Second-hand shopping isn’t just about bargains, it’s also good for the planet
Deja Vu Boutique’s highly selective process means the store stocks high quality clothing and accessories for great prices
For The Steamboat Pilot & Today
Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Deja Vu Boutique
Whether you want to find a good bargain or a unique piece, second-hand shopping is a great way to practice sustainability in your personal life.
At Deja Vu Boutique — which won first place in the Best of the ‘Boat’s best thrift/consignment store category — there are anywhere from 200 to 900 garments and other items coming into the store every single day. More than 6,500 suppliers consign items at the store, says owner Molly Waters.
That’s a lot of items for one store to handle, so how do they do it? We asked Waters about their customers, who she says come from all income levels and backgrounds, and their process for ensuring the items in the boutique are top notch.
Quality over quantity
Deja Vu is more concerned with quality than quantity. The 13 staff members pick through each and every item by hand to select only the best quality items to sell. They end up accepting about 40 percent of the items brought into the store due to this selective process.
“We make sure everything is freshly laundered and in pristine condition,” Waters says. “We don’t sell anything that you wouldn’t give to your best friend. We pride ourselves on meticulously inspecting every single item.”
Because of this attention to quality, Waters hopes that people who may not have otherwise considered buying second-hand clothing will think again.
“Used clothing is just something that’s been washed,” she said. “To me, there’s no stigma about buying ‘used,’ ‘secondhand’ or ‘resale’ clothing. Resale customers, especially the younger generations, understand this and have helped the resale industry grow much faster than the retail industry.”
Deja Vu has the Steamboat Springs customer in mind when selecting items to sell in their store. It’s common to find mountain casual brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, Mountain Hardwear and others in the store, all at prices from 50 percent to as high as 90 percent off retail.
“We try to focus on selling the things that people are looking for in Steamboat,” Water says.
Two brands you won’t find in the store are Kmart and Walmart. Other than those two, you can find brands ranging from Old Navy all the way up to high fashion brands like Louis Vuitton.
The store has every Steamboat-area customer in mind when they select what to carry. They want ranchers to come in for great Western wear as much as visitors to come in for ski gear. Day-to-day items such as baselayers, puffy coats, boots, jeans and more are always available, too.
“We really cater to everybody,” Waters says. “We try to have something for everyone.”
Most items for sale in the store have been purchased new in the last five years, so the styles are always up to date and on-trend, Waters says.
Customers can feel good about purchases
Not only can you find great brands for good prices, but Waters says customers can also feel good about doing their part.
“The fashion industry is a huge polluter. Second-hand shopping is eco-shopping because these are things that may have gone into the landfill,” Waters says. “We’re trying to give these clothes as long a life as possible so we can provide something sustainable.”
Deja Vu is recycling everything, too. All of the items that they don’t choose to accept for consignment, are donated to other organizations that need them. They also contribute 100 percent of the proceeds from their $1 and $5 racks to a different local nonprofit each month.
We want people to think of second-hand clothing first,” Waters says. “People can find really good brands for a lot less money and know they’re doing good things for the planet.”
This goes both ways, for consignors and customers, Waters points out. The next time you clean out your closet, think about selling or consigning your items to make a little money. And the next time you’re in search of an affordable brand name piece or a unique item, try the second-hand store before the department store.
“Get the fashions you love for less,” Water says. “We love promoting this idea of sustainable shopping.”
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