What’s Old is New

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Or in this case, one person’s gently used Hermès bag is the deal of a lifetime

At Roundabout Greenwich, savvy label-loving devotees can shop new and consignment designer favorites, from Alaïa to Chanel. Owner Laurie Perren runs four stores (Westport, Greenwich and two in Manhattan) that tap into the winning combination customers can’t resist: high fashion at low(er) prices. We recently caught up with her to celebrate twenty-five years of reclaimed couture.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK IN FASHION?
Yes. My sixteenth birthday came and I immediately ran to Loehmann’s in Norwalk to apply for a job. They were not hiring, but I told the manager that it had always been my dream to work for Loehmann’s and to please keep me in mind for any future openings. He said I could start the next day. I graduated with a degree in management and briefly held a corporate job, which I hated. After years of consigning my own clothing, I realized that I knew enough to create a better business model. Roundabout was born, and here we are twenty-five years later.

HOW CLOSELY DO YOU FOLLOW FASHION TRENDS FROM SEASON TO SEASON?
The nature of consignment is to procure items from past seasons. That being said, the other part of our business is purchasing new inventory and selling it for substantially less than retail. Many times items are current stock and reflect of-the-moment trends in color and style from some of the country’s most fashion-forward boutiques. Even past-season inventory seems right on-trend today.

WHICH BRANDS/PIECES ARE YOUR MOST POPULAR?
Brand loyalty changes from season to season. I have seen plenty of ‘It’ designers over the years. Twenty-five years ago anything Donna Karan was hot. There was a time where we couldn’t give away a Louis Vuitton bag. Now they fly out— especially the vintage ones. Two brands that have always held their own have to be Chanel and Hermès. We even give consignors 66.6 percent back for these bags as opposed to the normal 50 percent. We require documentation on Hermès because there are such finely made imposters out there. In the past, you could just bring a bag into the Hermès store and they would be able to authenticate it for you, but they will not do that anymore. We’re also seeing a trend toward younger, more wallet-friendly designers like Rag & Bone and Vince.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER COME INTO THE STORE?
In my opinion, the best item was a black Togo leather Birkin bag by Hermès which was adorned with Chrome Hearts sterling silver hardware after the bag was purchased. Hermès was offended that anyone would alter their bag and told me they no longer considered it theirs. But it was the absolute coolest item ever! It now resides in the home of a woman who was visiting from Texas.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL WOMEN WHO’VE NEVER SHOPPED THE STORE?
I’ve heard loyal customers say, “Wow, this is like shopping in the Loehmann’s Back Room in the good old days!” Come early in the season for the best selection and make sure to frequent the end-of-season sales, where discounts can be up to 90 percent off regular retail prices.

 

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