Finders Keepers’ owner Lee Ann Harris shares her journey into women’s consignment and why sustainable shopping is the way to go
LET’S SAY you’re in the market for a designer handbag. Did you know you can expect to pay much less for a gently-used Gucci purse at Finders Keepers, as opposed to buying it new? There are a myriad of wonderful benefits to shopping pre-owned fashion. We all know it cuts down on waste, which is better for our planet, but it can also be more affordable — not to mention vintage is always chic and stylish.
With these benefits in mind, Finders Keepers’ owner Lee Ann Harris shares her foray into the consignment world and her best shopping tips, just in time for fall.
How did you get involved in selling gently used fashion? Crazy story to be honest! I took ownership of the Finders Keeper Consignment stores – three locations at that time and in business 38 years — in July 2020, during Covid. I knew Bonnie, the previous owner, because I always loved shopping at her stores. Bonnie wanted to retire but wanted to handpick the person who took over the ‘three-ring circus,’ as she called it. She came to me because we had been talking in the store one day, and I mentioned I had lost my job –I was a VP with BNY Mellon for 17 years — due to the downsizing of our location in Atlanta.
I gave it some long and serious thought and spent about a year volunteering in the stores, starting in January 2019, to get a feel for them and the job. I decided to make the leap of faith and be out of my comfort zone because I love resale and believe in it.
More than that, it’s the relationships you build with consignors and customers in the community that I love. It’s so rewarding to hear their stories and be a part of their lives: the furniture they buy to place in their homes and the clothing they wear. It feels good to provide our community with places to shop that have become their ‘happy place.’ I love being a part of their lives and bringing them happiness via resale therapy!
Don’t get me wrong; being owner of Finders Keepers has been the greatest challenge of my life — but I don’t regret my decision one bit. It is an honor to be the owner of a small business that has been in our community for 38 years.
Why is sustainable shopping important?
Sustainable shopping is important because, bottom line, it benefits our planet. It helps to solve the fashion waste crisis. New clothing production hurts our planet. Clothes are being discarded as well, so extending the life of your clothes fights this waste by consigning them.
What pieces are most popular or the most coveted?
Casual wear is a big seller for us. However, this year, with consumers opting for experiences after Covid, they are traveling and going out, so we have seen a real increase in women buying dresses. We have a lot of them!
Items most coveted are designer handbags, such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci. Buying luxury items secondhand for less than buying new and bragging on the deal you got, who doesn’t like that?
If I am a newbie to consignment shopping, what should I pay attention to in making a good selection?
Quality matters with secondhand items, so we carry quality brands that women seek. Pre-owned clothing should be in like-new condition, but it never hurts to look it over for yourself and try it on. Our dressing rooms are always full of women doing just that. Everything in our store is one-of-a-kind, so you have lots of choices.
What is your best tip for sustainable shoppers?
Go often to get the best selection! We get items six days a week, so the store is always receiving and putting out new arrivals on the floor.
2134 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30033