Pinterest, economy inspire new trend in shopping

Courtney Stinson

With the popularity of websites like Etsy and Pinterest rising and instability the only constant in the economy, what was once labeled “old” and “used” is becoming “vintage” and “thrifted.” Instead of buying clothing and furniture at department stores and boutiques, some students are opting to save money and find more distinctive items by hunting for hidden treasure at consignment and thrift stores.

Locally, one option for doing so is Déjà Vu Consignment Boutique. The store stocks thousands of items, many of them designer label, and regularly gets new merchandise.

Debbie Fulgham, the store’s owner, said both the economy and the Internet have affected the world of consignment shopping. Déjà Vu has gone online and expanded the store three times in as many years to accommodate these changes.

“People are a lot more fashion-savvy than they used to be, so everybody wants brand names,” Fulgham said. “I think the Internet has made us all more aware of what we’re spending and that you can get things for a better price.”

Although Déjà Vu sells current styles of clothing and popular brands, the variety it offers separates the store from department stores and boutiques.

“You walk in Belk and you’ve got a whole rack of one shirt, but you walk in here and there’s a rack with 100 different shirts on it,” Fulgham said.

Christina Simmons, a junior majoring in fashion retail, works as a sales associate at Déjà Vu. Simmons was drawn to the job because working in a consignment environment offered something different than department stores.

“I think what I like most about Déjà Vu is that there are so many different styles and you can find everything in the store,” Simmons said.

For students, the chance to get higher quality items at lower prices is a major motivation for thrift and consignment shopping.

“I definitely think, as the economy has changed, it’s made people favor thrift stores and consignments stores because you can still get good quality [items] at these stores for a lot cheaper than you would in a normal department store,” Simmons said.

Clothing isn’t the only thing students can find used. The Attic Furniture Consignment offers a variety of new and used furniture pieces to suit students’ needs and tastes. The store also features a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces made from reclaimed wood.

According to Dayna Parham, who owns The Attic with her husband Scottie, customers choose consignment furniture over prepared bedroom sets because they want their furniture to reflect their personal style.

“They want their place to be unique. They want it to say something about themselves,” Parham said. “When you buy a prepared room like that, somebody else did it and it can take a lot of the personality out of it.”

Some of the merchandise Parham receives has already been personalized or altered by the previous owner, so customers can purchase pieces with personal touches that they may not be able to find in new furniture.

“A lot of students, when they do leave, or if they graduate and don’t want to take all their stuff with them, bring the pieces that they’ve already put their own twist to – either painted it or distressed it,” Parham said. “You’ll get pieces that you won’t get when you go to market or something like that.”

Like Déjà Vu, The Attic receives new merchandise often, and items don’t remain in the store long.

“I get new [consignment] merchandise every day. It turns over really quickly,” Parham said. “If people see [an item], and they like it, and they know it’s the only one, then they’re going to buy it, and we’re going to put something in its place right then.”