It’s Carrie Bradshaw’s dream come true, and it has found an ever expanding home on the East End.
Just 10 years after Tisha Collette founded the luxury consignment boutique, Colette Designer Clothing and Home Consignment in Southampton, the business has expanded to include two locations in Southampton, as well as a store in East Hampton and a Sag Harbor boutique on the verge of completing a Main Street expansion in the next month.
Adjacent to Collette’s current 78 Main Street address, the windows are clad with brown paper as the boutique finishes its expansion; but as shoppers know, inside Collette Designer Consignment, the last thing patrons will find is fashion easy to throw away. Rather, it is a Mecca of Chanel, Zac Posen, Magaschoni, Gucci, Valentino and other lauded designer’s work, from handbags to shoes to one-of-a-kind jackets and dresses – all at a 30 to 40 percent discount off the retail price because of the store’s consignment philosophy.
Consignments differ from sales at a thrift-clothing store, in that patrons don’t sell their clothing to the retailer, but give their goods to the retailers and are paid when their goods sell. Designer consignments like Collette, in particular, only accept items in perfect condition.
Tisha Collette’s interest in the business was born in California, where she grew up and explored designer consignment shops along the West Coast before moving to New York City to model professionally at 19.
After moving to Southampton, Collette said she felt their was a niche to be explored in designer consignment – particularly in clothing, but also in home furnishings – and opened her first Jobs Lane, Southampton store in 2000.
“I always felt there was a lot of excess,” she said this week. “Women shop a lot. My friends and I always have extra clothes and I thought there was never a place I really wanted to shop for second hand clothing.”
Moreover, Collette felt there was not a place where the savvy shopper could find designer goods in a designer atmosphere.
Over the years, Collette said the business has thrived due to her clientele, who loyally consign and shop at her retail locations, and make up a cross-section of women on the East End, from mothers to professionals, from the window shopper whose eye catches a desired Chanel bag to dealers who come to the stores to do business.
Many of the women who clean out their closets to ready for a new season with the aid of Collette gain extra income, but also many give to charity, she said this week, as well as use the profit in trade at the store.
The items at Collette retail for 30 to 40 percent less than their original price tag. This week, at the Sag Harbor branch, shoppers can find the Chanel bronze metallic tote for $3,195, down from $4,200 retail. The store, rich in Chanel bags, also currently carries Chanel’s black and white tweed coat, a fashion classic, for $1,800, but also has lower price points like a deep blue Moschino sundress with bow for $365 and a Zac Posen red stretch dress for $695.
“Sag Harbor is an interesting village,” said Collette of her reasons to expand to the village. “I was nervous, but there were not that many places to shop in Sag Harbor. And the clients love it. They are into the secondhand thing and they are an understated clientele – they are not flashy about their money, but at the same time they can afford to shop here.”
Deciding to expand into the former Simpatico shoe store, which is combining with Illusions jewelry store on Main Street, was simply choosing to not let an opportunity pass her by.
Similarly, Collette noted many of her clients are offered a deal at her boutiques difficult to find elsewhere – coveted and often original or discontinued designer goods at sometimes half the retail price.
Louise Mayer, who works at all Collette boutiques, noted it is that uniqueness that keeps shoppers coming back.
“You know not everyone is going to have it,” she said. “It’s often no longer in circulation. Some of the Chanel is more valuable now than it was because it is no longer available.”
“This is such a good collection,” squealed a customer, Tyra, on Tuesday. “It’s so much fun to shop here. I am about to catch a flight to L.A., but I just had to come back here.”
Collette Designer Consignment is located in Sag Harbor at 78 Main Street. For more information call 725-9300, or for more information on other retail locations, visit www.colletteconsignment.com.