium shelf space is at eye level. The boxes placed at the middle of the column are therefore the most expensive. It appears some cube renters also use their consignment cubes to promote samples of more items they offer online.
As with consignment shops in the USA, consignment in Hong Kong offers Consignor Access. It’s a “comprehensive online system for renters to check the quantity of products sold and profits every day.” Like here, consignors choose the cube location and the merchandise offered based on the demographics of the shoppers in that area. Cubes are particularly appealing to the younger generation who just want to make a few extra HKD (Hong Kong Dollars).
Still, there are some phenomenal full-scale consignment shops in Hong Kong. Closeteur lists a number of vintage and consignment shops in the area. Luxury consignment shops like Milan Station offer beautiful Chanel bags. The Green Ladies also has a kid’s shop called Green Little. With a mere 121,000 likes on their Facebook page, Midwest Vintage appears to be a popular one. It was opened back in 1993 and is touted as the “oldest secondhand fashion store in Hong Kong.” They specialize in vintage American clothing (currently promoting fanny packs in a variety of colors), especially Levi’s and 80’s T-shirts.
Hong Kong is a shopper’s dream. Whether you shop from a store, a “cube” or the vendor on the street, your senses are bombarded with colors, noise and opportunities. If you go, make sure consignment is on your list. Read more about consignment shops around the world.
An article in All About Japan, titled Tokyo Dirt-Cheap Shopping Tour, states that resale shopping in Japan may offer up some better deals than in other countries. They reason that because closets are so small in most Japanese homes (which are pretty small as well) and residents are so fashion conscious, they’re generally turning their clothes over faster. Therefore, you can buy nearly new clothes for a fraction of the cost all the time. After a little research, I found 2 great examples of resale in Japan.
Don Don Down on Wednesday (affectionately known as D-D-DoW) is a popular resale shop with several dozen locations in Japan. This shop has one of the most unique discounting formulas I’ve seen. The price of items are marked by…fruits and vegetables. Yup, that’s right, fruits and veggies. Each item is assigned a fruit or vegetable tag that corresponds with a given price. The price drops every Wednesday thus explaining their very unique name. TokyoCheapo suggested, “it’s a fascinating The-Price-Is-Right-esque twist on the auction idea.” So, do you wait for your strawberry to become a mushroom, or do you buy now? The receipts are even printed with the appropriate fruits and vegetables. It looks like you’ve been to the grocery store rather than a clothing store.
D-D-DoW uses a very clever merchandising ploy too. They turn all of their mannequins away from the shopper. One reviewer said he kept apologizing as he bumped into what he thought were people in the aisles. This is a fun way to shake up the look of your shop.
New York Joe Exchange is another popular Japanese vintage shop. As you can see, their logo includes the universal recycling emblem. Plus, they’ve capitalized on the craze for all things American with their name and red, white and blue color scheme. This shop is unique because of their willingness to trade or, as we would term it, offer store credit. They buy items outright at 30% of their value or you can receive store credit for 60% of the value. New York Joe Exchange puts one very different twist on the regular trade concept. According to TokyoCheapo, the trade credit is good for that day only. You cannot carry your balance over. That’s one way to make sure your yen stays in one place.
For a thorough list of secondhand shops in Tokyo, take a look here. Or, use this list from Fashionista that comes complete with unique items they found at each store. With names like Peep Cheep, Mad Tea Party and Mouse, who wouldn’t want to shop there? One caveat a particular reviewer mentioned, “Mode-off is for 2nd hand clothes and is a treasure chest of finds…Have in your mind though, Japanese people tend to be rather slim and not too tall!!”
G’day Mate! (pronounced in English, “good eye might”) How ya’ going? So far, we’ve had a squiz* at secondhand shoppin’ in a few other countries. Raising the Resale Bar has visited resale in Japan (Resale in Japan delivers crazy fun), the UK (Consigning in the UK has a special name), Hong Kong (Consignment in Hong Kong is unbelievably creative) and Vietnam (Consignment in Vietnam delivers one big surprise). This week, we’re takin’ a squiz* at resale in the Land Down Under, better known as an “op shop.”
Never choose me as your lifeline for a geography question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” I am the worst. I may have a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, as they say. So, I did a bit of research on exactly what countries are included in the “Land Down Under.” It turns out both Australia and New Zealand are technically considered “down under” because they’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Both of them are in this op-shopping extravaganza.
An opportunity shop, otherwise called an Op Shop, generally refers to a charity thrift shop. Like in the US, many charities such as the SPCA, St. Vincent de Paul, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army (also referred to as “Sallies” and “Salvos”) have op shops to add to their revenue. Other charities, like Eastgate Op Shop are smaller community charity organizations. They offer the thrill of the hunt, plus extras like coffee and a $2 brownie or a generous loyalty card “scheme.”
