For most jewelry retailers, pieces sold on consignment represent only a small fraction of a store’s total inventory. But every item at Joint Venture, a fine vintage and estate jewelry store in Cary, N.C., is sold on consignment, a setup co-owner Donna Hankin says delivers rock-bottom prices to its customers.
“There are a couple of reason we do 100 percent consignment,” explains Hankin, who launched the store in 1998 with her husband, Lee, a former owner of pawnshops in the Philadelphia area. “We wanted to be fair to consigners and not be more motivated to sell our stuff harder than theirs. And because we’re not making that initial inventory investment, we can offer pieces at 30 to 50 percent less than others.”
Vintage and estate pieces at Joint Venture
The independent boutique celebrated its 14th anniversary Aug. 1 by relocating to a significantly larger storefront less than a mile from its old digs, which was a mere 800 square feet.
Located in a strip shopping center, the 3,200-square-foot space comprises the 1,600-square-foot Joint Venture store along with Peachy Keen, a brand-new contemporary fashion boutique (also 1,600 square feet) primarily operated by the Hankins’ two daughters: 23-year-old Jen, who graduated from North Carolina State University with a communications degree, and Karly, 21, a graduate of the fashion program at Savannah College of Art and Design.
Inside the new Joint Venture in Cary, N.C.
The sibling stores have separate entrances, but once inside, no walls separate the two spaces. The decor throughout is retro–meets–modern repurposed.
A parlor area boasts a Victorian-era sofa and layback chairs, and an old refurbished Singer sewing machine table now displays belts. Joint Venture features banks of traditional display cases back-dropped by framed vintage fashion posters. A raised catwalk runs the length of the massive space. “Our style is definitely more vintage than modern,” notes Hankin.
Karly, Lee, Donna, and Jen Hankin (courtesy of Joint Venture)
The store’s inventory is culled from both individual sellers and estate jewelry dealers. Prices range from $80 for simple sterling silver pieces to $30,000 for a 3.5 ct. vintage diamond ring.
“People come to us looking for engagement rings that are filigree or Art Deco or Victorian pieces,” says Hankin. “And now we’ve had some crossover from the jewelry side into the new fashion store. The two really complement each other.”