LSU grad brings high-end consignment concept to Perkins Road boutique

Swap Boutique owner Michelle Reinhardt is bringing high-end designer clothing, handbags and accessories at not-so-high-end prices to Baton Rouge.

In her newest consignment boutique on Perkins Road, the fourth shop for Reinhardt, shoppers can find labels like Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Kate Spade and Tory Burch, but at a fraction of the original cost. Why? Because the pricey goods all come from other women’s closets.

So, for example, that Kate Spade dress that sold at retail for $445 goes for $132.99 at Swap. A Louis Vuitton purse orginally purchased for $1,200 is priced at $599.99.

“All women have clothes that they wear once or twice, and it’s still in perfect condition,” Reinhardt says. “I like the idea they get a return on their investment.”

It works at her three shops in New Orleans, and Reinhardt says she’s already gotten a great reception here.

“I felt like Baton Rouge was the next step,” says the 1997 LSU graduate.

She opened her newest store with 700 items and a stockroom jammed with more designer goods, making the Baton Rouge location the largest of her stores, and the one with the biggest selection of clothing, shoes and handbags.

Longtime customer Gretchen Morris said she shops at Swap for the broad selection.

“I like it because it’s different,” Morris says. “If I go buy a shirt, I know no one else is going to own it. It’s the same with their dresses.”

The 38-year-old Reinhardt began her swapping career in 2008 with a small store on New Orleans’ Maple Street, where she’s since opened Swap for Kids.

Items brought in for consignment are combed over with a keen eye by Reinhardt and her team.

Consigners receive anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of what the item sells for. All items are kept for 75 days. If something doesn’t sell, consigners can retrieve it or donate it to the store for charity.

Couture items, such as those from Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and others, are all authenticated before they’re put out for sale, Reinhardt says.

The top sellers, she says, come from clothing designers Diane Von Fustenberg, Tory Burch, Tibi and Rebecca Taylor, although the store also carries less costly lines, such as J.Crew and Banana Republic.

“We want you to have all of the options here,” Reinhardt says.

Some items that sit too long on the shelves are often discounted, with prices as low as $10.