SBDC Interview With Tammy Berning, Owner of Ms. Mulligan’s Consignment Boutique

Our client Tammy Berning stopped in and we couldn’t resist interviewing her about Ms. Mulligans Consignment Boutique located in Mandarin.


What made you want to open a consignment shop?
I have always shopped in consignment stores and appreciated the savings in buying second-hand.  I wanted to open a store where I could share this savings with other women.  My vision was to operate a store with a boutique atmosphere combined with thrift store prices.  
What is the hardest part about running a consignment shop?
The volume of inventory that comes into the store some days can be overwhelming.  We process an average of 1000 items each week.  When consignors bring new items into the store, we inspect, hang, steam and tag each piece.    Continually adding this new inventory to the floor is a vital part of our business, and it is the most time consuming. 
With the current economic recovery, are consignment stores in danger or is the industry growing?  
During our recent economic times, women have become painfully aware of what they have been spending on new clothing at retail stores and malls.  Many women who had never considered shopping in second-hand stores have turned to them to help trim their personal budgets.  They have come to appreciate the value of consignment shopping.  And, with more upscale boutique stores opening, the stigma around buying second-hand has dissipated.  So, even after our economic recovery, it will be very difficult for these shoppers to return to the high priced stores to find clothing.  The consignment industry will continue to be a go-to destination for women shoppers.
What’s the most unusual thing that’s come into the store?
We take in a wide variety of clothing every day.  Usually, the really unusual pieces are wild accessories (crazy earrings or feathered purses).  Other than that, we had someone drop off a ski bib (which is no easy thing to sell in Florida) and a pair of Ice Skates.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to open a consignment shop?
Visit, consign and shop at several stores if you haven’t already so you get to know basically how the process works.  There will be obvious differences in the operations, procedures, prices and services of each one.  The consignment store is not a new concept, so I tried to replicate what I liked about the ones I visited and change what I didn’t like.  I was also lucky to find a store owner who met with me and gave me some great tips before I got started, and I worked closely with the SBDC at UNF.
  
Ms Mulligan’s Consignment Boutique
11531-4 San Jose Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida
Phone (904) 262-7231
Email info@msmulligans.com
Website:  http://www.msmulligans.com

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