Sporting Coach handbags, Prada sunglasses, Burberry scarves and footwear fabulous enough to stop Carrie Bradshaw dead in her tracks, Alexis Suitcase is a must-visit spot for fashionistas whose impeccable designer taste is curbed only by budgetary constraints. With three Atlanta-area locations, including a 3,000-square-foot showcase in Buckhead, the upscale consignment boutique offers more than 10,000 unique items up to 75% off retail.
Hit the street in gold metallic Versace sneakers for $455, step out in Manolo Blahnik Hangisi heels for $400 or snag a pair of Jimmy Choo pink velvet ankle booties for $200—all priced well below the approximately $1,000 retail tag. Shirts are sorted by color; everything else is arranged by category and size, with couture items and new finds in a separate section. There’s stuff for guys, too.
“Our customers love the variety, quality and value we offer,” says E-Commerce/Marketing Manager Monaay Walker, adding that Louis Vuitton leads the pack in popularity, followed by Gucci, Chanel and YSL. “People want quality pieces that won’t fall apart after one wash, like many of the fast fashion brands out there today. And when you can get the same designer item for less, who doesn’t love to save money?”
Not to mention the planet. “Shopping consignment is a sustainable way to reduce textile waste,” she says. “With the growing concern about fashion’s impact on the environment, women can feel good knowing that they are reducing their carbon footprint while keeping their wardrobes fresh and updated!”
Alexis Suitcase opened in 2005, an enterprising venture of Georgia Tech grad Jayna Thompson, a savvy shopper with business smarts and a passion for fashion. Her success in Sandy Springs led to a second location in Johns Creek in 2009 and a third in Buckhead in 2012.
The story behind the name is a cute one. During her college days, Thompson traveled to New Zealand for a study abroad with a friend named Alexis. She didn’t pack for the chilly temps and ended up rummaging through Alexis’ suitcase every morning for something warm to wear.
Today, Leslie Brown runs the show. Another biz wiz with a sensational sense of style, she purchased the company in 2017, transitioning from a 20-year career as a CPA to the owner of a place where she had been shopping for years.
2221 Peachtree Road N.E., Suite H
220 Sandy Springs Circle, Suite 189
Resale consignment shop Backstreet Boutique is known around town for its exclusive designer pieces, including the largest inventory of current St. John clothing as well as vintage items from Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Armani and more. Owner Joey Mccraw opened her original store on Roswell Road in Buckhead 20 years ago before moving to East Shadowlawn in 2006.
3140 E. Shadowlawn Ave. N.E.
Treasure hunters at Buckhead Thriftique can score fantastic finds while helping others in the process. The nonprofit thrift store, owned and operated by Buckhead Christian Ministry, provides free clothing to people in need and sells affordable clothing and household goods to the community. Any profits are used to prevent hunger and homelessness for Atlantans in crisis; leftover merchandise is donated to mission efforts around the world.
Thanks to its affluent address at the Shops of Miami Circle, the 8,400-square-foot space is graced with many upscale labels not typically found in thrift stores. Think St. John and Tori Burch for women and Giorgio Armani for men, with designer accessories—bags, belts and baubles—displayed in a boutique-style setting. The eclectic and ever-changing inventory includes racks of shoes and children’s clothing, bedding and books, small electronics and furniture. Shelves are stacked with everything from clocks and cookware to crystal and collectibles. Prices start at $1.
“Our inventory comes from a plethora of generous community donors. Shoppers tell us we have great inventory, the best prices, and incredible volunteers and staff,” says Michelle Krompegal, director of retail operations. “Not only can thrifty shoppers receive great deals, but they are also helping our community members in need and reducing items that go into the landfill.”
Donations of new or clean, gently used clothing and small household items are always welcome, she says, adding that children’s and men’s clothing and shoes are in high demand. Contributions are tax-deductible. Buckhead Thriftique started as a clothing ministry in 1987. The first store opened on Piedmont Road in 2006 before moving to its current location in 2010. A recent expansion and renovation doubled the space.
