Lisa Stark is the kind of woman every Miami fashionista should know. Not only is she beyond stylish, she’s a ninja of sorts: when it comes to finding, finagling and fetching the most fabulous pre-owned (she calls them pre-loved) luxury items in South Florida, she does it all from her modest, but chic little Boca Raton boutique called “Serendipity Consignment.”

I first met Lisa and her retail posse on a glorious Saturday afternoon and to say her store was jammed packed with shoppers (who couldn’t care less about the amazing weather) would be a gross understatement. It was as if the retail Olympics were unfolding right before my very eyes. Women were sifting through a plethora Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel purses.

Did I mention the shoes? Neatly lined-up on racks around the room where labels that would make even Sarah Jessica Parker jealous: Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Christian Louboutin, just to name a few. The clothing was just as impressive with skirts, shirts, pants and dresses from Roberto Cavalli, Missoni, Marc Jacobs, Alexis, Parker and well, the list goes (frankly, it would take up this entire blog.)

The most impressive part, though, was the energy and spirit of the ladies selling Lisa’s luxury items. Her inner sales circle is a group of really strong, good-natured, wonderfully, sweet women. The group takes customer service to an entirely different level because they can. They’re in the type of environment that encourages it, which allows them to be interesting and interested.

Lisa calls it “The white glove treatment” and she takes it very seriously, paying special attention to each and every person who walks into her store. I don’t wanna sound like a negative Nelly, but I was taken aback by her posse’s genuine kindness and professionalism. It’s probably because I’m a mall baby. I guess it’s my age and the way retail played itself out in the 80’s and 90’s.

Back then, it was all about mass production, where everyone was sold a blanket idea, along with cookie cutter fashion trends. Clothing chains quickly took over the singular experience of a local boutique and instead of being greeted in a grateful manner when I walked into a store, I grew accustomed to being grunted at and treated like I was going to steal something.

Luckily, those days are dwindling as people grow savvier about how they spend their  hard-earned money. Lisa gets that, too. With social media in full effect, it’s all about selling a feeling, an experience, a lifestyle. Her approach is so successful, her consigners have become customers and her customers have become consigners. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, but especially for shoppers looking to score the things they’ve always dreamed of without putting a kidney on eBay.

As a wheeler and dealer of the finer things in life, Lisa has seen it all. Her stories are the stuff retail dreams are made of, hence the blog title: “The Serendipity Chronicles.” When interviewing her for Deco Drive, she recounted this wild story about a stranger asking her to make a house call to check out some “bags.” When she arrived, it was like hitting what she called “the mother load,” with a couch full of limited edition Birkin bags (too many to count.)

She couldn’t believe her eyes and to this day, wishes she had kept them, but if you know Lisa, it’s just not in her DNA. Instead, she shared her bagful bounty with her boutique and off the Birkins went into the hands of customers who had always dreamed of owning a limited edition purse from Hermes, one of the most luxurious companies in the world.

I love listening to Lisa and “The Serendipity Chronicles.” It’s as if retail heaven opened up and bequeathed her as my fashion fairy godmother. Although it may not seem like it, we have a lot in common. I may not have her extensive knowledge when it comes to consignment, but I’ve had my fair share of experiencing it.

A few years ago, I took some of my most beloved designer shoes, bags and clothing to a reputable consignment store in Miami. I wanted to test the consigning waters so to speak. I don’t really have a lot of expensive things, but what I do have I’ve worked incredibly hard for. The aforementioned pieces I was selling were to help me afford other designer items I longed for, but couldn’t purchase without a little help. So, like most fashionistas on a budget, I chose to use my own closet to supplement my buying power.

One day, for whatever reason, I decided to pop into said consignment store unannounced and man, oh man, was I disappointed. I found a store that was in complete and utter disarray. The clothing racks were so bunched and tangled together, there was no way on earth anyone could take a hanger off of them, let alone shop a look. What’s more, my shoes (despite handing them over in pristine condition,) were dusty, dirty and stuffed into a corner basket with a pile of other shoes. Some of which were even mismatched.

