Barrington boutique offers break from high prices
Paula Conrad (left) of Mount Prospect and Sandy Conrad are sisters-in-law and co-owners of Double Exposure Elite Resale in Barrington, a women's high-end designer resale consignment shop. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:48AM
BARRINGTON — With the prices of high-end clothing being too high for many women in this economy, Barrington’s Double Exposure Elite Resale offers a break with some of the most sought-after brands at reasonable prices.
“We want our customers to have a boutique experience,” said Sandy Conrad, who runs the store on Northwest Highway with her sister-in-law, Paula Conrad. “We deal strictly with high-end women’s designers.”
Sandy explained that Double Exposure is a consignment-based business that pays a consigner 50 percent of the sale price when their items sell. She said consigners ship clothes from all over the U.S. to Double Exposure.
Although Double Exposure prides itself on affordable prices, Sandy said they still have high-priced items. A Louis Vuitton handbag that has barely been used might sell for near market price, she explained.
“We do the research to find out how things are selling in the resale and retail market,” said Sandy. “We try to be very honest and upfront about what the pieces are.”
However, Paula Conrad explained, many shoppers at Double Exposure are pleasantly surprised at the quality of items and reduced prices.
“We have a wide price range and we have things that are very affordable,” said Paula from behind the counter at the back of the store. “Customers always say the hardest walk is from here to the door.”
Sandy said clothes that are turned down for consignment are either returned to the consigner or donated to the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago to be sold in the charity’s resale shop. She said consigners are usually very generous with their donations.
Sandy said she and Paula always talked about doing business together.
“Then the opportunity came along to buy the business,” she said. In 2006, the sisters-in-law, who are both from the Barrington area, bought the store.
“Barrington is a nice little destination for resale and consignment,” said Sandy. “We have customers who come back once a week just to see what’s new.”
Sandy said the store gets new merchandise in on a daily basis but unlike many consignment shops, Double Exposure does not require appointments for consigners to bring items in. The only pieces they do not consider, she explained, are lingerie and swimsuits.
Although roughly 50 percent of sales from Double Exposure are Internet sales, Sandy explained that from working with about 700 consigners, she enjoys putting a boutique spin on the business.
“We try to give you a good shopping experience when you come,” she said.