TAMPA, Fla. — As inflation soars, many people are cutting back and looking for ways to get a little extra spending money. The owner of labelswap on Kennedy Boulevard describes their model as a mix of thrift, consignment, and upscale resale.
The business opened in Jan. 2020, a few months before the global pandemic. Chris Pearson, who owns and operates the store with his wife, said they've seen their fair share of ups and downs. And right now, they're receiving an unprecedented amount of interest from people wanting to trade in luxury brands for cash or store credit.
"We are purchasing 30 to 60 customer items, and we are (now) limiting that to 30 per customer," Pearson said. "We have 11,000 items with 2,000 added a week."
Pearson said the way the market is now, their business model is off balance. More and more customers want to take the cash and go, so they have to limit how much they buy and turn customers away.
"So, labelswap is a little different than consignment; it's a little different than thrift," Pearson said. "The first thing that we do is we purchase all the clothing direct from consumer. You can bring it to us, and we'll enter it into our proprietary system, we'll assign it a retail price. And then from there, we'll pay 50% in-store credit or 30% in cash on the spot, consignment you typically have to wait until it sells to get paid. And there's a reduction period; you take the risk out of that."
With the cost of fuel and food rising, Pearson thinks more people are saving. But, if you need luxury clothes for a job interview, he told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska there are deals to be had.
"What is a customer saving compared to paying full price?" Paluska asked.
"50-70% off of retail," Pearson said. "So our target market is Zara, entry-level will go up to a Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, that's kind of a high end for us, we're targeting that international mall brand."
Director of Marketing for Goodwill Suncoast, Chris Ward, told Paluska they're seeing more and more donations coming in.
"People are shopping to get sales at our stores are up about 10% year over year even," Ward said. "Smart shoppers come to Goodwill and look for the brands; they like the things they like, whether it be clothes or household goods, they're going to save a lot of money. And, 89% of our revenues go to support services to the community."
These include free books for children through their children's literacy program and job connection centers to help people with resumes and cover letters.
At Goodwill, Pearson said you have to sometimes search through a sea of items to find a high-end brand at a bargain price, but not at labelswap.
"So we'll leaf through the items coming in the door from the customers, and we pick the best of those items," Pearson said. "So, now when you come in here, the idea is that you find something that is awesome quality, brand name."