Marci Kessler is the CEO of DoubleTake Consignment Boutiques: four stores throughout New Jersey; Short Hills, Ridgewood, Englewood and Red Bank. She has over 21 years experience in the fashion industry and has been involved in managing and maintaining the unique world of quality, designer consignment since launching her first boutique in May, 1992. What a role model for her two teenage sons, who have watched each of their parents run their own businesses and work hard every day to maintain them. But, of course, she had no idea this would be her future when she got her first job in high school, working in the changing room at Loehmann’s …
MKG: Marci, what did you learn from that early experience at Loehmann’s?
Marci: Ultimately, I learned much more than I thought at the time. I remember my manager would go through the racks at the end of the day and make sure that every piece of clothing looked perfect. I needed to check that before I could leave the store; I think that is why I am a stickler today. Working in Loehmann’s I developed skills in merchandising, display, and customer service. In those days, Loehmann’s had impeccable customer service; it was their top priority. And today, quality customer service is the key for me. I want customers to feel like they are being taken care of when they shop: doors opened for them, help with moving their clothing to consign from the cars to the store, going above and beyond with every detail. This is very important to me.
MKG: What inspired you to open DoubleTake?
Marci: After working in the garment center for years, I had found my passion. I loved New York, I loved fashion; I was a buyer and a seller – I loved everything about it. But after experiencing a personal tragedy and losing a baby, I needed to be near home and not return to New York. One day, I gathered my old clothes, took them to a consignment shop and found the experience so frustrating and uncomfortable, I took my clothes back with me and, in that moment, decided I could open my own store. I became a sponge: I did my research, traveled the country, spoke to people and asked millions of questions about how to run a consignment shop. It was exhilarating! The one thing that everyone agreed upon was, never have a partner. And I never have. My husband works in marketing and branding, and when we started DoubleTake, he helped to spread the word, but I have never had a partner. The Short Hills boutique opened its doors in May, 1992.
MKG: Since 1992, DoubleTake has really caught fire! What is your dream for DoubleTake boutiques?
Marci: We now have four stores and a thriving ecommerce business. My goal is to have each store running perfectly. Consignment is not the typical retail experience. You have the customer, the consignor and two sides to monitor at all times, all while making sure the inventory is managed and maintained and items are the top quality when they are received.
MKG: I know what I love about consignment shopping! Why do you think women feel so passionate about it? What can they find here that they can’t find in other stores?
Marci: The people who come to DoubleTake want quality and uniqueness but they want to shop smart. Even people who can afford to buy designer names, want to shop wisely and not overpay. They want the customer service that we offer and frankly, is harder to find in department stores today. And there is the love factor: when consignors come in with their much-loved pieces, they remind me how much they loved wearing them. I tell them that someone will purchase it and love it as much as they did.