There is nothing like the thrill of the hunt for a one-of-a-kind vintage Hermès bag or last season’s “It” Oscar de la Renta ball gown at a luxury consignment shop. In a world where online and app-generated consignment shopping has taken over, Designer Revival (formerly Designer Resale) is a brick-and-mortar boutique that is here to stay. Nestled in the heart of the Upper East Side, Designer Revival has been outfitting New York’s most stylish and savviest women for nearly 25 years. Founded by consignment pioneer Myrna Skoller, author of “Miracle on 81st Street: Designer Resale a Girl’s Dream,” the store has been under the ownership of Tiffany Keriakos since 2015. Although Keriakos has brought a fresh new look to the boutique, she has adhered to its founding vision: to make women feel beautiful.
Here, Keriakos shares her past, present, and future plans for Designer Revival with Bella NYC.
Your background is in the beauty industry. How did you cross over to the world of luxury consignment?
Beauty and fashion are interconnected on so many levels, and I have always had a passion for fashion and a love for consignment. I have shopped consignment since I was in college, and always sought out the “treasure hunt.” A few years ago, I was looking to make a change in my career and had just had a child, [and it seemed like] perfect timing when a consignment store in which I had shopped for many years was up for sale.
What was it like to buy an existing consignment boutique?
Myrna Skoller created a retail institution with a loyal following. It was great to be able to carry on the store’s legacy in my own way, and much easier than starting from scratch, as there are so many new consignment stores popping up these days. The store also has a “neighborhood feel” of which I am proud, because we value our customers and consignors and want them to have an enjoyable experience in our store. We have developed close relationships with our clients, and offer very personalized services that distinguish us from other consignment stores as well as the online resale sites.
What are the benefits to working in this sector of the fashion industry?
Currently, the brick and mortar retail landscape is lacking innovation, but the consignment sector is hot right now, and is continuing to grow and receive investment. The desire for savings, for increased comfort and to declutter are driving shoppers to this industry. Luxury brands and retailers have also started to embrace the value of liquidity for a woman’s wardrobe. Designer Revival has best of both worlds with our “click and mortar” strategy [a business model that includes both online and offline operations].
What are some reasons to consider consignment selling and shopping?
Consignment can be a revenue source and can also help you to replenish your wardrobe with new items every season—out with the old, in with the new. It helps you to be environmentally responsible. We call it “to upcycle”–the chic way to recycle–which helps with sustainability. As a buyer, you are also able to find one-of-a-kind pieces, since most items are from prior seasons. As a seller, it extends the life of a special piece because someone else is able to love the item and create new and special memories while wearing it.
What is the process of accepting items for consignment?
Our head of consignment handles buying for the store. We have a good understanding of what sells well for us, and what is on-trend for the season. There is no point of taking items that we know will not sell; it does not benefit us or the consignor. It is not personal–we just want to be able to sell your pieces!
How do you determine the value of an item?
Generally speaking, resale value will be roughly one-third of the retail price. The more current or coveted the item is, the higher the price can be. The same goes for if the piece is new with tags.
What are some tips for consigning items?
Take very, very good care of your clothing if you think you will want to consign it, and know when to let go. Most consignment stores prefer taking items that are from within the last three-to-five years, max. The more current it is, the faster it will sell.
What about for shoppers buying consigned items?
Be open to the search. We like to call it “a glamorous treasure hunt.” You never know what pieces you will come across on any given day. As designer consignment stores tend to only have one of each item, it is risky business to fall in love with something and think that you can wait a day or a week to buy it. In most cases, it will be gone before you come back. Shop smart, and if you really love a piece, buy it immediately.
What brands have the highest resale value and sell the quickest?
Brands with the highest resale value include Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton. While handbags and accessories tend to sell the quickest, you can also expect anything current to sell very fast.
What is the rarest item you have received for consignment?
The rarest item we have received to date is a limited edition Salvatore Ferragamo wooden handbag. It is number four out of a 100 piece collection, and it is stunning!
Is there a specific item that you are currently coveting for yourself and for the store that you have not received yet?
While we do receive them, we are always on the lookout for classic Chanel bags.
Walk us through a day in the life of Tiffany Keriakos.
My answer is so not glamourous! I get up at the crack of dawn because I have a 2-year-old who is a morning person, and I make him breakfast and we walk our dog, and then get him off to preschool. I then have my cup of coffee, go to a fitness class at Tracey Anderson, and then head to the store. I will either stay at the store or have off-site meetings, and then head home to have dinner with my family.
What do you consider your greatest success for Designer Revival so far?
In addition to the new name, the store did not have an online store under the prior owner. We launched our e-commerce website in 2016, and continue to strengthen our online presence. We also now have a personal stylist service and a tailor on site, and we offer a closet Revival Service where we go to your home and help you organize your closets.
What does the future hold for Designer Revival?
I plan to open more locations across the United States as well as internationally, with the strategy of having stores in all of the world’s “fashion hubs.”
Hermès Clemence Birkin 35 Bag – $14,000, retail; $10,000, Designer Revival
Jimmy Choo Limited Edition Leather Pumps – $998, retail; $295, Designer Revival
Chanel Brooklyn Cabas Tote Bag – $2,995, retail; $1,595, Designer Revival
Hermès Kelly Watch – $2,775, retail; $795, Designer Revival
Bulgari B.zero1 Ring – $1,350, retail; $795, Designer Revival
By Marcus Stewart