Customer Spotlight - TRENDS
Customer Spotlight

Great Tips from Successful Retailers

My name is Amanda Sabatino and I grew up performing on various Chicago stages. I was always interested in the business side of things, I just never imagined I would have a consignment shop! Trends was opened in April 2012 and it was a dream come true. I absolutely love walking into my store and having a completely different experience from the day before – with resale, you never know what your day is going to be like or who/what is going to come in through those doors. It’s an exciting adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything.


SSS: 1. Why did you start your business?

TRENDS: The clothing industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world. From the dyes, to the plastic- based fabrics, the energy used to produce and ship overseas and the shear amount of wasted fabric and then disposable clothing (we produce far more than the world can use), fashion is filling our landfills, rivers and oceans much faster than our closets. The key is to buy quality, not quantity and consider resale before retail. Resale is the future and I could not be prouder to be at the front of the line.

SSS: 2. Describe your proudest moment as a business owner?

TRENDS: Resale is not only important for the environment, but for our bank accounts too! I recently had a consignor purchase a designer bag (for 75% off it’s original retail price) AND have enough in her account to pay off a phone bill. The money she made in my store is what gave her the ability to pay off her bills, and afford a designer bag that she wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. The sheer joy on her face at that moment, makes me love what I do even more. By owning a consignment shop, I give women the confidence to manage their finances and afford a fashionable wardrobe – that’s a major win in my book!


SSS: 3. What are the new/existing challenges you are facing as a retailer/business owner?

TRENDS: All you hear about in the news lately is "this store is closing.. that store is closing"… It can be discouraging at times. Luckily, the resale industry is booming right now and continues to grow! Resale shops are popping up everywhere and instead of seeing them as competition, I see them as opportunities to connect with other business owners. It’s a sign that resale is at the front lines of the fashion industry and is just getting better and better and more mainstream. My greatest challenge, like with any business owner, is to stay ahead of the curve… "what are customers looking for next? What do they want in a brick & mortar store? What kind of experience are they looking for" Those thoughts are constantly on my mind, and it can be a challenge but that’s what I find most enjoyable about business!

SSS: 4. What is the long term vision for your store?

TRENDS: Being in business for 7 years, it’s all about staying current and giving the customers what they want. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have been in business for so long! I recently started an online store for Trends and they are loving it! An online store was number one on my list, now that I can cross that off, the possibilities are endless. I would love to open multiple locations and branch out in different departments.


SSS: 5. What type of marketing works best for you?

TRENDS: Social Media has been our #1 BEST way to market. Facebook being our main source. We also host live Facebook show during the week, with style tips and our favorite items that are available for purchase. We also send out an average of 3 emails a month to our email list – highlighting monthly events or new inventory and those are successful too.


SSS: 6. When it comes to customer service, how do you keep your customers happy?

TRENDS: We really listen to them. With internet shopping continuously growing, it’s so important to let our customers have a voice and give them that 1:1 experience that they can’t get from a computer!! Even though we are a "small business" just outside of Chicago, we still know our customers by name and their stories. It’s that type of service that keeps them coming back day after day. Actually, listening to them is key… when you’re a business owner, it’s not about what you want… it’s all about what the customer wants and needs. If you go into business with that mentality, you will go far. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for their support and loyalty… and for that we are ever grateful! We try to show that gratitude whenever possible by having a loyalty program and hosting monthly shopping events.

SSS: 7. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since launching your business?

TRENDS: It kind of piggy backs the last answer… that we are there for the customer and to really listen to them. What are their complaints & compliments? There’s always something there that you can turn into a business idea. Being in business is all about service. How can you serve other people and make their lives easier? The answer to that the key to a successful business.


SSS: 8. What solution/problem are you solving with our products and why? What are the results?

TRENDS: Resale is a green industry, by selling high quality items at a discounted price we are keeping clothes out of landfills, among other things. We also donate our unsold inventory to local charities. We reuse everything we possibly can and give back to our community every chance we get. Not only are we light on the environment, but we are light on your wallets too! Why let unused clothing / accessories just sit in your closet collecting dust? You can consign them, make some money off it, and have enough money to buy something else or have a little extra for spending!

SSS: 9. What are your favorite things you have ordered from SSS?

TRENDS: My entire store was created with items from Specialty Store Services -from the mannequins, to the racks & standards, to the display pieces throughout the store (jewelry cases, display boxes, etc). With the help of SSS I was able to redo my entire store and create a boutique atmosphere I had always wanted. It’s hard to pick just one item as my favorite… it’s like asking to pick your favorite child! Everything is useful in its own way and adds its own charm to the atmosphere of the store.

SSS: 10. How has Specialty Store Services helped your business?

TRENDS: Our business started as a small division of a furniture consignment shop and quickly outgrew its space. In 2015 we expanded into a 3,500 sq foot space and never looked back! This past September, we did a complete facelift – painted, added racks, created more displays, etc. Last fall I was at SSS, they knew me by name! Specialty Store Services was a lifesaver. We get multiple compliments a day on the new look of the store – it’s all thanks to Specialty Store Services and the variety they offer.


TRENDS is located at
810 North Blvd.
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 434-0801

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