Just in case you missed it: I have shopping problems.
I’m always shopping. And I’m not one of those moms who only shops for her kids. Nope. I shop for myself all the time. I’m selfish that way. And I’m OK with that.
The problem is that I have one of those champagne tastes; but life as a mom who works only part-time with kids who are in expensive activities year-round and a voracious appetite for world-class food and travel — in which we frequently indulge — leaves me most months with a beer budget.
I’ve found ways to get my designer fix on a dime over the years, including using services that rent designer dresses for the night or raiding a generous friend’s closet.
When I had a gala to attend recently, I planned to rent a dress for the occasion. But then I embarked on my Arbonne Transformation Challenge and found a little black number in the back of my closet that became my short-term weight-loss goal. That meant I suddenly had hundreds of dollars to spend on some fabulous shoes. Because that’s how retail math rolls in my world, friends. The money that I didn’t spend on the rental dress became found money! (Yes, you can use that on your husband. You’re welcome.)
I was hell-bent on getting my first-ever pair of Louboutins and made a special trip downtown to find them. But guess what: they don’t fit my feet. Like, at all. It was a sad realization. I came close to tears. And then I realized there are about 150 other incredible shoe designers out there just waiting for my feet.
I happened upon a shoe sale near work (well, because I walked there from work to happen upon it), and nearly bought a stunning pair of Jimmy Choos. But they were just ever so tight and I was worried I wouldn’t have them worked in by gala night.
That night, I Googled. “Designer shoe sale in Canada.”
Lo and behold, a few designer consignment stores came up in my search. Hm. I hadn’t considered that possibility. I wandered into a couple sites and quickly wandered right back out — there was nothing that spoke to me. Then I landed on Lab Consignment‘s home page. Based in Toronto, Lab was ideally located in the hipster Queen West hood before it went totally online. Lauren, the owner, has a great eye and stocks both mid-range (think J. Crew and Coach) to high-end brands (like Lanvin and Louis) — everything from clothes and bags to accessories and even perfume.
But, OMG, buying shoes online? I’d just had a not-so-fortuitous experience with online shoe shopping where not one pair I ordered fit. I noticed a “try before you buy” option at Lab Consignment; you can make a 45-minute private shopping appointment with Lauren to go through the items in which you’re interested before you commit with your credit card.
Here’s what I ended up with…
Now, let me tell you how much I paid and their condition — because therein lies the magic of designer resale:
(A) Barbara Bui leather studded cuff — retailed for approx. $250 & listed in the clearance section for $55 at Lab Consignment — like new condition
(B) Loeffler Randall platform heels — retailed for approx. $425 & listed for $212 at Lab — BRAND NEW, with dustbag, in the box! Not a single scuff on the soles!
(C) Rupert Sanderson patent pumps — retailed for approx. $810 & listed in the clearance section for $95 at Lab — excellent used condition with original box and dustbag; look like they were worn out once for a couple of hours
(D) Olivia Harris leather clutch — retailed for approx. $350 & listed for $115 at Lab — good used condition (nicely broken in without too many obvious signs of wear)
And, yep — they’re all authentic. Lab guarantees authenticity of every designer piece it sells, so you don’t have to worry like you do when you’re looking for pre-loved Gucci and the like on Kijiji, Craigslist or eBay.
Oh, and if you sign up for Lab’s newsletter, you get 10 per cent off your first order, too. Which, for me, amounted to a nice chunk of change. To top it all off, spend more than $225 (which is super-easy to do) and your delivery across Canada and the U.S. is free. My order arrived within 24 hours. If you happen to be near Toronto, you can pick up any sized order for free.
Now I’m obsessed with clearing out my own closet and making back at least some of the many thousands of dollars I’ve spent on clothes and shoes that I’ve barely worn — and Lab Consignment’s just the place to do it. Because while my old baby stuff sells beautifully on Varage Sale, my higher-end designer stuff doesn’t. There just isn’t much of a market where I live for gently used $500 heels, I guess.
So, I’ll be making an appointment with Lauren this fall to turn over my closet (and, let’s be honest, make room for more fab resale options I find while I’m there). I’ll get 50 per cent of the selling price back, and whatever doesn’t sell I can choose to either pick up or have donated to charity. Easy peasy.
You want to shop in my closet? You’ll have to visit LabConsignment.com in a month or two. But don’t wait — because there’s new stuff being added every day to this fabulous online designer consignment store, and you really don’t want to miss out.