Early this summer a new consignment shop, Trendy Treasures, quietly opened on Eastern Avenue in Essex in the same shopping plaza that includes Hooked Knitting, the Blue Marlin Grille and the Manchester Essex Conservation Trust. Its owner, Arete Pascucci, knows a thing or two about consignment shopping because she’s been doing it for a long time.
In the world of fashion, trends come and go, but one trend that seems to be here to stay is the increasing popularity of consignment dress shopping because it represents the chance of getting a special item that fits just right, a higher-end designer piece or a vintage treasure.
“In the end, what I am is a really good shopper, so I’m able to offer a nice selection of new and very gently used items,” she said. “People come in here and are genuinely surprised.”
Arete envisioned Trendy Treasures as a unique shopping experience where she curates the items. Women’s, men’s and children’s clothing—a mix of new items that may still have store tags or nearly new items that not only saves money but also promotes sustainability and individuality. Located in a tidy retail space, Trendy Treasures has clothing, lots of accessories (think jewelry, hats, scarves, bags, shoes, and sunglasses), and even books and cards.
Consignment shopping is like going on a treasure hunt. That’s the appeal. And Cape Ann offers a lot of options for shops, from The Stock Exchange and Madam Had’em in Manchester to the Essex Exchange in Essex, and of course Vintage 211, the Dress Code, and Second Glance in Gloucester. Arete makes sure her pricing is compatible with these other shops. Dresses, even new ones, average about $30 each. Jewelry runs under $20. Scarves and hats, $10-$20. And bags run from $20 to $100.
Arete discovered consignment shops decades ago after realizing she had a knack for shopping and selecting inventory. She had a career as a longtime administrator in the Masconomet Regional School District and she served as the Middleton representative on the regional school district committee. During that time, Arete decided to open a consignment shop during the summer months. It took off, in large part because she had a strong network of mothers who wanted to work part time. Arete opened two consignment stores, one in Winthrop and another in Georgetown.
It’s this element of surprise and discovery that keeps fashion enthusiasts coming back for more. They may be looking for a classic LBD (“little black dress”) or a statement piece for a special event. Whatever it is, Arete hopes a stop at Trendy Treasures is worth it.
Over the years, Arete learned that consignment shoppers are strong and loyal community of people who don’t just love finding beautiful garments; they also love the connecting to each other. In fact, Arete says she still has relationships with consigners who have been with her for decades.
“This community is about sharing,” she said, adding that the ultimate win is seeing a customer find a perfect item or outfit at a great price. That’s becoming especially popular with younger customers who care about sustainable, affordable, and individualized fashion.
Consignment shopping of any type allows people to express their style, while also making a positive impact on the environment. But it’s also about the deal. Whether it’s a designer deal or popping in for a surprise find.
“Consignment stores like mine have something for everyone,” said Arete, smiling. “That’s what’s fun about it."