Deborah McCullough has set out to fill a niche in the world of consignment. With countless shops geared toward women’s fashion, McCullough, of Rock Hill, has chosen to focus her efforts on building a consignment business that caters to men.
On April 22, she opened His Closet Consignment Shop (489 S. Herlong Avenue) — the only men’s consignment shop in the Rock Hill and Fort Mill area.
On a recent visit there, I found Gucci loafers, neckties repurposed into bowties, and a pair of size 18 Kevin Durant basketball sneakers, brand new.
“Some think this is a thrift store, but it isn’t,” McCullough said. “It doesn’t have the smell of a thrift store, and I will keep it that way. This shop is high-end fashion, and that is the image I will uphold.”
If you guessed that McCullough is passionate about her shop, you would be right.
“I don’t want to be known as the woman with the raggedy stuff, or the fake stuff or the stinky store,” she told me. “I provide guidelines for how consigners should bring in their stuff. It has to be clean — free of pet hair, free of odor and smoke smells, and free of stains.”
Here are some excerpts of my conversation with McCullough, edited for brevity and clarity:
Q. What inspired you to open His Closet Consignment?
I’ve always worked in department stores, in the men’s section. I like a well-dressed man, and I like putting their outfits together. When my father passed away, I had male relatives who wanted nice things but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. (All) men like nice things, but may not want to spend the money on it. I thought if I open this shop, men can purchase those things at a good price and own it. They can own a seersucker suit, which is nice for a dinner cruise or a wedding, or a tuxedo, which is nice for more of a special occasion.
Q. What can customers expect to find when they come in?
They can expect to find anything a man would have in his closet or in his wardrobe. They can expect high-end fashion. Cologne, belts, neckties, bow ties, jeans, tennis shoes, suits, dress coats, sports coats — everything. Some socks and underwear, but I purchase those brand new.
Q. What is the general sizing for clothing items?
Pants 31-48, Jackets 36-54, Suits 38-50.
Q. For those who haven’t consigned before, how does the process work?
People think I buy items outright, but I don’t. I get in items and keep them for 120 days. I set the price by searching for market rates. When the item is sold, the shop keeps 60 percent of the sale and the consigner keeps 40 percent. I feel that’s a plus because, when you donate to Goodwill, you only get a receipt. Something small is better than nothing at all. If the items sell, the consigners get a check at the end of each month.
Q. What is your target demographic?
People from all walks of life. It’s a diverse group. There are those who would like to spend top dollar, but there are people who come to a consignment shop and find the same thing. People come in and love it. I am the only one the area.
Q. What would you say to “bust” the misconceptions of consignment shops?
We see people wearing items from consignment stores all the time, and we think they are buying brand new. It’s because they have the eye and know how to shop for items. The special thing about this shop is that I have the eye for shopping and putting things together. I feel that I know what people want. I’ve put many outfits together for people and they get the word out.
Q. What are some hidden gems that can be found in this shop?
Sperrys, which have been popular for back to school. I have Jos A. Banks, Brooks Brothers, Gucci shoes –the real Gucci shoes. Allen Edmond, Steve Madden, Vince Camuto, Louis Vuitton. When people know their brands, they know they are getting a bargain. The Gucci shoes here run for $150, as opposed to several hundreds of dollars, even up to $1,500. I received a Jos A. Banks polo shirt — $119, new with the tag. I sold it for $20. Some think $20 is high, but you have to know your brands.
Q. What are your prices points?
You can get a polo shirt between $10 and $20, a button up between $15 and $22 depending on the brand. Jeans range from $15 to $44. I have True Religion, Rock and Republic. I even have Versace Jeans. It really depends on the brand.
Q. What items you do not accept?
I don’t accept anything from Walmart or Kmart. No Gap or Old Navy, because they have sales all the time and you can get brand new items for a reasonably good price.
Q. How can shoppers and consigners find out more information?
We are working on our website and will get one soon. Being a new startup, the biggest obstacle is money. The best way to make an inquiry is to call, stop by, or visit our Facebook page. We use Facebook as a platform for marketing. One big thing I ask of consigners is to take a picture of their items and post on their social media. They have items here, so this is their store as well. I ask them to help me market so their items get sold. Social media is a big thing
McCullough is currently featuring a customer-appreciation offer – a free tie with your purchase. For more information, call the shop at 803-327-0004.
Do you shop at consignment stores? Email me with your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com