store owner Melissa Baxter knows how to make money. And she does it in a win-win, fun way.
Consigners turn their old clothes into cash and shoppers pay a fraction of retail prices for designer and everyday brands.
Scheduled monthly events bring in new business as well as private parties where shoppers have the store to themselves and buy at a discount.
In addition to her Merchant's Walk store, Baxter's consignment holdings include 8,000 square feet of retail space in Lilburn.
At 30, Baxter owns a mall that is divided into two women's clothing stores. The stores had a semi-annual $1 sale yesterday. All proceeds went towards the care of a rescued German Shepherd-mix dog.
"The dollar sale has grown so big that we have to hire police to help with traffic on Lawrenceville Highway."
The Lilburn location is the oldest consignment store in Georgia, which may have inspired Baxter to form and lead Atlanta Consignment Stores, a membership organization committed to marketing clothing and furniture consignment shops.
Baxter organizes bus shopping tours for the group. The next one rolls out on March 24th.
Baxter employs 16 people, a mix of part-time and full-time positions. She said most people have been with her for about 8 years. She runs a Christian business where decisions are made with a family value focus.
Look for grand opening events of the expanded space in Merchant's Walk at Back By Popular Demand's website or its Facebook page.
Q. What is the best thing about East Cobb?
A. It's family oriented. It is definitely it's own community. People are warm and friendly.
Q. Why did you choose to open your business in East Cobb?
A. I wanted to try something different from my other store. This is part of a center, in Lilburn, the store is free standing. There's a lot of activity here, a lot of potential for business growth.
At the time we opened, there were no consignment stores in East Cobb.
Q. Why did you pick this kind of business?
A. Every day's like Christmas.
You literally never know what's going to happen, things are always changing.
Q. What are some of the services you offer that people don't know about?
A. We accept items all year round, clothes don't have to be in season.
We sell a lot of things on Facebook and from our website.
Once we got in a Coach purse and I put a picture of it on Facebook with a mention that it was gently worn. The price was $65.
Within four minutes I got a phone call. A woman said she wanted it and asked me to hold it until lunch. She came running in here.
A lot of ladies are regular buyers of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and other designer brands. It's hard to keep up with our on-line store. We ship all over the country.
About 40% of sales is from Facebook.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. This store has been open a year.
Q. How did your business get started?
A. Well, I worked at a consignment store in Decatur and one of the owners left and started her own store in Lilburn.
I was 19 and fearless. I heard that the Lilburn store was for sale and within two weeks I had signed the contract and owned it.
At first I wondered how I was going to make the payments. I do pray a lot.
My family lives in Marietta, now, so I looked for a place here.
I've added a zero to my monthly property payments and it's still fun because I know how to run the business.
Q. Do you have advice for anyone who'd like to start a small business in this area?
A. Be willing to change. If things aren't working, always be open to ask advice and make changes.
And, you have to love what you do.
Q. Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?
A. We price it right to move it. 83 percent if our inventory sells in the first 28 days.
We get in a minimum of 800 pieces everyday.
This truly is a new store every day.
Back By Popular Demand Consignment
Merchants Walk Plaza
1255 Johnson Ferry Rd., Ste. 13