Smart Shopping

A consignment shop for the well-dressed woman


Stepping into a consignment shop for the first time can be a little overwhelming. The clothes and accessories are previously owned, after all. For some, this would immediately put them off and send them running to the mall to spend a fortune on a brand new purse. Rest assured that there is nothing but trend, glamour and good taste at Smarty Pants Consignment in Swansea. This shop, relatively new to the area, but already popular amongst those who know about it, gives gently used items a new life.

The boutique is run by the charming Alicia Roque, who comes from a family of consignors. She started her own career in furniture consignment, so she knew all about the business model, but her real passion lies in fashion. As a result, she never settles for less than fabulous when choosing stock. Roque says, “I like to see the variety of items that comes in and I love sorting through them and finding some really beautiful things. It’s always exciting.” Smarty Pants will only accept items that are in incredible condition and they are always conscious of current trends and styles.

In addition to their large collection of women’s clothing (sized from 0 to 26/28), they also carry jewelry, handbags, shoes, scarves, accessories, formalwear, maternity and some children’s items. Roque says that some of their best sellers include Vera Bradley, Cold Water Creek, Gap, Eddie Bauer, Kathy Van Zeeland and other top name brands. Many people walk into the store to rummage through their impressive jewelry collection, but leave with so much more. What are the hot ticket items this season? “Animal prints, scarves, unique belts and handbags are always selling fast,” Roque says.

It is important in a consignment shop for the consignee to have impeccable taste; otherwise you can find yourself in a shop full of undesirables. Smarty Pants certainly knows how to pick their stock, gearing their items toward the classy, well-dressed workingwoman who cares about making an impression. They carry mostly modern looks, but if a well-kept vintage item comes in top condition, they know a good find when they see it. Roque uses style icons such as Audrey Hepburn on the shop’s Facebook page for reference.

On working with customers, Roque is enthusiastic about what she does. She says, “I like dealing with people, and we have built up a wonderful variety of consignors who are a joy to work with. Once I choose the things I love, I have so much fun arranging them in a way that is appealing for shoppers. Customers really enjoy coming here.”

So now that you know it is somewhere worth shopping, you might be wondering how you can bring in your own items for consignment. Smarty Pants takes new consignors by appointment only, but after your first time, all returning sellers are welcome to bring in items anytime during store hours. Sellable goods are all kept for up to 60 days, then the original seller can pick up within seven days or they are then moved to the clearance rack for a short time. If they don’t sell from there, the items are donated to charity. This system means that there can be some real steals on the clearance rack. With seasonal sales and regular markdowns, a savvy shopper would do well to shop here. Even the name of the store alludes to this, and Roque says it was her sister Bekki’s idea. “We liked the idea that the name touched on the clothing aspect of the store,” Roque says, “and of course it also gets the message across that shopping consignment is shopping smart.” 312 Wilbur Avenue, Swansea. 401-378-6709