I was saddened when Panache Home Decor Consignment Boutique on Esquimalt Road closed its doors. Owner Jeff Isenor certainly gave it a good try, investing some five years in the neighbourhood. The closure, he promised, would not be permanent; he just needed to find a new, higher-traffic site for the store.
Well, good news, my fellow consignment lovers. Panache has reopened at 50 Burnside Road West.
With the move fully complete, the new Panache store is now abundantly stocked with distinctive home treasures. Isenor has an eye for quality and an appreciation for an eclectic variety of décor styles. Intermingled among blown glassware and gently used china settings are funky 1950s chairs, modern lamps, and chic throw pillows.
It’s the kind of place where you can’t take more than a step without stopping for a 360-degree reconnaissance, lest you miss anything. And yet Panache doesn’t feel chaotic. Items are thoughtfully grouped and stylishly displayed as if awaiting a photo shoot. The selected merchandise is of such consistent good quality here, the collection feels almost curated.
Everything at Panache has been consigned, with owners and Panache sharing the sale 50/50. Items are exceptionally well priced to encourage quick turnover.
Panache refreshes its inventory often, rewarding frequent visitors with the best finds. Pieces that linger too long are marked down 50%, yielding some outstanding deals.
- Panache Home Decor Consignment Boutique (250-590-2231), 50 Burnside Road West, Victoria, B.C.
The joys of Christmas shouldn’t be dragged down by the woes of credit-card debt in the New Year. Sure, it’s fun to give and receive, but maybe our holiday gifts don’t have to be quite so costly.
Reader Tracey L. sent me a great question this week: “I am looking for used children’s toys. Do you know of any place in Victoria?”
Parents (as well as doting aunts and uncles) can take advantage of several dedicated children’s consignment stores in Victoria to find great gifts for less. We all know how fast kids grow out of clothes—long before the items are worn out—and the same is often true with toys. As children mature, their needs and interests change.
Here are some excellent kids’ consignment stores to explore:
- Sailor Jack (250-382-5225), 424 Craigflower Road, Victoria.
- Red Rover Kids (778-440-6353), 1722 Lillian Road, Victoria.
- A to Z Kids (250-474-7769 801 Goldstream Ave, Langford.
- Abra-Kid-Abra (250-595-1613), 2024 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria.
Another good option is to search buy-and-sell sites online. I often see children’s toys advertised on UsedVictoria.com and Craigslist Victoria. This is a great place for parents to recycle good-quality toys their children no longer play with and pick up a little cash to help subsidize this year’s festivities.
Finally, don’t overlook Victoria’s thrift stores as a source for children’s toys and clothing. You’ll have to look at little harder to find good, clean, used items—the consignment stores look after that culling for you—but your reward will be rock-bottom prices.
Happy holidays, everyone.
Playing with your food is elevated to an art form at Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase, running November 23, 2013 to January 5, 2014 at Victoria’s Inn at Laurel Point. Amateur and professional chefs have used slabs of spicy holiday gingerbread as the sweet building blocks for some amazing creations, this year around the theme of transportation.
Edible works of art in the 2013 competition range from a remarkably detailed rendition of the Black Ball Ferry Line’s MV Coho to a Star Wars-inspired mechanical reindeer. Culinary teams may invest 70 hours or more from concept to creation.
Admission is free to hotel guests and visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For a small donation, you can vote for your favourite. All money raised goes to Habitat for Humanity Victoria, whose mission is “to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to break the cycle of poverty.” Last year’s event raised more than $16,000.
If the event leaves you with a taste for something sweet, the Inn at Laurel Point is offering a Gingerbread Package until January 1, 2014. Double-occupancy, one-night packages starting at $124 include a special gingerbread welcome amenity, gingerbread dessert for two at the inn’s AURA restaurant, and free hotel parking.
There are good days, and then there are super-duper-fantastic days. I had one of the latter on Saturday when I happened on the new Duchess & Duke boutique at 1824 Government Street.
The consignment shop had been open for just two weeks when Honey and I strolled in. We were actually en route to Verve, another excellent co-ed fashion consignment store on Government, when the attractive window display at Duchess & Duke reeled us in.
The first thing you notice as you walk into the bright, brick-walled space is a light, fresh scent in the air. Many vintage shops have a disagreeable, musty odour, but there is no trace of that at Duchess & Duke. The stylish owner, Kasia, and her business partner—her mom, Ula—launder all pieces and press them using linen water.
The second thing you notice is the owner’s huge collection of vintage suitcases, which are neatly stacked on wall shelves throughout the store to charming effect.
The third thing I noticed was the shelf of attractive handbags near the back of the shop, and in particular, a stunning oversized leather bag in saffron yellow with an equally oversized silver buckle. (Pictured here at my home.) I quickly slipped the Peter Kent Buenos Aires bag over my shoulder and, purring like a Cheshire cat, continued exploring the shop.
Within minutes, Michael was in the change room—that’s right, guys: Duchess & Duke has menswear, too—trying on a stylish, pinstriped navy suit. The slim-cut vintage jacket and pants fit him as if they’d been custom-tailored. Price tag: an incredible $55, the same as my must-have bag.