800 Miami Circle N.E., Suite 160
CATHEDRAL THRIFT HOUSE
When it comes to resale shops, Cathedral Thrift House is one of the oldest kids on the block. It’s been around since 1949, with several relocations over the decades. Operated by The Cathedral of St. Philip to serve the community, the nonprofit shop is well stocked with an eyepopping assortment of high-quality items from designer clothing and accessories to home goods and furniture, gently used to brand new. The inventory is donated by parishioners and residents from Buckhead and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Our customers love the thrill of the hunt for unique treasures at a great value,” says manager Nellie Holleman. “Some come in daily, especially our antique dealers and designers, but also our neighbors. Many come in once a week. We have a saying ‘You snooze, you lose,’ as new merchandise comes in daily. If you see it, buy it then as tomorrow it might be gone.”
That includes china by Limoges, Haviland and Minton, and crystal by Waterford, Baccarat and Rosenthal. Among the crown jewels: a Picasso studio painting and an elegant set of Saint Louis Crystal “Excellence” water goblets (both sold at auction), and two diamond bracelets appraised at $2,500 each (sold at the fall trunk show).
Resale is a win-win situation across the board, Holleman says. Donors can recycle unneeded items to benefit others and get a tax deduction for themselves. Customers can have fun shopping for necessities and affordable luxuries in a hospitable setting. And net profits benefit various church missions and community charities. Respite Care Atlanta, The Boyce L. Ansley School for Homeless Children and Church of the Common Ground have been selected as recipients.
“We are staffed by a wonderful, talented and devoted group of volunteers along with a small paid staff equally devoted,” she says. “To many, we are a place to come to whether you buy or not. Everyone is welcome.”
1893 Piedmont Road N.E.
From activewear to evening gowns, sizes 00 to 3X, there’s something for everyone at Consigning Women, says co-owner Cindi Williams, who opened shop in Dunwoody in 2009 with long-time friend Jenny Neuger. The two quickly doubled the space from 2,000- to 4,000-square-feet within the first six months. “Our stock runs the gamut. Everything is organized by size and color, so you can go right to the rack and see if we have the top you might be looking for or that pair of dressy shoes for an evening out,” she says. “Of course, we love the ladies who stay all day—and we have them.”
Most items are priced between $20 to $150; the occasional bag goes for up to $2,000. Purses are the top sellers, with Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Kate Spade and Coach all in the mix. Some merchandise is new: We found an NWT Escada skirt that retails for $690 on the floor for $28.50. Inventory hanging around for 30 days is discounted 25%.
“It’s fun to watch women find that perfect piece and help them with their wardrobe needs,” Williams says. That includes brides. Though the store doesn’t carry traditional wedding gowns, it does offer some unique alternatives for the big day. “We had a bride looking for something a little classy and a little funky for a sundown wedding on the lake. She found the most beautiful brown dress with a full taffeta skirt and a beaded bolero to go with her stunning cowboy boots.”
Proud of their reputation as the “Cheers” of the consignment world (“After you visit a few times, everyone knows your name!”), Williams says the team works hard to please customers and consigners in a friendly, relaxing shopping environment. “We’ve been blessed to take in new consignments every day for the 10 years that we’ve been open. So when we say it is never the same store twice, we really mean it.”
A biannual turnover sale on winter clothing is set for early March, with remaining inventory donated to the Wellspring Living thrift stores. “People literally mark their calendars for this,” says Williams. “We just have an unbelievably loyal following of consignment shoppers.”
2508 Mount Vernon Road
LABELS RESALE BOUTIQUE
Prepare to shop ’til you drop at Labels Resale Boutique, a top destination for luxury consignment since 2009. The five locations include three within walking distance on Paces Ferry Place, one in Sandy Springs and a deep discount outlet center in Vinings.
