Gently Loved Luxury at Consign Sewickley
by Natalie Bencivenga
May 12, 2021
Jennifer Zeitler has always been a fashionista, but didn’t have the opportunity to go to school for it. Instead, she chose a career in travel and hospitality management which enhanced her networking skills. “Having those sales skills really helped me as a business owner down the road,” she said.
I chatted with her about her shop Consign Sewickley, which has been open for two and a half years. It is a high-end luxury consignment shop carrying women’s apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories.
Have you always been into fashion?
Yes, I have always loved fashion. I wanted to go to school for fashion merchandising but did not have the opportunity. Instead, I chose a career in Travel and Hospitality Management for some time, which enhanced my networking and sales skill sets that I apply today as a business owner.
What inspired the shop? What inspired you?
My inspiration began when I was living in Naples, Fl. There, I worked for some interior designers and used consignment shops as a means for finding unique treasures that were not off the retail floor. I loved the search and hunt of it all. Anytime I was able to travel, I would seek out consignment stores. Traveling to areas that were dense with disposable income allowed me to find a plethora of pre-loved merchandise in good condition. No matter where I was, I loved the fun and the unexpected of consignment stores, so I thought, “Why not bring one to Pittsburgh?”
Why "high end" consignment?
The quality and craftsmanship so unique to high end fashion is hard to replicate in today’s “fast fashion.” I love classic finds that have stood the test of time. I especially love that Consign Sewickley allows people who normally would not have the opportunity to either afford or experience luxury items have the ability to purchase clothing and accessories from around the world at a fair price in their home city.
Do people reach out to you with their gently-loved or new items? Do you seek out people?
We are always looking for consignors to add to our repertoire. Consignors and buyers often find us via social media and word-of-mouth.
How does that process work?
The process begins with new or existing consigners emailing us photos of the clothing, shoes, or accessories they would like to consign. This allows us to edit and curate the best items for our boutique and customers. Once we select which items we would like to consign, we set up a one-on-one appointment to take in your clothing and give you an itemized list. Upon sale, the consigner is paid. We do not buy items.
What are some of your favorite pieces that you have had in the store?
My favorites are the Moschino “Waist of Money” dress from the 90s and vintage Tiffany earrings. I love vintage finds. We have been so blessed to have so many beautiful things come our way — it is hard to pick a favorite. I will tell you, I often am emotionally attached to certain pieces and really look hard to find them a good home. I want people to love their finds at Consign Sewickley because I always say, “There is nothing you need to buy here; only what you want.”
Some fan favorite brands?
Louis Vuitton is our best seller — Pittsburgh loves a good Louis! Gucci and Tory Burch do well, too. If we are lucky enough to get anything Chanel, it sells immediately.
Why buy second hand
Buying second hand is the “thrill of the hunt” or finding a treasure. Luxury consignment is nothing that you need and only what you find and get a thrill out of.
Why should people invest in designer brands?
People should invest in designer brands because of their quality and their uniqueness. Many designer pieces can hold their value or even appreciate. To love a designer piece involves an appreciation of the fabric, the fit, and the cut. If it's vintage, it is like owning a piece of history. It’s just the whole experience.
Why is consignment so important to the fashion industry as we move towards more sustainability?
So much online shopping creates waste when we could just go to our local consignment stores and purchase an item in wonderful condition — often with original tags — for less. We are more sustainable as a society when we throw away less and use what we already have — that’s why consignment is so important; and if Consign Sewickley can do the work for you via curating top-tier products in exceptional condition, then there is no need to overbuy and overspend.
Was being eco-chic something you set out to do with the shop or was it a happy side effect?
Being eco-chic is a happy side effect of coming into Consign Sewickley: it means buying an item that no one else has while also helping the environment.
How do we remove the stigma around thrifting or consignment shops
Merchandising. In our boutique, the scent we use, the talent of our team, and their professionalism all promote a unique experience tailored to each customer. At Consign Sewickley, we have serious retail chops — either from extensive shopping around the world or a work history for some of the greatest brands like Louis Vuitton, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, just to name a few.
I live here and it has the cache of luxury in the Pittsburgh area. The charming village and historic homes are a great backdrop to a boutique. I love Sewickley. The village is a great amenity with its restaurants, shops, and local businesses. It’s beautiful and a great place to call home.
How has the pandemic impacted how we shop?
I hope that over the past year people feel they can do more with less. Clear out some of your gently used but less loved items and allow someone else the chance to love them. My absolute favorite thing about the store is seeing someone get so happy and excited about something they’ve either never seen before or never thought they could afford — and now they have it as their own.
Visit Consign Sewickley:
415 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143