Looking for unique used furniture finds? Maybe some classic vintage pieces. Or someone's discards that you could rehab. Up until now, we've had thrift and consignment stores, yard sales, flea markets and Craigslist for finds like these. But now some internet shops have entered the fray and make searching for just the right piece that much easier.
Chairish, a little over one-year old, was launched by the founders of internet startup, Tripit, a site that allows users to store travel itineraries in one place. When the founder of Tripit was selling his home, he came up with the idea for an internet consignment shop where people like him, who were moving or redecorating, could unload quality used furniture without just giving it away. Sellers directly upload images of furnishings they wish to sell. The recommended sales price is at least 70% off the original cost. Chairish curators have final say whether an item is listed and at what price. So buyers are assured of quality control. Lest you doubt whether those at the helm have a sufficiently discriminating eye for judging quality, Chairish just hired Giacomo DiGrigoli, One Kings Lane's former Senior Director of Product, as its VP of Product. There is also a 48-hour return policy so disappointed buyers can get their purchase price refunded (less shipping costs).
Chairish is really user-friendly. It categorizes listings by types of furniture, manufacturer, location (only certain big cities) and curated sales. New listings are updated regularly. Sellers detail their listings with stories about the items--how they were used, the condition, etc. Buyers also have an option to make an offer.
Here's an example of a current Chairish listing:
Like Chairish, Hunters Alley is a "curated" site: the Hunters Alley team has the last word on whether an item lists or not. A spinoff of One Kings Lane, Hunters Alley differs from Chairish in that it has a social media component. If you register with the site, you can "love" (similar to Facebook and Instagram's "Like") an item and comment on it. See the comments on a typical listing in the lower right corner below.
In addition to furniture and home decor items, Hunters Alley also features jewelry and other vintage lifestyle items. I find the site not as easy to negotiate as Chairish. Chairish categorizes its listings better and presents the listings in a clearer fashion. For sellers, Chairish is clearly better: it takes less of a commission on sales. And note to buyers: on Hunters Alley, all sales are final.
Of course, the earliest entry into this online marketplace was Decorator Tag Sale, founded in 2009 by Sandra Oster. Sandra created the site as an online venue for interior designers and decorators to sell excess inventory. Designers and decorators must apply and pay a small fee to be featured on Decorator Tag Sale. Unlike Chairish and Hunters Alley, all the items sold on Decorator Tag Sale are either new or bona fide antiques. The site enables buyers to purchase luxury designer goods at net or wholesale prices.