Women’s clothing, accessories and home decor offered in Southwick shopSOUTHWICK – Linda Ligsukis, owner of Designer Consignor, had planned a big celebration for her fifth anniversary last April. COVID foiled her plans, and she is actually happy about that because it allowed her to actually expand her business.
Ligsukis added home décor to her shop’s offerings, which includes women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and wigs. She was about to make a big splash with the addition when she had to shut down per governor’s orders in late March. She was disappointed but started selling items online and once she was able to open again, business was booming. Located at 549 College Highway, Ligsukis’ shop was tucked around the corner, hidden from street view. A larger storefront in the building, which faces College Highway, had been vacant for a year and Ligsukis decided she wanted to celebrate her fifth year with a new, larger space.
Designer Consignor opened in the new storefront Nov. 7 and business is good.
“I have always wanted a more visible location, but a storefront of that type is cost-prohibitive for a small business,” said Ligsukis. “I had been eyeing the space that Southwick Pharmacy vacated about a year ago and decided this might actually be a good time, though a bit risky, to move. I negotiated a more reasonable rent for that space due to the state of the economy, also figuring in the possibility of yet another shutdown this Winter. Thus, we gained an additional 1,000 square-feet of space and a lovely, visible storefront and sign — finally.
“I wanted to be in and organized before the Holidays, and I am thrilled with the reaction from both our existing customers as well as the new shoppers who have discovered us.”
Ligsukis said Designer Consignor is her second career, one she wished she had embarked on sooner.
“Why it took me so long to buy a consignment shop is a mystery to me as I have always shopped this way and have owned other businesses,” she said. “My professional life before this was mostly in law firm administration and at an age at which most people retire, I decided to buy a business. But what a blessing, to leave the corporate world and do something I love. And at 72 I don’t see this Jersey girl retiring anytime soon, or ever, though I’d like to get to the point of not having to work 7 days a week.”
Ligsukis is the sole owner of the shop but has part-time and volunteer help. Ligsukis said knowing what customers want, and giving it to them, is the “secret” to her success.
“The store continued to change over time as our following grew and as their buying trends became evident. I like to think that the quality and selection continues to just get better and better. I am all about ‘different’ — I want you to find something you won’t necessarily find in a big box store,” she said. “Our customer base is generally mid-twenties to eighties, sizes 0-3X. We truly have something for everyone!”
While still in the back of the plaza, Ligsukis opened the adjacent storefront for the addition of home décor on March 1, 2020, two weeks before having to close for three months due to COVID-19. During this period she did some online sales with curbside pick-up on Fridays.
“To my amazement though, my business came back very strong when we reopened,” said Ligsukis. “I am blessed to have an incredibly loyal following. We currently have about 2.500 customers in our database, 3,000 followers on FaceBook and several hundred consistent consignors. Success in this business is very much in line with knowing your customer base and recognizing their needs, especially now as there has been a significant shift to more casual women’s wear. After the three-month shutdown we put our evening and dressy inventory in storage as it was apparently not going to be in demand this year and instead enlarged our new home décor offerings which was the beginning of the move decision. “
Ligsukis said she is excited about Small Business Saturday and the weeks leading up to the holidays.
“I foresee doing a ‘grand opening’ the beginning of December,” she said. “It is important to give back to your loyal customers and the community, so what better time to celebrate our new store than during the holidays! Southwick is a great little community, but realistically all of the surrounding areas lack clothing shops for women, other than TJ Maxx in Westfield, and we find that most women actually do not want to go to the malls. Further, there are hardly any consignment stores left in Western Mass., four that I am aware of. Therefore, my customers come from as far out as Ludlow, Palmer, Holyoke, Chicopee, Wilbraham, Belchertown, and from well into Connecticut as well.”
Ligsukis said women will go the distance if the bargains and selection are worth the trip, and today consignment shopping is absolutely the “IN” thing to do.
“Women are actually proud to tell you where their new bargain outfit came from. It is a very word-of-mouth business and your customer service best be top notch,” she said.
Designer Consignor is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Consignments are done by appointment only.