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Wendi Smith – Leftover Luxuries

Sitting around a fire pit sharing wine one night, Wendi Smith and her girlfriends started throwing business ideas around. With the new economic climate they talked about how everyone was re-evaluating how and where they spend their incomes. As an interior designer, Wendi had leftovers from interior design clients, evening gowns worn once and a clothes that didn’t work for her with the tags still on. Some of the women wanted to redo things in their homes but no budget. Wendi came up with the idea of a group consignment sale.

Wendi says, “I always have leftovers from my clients – fabric/furniture/pillows/lighting. Clients, friends and even I really started to think twice before replacing something that was in great condition, or were less likely to just give things away. But, if I could sell what I wanted to replace and put that money towards the new items. how sweet would that be?” From that came the name and concept of Leftover Luxuries. So, around the fire pit, the girlfriends started telling about all the stuff they could sell and couldn’t wait to see the items that would come from the friends’ closets and homes.

Wendi didn’t want a store front or a second hand store that would take a major part of her day to staff and manage. A store would also be a large financial commitment with a lease. With two boys ages 10 and 6 a large tag sale event several times a year was more desirable and seemed like a great idea. Living in Charlottesville, VA and with friends in different parts of the country, the idea of being mobile took hold.

The items that are consigned are generally 50 to 75% off of the retail price. Leftover Luxuries was created to turn someone’s leftovers into another person’s luxuries. Wendi’s concept of providing a high-end sale amongst fashionable locals took shape. People can sign up as consignees to sell their home items and accessories. They receive a 60/40 split of the proceeds (consignee keeps 60%, Leftover Luxuries keeps 40%). Leftover Luxuries provides the rented venue space, advertising, and promotional material to help bring in potential buyers. Not only can you sell your items you can also look for new things at the sale.

As a mobile shop, Wendi works with contacts two to three months in advance to scout out a location and to spread the word to friends in the area. The latest venue is in Westport, CT from May 21 – 24. Local people, designers and retailers alike are all welcome to participate. Leftover Luxuries focuses on furniture and home accessories, with a secondary focus on personal designer and vintage items including clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories ; new or gently used.

Leftover Luxuries has taken off with each event bigger than the one before. Wendi now has several sales events slated for 2010 throughout the country. It’s very much like a movable ebay store for upscale items.

Contact: [email protected]
VentureMom Tip Reinvent a successful idea using a different venue.

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