Shopping

Past and Present: Luxury For Less

By BergenCounty.com staff / partner story    
Pamela DeBlasio, owner of Past & Present Designer Consignment Boutique in Closter, is a market leader in luxury consignment shopping.
Anne-Marie Caruso/staff photographer
Pamela DeBlasio, owner of Past & Present Designer Consignment Boutique in Closter, is a market leader in luxury consignment shopping.
Past & Present Designer Consignment Boutique in Closter carries a wide variety of designer handbags in excellent condition, at significantly less cost.
Anne-Marie Caruso/staff photographer
Past & Present Designer Consignment Boutique in Closter carries a wide variety of designer handbags in excellent condition, at significantly less cost.

Across Bergen County, consignment shops seem to be booming, especially since TV shows, major websites, and celebrities are partaking in the phenomenon. As people become more aware of recycling and reusing, consignment stores are becoming a popular way to “dispose” of unloved and unused designer items. People are trying to find deals, and clothing is no exception.

Consignment is beneficial in two ways: People can come to consignment boutiques and “sell” their unwanted garments for a profit. On the flip side, shoppers who are price conscious, fashionable and looking for designer clothing and accessories can save money by not having to pay retail.

In the heart of Closter, Past and Present Designer Consignment Boutique is one of the market leaders. The upscale specialty shop attracts customers and consignors throughout Bergen County and New York City metro area, with its reputation as a retail boutique that sells only high-end women’s clothing and accessories at a fraction of the cost.

Save big dollars

“We’ve been in business for 17 years. This gives confidence to our customers and consignors. There is a mutual trust,” says owner Pamela DeBlasio.

Name brands at Past & Present include Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Prada, Jimmy Choo and more. Along with high-end names, the boutique carries popular contemporary brands such as Tory Burch, Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Theory. 

At Past & Present, “We sell luxury items that are gently used or in pristine condition. Someone may have purchased it and used it just once or twice – or have never used it at all,” DeBlasio says.

For instance, “a Hermes Birkin handbag – with an original price tag of nearly $20,000 and a two-year wait list when first introduced – is priced at $13,000 in our shop,” says Brittany Rickenbacker, marketing manager at Past & Present.

The Birkin handbag is 40cm and in “Blue Jean” togo leather, DeBlasio says, noting, “This color is no longer available.”

Hermes handbags “are very popular,” she says – one sold for $12,000, and another sold in just two days,” she adds.

For some customers, “It’s really about the hunt,” Rickenbacker says. “People come in to find amazing deals on designer items. Pricing has gone up tremendously for many luxury goods, so 50 to 75 percent deduction off retail value is a real deal.”

Ease of shopping

Past & Present offers a well-organized selection and attractive merchandise. The one-on-one customer experience lets clients feel that they have a personal shopper tailored to their needs and wants.

“We have outstanding customer service which has earned us a stellar reputation,” Rickenbacker says.

Customers can also visit Past & Present’s online store and stay up to date with the newest merchandise. All purchases sent to U.S. addresses have free two-day priority shipping. The boutique also offers a layaway payment option for high priced merchandise; a loyalty program in which customers can earn points for discounts on future purchases and a wish list where customers can be alerted if their desired item becomes available.

Being a consignor

Perhaps you are a fashionista who wears only the latest styles, and your closets are bulging with past-season fashions. Or maybe you purchased an expensive handbag on a whim, only to discover that you really didn’t like the design. It sat unused in your closet for so long that it’s too late to return it to the store.

Past & Present is happy to assess those unwanted goods and determine if they can be sold in their shop. Become a “consignor” and let “Past & Present turn your Past wardrobe into Present dollars,” DeBlasio says.

DeBlasio and her staff evaluate the value of each item based on condition and demand. They also authenticate each item to make sure it is not a fraudulent copy.

In most cases, items are sold at a 50/50 split between the consignor and Past & Present. With some luxury handbags by designers such as Chanel, Hermes or Louis Vuitton, it could even go up to a 70/30 split.

Although some people think they could make more money selling an item themselves on eBay or other online auction, “We can get you a higher value because of our success at promotion,” DeBlasio says.

Good deals - and good deeds

If items do not sell, a consignor has the option of either reclaiming or donating it. Past & Present Boutique supports the Women's Rights Information Center in Englewood by contributing donated clothing to its Career Closet. Women in need who are looking to enter the workforce can select business clothing and accessories, all free of charge to those who qualify.

Past & Present Consignment Boutique was named Best Consignment Shop in (201) Magazine’s 2014 Best of Bergen Readers Poll. The shop is located at 253 Closter Dock Road in Closter. Call 201-784-7441 or visit pastandpresentclosternj.com. Store hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday.

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