Style Tastemaker

How to Dress for Less

Ilaine Bednarik, owner and operator of Saks Consignment in Swansea, shares her frugal fashion hacks

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For seven years, Ilaine Bednarik has owned and operated Saks Consignment in Swansea. In that time the shop has built up a roster of over 2,600 consignors, ensuring that shoppers will always be surprised by the items they find. Ilaine chats with us about the secret to finding great items in her store and resisting the urge to be her own best customer.

Tell us about your background, and how you came to own Saks.
I was in management for over 30 years, then 2009 came and the company downsized. That left me unemployed for the first time. Sak’s Consignments opened in 2009. I visited the store and asked the original owner if she needed help. By 2010 I owned the store. We revamped the layout, changed the name and seven years later we have over 2,600 consignors.

What kind of items can we find at the store?
We sell one-of-a-kind clothing, shoes and jewelry items – including the latest fashions – that you will not find in the local retail stores. The stories about where my clients purchased their items are very interesting.

How do consignment store prices compare to regular retail?
When we receive items with the original price tags, we try to structure our pricing to where it’s way below retail. Pricing is based on condition/brand. We shop major clothing stores to check pricing so we know how to price items. You never have to pay full retail price when you shop at Saks.

How about style-wise? Do you trend modern or vintage?
We handpick every item that walks in the doors. Our customer base ranges from age 13 to 95, so we try to offer something for everyone.

What’s the secret to finding great stuff at Saks?
Since we put out over 100 new items weekly, visiting the store on a regular basis will help you find what you are looking for.

Is it hard to work with clothing all day and not always shop for yourself? You must be your own best customer.
Since you never know what will come through the doors, it’s very tempting to buy everything. I try to have a 30-day watch period for things that I like. Sometimes that works.