As we head into summer, the season of barbecues, rooftop parties, outdoor concerts, and movie festivals, choosing an outfit for each event can be almost as fun as the events themselves. But if you find summer getaways and cocktails have left you strapped for cash, look no further than Buffalo Exchange, the newest trade and consignment outlet to hit Washington. For those unfamiliar, the premise is pretty simple: Customers are encouraged to bring in gently used clothing to be sold through in-store buyers; they can also shop the inventory that caters to both men and women.
Interested in selling? The chain—which has stores all over the country, but none previously in the DMV area—has a reputation for being picky about what it accepts on consignment, so we asked store manager Anna Weldon for a few pre-opening tips on what to bring in.
The store mostly desires items that closely follow current trends as well as striking vintage clothes and accessories, she says. That can extend to recently purchased items that “just didn’t work out,” or an item that has come back into style. “I really do encourage people [to] bring in everything—because a Longchamp bag from five years ago looks just as current as it does today,” Weldon says. The store is also open to purchasing the “best of all seasons” but is more selective about non-weather-appropriate items.
“We buy more openly for the season we’re going into—right now as we open our doors we’re going to be buying for summer, and also for back to school,” Weldon says. Some specific items she’s currently seeking are colored and printed denim for women, neon accessories, pastel clothing, oversize tees for women, and trendy graphic tees for men. Color-blocked pieces also stand a good chance of being accepted.
And what not to bring? Due to the more casual and fun focus of the store, you may want to leave your bridesmaid dress at home. “We don’t do a whole lot of wedding or bridal, and we don’t do a whole lot of suits,” Weldon says.
And finally, a few tips on how to present your items. Keep things clean and scan your items for rips or stains, but don’t worry too much about how you initially present them. “It doesn’t need to be folded, and it doesn’t need to be dry-cleaned,” Weldon says. “It can be in a laundry hamper or a suitcase.” And it’s okay if you don’t own designer everything. “We don’t buy by brand . . . we don’t only buy vintage, we don’t only buy high-end. We carry basically everything.”
We also heard from some people who were curious about the pros and cons of consigning with Buffalo Exchange versus Current Boutique, the locally founded chainlet with an outpost just a few blocks up. Buffalo Exchange employees decide the selling price of your accepted goods, and will give you 30 percent of that price in cash (or 50 percent of that price in store credit) on the spot. At Current, your accepted goods will list at one-third of the official retail price, and if the piece is sold, you’ll split the profit with the store 50/50 after a 90-day waiting period. So there’s potential at Current to make more dough if your piece is of-the-moment and on the more expensive side, but Buffalo Exchange offers instant gratification. Also noteworthy: Current does not traditionally accept out-of-season items but is more willing to take suit and work separates.
Buffalo Exchange opens Saturday, June 16, at 1318 14th Street, Northwest. Opening hours are from 11 to 7 Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 on Sundays.