Start at the main store, housed in an English-style cottage in Buckhead, to peruse contemporary women’s tops, bottoms, suiting, athletic wear, denim, handbags and accessories. Cross the street to browse designer offerings for men. Just down the way, there’s a colorfully chic runway of dresses and shoes, both casual and formal, from Banana Republic and Balenciaga to Lily Pulitzer and Louis Vuitton. St. John, premier designer handbags and clutches, accessories, jewelry and sunglasses can also be found.
Owned by Fernando Perez and Susan Stephens, the boutique consigns items for 90 days and pays 50% of the sold price to the consignor. Unsold items are either picked up by consignors or donated to various charities.
The stylish selection comes from high-end wardrobes in Atlanta and around the country. Online shopping is available, too, with such recent offerings as a black leather Collier de Chien bracelet by Hermes for $650, Chanel red acetate sunglasses for $300 and beaded dangle earrings by Mignonne Gavigan for $50.
3208 Paces Ferry Place
Dress & Shoe:
3235 Paces Ferry Place
3209 Paces Ferry Place
227 Sandy Springs Place
LOST-N-FOUND YOUTH THRIFT STORE
With rave reviews on Yelp proclaiming it “the pinnacle of thrift stores” and “the best thrift store ever,” Lost-N-Found Youth Thrift Store is a go-to mecca for mega-thrifters, antiquers, prop designers and folks looking for just about anything. Open daily, with prices starting at a quarter and hardback books going for a buck, the shop brims with clothing, furniture, small household appliances, office furniture, fitness equipment, electronics, art, toys, home decor and more. Everything is donated, with contributions largely coming from individuals and businesses in the community.
A recent inventory check turned up Doc Martens for $8, leather cowboy boots for $30 and a Kate Spade bag for $40. For sporty types: a MacGregor Jack Nicklaus CG 1800 3-PW men’s golf set for $40 and a Mongoose sports bike for $50. Among the furniture in the newly-expanded showroom was a cherrywood armoire for $150 and a Pottery Barn wooden queen sleigh bed for $250. There was a Tiffany & Co. 18-piece dinner set for $150, and a 2001 Nissan Altima for $1,700.
Prized relics have been claimed as well—most notably, a 1925 Singer sewing machine, an antique cuckoo clock and a silk Persian rug. Come Halloween and Christmas, a sizable chunk of space is filled with seasonal merchandise. It doesn’t hurt that Lost-N-Found is a popular drop spot for movie props, with consistent donations from TV shows like “The Walking Dead.”
Aside from scoring great deals, unearthing unique finds and reducing landfill waste, shopping resale at Lost-N-Found is literally changing lives. Proceeds from the thrift store directly fund the programs and services of Lost-N-Found Youth, an Atlanta-based nonprofit with a mission to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth. This includes emergency and transitional housing, a 24-hour crisis hotline and a youth center that assists with job placement, healthcare, housing and educational opportunities. Nearly 60% of the organization’s operating budget comes from revenue from the thrift store, now in its seventh year.
For super savings, go the last Monday of the month, with 50% off clothing and linens.
2585 Chantilly Drive N.E.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY
St. Vincent de Paul Georgia operates 13 thrift stores across the state, including a Chamblee location, offering clothing, household goods, appliances, furniture, children’s items and new mattresses at discounted prices. The mission-driven enterprise is self-sustaining and community minded. Shopping vouchers are available to people in need, helping them move toward stability and self-sufficiency. It also creates jobs, providing training and work experience for those facing barriers to employment. Revenue funds direct aid for clients in the form of assistance for rent, utilities, medical expenses, transportation, etc. Unwanted items are sold as raw material for recyclers.
5463 Peachtree Road, Suite A
THE DRAKE CLOSET
With three locations, The Drake Closet sells new and gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. Prices range from $3 to $30. All of the merchandise is donated, with proceeds benefiting The Drake House, which provides emergency housing for women and children in North Fulton.
6030 Sandy Springs Circle
Sandy Springs 30328
Contributing Writer, Simply Buckhead; journalist and graphic designer