With its roots on the North Shore, the business has grown into a highly reputable consignment boutique.
Since 1976, Anne’s Unique Boutique in downtown Palatine has grown into one of the leading consignment stores in the Chicagoland area and across the country, with more than 10,000 consigners and thousands of satisfied customers.
The year 2016 marked the business’ 40th anniversary.
Anne’s Unique Boutique was founded by Anne De Koning, an immigrant from the Netherlands who was living in Glencoe, Illinois in the early 1970’s. She sold Avon at the time and noticed that both her neighbors and Avon customers – many of which were North Shore socialites – had beautiful clothing they would wear just once or twice before giving them away. Many times, items in their closets were brand new with the tags still on them.
De Koning got to thinking about how she could find a use for their designer dresses, handbags, shoes and more while providing a benefit to her friends and contacts. She came up with the idea to create a consignment boutique, and began the search for a location. Anne’s Unique Boutique opened in 1976 at its first location on Palatine Road and Bothwell Street in downtown Palatine.
She would travel to her contacts throughout the North Shore to collect their designer clothing and accessories and bring them back to Palatine to sell on consignment. Over the next three years, De Koning’s friends and family volunteered their time to help grow the business, while her list of consigners and customers continued to expand.
The business outgrew its location in 1979 and moved across the street to the south side of Palatine Road at its present address, 16 S. Bothwell Street.
Over the next decade, the clientele grew to not only include local residents, but also shoppers from out of state. Word spread about the quality of the merchandise available at affordable prices; to be accepted for consignment, everything had to be in excellent condition, wrinkle free, dry cleaned and on hangers. All items were required to be between one and two years old, in-style, and in-season.
In the early 1990’s, Anne’s daughter-in-law, Tina De Koning began working behind the scenes, handling accounting and bookkeeping while raising her three young sons. All the while, Anne’s Unique Boutique continued to flourish, and its solid reputation grew as well.
Then, in 1999, Anne was diagnosed with cancer and sadly succumbed to the disease in March of 2000.
Tina, along with her husband, decided it was important to keep Anne’s Unique Boutique open. She had developed strong relationships and a mutual trust with the clientele, and knew the importance of providing customers with personal attention – even remembering most of the customers and clients by their first name.
“My mother-in-law always said the best form of advertising is word of mouth,” Tina said.
She worked over the next several years to maintain the respected reputation the business had earned while continuing to build relationships with existing and new customers and consigners.
In 2008, Anne’s Unique Boutique was chosen by HGTV’s ‘Shopping Detective’ to do a segment on how to shop consignment stores. Tina said after it aired, she received calls from across the country from people who wanted to buy items that were highlighted on the show.
Over the next few years, the business doubled in size to accommodate growing inventory, which included overflow stock from North Shore boutiques and designer clothing line samples. Shoppers and consigners continued to enjoy a high level, boutique style atmosphere.
Anne’s Unique Boutique was voted the Daily Herald’s Reader’s Choice in 2015 for consignment shops and has dozens of positive online reviews.
“Customers and clients come from all over the Midwest to shop and consign, and many even mention their childhood memories of shopping here with their mothers,” Tina said.
Today, the business carries a vast selection of designer items including Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, St. John, Gucci, Prada and many others.
Selections include ladies, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories, belts, costume and fine jewelry, home accessories, collectibles and china.
A handful of luxury items are also sold on Ebay, and specials run on a weekly basis. Brand new items are featured on the Anne’s Unique Boutique Facebook page also on a weekly basis, which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Annes-Unique-Boutique-311466149139. For more information, call 847-991-1976 or visit www.AnnesUniqueBoutique.com.
How consignment works at Anne’s Unique Boutique: Owner Tina De Koning determines the price of the consignment item based on her expertise and many years of experience. Items can be on display at Anne’s Unique Boutique for 90 days.