Highland Park business turns old Lululemon into cash

These days, clothing brand Lululemon has practically become a household name for anyone with a remote interest in yoga or exercise.

“It’s almost turned into a way of life,” said Loree Wasserman, owner of Loree’s Closest, a Highland Park-based consignment business with a focus on high-end women’s apparel and accessories. “People don’t just wear it to work out. It’s an everyday part of women’s wardrobes, also worn for running errands, shopping and even lunch.”

Lululemon reported net revenue of $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2013. It’s a number that drove Wasserman to start We Buy Lulu, a new division of Loree’s Closet where women can sell their Lululemon apparel on the spot for cash.

“Women often want to go buy the newest styles and a great way to do that is to turn your old Lulu that you’re no longer wearing into cash,” said Wasserman, a mother of three and former corporate retail executive. “Unlike all of our other merchandise, the Lulu clothing isn’t sold on consignment. We give customers immediate cash, and people like that.”

“Ninety-nine percent of it is worn maybe once. She doesn’t take anything that isn’t in great condition,” said customer Ina Jones of Highland Park.

Loree’s Closet, which consigns high-end designer clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry and other accessories, got its start in 2007, when Wasserman bought an expensive handbag on a vacation and soon regretted the purchase.

“It was one of those things where I thought, ‘Why did I buy this?’ and my sister said, ‘Let’s open an eBay account and sell it,’” Wasserman said.

The bag sold quickly, inspiring Wasserman to sell other items, such as clothing and shoes. She then started selling her friends’ items, and realized her hobby had turned into a business.

“When you expose things to a global marketplace, the value of your items can really grow quickly because you have people all over the world bidding for them,” Wasserman said.

Based out of a warehouse on Old Deerfield Road, Loree’s Closet is not open to the public, with the exception of consignment drop-offs from individuals and boutique owners looking to part with overstock, personal shopping appointments, Lululemon clothing drop-offs for cash, and special shopping days that are announced on occasion.

Loree’s also holds several pop-up shop events throughout the year, mostly in downtown Highland Park. The most recent pop-up shop took place on Aug. 22 in a vacant store in the Renaissance Place shopping district.

But the main part of Wasserman’s business is selling the consigned merchandise on eBay, a process she said involves a lot of time and effort.

“We have a research department that helps value the items to know what to start the bidding at, we have photographers to take photos of the items, and writers who write descriptions,” she said. “We pack everything, ship it, and pay all of the eBay and PayPal fees, whether or not the item sells, so it’s risk-free for the client.”

Wasserman also said clients get the benefit of her company’s reputation on eBay.

“Because eBay is a very feedback-based business, having over 8,000 customer feedback comments really helps business because it gives us credibility,” she said. “Someone is more likely to purchase a Chanel bag from someone like me, who has a tremendous positive feedback.”

For items that sell on eBay for under $500, Loree’s takes a 50 percent cut. The company receives 40 percent for items that sell for over $500

“It’s all very up to date,” said Jones. “I’ve gotten clothing here that is this season, and I think prices are about 50-75 percent less than retail.”

We Buy Lulu and Loree’s Closet

(847) 748-8451 loreescloset.com webuylulu.com

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