Traci Curtis isn't new to consignment selling, but her two-year-old company, Sweet Pea Consignment, will finally stop jumping from location to location and open a storefront in Westmont later this month.
The Clarendon Hills resident has until now held seasonal sales of gently used children's clothes twice a year wherever could find some space, but recent success encouraged her to open a store and run her business year-round.
“The last sale was very successful and so many people that attended said, 'You should open a store,'” Curtis said from inside her future shop at 41 N. Cass Ave. “I really miss the consignors and shoppers when I'm not open, so this will be a lot of fun.”
Sweet Pea will open its doors with a grand opening on Aug. 27.
Curtis said that while she offers clothes at 30 to 90 percent off, she hopes to remove the stigma that consignment shopping means you're getting “cheap” or low-end clothes.
“I don't take anything I wouldn't want to buy," she said. "These are high-end clothes and must be gently used—some still have the original price tags on them.”
Sweet Pea will carry brands such as Gymboree, Hanna Andersson, Oilily, Gap/Baby Gap, TCP, Janie and Jack, Boden, Naartjie, Limited Too, and Baby Lulu for children sizes zero to 12.
When asked if the current economic downturn is a boon to a consignment business, Curtis said a climate that requires frugality certainly pushes sales.
“This is the perfect time to start this,” she said. “And even if [the economy] comes back, trends show that people who change spending habits during a time like this continue those habits even after things improve.”
Curtis said customers should be proud of the money they save on clothes that are in excellent condition. And she said if you are not proud of the savings, you can rest easy knowing that no one will know where you purchased the clothes unless you tell them.
Many of the people consigning are also buying, according to Curtis. Children outgrow clothes long before their wardrobe is worn out, she said, and the store allows moms to sell clothes that don't fit with one hand, and replenish their child's wardrobe with the other.
In addition to children's clothes, Sweat Pea will also carry a selection of adult women's fiction and nonfiction books. Curtis is also considering branching into maternity clothes, but not immediately.
Beginning Aug. 27, Sweet Pea will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m.
Curtis said she decided to open her business in Westmont because the building was affordable and located in an area that was lacking a business like hers.
“But I love living in Clarendon Hills—it's Mayberry—there is no where else I would want to raise my kids,” she said.
Curtis said she expects things to run smoothly and imagines her biggest adjustment will be juggling her own two kids while she runs the business.
“There is going to a kid's room in the back with games and television. Any kids are welcome and mine certainly will be spending some time there,” she said.