When I visited the Back Room Consignment Shop (832 Manhattan Ave), I spent an hour looking through the collection. Sally, the owner, was very kind and helpful, as was Darius, who selected some of the clothes to show me. It was a welcoming environment and I recommend this place to my friends because it had some rarities like a Betsey Johnson dress from her Paraphernelia days and other cool things.
We chatted with Sally, a former burlesque dancer and Greenpoint “native.”
GP: Where did you grow up?
Sally: I’m a Greenpoint Girl…born and raised. I am a Real Estate Broker by Trade but when a very close business mentor and associate of mine offered me the space on Manhattan Avenue to do business I just couldn’t refuse.
GP: How did you get into opening up a consignment shop and how long have you been dealing in collecting “vintage” clothes?
Sally: I didn’t know what I was going to do at first being a former Burlesque Dancer. I wanted to gear to towards something theatrical and flashy. [The space] was formerly an art gallery and the artwork featured by Mirsad (a frenchmen) was so oddly intriguing and beautiful I really didn’t want to get rid of it. So after some careful thought I called a cousin of mine also a Real Estate Broker who owned a consignment shop on Long Island.
I told her I was considering opening a consignment shop and art gallery in one space. She immediately got in her car and drove to Brooklyn. With her she brought some beautiful skirts, shoes, blouses, jackets and labels. She told me go across the street and get a black board and write on it “Consignment Shop NOW OPEN” – so I did. She sent my youngest daughter and her friends home to get some clothes and bring them in. They did and we were open for business.
After spending hours thinking about names I came up with “The Back Room Consignment Shop and Art Gallery.” The room is in the back of Verizon.. so the name was fitting… aside from the intrigue of a “back room.” It is now where most Greenpointers are bringing their unwanted and designer garments that are gently used and turning them into cash. I’ve always enjoyed vintage and designer styles and shopped Thrift Stores and garage sales most of my life. My mom also worked in the garment center for sometime when I was a teenager growing up…so I feel I always had an eye for stuff that was a little over the top and set trends for a way for New Yorkers to look anyway.
GP: What rare finds do you currently have in stock?
Sally: Some of our rarest finds are some beautiful vintage wool coats, detailed with mink from the 1940’s. I also have trendy aprons from the 1950’s..one of kind stuff. We have hand made leather goods from Fred Ho (Musician, Artist, Producer) gorgeous snake skin belts flanked in sterling silver with Turquoise, Ebony, and Sugarfine details and more.
A stunning portrait of Michael Jackson by KiKi Garber. We have all designer brand clothing, shoes, bags, handmade and vintage necklaces, pins, rings, bracelets and more. We have Leather Biker Jackets, Leather Maxi’s, and Swede and Fox Walkers. There’s just to much to list…if you are a Fashionista, Stylist, Designer, Model, or anyone in the Fashion Industry our place is a treasure trove. Some of our merchandise has already been purchased for projects in TV and Film.
GP: Have you met any interesting locals who visited your shop?
Sally: Our most interesting and beloved local who is also one our best clients is Fred Ho. It’s been our pleasure and an honor to feature his handcrafted leather goods and designer fashions at The Back Room. Marty from Marty’s Cool Stuff from Lafayette Street, NYC, is pretty much a permanent fixture around the store – very interesting with great rocker stories. He brought in a leather jacket that was Dee Dee Ramones. Marty makes guitars and has made some for some real Rock Gods. We’ve also have our regular cast of character’s who come in on a daily basis and are always good for a laugh or a prank.
GP: Darius Bridges of Tout Talent Agency, tell us about him and future plans you have with Tout Talent?
Sally: My right hand man and life saver is Darius Bridges, a debonair very good looking gentlemen from Charleston, SC. Darius walked into my store one day for a job one day and never left. Darius is VP of Talent for Tout Talent and Model Management.. He has been quite frankly a blessing and a Godsend to me. I could not have made this work without him, along with some of my Greenpoint Girls who got the store up and running with their street savvy and professional advice.
Anne Marie Del Colle and Helen Kersten to name a few but Darius has brought that “fashion street vibe” to our store…signing clients daily making friends with everyone! We love him dearly and he in his own right is quite the dashing trend setter and beautiful person I saw from the get. My daughters Jamie Raia and Alexa Galante will also be on board with us!
GP: Who is your style icon?
Sally: My fashion icon is Madonna…hahaha. I remember going out in a fancy black cami one night when I was about eighteen because Madonna was doing it. I loved the way it made me feel…I continued to copy her styles like all the females of my era but Greenpoint Girls always have had a flair for the dramatics like May West (born and raised in Greenpoint) we’re very proud of her here and her lendendary sex appeal and glamorous ways really is what the back room is geared towards. What you can find to create or re-create a look, a timeless style that’s all your own. The more over the top fashion goes the more I like it….George Clinton would be my male choice.
GP: What does a typical day look like for you?
Sally: A typical day for me at The Back Room is opening the store meeting Darius there and waiting to see who comes in. We work so hard making sure the racks are easy to shop and that The Back Room is clean and inviting. Your really need to spend some time there and we like to make sure we have all of our featured items and all of our “finds” on display.
The thing I love most about owning my own shop is the creative energy I get to put into it. I love just throwing myself into transforming it and watching it take on a life of it’s own. It’s constantly changing. It is a special place – everyone loves The Back Room. When your in it you become a part of it and that makes me feel great knowing that so many people love my store.
GP: Tell us about the parties here at the Back Room?
Sally: The Back Room Consignment Shop was originally designed for customers and clients alike to enjoy our store privately. We encourage ALL who walk through the door to book a private shopping experience. You can book a party for as many guests as you would like…friends, family members, co-worker’s, etc. and we’ll close down the store for you. We provide your choice of music, wine and cheese or coffee and cake AND all you have to do is have a great time shopping. We bring the energy you just bring yourselves. All clients get a 15% discount off the total sales and all guests who bring ten garments or more get 10% off their total sales BUT what everyone gets are great clothes and accessories and a GREAT PRIVATE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE. Parties are from 7-11pm any day of the week so you have the run of the store. The best part is every party is different because our merchandise is constantly changing.
To book a Private Shopping Experience call Sally at 347.725.4758 or stop in the store located at 832 Manhattan Avenue, off Noble Street, Greenpoint Brooklyn 11222.
Store opens at 11am daily except for Mondays.