Store manager Denise Lyons has worked at several Buffalo Exchange (3312 Magazine St., 891-7443; www.buffaloexchange.com) locations, but in her 13 years as an employee of the national clothing resale chain, she's never encountered a store quite like the New Orleans location.
"I have not seen or heard of another store with such a high interest in the oddities," she says. "Costumes, costume accessories and other unique or one-of-a-kind items are an incredible year-round seller for us."
The inventory includes current fashions, classic pieces and vintage items ranging from $5 to $100 for men and women. "I find that most consignment shops in the area focus on one particular thing whether it's vintage, retro or designer," Lyons says. "At Buffalo Exchange, we like to take it all."
Customers can bring unwanted garments to sell or trade for store credit at Buffalo Exchange. "Selling is rather easy if you come in during the right time of year, with the best times being around Halloween and Mardi Gras," Lyons says. "Remember to bring a valid state or federal ID and clean all items before selling. We look for primarily in-season styles in good condition and will buy off-season items as long as they are of a current style. Trendy, classic, unique and costume pieces also sell for us, and if you are selling trendy items, it's important to sell while the trend is still alive."
Employees are knowledgeable and professional while conducting buybacks, helping sellers understand variances in payment, why certain items weren't accepted and how to increase the odds for a successful buyback. "We strive to hire employees who not only show a strong interest in clothing and fashion, but also have an interest in people," Lyons says. "We also try to hire people that are as diverse as the city itself. Working with people in this capacity enables us to maintain a varied inventory."
People, animals and the environment are among Buffalo Exchange's champion causes. The store's Tokens for Bags program benefits a rotating cast of charities, including wetland restoration group For the Bayou and healthcare and education group Learn to Live, and the New Orleans African-American Museum is July's beneficiary.
Preparations are underway for the demands of the summer social calendar: The Buffalo Exchange Street Team will photograph Essence Music Festival attendees and post their pictures on Buffalo Exchange's fashion blog, and employees have already begun assembling inventory for Red Dress Run shoppers.
"We'll have close to 300 red dresses," Lyons says.