While Laguna Beach is known as an artists’ hub, home to iconic annual festivals and a multitude of galleries, its artistic inclinations are also evident in local stores. At a number of outlets offering unique merchandise for seekers of all ages, shoppers can unearth fashion and design gems—be it high-style shoes, an antique table or a captivating painting. Consignment shops offer these and more; many items are one-of-a-kind and often cost far less than a comparable piece at a traditional retailer. Perhaps best of all—in addition to reducing a product’s impact on your wallet—shopping resale also reduces its impact on the environment. Explore these couture options in town to get started on your own treasure hunt.
Fabulous Finds at Flea Market
A bronzed ballerina bows down in a curtsy. Buddha statues rest peacefully in the garden. Antique plates, spoons and cups litter one side of the room. Across the way sits a typewriter, while a sparkling chandelier hangs above. Walking through Flea Market is like going back in time; you’re surrounded by items from decades past.
Owned by husband and wife team Laura and Lee Georgopoulos, Flea Market offers an eclectic mix of furniture, art and knickknacks that appeal to tourists and locals alike. Whenever visitors enter the store, Laura takes some time to introduce the different pieces and explain the stories behind a few of the items—where they’re from, who owned them previously, what value they might bring to a new home. For example, the first Festival of Arts poster is one of the notable pieces that came through the store.
“You get really authentic, beautiful pieces; there’s an energy here that is different than one you’d find in a retail store.” – Laura Georgopoulos
The store, which opened about five years ago, aims to provide mutual benefit for buyers and sellers. “You get to give joy on two sides—both sides have made some money,” Laura says. “It’s a very communal feeling in the store. You can’t do anything without the consignors. … We take care of them and the client, and people get to know each other through the store.”
Laura maintains that the items sold at Flea Market are available for a third of the price of what you might find at a furniture retailer or art gallery.
Part of the reason the couple started Flea Market was in hopes that it would be an eco-friendly shopping alternative. “If you don’t go out and buy a new chandelier, you’ve helped everyone by that decision because [a consigned piece] doesn’t get thrown away,” Laura says. “It’s already left its carbon footprint, so now it’s just free to enjoy—I just love that idea. You get really authentic, beautiful pieces; there’s an energy here that is different than one you’d find in a retail store.”
Haute Fashion at Havoc
A black Dior purse. A pair of red Chloé heels. These are just a few of the stylish picks that can be found at Havoc Fashion, which offers a variety of new and gently worn high-end clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes and accessories. The shop specializes in luxury brands; at any given time, there are pieces from Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani and Gucci, among others. Jewelry is arranged neatly in glass containers and shoppers can sift through the dresses, shirts and pants organized by color scheme on the racks.
The inspiration behind the boutique, which opened more than 25 years ago, was in the name of conscious consumption. “When I have furs in the store, I prevent someone from buying a new one because less animals get killed,” says owner Hella (who declined to give her last name, citing privacy concerns). “I’m an animal lover and I was really conflicted. I was thinking if someone could buy [a fur] from two or three years ago, they will not buy a new one.”
Today, a mix of clientele—including personal shoppers and nonprofessional fashionistas—frequent Havoc. Hella sees more shoppers embracing consignment for both its budget- and eco-friendly benefits.
“When we had the [national economic] crisis, at that point, even my wealthy clients who only dropped off items changed their mindset and they now buy my used clothes,” says Hella, who cites the Chanel items as a few of her favorites in the shop.
“The whole world has really changed in the sense that people are conscious of consigning and recycling,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be that brand-new piece from Neiman Marcus—they are happy if they find it here.”
Curated Collection at Sourced
Michelle Mercado partnered with Cindy Holloway and Rachiel Macalistaire to open Sourced, a mixed-use space of creative offices and retail. The space housing Rachiel’s previous store on Glenneyre Street, Macalistaire at 1850 (clothing on one side and home decor on the other) became Sourced in 2013. It now includes Rachiel’s vintage offerings, Cindy’s interior design pieces and a pop-up shop with a consignment component that showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming California artisans.
At any given time in the consignment section, customers might see jewelry, quilts, tapestries, perfume, handbags or an assortment of other trinkets. Products are featured in the space for two months. While it doesn’t offer used items like most traditional consignment stores, Sourced still fits the bill: It shares sales of the products with the consignor. In fact, 60 percent goes to the artisan.
Sourced seeks out crafters who might be a good fit in the space. “We’re usually the ones searching on Etsy, going to craft shows, going to expos, knowing certain people and seeing the product and saying, ‘We’re loving what you’re doing, are you selling in shops yet? No? Here’s what we’re doing in our shop,’ ” explains Michelle, who serves as creative director. “Our store is super curated. What we’re offering [artisans] is a space where they can test out retail, test out the market of Laguna Beach.”
Michelle notes the appeal of consignment for Sourced shoppers is the exclusivity of a product.
“We’re not taking everyone; we’re making these special considerations because we want our store to have the things we want in our homes and we’re willing to work a little harder to make sure we can get those in here,” Michelle explains. “People like that what they’re going to pick up here, they’re not going to find somewhere else.”
—Written by Connie K. Ho | Photos by Jody Tiongco