Is a quilted Chanel bag trash or treasure? How about a pair of Christian Louboutin platform pumps? Answer: They’re both. Just ask stylist Mary Gonsalves Kinney, who recently launched a consignment business, The MGK Edit, selling luxury castoffs from her high-flying clients.
“I do believe that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure—though in the case of our clients it’s never trash,” says Gonsalves Kinney. “This is very nice stuff, often custom or exclusive pieces, that sometimes has been worn just once.”
Gonsalves Kinney, whose 50 or so clients around the country might spend six or seven figures annually on a designer wardrobe, says that helping them unload some of their surplus pieces is part of her “recycle, repurpose, reuse” ethos. And unlike a large consignment company like The Real Real, the MGK team has a personal connection to many of the items, which has its advantages.
“In many instances, these are pieces that I acquired for the client in the first place, so I know they’re real and I know where they came from,” explains Gonsalves Kinney. “It gets a little tricky with some consignment shops because you don’t have a guarantee of authenticity when you’re buying it secondhand.”
Another advantage: “When we post on a new item that we’re consigning, we’ll show people how to style it and how to wear it. We’ll talk about the piece, what collection it was from, giving people more background than you’d get from a large consignment website.”
Buyers, many of them loyal followers of Gonsalves Kinney’s styling business on Instagram, can score some relative bargains by purchasing secondhand goods. But hunting for discounts isn’t necessarily the name of the game. “It’s more about getting your hands on pieces that are coveted that you can’t find elsewhere,” says Gonsalves Kinney. “The value of what you get is access to high-end, exclusive items.”
Of course, not everything in a client’s closet is marketable. “We’re really particular about what we’ll accept. I’m known for being brutally honest with my clients, and they know that. So I might say, ‘I’m sorry but this is just not something that I know our viewership is going to be interested in buying.’”
When it comes to the luxury consignment business, there really is no stigma to buying used. “People want vintage items sometimes more than they want the newest collection pieces,” says Gonsalves Kinney. “When you buy something that is secondhand but timeless, that is really what matters.”