High-end consignment shop turns 10 in Chester

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Tucked away in the corner of a well-established consignment strip in Chester Township is an unassuming upmarket women’s consignment shop.

Tucked away in the corner of a well-established consignment strip in Chester Township is an unassuming upmarket women’s consignment shop.

Passion for fashionat 12767 Chillicothe Road, has been in the same location for 10 years and celebrates a decade in business on July 16. Yet on a recent visit to the store, a customer walked in surprised at what she found.

“I didn’t know it was here,” she said. “I thought it was a store that had very expensive items, but I look around now and everything is so beautiful – and at a good price. I will definitely be back.

While a new customer had just discovered the boutique, the success of being in business for a decade also came from a loyal clientele – a clientele that owner Gayle Tuttle built on relationships.
“I’m a very relationship-oriented person, so it’s all about the relationship with my clients and how they feel when they’re here — and how they feel when they leave,” said Tuttle. “So it’s more about the relationship than the transaction.”

Unlike the mall store or the big-box chain, Tuttle says she knows about 95% of her customers by first name. She feels connected to her clients as they have known each other for years with all the ups and downs.

Tuttle even remarked that some of her customers knew her family well enough to bring baked goods to the store for Tuttle to take back to her husband.

These personal interactions were evident when Tuttle talked about a customer’s recent vacation as she packed up her purchases. It was more like two friends talking rather than making a sale.

“It’s that human factor – I never realized how much it would change my life,” Tuttle said. “How many women here are now my friends – and this circle – with whom I have a friendship with almost everyone who walks into the shop.”

But even with great connections, it’s what the store has to offer that also keeps people coming back.

The store’s items are high-end by designers and brands, and in addition to the quality, shoppers will find resale prices between a quarter and a third of what they might expect to pay at retail.

“The basis is a curated collection of the best of the best – the best of the send,” Tuttle said. “Some people will say to me, ‘Well, you’re very picky’, that’s good. It’s good in the types of mark, in the types of things I’ll accept, and of course, the condition.

Browsing the shelves, shoppers will find brand name, designer and luxury clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories and on-trend jewelry. Many items are new with tags. Tuttle also partners with local artists and businesses to offer handmade soaps, lip balm, cards and more.

“My consignees are key,” Tuttle said. “They are excellent partners. They understand what I’m looking for and keep bringing me amazing pieces – and they walk away with money. Or their old wardrobe buys them a new one. It is also very gratifying to see that things are not wasted. Things can continue to live another life and bring joy to another woman.

Like so many other business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Tuttle to explore another dimension of boutique marketing. After working to build the company for eight years, Tuttle wouldn’t just close the doors.

“I had a commitment to my clients and my co-signers,” she said.

And while she had just launched the store’s website, Tuttle was struggling to figure out how to bring the same feeling and experience as in-person customers to the online experience.

“I came in — and worked on the online store — and did live videos every day with my customers,” Tuttle said. “And I found that this live video, I had so many of my clients say to me, ‘It was so awesome to hear your voice. It was something normal, such a comfort. I could keep this bond with them.

This exploration of the video turned into a regular social media feature called “Fabulous Friday“. Every Friday morning, Tuttle spends about 45-60 minutes on Facebook Live showcasing select items from the store.

Holding her morning cup of coffee as she shares new finds and welcomes familiar shoppers to the faraway world, Tuttle managed to mimic the online atmosphere she sought to create in the physical store.

The public is invited to stop by for the birthday celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which will include treats, refreshments and special savings.

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