While living in New York and Chicago, I loved exploring consignment stores and designer discount stores, looking for designer bags, beautiful shoes and investment clothing, but upon returning to Cleveland, I realized that there was not a high-end luxury consignment store similar to those on the east coast.
That is when I launched the Cleveland Consignment Shoppe and successfully built a business on a niche.
In the several years that I have been in business, I have been able to expand, change locations and increase staff. My business has increased 375 percent in the first year, 281 percent in the second year and 44 percent in the third year. Mostly, I am happy with my work and grateful to do something that I love.
Building a business on a niche that has not existed in the past provides great opportunity.
- Look at other markets and determine what would make sense in a new market.
What is happening in the bigger markets? Would it work in Cleveland?
- Open a business with growth potential and do your research.
According to the Association of Resale Professionals, the resale business continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of retail. The industry has experienced growth, in number of stores, of approximately 7 percent per year for the past two years.
In 2014, venture capital firms invested more than $100 million in the online consignment industry — up from just $40 million invested in 2013.
- Stay focused.
There were already several consignment stores in Cleveland, but none focused only on high-end brands. As we have grown, we have stayed true to our mission and standards.
- Test, test, test
I tested my idea in a pop-up marketplace. Once I was certain that there was demand, I signed a lease.
- Find the perfect location.
Location was the key to success and growth of my business.
- Limit your startup costs.
Minimize the amount of money you spend to get the idea up and running
I didn’t have a big budget starting out, and it served me well. I learned find effective and efficient ways to get things done.
- Never, never, never give up.
Roadblocks will come. People will bring you down. If you truly believe in your idea, don’t let anything stop you.
Susie Vitale opened Cleveland Consignment Shoppe in Woodmere (The Golovan Medical Building) in September 2012 when she recognized the desire for consumers to purchase luxury items second hand at affordable prices. CCS is now one of the largest luxury consignment stores in the region. Susie has a background in entrepreneurialism, web strategy/marketing and retail management.
 National Association of Resale Professionals