The Designer Consignor


If you’ve never stopped in The Designer Consigner on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, I highly suggest you find time to do it. Whether it is to drop off some of your clothes for consignment, or just a quick visit to scope out the racks, you won’t be disappointed. I had the opportunity to ask Molly Beargie, the owner, a few questions. Her answers not only explain consignments shops to those that may not be familiar with the process, they also reflect on her passion for fashion and the inner workings of the shop.

Tell me a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you got into this industry.

I graduated from Ohio State in 2004 with a degree in fashion merchandising and business. After graduating, I worked at a different consignment store, where I helped computerize their inventory and accounting systems. I also started working on my MBA, but wasn't very happy in the program. That’s when my mom found a for sale ad in the Plain Dealer for what is now my store! I was 22 when I started the store. 

Tell me a little about the shop. When did you open it? Why did you choose Lakewood? And why did you decide to open a consignment shop?

I purchased an existing consignment store called Westgate Resale in August 2005. I changed the name to The Designer Consignor right away. I absolutely love being in Lakewood - it has so many small businesses and the people who live in the area really do their part to support them. 

I decided to go into business for myself to get out of grad school! I found the MBA program I was in to be extremely manufacturing-focused and I was having a really hard time relating.

I figured what better way to learn about business than to run my own! Since I appreciate fashion, like the idea of recycling clothing, and already had experience at a consignment store I decided it would be a great business for me! It turned out to be a good plan, since I now have a successful business, and I finally understand accounting! 

Who is your biggest fashion inspiration? 

There’s not really anyone in particular.

Who is your favorite designer?

I haven’t really been keeping up with new designers, but whenever I’m really wowed by something in a magazine it’s usually Alexander McQueen. 

What are you most excited to get in the shop?

I have gotten some really cool things in including Chanel suits, Hermes leggings, and a vintage Pucci mini dress, but I’m always really excited when I get something in that for some reason is selling really well on eBay and I know it will come as a surprise to my consignor. 

For example, we got a Levi’s jacket from the 1940’s in, and I started it on eBay as an auction for $40, it ended up selling for something crazy like $300. The same thing happened with a vintage hand knit Ralph Lauren sweater. It went up to $300 and the consignor couldn’t believe it! 

What are your top three favorite accessories and why?

I just like unexpected and unusual accessories. I think vintage shoes or a bright belt with an otherwise plain outfit looks sharp. I had a customer come in wearing a casual summer dress with a black patent leather purse with a built in clock on it. It was amazing, I love weird stuff like that! 


Name one dream piece you would add to your wardrobe if you could?

A classic black quilted Chanel bag.

How much interaction do you have with consignors and clients?

A lot! I have two employees - Irene, who worked for Westgate Resale for years before I bought my business, and Mary, my mom. I am always there during store hours (6 days a week), and I am the one that works with the consignors and decides what to take. We have over 1800 consignors now! My employees, Irene and Mary, are usually the ones to help the customers find what they are looking for. 

Please explain the consignment process for readers who may not be familiar with consignment shops.

People bring in their in-style clothes (that are in flawless condition), and I look through them while they wait and give them back anything I don’t feel we can sell or anything that we have too much of. 

We keep the items for two months and our consignors get paid 40 percent of the selling price after the item sells. We accept items seasonally and only during certain hours (our hours and policies are posted on our Web site,

What is your favorite trend? Least favorite?

I love big statement jewelry. It’s something really easy that anyone can add to an outfit to make it look more modern. I guess my least favorite would be shoulder pads. I've never been crazy about shoulder pads, but I keep hearing that they're coming back!

What is your favorite era of fashion?

That’s so hard to answer! I genuinely appreciate the fashion from every era! I guess lately I’ve been into the 50’s look. I still think that the greaser look for guys is cool and I love how feminine and put together the women’s styles are.

What would you like to see come back in style?

I love vintage bathing suits... The one piece kind with little shorts or a skirt. I wish those would come back!

What do you wish would go away?

Umm, crocs! I know they’ve mostly gone away, but there are still some people holding out!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009