Once she’s out of earshot, Geller admits that most Buffalo Exchange customers don't fully grasp the buy-sell-trade process. Secondhand selling is a $16 billion industry, one that grows at a steady rate of 6 percent each year, according to Prince.
Today, high-end vintage and consignment shops can be found in major shopping cities like New York and Los Angeles, while stores like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads proliferate across the country, bringing in millions in revenue by catering to mall brands. These stores resonate with shoppers because they buy clothing for cash, as well as stock low-priced items for sale.
E-commerce sites backed by venture capital firms are also making their mark, notes Prince analyst Made Jagiellon. The boom in the secondhand market not only dovetails with the ascent of the cost-aware shopper, but also a move toward consumer consciousness.
Though fast fashion is still a visibly growing segment, shoppers have also become more aware of its environmental and social impact. Secondhand stores are also perfect for the shopper at the opposite end of the spectrum from Combs.
Katrina Fall, a 25-year-old manager at Beacon’s Closet in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, adds that online shopping has also increased the popularity of secondhand chains. “People are always buying things online that don’t fit, or they will miss the window of return and are stuck with the clothing, so they sell them here.
Buffalo Exchange also has its eye out for what's going to sell quickly, since they only keep items on the sales floor for about a month. “A lot of the times, with the Zara stuff, you see it so frequently because it’s so inexpensive,” Geller explains.
Geller also notes that Buffalo Exchange doesn’t typically buy brands that are cheap to begin with. Buyers will take a look at items to see if they're special, but will usually end up turning down pieces from Forever 21, H&M, and Old Navy.
Buffalo Exchange is also keen to take note of what’s selling (fringe, distressed jean, fit-and-flare dresses, and crop tops are driving interest right now), so its buyers can seek out those pieces, no matter their brand or season. “The big thing we look for is people who are excited about clothing,” says Geller of the chain's buyers.
These aren't simple sales positions, but rather full-fledged fashion jobs (Broad City's Rabbi and Lana would surely agree). Buyers at Buffalo Exchange take turns producing trend reports every two weeks, detailing which items are selling well, both in secondhand stores and at full-priced retail shops.
Jake Biddle come, a buyer at the brand’s Williamsburg outpost, explains that his average shopper is extremely educated about what’s in stores, so Crossroads can’t afford to buy anything that’s dated. When a middle-aged teacher recently came to his store looking to sell an entire suitcase filled with old White House Black Market, Nordstrom, and Barneys clothing, Biddle come turned almost all of it down, even though the customer was selling in-style items like maxi dresses and flared jeans.
At the Williamsburg store earlier this month, postcards at the register featured a detailed list of what the store was buying for spring (trapeze dresses, Chelsea boots, floral prints, blush tones, safari pieces), while its website recently put up a summer hunt agenda (polka dots, boat shoes, nautical striped pieces, minimal sneakers, statement purses). “We don’t completely eradicate a label, even if it’s a cheap company, because if it’s a really current Forever 21 piece, someone is going to buy it,” says Biddle come.
“We just price those items for lower and know that our customer would buy it, especially because Forever 21 rips everyone off anyways, so you know you’re still getting the trend!” The brands that Crossroads pays special attention to depend on neighborhood, Biddle come explains.
Its Brooklyn location leans more towards “street fashion” and its customers are always thirsty for local favorites like Made well and Rachel Coma. On a recent weekday afternoon, the store’s racks are overflowing with affordable Diane on Gutenberg, Rotate, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Anna Sui, and Offer Randall.
Beacon's Closet founder Carrie Peterson even has her employees do some detective work. “Everything in the store needs to make sense to a shopper,” he explains, moments after he hands a pair of vintage Fred Perry sneakers back to its owner.
Consignment shops certainly give sellers a shot at making more money, but Beacon’s Fall notes that people unload their clothes at buy-sell-trade stores because they want quick cash. She adds that her Beacon’s Closet location is at its most jam-packed on the first and last days of the month, when New Yorkers are trying to scrape together enough for rent.
“In this regard, clothing is similar to cars: the second you buy it and drive it off that lot, it will lose its value.” I thought about this question and came to conclusion that because they’re both stores that rely on used, vintage and consignment clothes, you can’t really judge them on their inventory.
By the nature of their business, their inventory is inconsistent; what they had last week is hardly representative of what they’ll have today. In the summer, Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads will have more shorts and tank tops on their racks.
You’ll be the most happy walking out of a Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads location that’s best suited to your fashion tastes. In my experience, Buffalo Exchange shops tend to be in hipper areas than Crossroads can be found.
For example, if you’re buying/selling a lot of street wear, vintage t-shirts, and ironic sweatshirts, you’ll do much better in Buffalo Exchanges in the East Village or The Mission where they cater to a younger, hipster style. If you’re looking to buy or sell a Calvin Klein dress shirt, then you might want to go to the Crossroads in the Castro or Flatiron.
Bring in your mall store brand name clothing and accessories. We will create an offer based upon brand, style, condition and current trends.
Feel free to call us, but please know that we can not give you a price quote on the phone. Recycling your closet clean out with Buffalo Exchange is a great way to help out the environment while earning a little extra money or trade towards a new wardrobe.
Call your local Buffalo Exchange or ask an employee in-store to set up an appointment to sell. We pay 30% of our selling price in cash via PayPal or 50% in a Digital Trade Card.
We’re always on the lookout for: Plus sizes; Menswear; Everyday staples like Jeans, T-shirts and Button-Ups; Dresses; Shoes; Sweaters and Jackets; Shorts and Skirts; Designer; Vintage; Jewelry; Costumes; and Athletic Wear. We're currently buying by in-person appointment and ask that you limit your clean out to about 50 items and let it sit, untouched, for about 24 hours before bringing it in.
In a few short weeks, we’ll send your cash and trade totals directly to your inbox. We buy men’s and women’s clothing and accessories in excellent condition, including designer items, popular mall brands, athletic wear, current trends, everyday staples, vintage, and one-of-a-kind pieces.
We’re looking for brands like Made well, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Top man, Patagonia, Anthropologist, Eileen Fisher, Cloth, Ralph Lauren, Vince, Adidas, ZARA, Free People, J. Crew, Levi's, Bonobos, Nike, Eliquis, ASOS, The North Face, PAIGE Denim, Ann Taylor, Penguin, Chico's, Fumier, Joe's Jeans, Dr. Martens, PUMA, Lucky Brand, Gap, Vans, Uniqlo, Lou & Grey, Maritza, Theory, Velvet, LOFT, Torrid, Ever lane, Saints, Stop Staring!, Ben Sherman, Reformation, Lazy Oaf, Outdoor Voices, Universal Standard, rag & bone, Tommy Hilfiger, AG Jeans.