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Technology

Shopping Pros

Consignment boutique owners look to ProStores to snag more shoppers.

Consignment shopping got a lot more high-tech for mother-daughter duo Robin Marshall, 50, and Jennifer Hicks, 28, after they launched a ProStores website in February. They went into business together by opening Sequels consignment boutique in 2004. Located in downtown Angola, Indiana, Sequels soon began selling retired Vera Bradley handbags on eBay. eBay's audience proved a better fit for trendy items like funky Versace jeans that just didn't appeal to the conventional fashion sense of the local consumer base.

"eBay has taken us to a whole new level," says Hicks, who says customers buy from as far away as Australia and Sweden. eBay sales now account for 35 percent of their total sales, and they use their ProStores site (www.sequelsconsign.com) as a company website and a portal to their eBay Store, where most of their online sales take place. Hicks says the ProStores site "reaches a different population than [is found] on eBay," and she says they plan to grow the site in the coming year.

Now that they've launched an eBay drop-off business--the first in town--combined 2006 sales are projected to be upwards of $125,000. In the consignment business, where used items live again, these entrepreneurs are staying current with a fresh approach.

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