Moving to Vancouver has changed the way I shop. It used to be that when I was looking for a fresh cute top, a seasonal accessory or a wardrobe staple, I would head straight to the mall. Since discovering the amazing variety of consignment and second-hand stores in Vancouver, I now do the variety of my shopping mall-free.
To me, consignment shopping is so much better for so many reasons: first, some of you might have read a recent post where I wrote about environmental impacts of shopping (here). It makes me feel better to know that I am not adding to the waste pile when I buy pre-loved clothing. Consignment shopping also supports local business and is much easier on the bank account. On top of all that, I seem to be able to find such cute and unique pieces compared to the cookie-cutter fashions out there!
It has taken me a good couple of years to scout out my favourite spots in Vancouver. Since I know consignment shopping isn’t as straight-forward as going to the mall, I thought I’d help by sharing some of my favourite shops and why. If you don’t live in Vancouver, be sure to cross these spots off your list next time you visit!
My Top Five Consignment Stores:
5. Turnabout (3109 Granville St.)
Style: Luxury name-brands
Price range: $30- $$$
Great for: Designer purses, shoes and denim
Having been in the consignment business for many years, Turnabout is a leading source of pre-loved goodies in Vancouver. They actually have multiple locations but my favourite one is at Granville and 16th. I’m not gonna lie, the price tags on items in the storefront are expensive with a capital ‘E’- after all, they are very much about luxury brands. That said, the downstairs section has a great selection of designer shoes and denim, and end-of-season discounts mean you can usually get a pair for up to 80% off the original price!
4. Changes (4454 West 10th Ave.)
Style: Colourful, adult contemporary
Price range: $20- $40
Great for: Random finds at great prices
Changes tends to carry styles that I find a bit mature for my own tastes, but it’s those unexpected finds (like this amazing pair of Gorman boots, 75% off!) that keep me coming back. I also find the prices to be extremely affordable, which helps.
3. Front & Company (3772 Main St.)
Style: Quirky, eclectic & modern
Price range: $30- $80
Great for: brand-name items- especially Aritzia and Club Monaco
I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with Front & Company. As a consignor, I sometimes find them to be unreasonable about the number of items they take per visit (never more than 5 items at a time). However, as a shopper, I am consistently ‘wowed’ by the mix of brands and unique pieces I can find. I suppose that is why they can come across as picky. I often come here for pretty patterned skirts and sweaters.
2. The Main Exchange (185 East 16th Ave.)
Style: trendy, fresh and modern
Price range: Most items between $20- $60
Great for: competivitely-priced brand name items
The Main Exchange is a newer discovery that I have quickly come to love. While it’s a tiny bit off the beaten path (it’s located on 16th just a few stores west of Main St.) you do not want to miss this place. Being just a few blocks north from Front & Company, they pose some strong competition for consignors figuring out where to bring their pre-loved goods. As a result, I find the selection to be similar to that of Front & Company, although perhaps not as edgy given that vintage and rare items can be more risky to take on.
1. Hunter & Hare (334 West Pender St.)
Style: trendy, vintage-appeal, feminine
Price range: Most items between $20- $40
Great for: blouses & dresses, new locally-sourced accessories & gifts
Hunter & Hare is by far my favourite consignment store in Vancouver! This consignment store stands out head-and-shoulders above the rest because it has it all: the shop is like a cozy and well-designed cabin, with reclaimed wood fixtures and eclectic picture frames on the walls; items are priced competitively and are always on trend; the owners, Micki & Jo, are two young, business-savvy women with a great eye for style; and best of all, they treat all their customers like friends. I’m sure you will fall in love with this little shop like I have.
Well, that’s all for now. In the meantime, what are your favourite consignment stores?