Good As New

F or years, Jamie Dawn had thought about opening a consignment shop—something to do after retiring from her career as a real estate agent. But data showing a surge in secondhand shopping convinced her to take the plunge sooner than later.

The result is One Good For Another, perched since April 1 above Campus Customs on Broadway. Though a mix of older and younger customers pop in during my visit, Dawn says Gen Z, especially, looks to buy secondhand first, due to “climate consciousness and the economy… The price of food, clothing, everything right now is astronomical.”

But the prices at One Good are not, even discounting automatic reductions every 30 days or so. Sifting through a rack of women’s denim, I see Gap jeans for $14.50; Calvin Klein, $11.50; American Eagle, $5. The most expensive item I spot is a designer Coach handbag for about $129.50, making it one of the only items in the store to crack a Benjamin. A soft Ann Taylor zip-up with a fuzzy dark-light pattern is priced at $18.99 and set to drop, if it hasn’t sold yet, to $14.24 on May 16 and $11.39 on June 10. In a slinky black “Date Night” section, a good-as-new dress from Express, the original retail tag still attached and reading $79.90, is priced, for now, at $48. A pearl white beach dress with lovely lace work is $16.75. An elaborately asymmetrical, crocheted, fringe-detailed cowl-neck sweater is just $12.50.

Dawn says One Good For Another shouldn’t be confused with a thrift shop or a vintage store. In order to be accepted, consignments—so far mostly women’s clothing and accessories, with a budding men’s section—should exhibit contemporary style in great condition. She says she won’t take stuff that’s “stained or ripped or has broken zippers or missing buttons.” Shoes, meanwhile, should be “wearable, not too worn.” Beyond clothing, she’s “trying to specialize in small furniture for dorm rooms and small apartments,” a wise move considering the shop is located a stone’s throw from two Yale dormitories and a block or two from several more. During my visit, the inventory includes a small ovular table with matching chairs that slide all the way under; a pair of deceptively undersized modern chairs upholstered in a stately blue with a hint of the tropics; circular nesting side tables; and a compact mirrored dresser.

Consigners are entitled to 40% of the selling price, either as cash or store credit. If something hasn’t sold within 90 days, consigners can reclaim the item or relinquish it to the store, which might either continue trying to sell it or donate it to charity. In a victory for convenience and transparency, consigners with One Good For Another are able to access a digital personal inventory dashboard that automatically syncs with the store’s sales activity, making it easy to track and collect any monies owed.

Showing me around, Dawn emphasizes the range of sizes, styles and brands already taking shape in her shop, fueled especially by Yalies. “The students are finding me,” she says. “They’re telling their friends.” Some who are graduating and heading off to warm places have shed the colder-weather clothes they’d needed in New Haven, which can now be bought at off-season prices.

Dawn, for her part, doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. She’s lived in Westville the past eight years, rediscovering a city where “I love the vibe… It’s alive.” She grew up in the Naugatuck Valley, she says, and as a young adult, she’d visit New Haven often, partying at Toad’s Place (now one of One Good’s neighbors) and the Arcadia Ballroom.

New Haven, then, has been a part of Dawn’s life for about as long as consigning has. “I’ve been a proponent and user of consignment for at least 30 years,” she says. She likes the morality and economy of it, and now, as a businesswoman, she likes the model, which keeps overhead low. When I ask her why she had originally planned to open the shop in retirement, the period of life defined by the ability to stop working, she pauses. “It’s income,” she says, her voice softening in search of the truer answer that comes just a moment later: “It’s an investment in myself.”

One Good For Another
59 Broadway, Fl 2, New Haven (map)
Tues 11am-5pm, Wed 11am-3pm, Thurs noon-8pm, Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm

Written and photographed by Dan Mims.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories.

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