Oak Park boutique hailed as ‘mini-Macy’s’
Trends owner Kellie Scott, also owner of Divine Consign, and Trends director of sales and merchandising Amanda Romano. | Meredith Morris~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:05AM
OAK PARK — Trends may be more than just a fad.
About four times as many shoppers have been coming through the doors of the Oak Park consignment boutique, 810 North Blvd., since its expanded space opened Nov. 10, said owner Kellie Scott.
The store had been a 1,000-square-foot adjunct to Divine Consign, a furniture consignment shop Scott also owns.
Divine Consign’s recent move allowed Trends to grow to about 7,500 square feet. Scott was able to add a men’s section and more storage space.
“It’s been crazy,” Scott said of Trends’ increased business. “Divine Consign built such a good name, its customers are willing to check us out. Once you’ve established yourself and people know you and trust you, they’ll give it a shot.”
The Divine Consign connection plus word of mouth has created a far-reaching customer base, said Amanda Romano, Trends director of sales and merchandising.
“It’s exploded. A lot of people who never would have considered themselves consignment shoppers are coming in. They call it the mini-Macy’s,” she said. “We’re changing people’s views on shopping.”
Trends is particularly attractive in a down economy, Scott added.
“It’s a niche in the community where there’s nothing much like it,” she said. “It’s not a thrift store but it’s also not a super high-end shop. It’s high-end stuff but not high-end prices.”
As a consignment shop, Trends refreshes its racks with up to 300 items every day dropped off by clients who receive 50 percent of the item’s marked cost when and if it sells. Much of the men’s and women’s clothing is designer-label and barely worn. There’s also shoes, coats, accessories and jewelry.
“It seems to me we receive about double the amount we put out each day, especially lately,” said Scott, showing off Trends’ new basement storage facility that’s allows a much larger inventory.
Consigners can bring in items for consideration anytime without an appointment.
“It has to meet our quality standards, be clean and be something that meets the needs of our clientele,” Scott said.
Karen Friedberg of Oak Park is a regular Trends shopper who has sold clothes there as well. She stops in three or four times a week to check the new arrivals rack, especially when she is looking for a particular type of item. Her current quest: black boots.
“I know that I’ll find them eventually and I won’t pay a fortune,” she said.
Friedberg shops at Trends because she prefers small, local stores.
“It’s so convenient. I know all the staff and everybody’s really friendly. You find interesting clothes and jewelry that you might not find at a department store,” she said. “I think everything I have gotten here I’ve been complimented on.”
Between Trends and Divine Consign, Scott, a 22-year Oak Park resident, employs 20 people and works with as many as 7,000 active consigners. When hiring, she looks for interns from local college design and fashion merchandising programs because they bring enthusiasm and expert knowledge to their customer assistance.
“We try to hire people who are really into the industry. They know the current styles, help dress people and know how clothing is made,” she said.
Courtney Rusen works full-time for Scott after having completed an internship through Harrington College of Design.
“I really enjoy getting to know people and not just selling things but helping them find what they like,” she said. “I really enjoy the community, too.”
Trends is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 708-434-0801.