By Chris Bavender
Twenty years ago, Amanda Newman and her sister had a dream to open a consignment shop.
“We loved consignment and wanted to work together. She moved back to Texas shortly after. I loved the business and wanted to stay in it,” Newman said. “It has since become a family business with my husband and oldest son. Once we decided to make it a family business, we were committed to build the business. We’ve definitely weathered a lot of ups and downs, but it only made us work harder and come out stronger.”
The shop, Amanda’s Exchange, has survived because of a willingness to change and adapt the business model by “committing to never stop learning,” Newman said.
Newman first became interested in consignment shopping because she said she has always loved the thrill of the hunt and saving money. She said the store’s concept has evolved much from the beginning.
“Now, shopping secondhand and promoting sustainability has become our way of life. And not just ours. When we opened, I knew of one consignment store. Now, shopping second hand is ‘second nature’ for most of us,” she said. “Used to, moms would bring their daughters into the store begrudgingly. Now, it’s the sons and daughters introducing their parents to shopping second hand. ‘Thrifting’ has become a social activity.”
When it comes to decisions on what to carry, Newman said she keeps a close watch on trends and listens to what customers are seeking.
“We don’t only access current trends,” Newman said. “Consignment is fun because you never know what you’ll find.”
When customers walk into Amanda’s Exchange, they are greeted by displays in the entryway as well as others scattered throughout the shop.
“We want them to feel welcome and know that we appreciate them choosing to shop with us. We work really hard to make sure everything is very organized and easy to shop. We love offering lots of displays that show the broad range of merchandise we carry,” Newman said. “There are so many choices (local and online). We want our customers to find great merchandise at fair prices and have fun doing it. We want our consignors to choose to consign because it’s an easy way to purge their items, make some extra money and do something good for our environment. We appreciate that they are supporting a locally-owned small business.”
Although online shopping is popular, Newman believes brick and mortar style shopping hasn’t gone out of style.
“Online shopping may be easy, but people want to be able to touch and feel what they are purchasing. In addition to that, human interaction is important. When we had to close for two months at the beginning of COVID, we used that time to launch our online store and make our inventory accessible through our website and social media,” she said. “It was a huge undertaking. It’s really helped our business to have that option for our customers. However, we find that most of our customers watch what we add online and then come into the store, show us their phone and ask to see that item. Nothing can replace actually seeing an item.”
The shop’s location at 715 E Carmel Dr. is the consolidation of three of Newman’s stores. Another store in Broad Ripple, Newman & Co., that has been open for 13 years accepts consignments on men’s clothing and accessories along with home goods.
Last year, the company launched a clothing and supply pantry called ReSource.
“We work closely with staffing at the high school to be able to offer clothing and personal hygiene products to students on the free or reduced lunch program,” Newman said. “We have dreams of growing this program in the future.
To mark the 20th anniversary, Amanda’s Exchange will offer in store specials and drawings the weekend of the shop’s anniversary, March 25 to 27.