Miss A Columnist

Jackie Apel has spent most of her life living on the East Coast in the Washington D.C. area, but she has also lived in south Florida, and in Seattle. She loves travel to places like Europe and the Caribbean, and enjoys photography, the city life, and being able to take advantage of the many exciting cultural events that Washington D.C. has to offer, such as its art museums, performing arts, social, and charity events.

Jackie has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Florida, and a paralegal certificate from George Washington University. She worked for a number of years as a paralegal, but in 2000-'01 attended The Corcoran College of Art + Design where she obtained a certificate in Web and Graphic Design, and now maintains her own freelance business as a web designer. In addition she has worked for non-profits such as The Nature Conservancy, combining her interest in the environment with web work.

Consigning at Secondi in Washington, DC

Secondi window sign and building

Have you ever wondered where you might find a Coach purse, a Diane Von Furstenberg dress, or a Louis Vuitton designer handbag for half of the original price, without going to a department store?

Well, try SECONDI, a unique consignment boutique located on the corner of R Street and Connecticut Avenue in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.

A customer browsing through the dresses at Secondi.

A customer browsing dresses at SECONDI.

If you are looking to sell some of your clothing, shoes, or other things that you are no longer using (or perhaps wish you had not purchased) you might consider taking them here. While at the store, you should also spend some time browsing through the racks to find hidden treasures that someone else has consigned, which might fit your needs perfectly! At any rate, SECONDI  has a wonderful selection of used items that come from all over the country, including the state of Hawaii, and from local consigners as well. The store is filled with great brand names in all shapes, colors and sizes, and it is definitely worth taking a good look!

Recently, I sat down for an interview with the owner of SECONDI, Caitrine Callison (or Caty as she is known by her staff). Caty explained to me how their consignment process works, as well as some of the history of her store.

Secondi owner, Caitrine Callison

SECONDI owner, Caitrine Callison

Originally, SECONDI opened in April of 1986, and was located on the corner Q and Connecticut, in an old mansion. This elegant space had high ceilings and beautiful architectural features, but eventually the store was moved to its present location overlooking Connecticut Avenue, for more visibility. Caty’s husband, who is an architect, remodeled the space to create a light, open, and cheery atmosphere, while she used her decorating skills to furnish it with fun mirrors, couches, and tables adorned with the pretty floral arrangements and embellishments which are found throughout the store. When you enter the upstairs, you feel like you have come into a fabulous boutique in New York City, and it is fun to take the time to just look around at all of the clothing racks, as well as the décor. The shop is also a popular stopover for girls who are working downtown and frequent it on their lunch hour. However, if you are driving into the city, you can park on the street in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, at a metered spot, and the front entrance is located just to the right of Starbucks, which is on the corner of the building. You enter through a glass door and go up the flight of stairs.

How a Consignment Works

If you would like to consign some of your clothing, you must first call to

Secondi employee at the jewelry counter.

A SECONDI employee at the jewelry and sunglass counter.

make an appointment at least a month, or month and a half in advance, as they have a lot of bookings. The items that you wish to consign must be in good condition without tears, spots, stains, odors,  or other demarcations; and preferably no more than a year or two old, pressed and cleaned on hangers. When you arrive for your appointment, the staff will go over your items to let you know what they can take, and how it should be priced. Once that is done they will then give you a contract and a price list, and enter your consignment into their computer database. From here, the items are placed on the floor, and if they sell, the consigner will receive 50% of the selling price. If they don’t sell, after three months they will be donated to a charity, so you must be willing to part with your items when you take them.  SECONDI will also provide you with a tax form if they do end up being donated for charity.

Decor at SECONDI - a Ralph Lauren style horse and yellow couch with scarf table and high heel rack.

The consignment shop accepts everything from casual fun clothes, to nice office suits and attire, evening/cocktail wear, as well as other items including sweaters, belts, shoes & boots, costume jewelry, and even sunglasses. Once you have a consignment contract open, if you want to bring in more items, you need to fill out a drop-off agreement.  These are available for download from their website, and you can just fill that out and bring it in with you. For drop-offs, there is a limit of 20 items. Once on the floor, regular store markdowns will occur after one and two months, and there are two major sales per year. The store has two consigning seasons: February – August for spring and summer items, and August-January for fall and winter. September and October are two of their busiest months, so fall is a good time to consign!

Hot Sellers

What sells well at SECONDI?  Anything with a designer label on it that is chic or trendy.  The store also takes some classic and vintage items, too. For a complete list of designers that are acceptable, (as well as the ones that aren’t) please refer to the SECONDI website, under the consigners link. This

boots at Secondi

Boots and purses at SECONDI

will give you a pretty good idea of what you should and should not take in. When I asked Caty what sells well, she said that classic labels like Chanel never go out of style, and that she has also sold some vintage clothing, including suits and dresses from the ’40’s,  ’50’s and ’60’s.  Being in Washington when the store first opened, suits were the number one item. Now, depending upon the season hot sellers include: summer sundresses, fall boots and designer purses, tops and cashmere sweaters (of which they have a great selection), as well as nice pants and jeans by such designers as St. John and Ralph Lauren. This fall, they also have a variety of sweater vests and ponchos. Caty says while the labels change frequently with the fashion trends, she feels you cannot go wrong with any of the upper-level fashion designers.

Consigning can be fun, and even if your clothing does not sell, you are still donating it to a worthy cause to help out someone else.  So, if you find that your closet is getting too full with things that you no longer wear, make an appointment!

For more information on consigning, store hours, contact information and directions, and best drop-off times/hours, please visit the SECONDI website at www.secondi.com.  And have fun browsing!  They are also on Facebook and Twitter, too.

doggies at Secondi

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