In addition to thrift shops, both Aussies (pronounced Ozzies) and Kiwis (New Zealanders) love boutiques that specialize in high end resale. Two of those shops also happen to be SimpleConsign customers. Both are heaps good. Tatty’s Designer Recycle has 2 stores in Auckland, New Zealand and has been a customer of ours for almost 2 years. A recent review stated, “Not only do they make buying from them a breeze, selling is also a doddle. Drop off your items, use your online account to check the status of your items and wait to see how much money your second-hand garments have sold for!” (I’m trusting “doddle” is good.) Another customer of ours, Recycle Boutique, has a total of 8 locations throughout New Zealand. Their glowing review said, “With a great team and system on hand, selling your un-wanted clothes couldn’t be more straightforward and stress-free!” (I love that they mentioned our system).
According to research, there are more than 2400 op shops across Australia. The most popular online classifieds website in the UK, Australia and New Zealand is Gumtree. Like Craigslist, the ads are free and offer everything from used merchandise to houses for rent. Gumtree recently did research on resale in the land down under. The bottom line, according to Gumtree…Aussies are hoarders. A whopping 91% of them have unwanted items in their homes and 60% have sold some of those items within the last year. “Most Australians (86%) say they prefer buying second hand over brand new and this is motivated by the desire to save money,” the Gumtree report added. The top items being sold are housewares (called homewares) and furniture, followed by clothing and shoes.
Follow the I Love to Op Shop Facebook page too!
Bring yer Mum for a heaps good day of op-shoppin’. Your wardrobe will be chocka* after a day and maybe you’ll find a Chrissie prezzy* or two for the tin lids*. We might even go to Maccas* for dinnies* afterwards.
*squiz = take a look at
*chocka = full
*Chrissie = Christmas
*prezzy = presents
*tin lids = kids
*Maccas = McDonalds
*dinnies = dinner
On our trip to Hong Kong in the early 90’s, my husband and I had to visit the local McDonalds. I wanted to see if there was any difference. As we stepped up to place our order, we noticed the workers behind the counter had all taken American names. Our server’s “name” was Telephone. It was delightful to see how our culture was impacting theirs. The US has obviously had an influence in Vietnam as well. Resale shops have names like Mayhem and So Vintage. Just like here, the Facebook page for Mayhem encourages shoppers to “re-use, reduce and recycle for a greener Earth.” Posts for So Vintage show adorable models in outfits reminiscent of the 70’s. There’s one surprising difference though.
With over 97 million residents, Vietnam has over a third of its population living in urban areas. Resourceful people abound in this country. Literally, there are thousands of scavenger families who live by hand-sorting and recycling glass, plastic, cardboard and other items they find in local landfills. Resale shops fit right in. Consignment shops in Vietnam are called “warehouses” which distinguishes them from the more traditional and very crowded flea markets. Usually, a flea market is open at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. Conversely, the hours of some shops were as long as 9 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Sunday.
Several of the shops allow consignors to price their merchandise for themselves or at least suggest a price. If the item sells within 5 days, the consignor receives 70% of the asking price. The longer it takes to sell, the greater the percentage the shop receives. Since we all have a tendency to put a higher value on our personal items, this pricing model could prove to be quite lucrative. In typical resale fashion, consignors are paid anywhere from 40 to 70 days after the item is sold. Some shops charge a service fee. Others offer concierge service where they’ll pick up items in homes. Many shops use charity events to eliminate left over merchandise. They live by the same old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Low rental fees, access to Wi-Fi and a multitude of shoppers makes Ho Chi Minh City one of the fastest growing areas for consignment. The shops intermingle with art stores, hairdressers, massage parlors and coffee shops. At VinaSave, everything from secondhand sofas to “cheap church cabinets” is offered. They’re even doing some upcycling by buying furniture that’s no longer usable and re-purposing it. The CEO of the company, Pham Van Minh, said their biggest challenge was determining an item’s value. Like resale shops in America, they use their personal expertise to determine the price.
Every article I read stressed how inexpensive shop rental fees are right now. Prices for merchandise or rental fees were listed by the VND vs. the US dollar. The Vietnamese Dong (VND) has a current exchange rate of 1 VND = 0.000043 US dollar. In other words, it would take 250 VND to equal a penny. When items are sold for VND 10,000 or VND 150,000, it’s actually about $o.4 or $6.60. It was a big surprise when Shop of Hope, a resale charity shop, listed a lovely changing table from the UK for 4,000,000 (VND). I wasn’t prepared for all those zeros! The price is actually $172.
If you try consignment in Vietnam, make sure you’re prepared to be a million VND baby! Read Consignment Around the World to find out more.