Esther’s consignment store in Omaha has become a staple in luxury fashion by securing couture from across the country for over 40 years. Boasting such brands as Louis Vuitton and Rag and Bone, this family-owned and -operated consignment shop provides a comfortable space to peruse classic, high-end styles at remarkably affordable prices.
Originally something of a happy accident, the store was opened four decades ago by Esther herself. Esther’s sister, Adele, was a fashion model in New York City. She began sending her seasonal items home to Esther with the thought of passing them along to her daughters. However, with so many friends who wanted designer clothes, Esther began her business venture, selling her sister’s New York fashions from the lower level of her home. With the passage of time, more consigners began seeking her services, and a business was born.
After 10 years, Esther’s daughter, Trish Lonergan, began working with her mother. With a degree in sociology and experience in human resources, Trish learned the art of helping people and developed an eye for fashion while living in Los Angeles. “I’ve always appreciated good clothes,” she says. Reflecting on her decision to come work with her mother, she notes, “In your life, sometimes, an opportunity presents itself.” This proved to be a wise choice, as Trish eventually took over the enterprise and is now the owner. She puts her appreciation of good clothes into good use on a daily basis.
Esther’s has a diverse clientele that has only expanded over time. Spreading by word of mouth, friends and clients that have moved out of state continue to send boxes for consignment. Her staff goes through an extensive sorting process, seeking items that are unique, are well-made, and will be in style for years to come. Trish advises her clients to “bring us the very best pieces in your closet” and to ask themselves if the item in question is something they would want to buy if they saw it in a store. Esther’s prefers pieces that were purchased in the last two years. To maintain these high standards, Trish says, they keep only about 20 percent of what people bring in. Because of this, customers can rest assured that items bought at Esther’s are comparable to those in high-end boutiques, but without the hefty price tag.
What sets the store apart from other consignment places is the variety of clothing from across the country. Including consigners from places like California, New Orleans, Scottsdale, and Washington, D.C., Esther’s offers an eclectic mix of clothing to dress clients from head to toe. Fortunately, Trish is lucky to have a great staff, some of whom have been employed at Esther’s for over 30 years. Aunts, daughters, and mothers have all worked for the family-oriented boutique. “I have a terrific staff with very good fashion sense,” Trish explains. When customers come in for a specific outfit or event, they are always happy to play dress-up.
Their motto is one of honesty, and Trish stresses that their customers’ satisfaction is always their goal. “We are never going to try to sell something unless it really looks right for you,” she says. “My mother was like that. I think honesty is really important.” Teresa Eirinberg, a frequent consigner and customer at Esther’s, describes her experience at the store: “Whenever you need to find an outfit or accessorize an outfit, they always have something. Their staff and customer service are unparalleled.” She recalls a handbag she bought from Esther’s. She got so many compliments on it, she shares, that she “stopped counting after 13 people said something about it.”
In a fluid industry like retail, Trish knows it is important to maintain a high level of professionalism. Being tactful about the clothing she consigns and turning away the rest ensures the best quality and that her clientele will find what they are looking for every time they walk through the door. “It’s a constant challenge to make sure clothes are in top condition and are good styles,” she notes. “There’s a lot of clothing that’s out there that is not well-made anymore.” The growth of “fast fashion,” such as H&M and Zara, has made it harder to find quality items—popular lines like these are made to be fashionable but are not designed for longevity. Trish and her staff must be vigilant.
You can get a glimpse of Esther’s merchandise on Facebook and Instagram, but Trish recommends a visit to the store for the most current selection. After all, she notes, new items come in (and out) daily. Visit Esther’s at 805 ½ South 75th Street to find your next statement piece or call 402-391-1301 for more information. For high quality, classic taste, and longevity in your clothing, look no further than this unique boutique!