In the Denver area, one can be sure to find a plethora of thrift stores. The range includes digging through the endless mounds at the Goodwill Bins to finding the retro Grateful Dead T-shirt hanging on the walls of a local vintage shop. Everyone loves a good thrift find that hits the “jackpot.” But what if an entire store was full of these seemingly gold mines of heavily discounted high-end items?
Meet Common Threads, a consignment store that exclusively sells designer brand items. Therefore, creating a new, more luxurious aspect to thrift shopping.
Denver store co-owner, Jennifer Wilshire, described how it all got started through the sisterhood innovation. She and her sister, Libby Alexander, have always loved fashion – so much so that their business first began as a hands-on fashion workshop for people of all ages.
“It started in 2008 when my sister, Libby, had the idea of opening up a resale store, but also wanting to integrate a creative component into it,” Wilshire explained.
Through the birth of Common Threads at the Boulder location, came not only resale but furthermore, the ‘creative lab.’
“The original creative lab was conceptualized based on the idea that you could buy a pair of Levi’s and then you could embroider them and you could embellish them. You could remake the article of clothing in some way that better suited you,” Wilshire said.
Through the immense success of the Boulder location, where participants could “revamp” accessories and such, the two decided to continue this success in the Denver area.
Located on South Pearl Street, the Common Threads Denver location consists of a world of high-end pieces that need a new home. Common Threads carries primarily designer brand clothing and handbags. That is not to say if one is looking for a high-end piece of jewelry or a nice pair of sneakers, they could find them here too.
The location is built on a unique consignment process to provide customers with the trends of the time. The website consists of a list of current brands Common Threads looks for and the overall gist of the process to consign with them.
“We do not buy up front, but rather do a 45-day consignment period. Places do sometimes do longer periods, but we do 45 because it keeps our inventory fresh, rather than pieces hanging out here for long periods of time,” Wilshire explained
In fact, she stated that most of her customers do both the buying and the selling.
Wilshire herself did not start off as the biggest fan of thrifting and consigning. “I will be honest, I was not a thrift store shopper at all and was completely converted by Libby and Common Threads. Libby made me a believer in resale. I didn’t believe before that you could get such current and quality pieces from such shopping experiences,” she said.
Now, she’s found herself creating a consignment environment that she loves, “our whole goal is to provide really great fashion and designer items. Really high-end pieces, but make them affordable,” Wilshire said.
In terms of specifics, Wilshire explained the ‘criteria’ each piece needs in order to be successful in its storefront.
“Our goal, in terms of product condition, gently warns. They are resale items but you wouldn’t necessarily know that at first glance,” she explained.
Another important aspect of their store’s success is the specific brands they accept and sell. In terms of brands they do not accept, it comes down to the profit margins. “If the store has outlets that provide heavily discounted items, it makes it really difficult to compete with,” she explained.
Over the past few years, Wilshire has documented interesting shifts in trends taking place within Common Threads. The pandemic created a change in what their customers were buying. Specifically, a shift away from luxury clothing to more casual high-end products.
“In the past, our best selling items were really high-end heels and such like Jimmy Cho, now we are seeing costumers buying way more sneakers like Golden Goose,” she said.
Overall, Common Threads has definitely been hit with the new wave and popularity of athleisure clothing and culture.
Common Threads started on the basis of creativity and giving less used pieces a second chance at life. Wilshire and Alexander saw the negative impact of simply discarding parts of a closet that don’t seem to resonate anymore. Not only is it sad to let go, but it also has a highly negative impact on the environment.
In terms of sustainability, “we do not do a lot of the fast fashion. The cheaper brands have such a low price point it makes it almost impossible to compete with,” she explained.
Their focus lies on high-quality, luxury, pieces that will last, rather than contributing to the fast fashion cycle.
The consignment process does leave some buyers with items that cannot be sold in-store. Some customers want their products back if they do not sell, others do not.
In the scenario where the customer does not want their product back, “we work with 6 different non-profit organizations that we donate these products over to,” Wilshire explained.
So even the stuff that doesn’t sell, is still being passed on.
Wilshire was eager to share her current favorite summer items in the store. She explained that they have been receiving some Farm Rio items that encapsulate this summer’s vibes perfectly through their bright prints.
Common Threads prides itself on giving beautiful luxury pieces a second life. Their commitment to only buying and selling certain high-end brands ensures that they are not buying into and contributing to the fast fashion cycle. Through the detailed consignment process and overall love for fashion, the store provides its customers with a high-quality shopping experience with lower prices and a more thoughtful impact on our environment.
Common Threads is located on 1575 South Pearl Street, Denver and 2707 Spruce Street, Boulder. Visit their website to learn more about shopping at or consigning with Common Threads.
All photography courtesy of Common Threads.