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Hidden Gems: Meet Jennifer Bersentes of Consign Mine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Bersentes.

Hi Jennifer, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
“I try to make the store fun for anyone who walks in the door.” My name is Jenny Bersentes. Raised in New Orleans, my flare for the unusual came early. With a BA in Advertising Photography from Santa Barbara, California. My resume includes celebrity wedding videographer, fashion model, milliner, retailer, vintage fashion collector, and Virginia mom. Jenny and her family, husband John, mother Noreen, daughter, Sophia and son Theodore relocated from Southern California to Chantilly, Virginia in 2006. Not satisfied with the available of used clothing shops in the area, Jenny decided to open Consign Mine in 2015 here in Sterling. Combining all the things she liked, wide variety of styles and prices, online transparency, constant change and reducing landfill by recycling. But also eliminate the things that other shops did that she hated, like appointments, brand name and age requirements, limits on amount and unnecessary fees. “The internet has changed the way people shop, especially used items. If we don’t change with it, then we will be the victim of it. People still like to touch and try on clothes before they buy them, but without a constant online presence they forget about the store. I’m not going to let them forget about Consign Mine. We are one of a kind. We are the future of Consignment.” In the last six years, 40 thrift, consignment and antique shops have closed in Northern Virginia, but Consign Mine, a collective of over 1700 consignors and almost 4 thousand regular customers, creates a community exchange that benefits everyone involved and the environment.🌎

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There have been a few obstacles for the shop in the last six years. Not long after we opened, the 606 was expanded, this took 18 months. Unfortunately this caused a few of the businesses in our strip to leave. Fewer business means less foot traffic. We decided to put the entire store online to keep my customers from forgetting about us. Every government shutdown dramatically affects sales because most of my customers rely on Government contract work. Every shutdown, consigners would cash out in large numbers and not shop. Bringing the shop to the brink of closing. After the last shut down, we changed our terms to in store credit only. So when a consignor’s item sells, they have to spend their 50% in the store. No more giving out cash. Surprisingly it has not reduced the amount of merchandise brought in to sell. Then the Hair salon next door closed. There were 25 employees and a couple of hundred clients, when I opened, again losing a large number of walk-by customers. Then Covid. Luckily we were 100% online and were able to make handmade masks and deliver them. We added virtual shopping to keep the website more interactive during quarantine. My analytics show someone walks thru the store virtually every hour and from all over the world.

Our new challenge is to regain online customers who have become loyal to the shopping Apps they discovered last year. Reminding them to filter their Google searches with locations near you will help all local small businesses.

As you know, we’re big fans of Consign Mine. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Founded on a simple principle to provide our community, a boutique outlet for quality used fashion and home décor at online thrift store prices. What sets Consign Mine apart from other consignment stores is the state of our art technology. Consignmineva.com has the entire store inventory available for sale online and consignors can track their own sales from anywhere, anytime. We don’t care about brand, age or quantity. Honestly the strangest stuff is what sells first. We research the price for everything on eBay Sold. This tells us what someone was recently willing to pay. This is considered current market value. No Arguing! After 30 days the price drops 30% after 60 days 50%. Half of the price the customer can buy it for online. What doesn’t sell in 80 days is donated locally to Loudoun Abused Women’s shelter.

Consign Mine truly is unique for the Northern Virginia area. Anyone, male or female of any age or size can find something in the store. Because we support local artists, we offer items unavailable anywhere else. Recently, Consign Mine has been focusing on upcycling damaged or stained clothes by transforming them into unique one of a kind fashion available worldwide on Depop in addition to the brick and mortar.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Every month or so, we organize a photoshoot here in the shop. We invite local photography students, aspiring makeup artists, stylists and models to bring their talents together to get industry experience and original content for self-promotion. These impromptu teams come up with great ideas. They work together, often switching roles to create an image even better than they imagined. I remember being their age and in love with photography. I learned something from every photoshoot and valued friendships with others like me. This kind of mentorship brings me great joy. I feel like I’m feeding their passion and encouraging them to follow their dreams. Just like I had.

Pricing:

  • eBay pricing
  • Drops 30% after 30 days
  • Drops 50% after 60 days
  • Donated to LAWS after 80 days
  • Often offer 20% off coupons

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bergin Hays/Makeup Artist/Up-cycle Artist, Ben Clark/Model, Erin Mac/Model, Jenny Bersentes/Product Photographer, Diya Gumaste/Photographer

Suggest a Story: VoyageBaltimore is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

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