Kasia and Ula had been collecting for more than three years before opening the store, and their excellent taste is reflected in the carefully chosen pieces. The fashions mingle modern and vintage, from sexy designer jeans and Cuban heeled cowboy boots to crimped turquoise taffeta evening jackets.
Honey and I left Duchess & Duke with the suit for him, the designer bag for me, dress pants, and two beautiful scarves for just $5 apiece. Oh yeah, and great big smiles on both our faces.
* * * * *
You might also enjoy reading: My Favourite Victoria Consignment Fashion Shops
It’s no secret that I’m a devotee of consignment stores. With no two items the same, these shops offer the thrill of the hunt and the delight of a truly original find. I regularly score great designer pieces at a quarter or less of the retail price. Best of all: when I tire of an item, if it’s still in good condition, I can turn around and sell it on consignment to get money to buy more new-to-me pieces.
You won’t find prices in consignment stores as low as those in good thrift stores like Value Village or Vinnie’s (Saint Vincent de Paul) or the Salvation Army. But the advantage is that you won’t have to look as hard to find a good piece. Consignment shop owners require that all items be brought to them clean and pressed, and they vet all items for style and quality, accepting only those they believe will interest their clientelle. That saves you, the shopper, a lot of time, and for that you pay a little more.
Here are my current local favourites, focusing mainly on regular fashions (that is, not vintage). Did I miss your favourite? Comment on this post and let me know!
Baja Rosi’s Consignment Cabana. 103-797 Goldstream Ave. Yes, technically it’s in Langford, not Victoria. But the incredible selection, wide range of sizes, and unbeatably low prices make this my current favourite place to shop for consignment fashions. They even stock a small selection of menswear. Honey was over the moon when he found a pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans for $22.
Verve. 2013 Government St. Shoppers typically pay more here than at other consignment stores, but the quality of the merchandise is top-notch. If you are seeking designer labels in top condition, want to purchase a sleek business suit or a swank party dress, Verve is the place to look.
Looking Glass Divas (formerly Clothesline Clothing). Royal Oak Shopping Centre, West Saanich Road. This shop features great regular specials and sales, such as a “blowout” 40%-off sale once a month and special discounts by day of the week. Check out the Sales & Promotions link on their website.
Rich Rags. 911 Yates St. If you love designer handbags, the selection at Rich Rags’ Yates Street location is impressive. I always enjoy shopping at the Yates Street outlet, but for some reason, the prices seem disproportionately high at their second location at 1316 Douglas.
My Sister’s Closet. 5-1516 Fairfield Rd. Good quality consignment in Fairfield Village.
House Of Savoy. 1869 Oak Bay Ave. Oak Bay was once the exclusive kingdom of Victoria consignment fashion, and the House of Savoy has long been the reining queen.
A La Mode Consignment
. 1507 Wilmot Place, Oak Bay. Labels from Armani to Zara in sizes 0-18, and a great selection of footwear.
Velvet Crease. 1029 Cook St. Reliable, quality consignments.
Flavour Upstairs. 587 Johnson St. I was disappointed on a recent visit to see that the amount of stock at Flavour Upstairs has been greatly diminished, but there are still some fun and funky finds to be had at great prices. Leans a little more toward vintage in its buyers’ taste.
This list by no means includes all of the fashion consignment stores in Victoria. Did I miss one of your favourites? Please write and let me know.
Looking for kids’ clothes? See Two Great Children’s Consignment Stores in Victoria, BC
I’ve been a frequent user of UsedVictoria‘s free online classifieds for years. It’s my favourite local source for secondhand items. I regularly troll the Garden and Antiques sections for possible finds, and simply inputting my shoe or dress size into the Women’s Clothing and Accessories department yields endless bargain fashion opportunities.
What I didn’t know about UsedVictoria, until today, was that it’s possible to set up customized e-mail or text alerts for particular searches. Rather than going to the website again and again to look for a specific item, you just input the details and let UsedVictoria e-mail or text you when someone lists your desired item for sale.
- First, you’ll need to register on the UsedVictoria site.
- Once you’ve joined, return to the UsedVictoria site and log in.
- Next, from the UsedVictoria home page, choose the category you wish to search. For example, you might click on Furniture under Household.
- In the search window that appears on the righthand side of the page, enter the particular item you’re seeking. For example, you might type in “rocking chair.”
- Once the search results for your item come up, scroll down on the page and you’ll see a box on the right titled Tools. Click on the E-mail/Text Alerts option. The system will then guide you through the rest of the process to have alerts sent to you by email or text to your mobile phone, or both if you prefer.
You will receive a brief e-mail from UsedVictoria confirming that your alert has been activated. As a registered user, you’ll be able to sign in to the site anytime to review your personal dashboard page and edit or remove any alerts you have created. Handy, right?
Websites like UsedVictoria.com and Craigslist Victoria have put most newspaper classified sections out of business with their completely free online listings. The usual cautions apply when it comes to buying used items from private sellers —primarily, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is —but you can’t beat the deals and truly eclectic selection of secondhand goods.
Fernwood really knows . . . → Click to read full blog