CHICAGO — EDrop-Off, one of the country’s premier online luxury consignment retailers, is celebrating its 10th anniversary old-school style — by opening a retail store.
Called The Collection by eDrop-Off, the 800-square-foot boutique, which opened Wednesday, will be located at the front of the consignment business’ current Gold Coast location at 1201 N. Clark Street.
“It will be the first time in 10 years that you can buy product and walk away with it instead of winning it online,” said Corri McFadden, owner and founder of eDrop-Off, who operates a second location in Lincoln Park. “We’ll still sell on auction, but we’ve heard from our clients ‘I just want to buy it right now,’ so this will give them that option.”
To start the retail opening, The Collection will feature two special collaborations: “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant with pieces from her personal vintage collection, as well as select items that have been worn on the show, and Christian Siriano, with accessories and gowns chosen specifically for the Chicago store.
To keep the retail floor enticing, new merchandise will rotate in every two weeks. At any given time, there will be about 100 to 125 items for sale arranged on about 12 to 15 racks. The store will sell ready-to-wear, shoes and handbags. Prices will range from $40 to $6,000.
“There are some pieces that are really just better in front of you. These are pieces that we’ve pulled out from our regular inventory and are giving them that hanger space that they deserve,” said McFadden, whose business sells about 2,500 items a week online through its eBay auction site and takes the standard 40 percent commission on each sale. “Shopping online, you can’t touch something and that’s the biggest obstacle.”
Some of these “wow” pieces deserving the retail selling floor, McFadden said, include a Sixties Dynasty pink and gold metallic dress that was worn on “Mad Men,” $250; an Oscar de la Renta printed blanket coat, $375; designer silk blouses, $100 to $400; colored furs, $175 to $700, and a blush-colored Louis Vuitton Alma BB Monogram Vernis bag, $1,500.
“We could have had a space with thousands of items, but this is manageable,” she said. “We want you to come in and be, like, ‘wow, these pieces are amazing’ and get excited.”
McFadden, who starred on VH1’s reality show “House of Consignment,” is pleased with the clutches, shoes and bags picked (and designed) by Siriano — and not just because he’s a friend.
“He curated a good collection that speaks to his Chicago base. He picked everything personally for the store, who he envisioned the Chicago client being a fit for,” she said. “There are pieces you’ve never seen before.”
In addition to the store opening, eDrop-Off will launch an e-commerce site with items sold at fixed prices — the selection will be vaster than the retail store and there will be some items sold simultaneously online and at retail.
“We have a vested interest in creating a high selling price,” she said. “Now if we feel the option is to go better in the store, we’ll offer that.”
McFadden, 32, started eDrop-Off as a senior class project. Today, her business employs 38 people, and has an international client base. With free nationwide pick-up, the majority of her consignors are domestic.
“For so long, consignment was like your neighborhood shop: dark and dingy with plastic hangers. My goal was to make it chic and cool,” she said. “This is one of the most popular business models now — reselling designer items. The margins look appealing. You’re like, ‘I’ll sell a $1,000 handbag and make $400.’ But when you start going in and looking at the overhead, it’s a lot of work.”