As for my purses? I couldn’t find a single one on display, yet the sales clerk (who was extremely rude) had no actual receipt or paperwork showing they’d been sold. I calmly asked: “Is someone taking them for a stroll?” It was shocking and disheartening to say the least. After the experience, I quickly gathered up my belongings and NEVER WENT BACK. (Once they located my purses, they did eventually mail them back and not in their original “lightly used” condition.)

I take fashion personally and I’m not the only one: Lisa is right there with me. Serendipity is in pristine condition: neat, clean and the merchandise is treated with meticulous care and respect. In fact, if something is not in FABULOUS shape, Lisa won’t consign it and don’t even think about whispering “one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure,” in her presence. In her store, it’s all treasure and all worth rediscovering.

Shireen Sandoval: What is the concept of Serendipity Consignment?  
Lisa Stark: To provide shoppers with high-end luxury designer merchandise at a fraction of the original cost.

SS: You’re no stranger to the fashion business. How did you get your start?
LS: My grandmother was in retail and inspired me at an early age to want to continue in the fashion world, which ultimately became my career passion.

SS: I’ve been in a lot of consignment stores and yours is different. Why?  
LS: We strive to only accept the very best quality and high-end merchandise which is a daily, never-ending experience.

SS: The quality of your items rivals some of the best stores around the world. How are you able to procure such lavish, well-cared-for items?  
LS: Being in Boca Raton for 20 years, we’ve developed trustworthy relationships with consignors who only purchase luxury designer items.

SS: What is the most unique piece in the store right now?  
LS: A rare Chanel limited edition handbag.

SS: I love the customer service at Serendipity and the amazing energy. What’s your secret?  
LS: The secret is we all share the same philosophy of passion, positive energy and excellent customer service.

SS: When it comes to shopping consignment, what advice do you have for the South Florida fashionista?
LS: To shop at only reputable shops like Serendipity that guarantee authenticity.

SS: What’s the most unusual/amazing item you’ve ever come across and did you keep it or sell it?  
LS: My Louis Vuitton trunks that I did hold on to.

SS: With all the beautiful things you see on a daily basis, your closet must be a playground of terrific things. If I looked inside, what would I see?  
LS: My closet is a mini version of Serendipity Consignment without sales people (laughing).

SS: Because your store is really about classic designer brands, what is the one must-have piece every fashionista should aspire to attain?
LS: Chanel and Hermes are desired collectables as they also maintain their value.

SS: If I took away everything in your closet, but allowed you to keep one thing, what would it be and why?  
LS: My first LV Papillon Monogram bag that I purchased as a teenager.

When styling the blog, Lisa and the ladies of Serendipity let my blog stylist, Jackie Kay, have the run of the store! Nothing was off limits. Needless to say, Jackie was like a kid in a candy store and for the first time in a long time, we were able to pull together entire outfits from just ONE place.

Jackie went for three entirely different looks: business, beautiful and boho, showcasing the versatility and accessory strength of the store. My absolute favorite is the mint condition, Missoni trench coat (pictured in the blog.) Although, if I were really being honest, everything that I tried on, everything that’s featured in the blog, are all items I would collect for my own closet.

The word “Serendipity,” which means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise,” describes Lisa and her luxury boutique perfectly, but there’s so much more to it than that. It also has to do with knowingly and willingly connecting the past and the present in a positive manner.

Lisa finds something that someone has enjoyed and loved in the past and she connects it with someone who will enjoy and love it in the present. It’s a conscious choice of initiating, creating and passing on good karma and good energy. Sociologists call it “a serendipitous pattern,” which ultimately means the act itself was intended to happen all along and that’s why “The Serendipity Chronicles” will always be one of my favorite things.

Shop the blog looks at
Twitter: @SerendipityBoca
IG: @Serendipity Consignment
FB:  Serendipity Consignment Boca
Twitter: @ShireenSandoval
IG: @ShireenSandoval

Photographer: James Woodley
Twitter: @BritFloridian
IG: @BritFloridian

Hair & Make-up: Odette Hernandez
Twitter: @Odettehernandz

Styling & Assist: Jackie Kay
blog ideas:  

Editor: Matthew Auerbach

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox