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Roundabout

Roundabout

31 East 72nd Street
New York, NY 10021
646 755 8009
roundaboutcouture.com
Hours:
M-Sa 10am-6pm; Su 12pm-6pm
Established: 2008
Other Locations:
1100 Madison Avenue

Though I have visited countless consignment stores in Manhattan, there are none quite like Roundabout Couture. “I love clothes,” owner Laurie Perren stated simply and honestly. It quickly became apparent that it is this passion and an intense attention to detail that has made Laurie’s business a success in both Connecticut and New York. As she told me her story, I explored the store and could see her eye for high quality fashion well represented.

Directly after graduating from college, Laurie had an office job in a big corporation. “I had a cubicle and I couldn’t wait to get out of it and go shopping,” she said with a laugh. She soon left to work at Loehmann’s, the well-respected New York discount department store. “I owe it all to Loehmann’s,” Laurie told me, explaining that she runs her store in a way that is very similar to the way Loehmann’s Back Room used to function.

Laurie always wanted to have her own business and knew that it would have to be a discount store. That did not mean, however, that she would sacrifice quality. When opening in 1989 in Westport, Connecticut – with items belonging to herself, her mother, and her friends – customers could not believe that Laurie went through the trouble of actually ironing each piece of clothing. Despite their predictions that the habit would not last long, Laurie grinned and said, “Twenty-five years later, I’m still ironing the clothes!”

Since many of her Connecticut customers had apartments on the Upper East Side, Laurie decided to open a Manhattan store in 2008. She was well aware that she had to be on her “A-game,” as the retail environment in New York was certainly a high risk. Along with her 72nd Street location, Laurie also opened on Madison, where she attracted more tourists, but she prefers the side street because of the neighborhood feel. “I love the community.”

Not everything at the shop is second hand. Laurie accepts inventory from boutiques that have pieces of clothing that did not sell during their season. Laurie mentioned that she has connections all over the world, especially in LA where she has a second home. This means that there is a variety of styles represented in her store. “You can find something that other women don’t have,” she explained. Laurie lit up when I inquired about her favorite consignment pieces. She told me that she often gets some really shocking things, including a Hermes Birkin bag with custom hardware. As Laurie spoke about the bag, she wondered how anyone would give up such a prized possession.

No matter where the clothing comes from, Laurie describes herself as “fanatical to the point of crazy” about the quality. She turned to one of her team and said, “Geraldine – Aren’t I nutso about the condition of the items?” Geraldine nodded, wide eyed, and informed me that the staff lovingly refers to her as “Eagle Eyes.” Geraldine related stories of how Laurie has pointed out loose threads to customers, who have looked at her in grateful astonishment for noticing such small details. “This is the most meticulous consignment store you’ll ever visit,” Laurie declared.