Encore, Encore!At This Resale Shop Honesty Is The Best (Dressed) PolicyBy Zandra Wolfgram
If you want to get dressed to kill, visit Encore on Eglin Parkway in Fort Walton Beach. Owned and operated by Nadia Maura for six years, Encore is a 3,000-square-foot consignment boutique that has been in operation in this location for more than two decades. Though Encore offers women’s name brand and designer apparel, shoes and accessories, it has an especially large inventory of new and nearly new formal wear and wedding dresses.
Growing up in Holland, Maura helped out with the family’s bistro restaurant. But continuing that tradition wasn’t going to satisfy this confident businesswoman once she grew up. “I always said if I owned my own business it wouldn’t be a restaurant,” she says emphatically.
After managing Encore for many years, Maura got to know the business and its customers. When the previous owner retired five years ago, it was a natural for Maura to give Encore another curtain call. She kept the business concept the same, but she upgraded the quality of the shop’s window displays and merchandise. “We are very selective,” she says. “It’s all about the customers and what they want; it’s not about what I like.”
Maura is proud to own a consignment shop that offers clients an equal split, which is 10 percent more than other such shops in town. “I want to be 50-50 because it is the most honest way,” she says, adding, “We are able to afford it since we turn over a lot. Our clients know if they wait to think about something, it won’t be here.”
Photo by Scott Holstein
Being fair is integral to Maura’s business and personal philosophy. For Maura, being fair is a good business practice. “The beautiful thing is here, I don’t cater to a specific age group. The more people you get in your shop the more you sell,” she says. “I want mom, daughter and grandma in trendy, classy, style pieces.”
Maura has developed close relationships with her customers, some of whom visit her daily. “It’s a thrill for them to check to see what I have each day,” she says. After some time, it was easy for her to put things aside for her “steady regulars” knowing their sense of style and taste so well. But these days, Maura swears by the “first come, first served” system. “I used to shop for customers, but now I don’t think it’s fair. This way others can have something, and if they’re happy they’ll come back again for something else,” she says. For this conscientious shop owner, the long-term relationship is much more important to her than making a short-term sale.
When it comes to designer brands, Maura will go the extra mile to give customers a good deal, but only if it’s the real deal. “There are a lot of knock offs out there. I do my research. I go to boutiques and check the pricing on items and look for things and see what is real and authentic,” she says. Maura will only accept a high-end brand such as Coach, Louis Vuitton, Chanel or Prada, if the owner can produce proof of their purchase. “I want to stand behind it,” she says. There are but a few exceptions. “I have a couple of consigners who are extremely wealthy. For them, I don’t have to ask, because I know.”
They also know when it comes to fashion advice they will always get an honest opinion from Maura. “I’m straight forward. I tell them exactly what I think if they ask me,” she says matter-of-factly.
29 Eglin Parkway SE | (850) 243-1951
Shop here if … you are looking for a “totally different relationship than going to a department store.”
How it works: The shop accepts laundered women’s apparel on hangars, shoes and jewelry by appointment.
The deal you’ll get is a 50-50 split on merchandise sold within 30 days.
Hot sellers are premium denim, designer bags and silver jewelry.
Specialties are formal gowns and wedding dresses.
One cool feature is that checks are mailed monthly no matter how small the commission.
Charity case: Items not sold are donated to Head Start in Fort Walton Beach.
The Skinny on Jeans
• Women ages 18 to 34 are willing to spend $60 on average
• 1 in 10 women say they’ve shelled out more than $100 for a pair of jeans
• 85 percent wear jeans once a week
• 91 percent own at least one pair
• On average women own seven pair, but wear only four pair regularly
Source: ShopSmart magazine, Sept. 2010
How to Spot a Fake
Everyone loves a bargain. But if a price seems too good to be true on that Coach bag or those Prada pumps, you may not be getting the “real” deal for such a steal. Keep an eye out for:
• Labels that are blurred or torn
• Product names that are misspelled or altered
• Unannounced changes in product content, color or packaging
• Missing codes, 800 consumer numbers or trademarks
• Products lacking the usual guarantees and/or licensing agreements one should find
Source: The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition