Now is the perfect time to throw your sweat pants to the side and put together your new wardrobe with the help and guidance of “Upscale Resale Queen” Sue McCarthy and her two daughters Laura McCarthy Maurice and Diana McCarthy Ford.
As our world begins to open up, with us heading back-to-work, back-to-school- dining out, embarking on travel, and other much-missed social gatherings, this dynamic retail family trio from The Vault Luxury Resale are perfectly poised to work their magic, help you create a new look, and build a new wardrobe.
With years of experience under their belts, they clearly know how to help dress women, men, and children from head to toe so that they feel like a million bucks, but without breaking their budget.
After purchasing one or more items from Sue, her daughters, and staff – in person or online – you will understand the importance of exemplary customer service and are sure to be showered with compliments when you step out for lunch, cocktails, or dinner with friends.
McCarthy and her staff of female fashionistas meticulously select and purchase designer handbags, shoes, jewelry, clothing, and more that are sold at the 7,000-square-foot, brick-and-mortar shop in Brentwood, Missouri (suburban St. Louis) and the online business Vault Luxury Resale, constantly offering exciting new merchandise for work, home, and play.
There are abundant high-quality selections for women, men, and children, and include such designer brands from the closets of celebrities and socialites including, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Hermes, Stella McCarthy, Ralph Lauren, Eileen Fisher, Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, Fendi, and many more.
This is all possible because Vault Luxury Resale has a roster of 15,000 suppliers from around the U.S. and the globe, and McCarthy and her hard-working team process more than 500 items a day. Some 30 percent of the items that are sold still have original price tags, which shows that they have never been worn. This thriving family business moves a massive amount of merchandise, so shoppers always find something new and fabulous at The Vault.
So, many women say they would love to own a Louis Vuitton, Prada, or Birkin bag, or designer shoes, but find that they are cost-prohibitive for their budgets. The Vault Luxury Resale makes that new (with the tags on) or gently used handbag well within reach – a classic wardrobe item the new owner will use and enjoy for many years to come.
In addition, women’s clothing designers often include, Madewell, Lululemon, Escada, Athleta, St. John, Lily Pulitzer, Tahari, Tory Birch, and much more in sizes 0-22, which is another attraction for shoppers since most boutiques exclude plus size women in their mix.
“If it’s high fashion, high quality, high style, and au courant, we buy it. We are the reigning queens of upscale resale,” McCarthy explains. “The Vault is a shopper’s dream, a fashionista’s delight, and a girl’s best friend. And because of this, we are phenomenally successful. Our recipe for success is simple: We find out what people want and give it to them with honesty and integrity, all at a fair price.”
Sue, as founder and CEO, please tell me what are you most excited about when it comes to The Vault Luxury Resale?
Sue McCarthy: The fact that our business continues to grow and evolve into a wonderful organization that serves so many aspects of my life — my community, my staff, and my family.
What sets your store apart from other resale shops?
Sue McCarthy: We are the best in three very important categories: quality, quantity, and price. We treat our suppliers and our customers like royalty. We think that every woman deserves to look great and wear nice things, regardless of her size or income. And we deliver on that promise.
What does it mean that your daughters, Diana and Laura, have taken this business journey with you?
Sue McCarthy: I have worked on my business for 35 years and to be able to turn it over to someone else with the same drive, passion, and ability to take it to the next level is nothing short of AMAZING!
What is it like to hear from longtime happy customers?
Sue McCarthy: We have customers who have bought maternity clothes, their children’s clothes, their daughter’s prom dress, mother-of-the-bride dress, etc. Their families have grown up with our family. So, they literally have spent a generation doing business with us!
What are a few life lessons you have passed on to your daughters?
- Beautiful things are meant to be shared
- Perspective is everything
- Always, always do the right thing
- You can’t make a good deal with a bad person
What do you love about the resale business?
Sue McCarthy: I love that you never know what’s going to walk in the door and it feels like Christmas at least once a week!
Looking back, could you have predicted the success of the shop, your Style Network Resale Royalty TV show, book Good, Better, Best.
Sue McCarthy: Absolutely! I’ve always been obsessed with being the best. And I love nothing more than helping others along the way. We have always given back to the community that supports us and I believe our success is a direct result of that!
How did the TV show Resale Royalty come about?
Sue McCarthy: We were approached by producers who were intrigued that three women from a shop in the middle of Missouri were often in the closets of the rich and famous in New York and Los Angeles. My son-in-law is with No Coast Originals (production company) and pitched it to networks in LA. and they loved it. The fabulous Rachel Zoe, former model, and businesswoman extraordinaire signed on as the producer and we were off and running with our own TV show. Each episode featured a fabulous closet buy, and two of the greatest closets we’ve ever done were featured on the show. The show aired in 2013, and it was an immediate hit. The ratings were great and people loved it! Resale Royalty was an incredible experience. I am so grateful to my wonderful son-in-law for believing in me, Rachel Zoe, the other producers, and the crew, who made such an amazing and authentic show. And all the fans out there who loved watching it. I am thrilled that the show has had a major resurgence with former and new fans watching the episodes on YouTube.
Why did you title your book, Good, Better, Best?
Sue McCarthy: This has long been my motto. Never let it rest until the good is the better and the better is the best! I also believe that kindness and generosity are always in fashion.
What accomplishments make you the proudest?
Sue McCarthy: The fact that we have provided a wonderful, pleasant, interesting, and fun place for people to work, sell, shop, and grow. Our mission statement is “A gathering place that nurtures women through fashion and inspired events.”
Explain your often-used phrase — “We didn’t invent luxury consignment, we expanded on it!”
Sue McCarthy: Luxury consignment has been around forever, we just did it better, made it easier, and made it available to the average woman. We pay on the spot with no waiting period and have sizes 0-22!
What are a few aspects of the store and online business that make it unique when it comes to customer service, products, etc.?
Sue McCarthy: The Vault Luxury Resale is unique in the way we obtain items. Traditionally stores that have high-end items only consign them. Consignment at no risk to the owner. If an item sells, the supplier gets a percentage of what it sold for as does the boutique. We also take high-end items like Chanel and Hermes handbags but we pay outright on the spot. No waiting period, a check on the spot, or a higher amount in store credit. We also have clothing for ALL women sizes 0-22. Most boutiques exclude plus-size women but it is important for us to have every woman’s size in store.
What are a few designer items in your wardrobe that you adore?
Sue McCarthy: I have a beautiful pair of 24K gold and diamond earrings from a closet in Florence, Italy. I also have several beautiful Hermes and Chanel scarves that I adore and wear often.
What is the best part of a family business? How are your two daughters involved — what are each of their roles in the business?
Sue McCarthy: At this stage in our careers, we each have the distinct fields that we shine in although sometimes we tell each other to “stay in your lane,” haha!
I do all of the bookwork which gives me plenty of time off, which I have earned. Laura is a label savant and keeps us ALL up on the latest trends, up-and-coming designers, etc… Laura is an expert buyer and arranges our incredible “closet buys” in New York, Nashville, and L.A. While Diana is the personality and the soul of the business with events, our online store, and day-to-day operations.
Diana, please tell me a brief history of your resale journey in this family business started by your mom and the twists and turns along the way?
Diana McCarthy Ford: My resale journey began in high school when I would stop by my mom’s store after school and shop the racks of her first small resale boutique. I continued to do this through college and even after when I was working all over the world with Maritz Travel Company. I would fly in from some exotic place and make a B-line to the store to see what was in. In 2008, my mom and my sister asked if I would come and work with them doing events for the store, and I have been in resale ever since.
Diana McCarthy Ford: What is it like having your current 7,000 square foot shop? Online store? What are the highlights of each?
Seven years ago, we found our current location. We loved the storefront’s curb appeal and perfect Brentwood location. It is also perfect for our ever-growing, popular in-store events as it had plenty of room. The online store was born out of COVID-19. Prior to this, we were primarily selling in-store or on our Instagram. We knew that eventually we would need an online store but dragged our heels as we didn’t want to open up that can of worms and besides, we were doing fantastic in-store! Well, 2020 [the pandemic hit] and the store being closed changed all of this. We knew we needed to pivot quickly. We hired Ally who had run an online shoe store and was excited to jump into the luxury resale business. We started listing, photographing, and editing all of the items in our store. We had very little online traffic and would get orders two or three times a week at first. That was one year ago and today we are shipping 20-30 boxes a day all over the country!
Talk about happy repeat customers and what their loyalty means to you
Diana McCarthy Ford: Customer service is the cornerstone of our business. We treat everyone like they are a VIP and go above and beyond a typical brick-and-mortar. Examples: If an employee is working with a woman and she is looking for a dress for a funeral (her mom, sister, husband, or child) we tell her the dress is a gift and do not accept payment. If someone is shopping and they are from out of town we ask if they took an Uber or a taxi to our store. If they did, we offer to drop them off at their hotel. The other day an elderly woman came in and was looking for a grandmother of the bride dress. She found two but was too exhausted to try them on. I told her to please take both of them home and try them on when she felt better. I asked her to bring them both back or only the one she didn’t want later in the week. We do not normally take any returns but this was the right thing to do. We want raving fans; not just customers.
What is it like to go to the closet of a Manhattan celebrity and know you are often raising money for worthy causes while buying items for the shop?
Diana McCarthy Ford: It’s like being a fly on a wall to a totally different world yet there is always so much we have in common as women. Some take the check and some have us write it to their favorite charity. Some have waaaaay too many “things” and some are more selective and want to usher in the new season by getting rid of the items from the past seasons.
What was the highlight of doing the TV show Resale Royalty?
Diana McCarthy Ford: Meeting all of the celebrities we met during the filming was definitely a highlight as well as finding out how interesting other people thought our day-to-day was. The book was a glimpse into mom’s humble beginnings and the extravagant closets we are privileged to find ourselves invited through. I feel that the book needs to be a movie and really make these closets and their keepers come alive.
What are your goals and dreams for the new store, online store, and other aspects of your business?
Diana McCarthy Ford: I am excited about our handbag initiative ” Buy One/Gift One” and have it become a blessing to homeless women as well as for women in transition. Recently, we gave 31 designer bags to the Women in Transition program. Each bag was filled with toiletries, hidden cash, and a quote of inspiration such as, “Today I let go of the past. Now I begin to create a new future.” We have plans to expand this philanthropic program in the fall.
How do you authenticate the designer items?
Diana McCarthy Ford: My favorite part of our business is the incredible events we do that give back. My best pieces: a small mustard yellow Chanel crocodile handbag, a black vintage Yves Saint Laurent velvet top, gold, and black leather Prada platforms. We have 30 years of experience and have three people in the house who look at every bag. We also use a third-party authenticator “Entrupy” if an item does not pass all of our criteria. There are super fakes now and they all have date codes and holograms and are made extremely well so we must constantly be learning.
What gets you excited when you get out of bed in the morning?
Diana McCarthy Ford: Connections with customers. Making each woman feel like her best self.
What does being part of a thriving family business mean to you?
Diana McCarthy Ford: It means we have a future that is in our own hands.
What do you love most about this business?
Diana McCarthy Ford: My favorite part of our business is the many incredible events that we do that give back to the community.
For more information on The Vault Luxury Resale please go to:
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