Second-Hand Sites Offer Up Designer Deals

Hit the racks and it's easy to love the label but not the price.  But it's getting easier to find designer deals with a surge in second-hand shopping.

"We’re a girl's best friend, champagne taste on a beer budget," said Gabriella Flippen, the founder of Sassy Couture Resale.  She says her online business is booming, and says that even those who can afford to spend want to save a bit in the current economic climate.

Flippen scours closets of the wealthy and buys up all of their best labels and then she re-sells the merchandise online.  Some items still have the price tags attached

"Generally we sell about 75 percent off retail," she explained while flaunting a pair of brand new Lizard Manolo Blahniks.  They retail for about $500 dollars, but she's selling them for $100.

She's also got a barely-used Louis Vuitton Tote Bag which retails for $2600 but can be had for about $600.

Flippen started the business in her kitchen with her own clothes two years ago and now has a drop off site in Lincoln Park and eight employees.

"I’ve made thousands of dollars with her," said Mary Kay Touhy Silverman, who first had Flippen invade her closet last fall.

Not just a seller, Silverman also turns around and buys.

"When you go to a consignment shop it’s hit or miss.  You never know what you’ll find," she said.  "Gabriella saves me time."

Edrop-off is another locally run business finding success in the resale market.  It touts a 95 percent sell-through rate.

Nationally, sales of used goods are surging.  The National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops said the number of businesses has grown 7 percent in the last year and ties it to the recession.

EBay and Craigslist are also big factors.

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