WEST OCEAN CITY — The secret to doing well in many thrift and consignment shops is persistence. In order to find the treasure you are looking for, it is best to set aside enough time to find things that appeal to you that are in the size and condition you seek.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting a piece home and discovering an unnoticed stain or other imperfection that detracts from an article of clothing’s wearability. It is an experience not unfamiliar to Angie Principe, the owner of the newly opened Lollipops and Giggles.
When she decided to open her shop, there were several things she wanted to do to set it apart, but among the highest of Principe’s priorities was to make sure the clothes she purchased for resale were in very gently used condition.
To be fair, though, hers is a resale, not a consignment or thrift shop. The primary difference is that she will buy clothes from people selling them but not take them on consignment. Every piece in the shop was selected by her and scrutinized against stains and unsightly wear.
Moreover, they have to pass a scent test — she doesn’t accept clothes, for example, that come from homes where smoking is allowed inside. The point is to set her shop apart from other, similar places that offer children’s clothing and accessories at greatly reduced costs.
One of the most striking aspects of Lollipops and Giggles is that it is arranged in such a way that no digging is required. Upon entering, the only clue that the clothes hung neatly on the racks or the shoes and toys offered for sale are used is the fact that the shop is promoted as such on the front door.
“I wanted the store to feel boutique-y without boutique prices,” Principe said. “I want you to leave with what you want without feeling you’ve broken the bank.”
In order to strike that balance, Principe is committed to making sure everything in the store meets strict standards. She understands that her niche requires her to be discerning because her customers certainly will be.
One of the other things that sets Lollipops and Giggles apart is that Principe’s customers and purveyors are often the same people. As a retail rather than a consignment shop, she settles up with people who bring in clothes that meet all the high standards right on the spot.
But for those who wish, Principe can offer a store credit instead of cash in a kind of capitalist upcycling scheme with continuing returns on investment for both sides.
Although Lollipops and Giggles specializes in baby clothes and equipment, they carry clothes for kids of all ages and needs.
For example, Principe pointed out that as fall sports season looms, gently used equipment, such as cleats, made sense for parents whose kids were just starting out in a sport.
“It’s everything kid-related,” she said of the shop. “It’s not just baby clothes and equipment.”