On the sidewalk in front of On the Other Hand (8204 Oak St., 861-0159), owner Kay Danne welcomes shoppers with a sign that reads "complimentary wine and cheese." Not something you would expect to see at a resale consignment shop, but then Danne isn't really one for following the crowd.
"I was one of the first people to bring the concept of consignment to New Orleans," Danne says of the business she opened on Hampson Street in 1987. She moved the shop to its current location in 2003 and is pleased with the bigger bustle she gets from Oak Street.
"We also get more light here," says Danne, "and my customers have more room to shop."
Teeming with racks and rows of clothes and accessories organized according to style, size and color -- the store carries women's sizes from 0 to 28 and also has a section for men -- Danne's inventory includes everything from big-name designer pieces (think Gucci, Chanel, Ferragamo) and turn-of-the-century vintage items to good-condition cast offs barely one season old. She even has a "celebrity" section designated for clothes with a lime-lit past -- pieces she traces back to stars such as Mel Gibson, Sharon Stone and Angelina Jolie -- sent in by costume designers and others in the film industry.
Of course, you may pay a bit more for a purse with a pedigree, but Danne aims to give her customers high fashion at a low price and has had a long-running sale (50-90 percent off many items) to "help so many of these people who lost their wardrobes to Katrina."
You can also check the "sale du jour" sign at the front of the store to find out what color-coded price tags are designated for additional discounts that day. And then there's always layaway.
"I think people should be able to experiment with design without spending a fortune," explains Danne. "It's guiltless shopping. And if you're willing to shop, if you think of it as a treasure hunt, you're going to find something you love."
Fun Way to Help
Keep an eye on the future, when actor Bryan Batt, who also owns Hazelnut (5515 Magazine St., 891-2424), organizes Magazine Street merchants for the second annual Magazine Street Retail Relief event, this year planned for Nov. 4. The all-day celebration will feature music, special promotions, in-store events and more, with donations benefiting Katrina relief efforts.
- Gently worn clothes and accessories are the trademark of On the Other Hand.