Inside Rotate Boutique, the Bloomfield Hills’ shop that’s giving consignment clothes a luxury makeover
By Carmen Nesbitt
Photography by Derrick Martinez
Rotate Boutique in Bloomfield Hills is a designer dreamland. A Louis Vuitton purse towers atop a pedestal; Chanel boots bathe in the spotlight of glowing cubbies; Valentino gowns float effortlessly on a clothing rack. With its track lights and clean, all-white interior, the store is so chic and polished that shoppers might forget one important thing: Every item there has already been worn.
For owner India Shepherd, that’s all part of the plan. “I wanted to make it look as though it’s not resale,” says the 43-year-old West Bloomfield resident, who launched Rotate last April. (Hers is the latest addition to the area’s upscale resale shops; there’s also Closet NV in West Bloomfield Township and Label Legends in Farmington Hills.) “The goal is to make it very appealing to the eye.” She says most consignment stores, even the high-end ones, are cluttered and stale. But hers offers more of a “sexy Fifth Avenue vibe” — minus the price tag.
The idea for Rotate was born in 2018 when Shepherd set out to do what every fashion lover dreads: clean her closet, where she found designer shoes piled up. (She’d always loved shoes, even attempting to open a women’s shoe store in Detroit at one point.) Shepherd, who worked for her husband’s property-management company at the time, created a profile on Poshmark, an e-commerce marketplace where people sell used clothes and accessories, and posted 10 pairs of shoes for sale. But the experience was frustrating. “I was getting messages from people offering $50 for a $600 pair of shoes,” she says. “We were getting nowhere fast.” The experience sparked inspiration: What if she could create a better way to resell designer items?
After months of searching for an affordable, perfectly sized space, Shepherd took over the former location of SHE, a popular high-end boutique tucked in a corner off of Maple and Telegraph roads. Her first order of business was giving the site an extreme makeover. “I would come here for a whole day and think about, ‘Where am I going to put this piece of furniture?’” she recalls. “I thought about how the flow would look. To me, every piece means a lot.”
But cultivating Rotate’s elegant vibe goes far beyond couch placement: “There isn’t any pressure here,” says Shepherd. (Complimentary Champagne and snacks for shoppers add to the store’s warm feel.) “I want my consigners to feel comfortable leaving their precious items here and I want customers to feel great coming in and purchasing.”
“It’s almost therapeutic going there,” says Beverley Melton, a Birmingham resident in her 40s who’s been shopping at Rotate since it opened. “It’s exciting to see what they have in. I’ve bought incredible items that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy.” Her most fabulous find: an Alexander McQueen dress with a metallic design. “It’s a work of art.”
Though Shepherd has certain brand preferences — “I love a good Chanel skirt” — she features many designers, from BCBG and Tory Burch to Hermes. “The intent is to have more of a higher-end designer store,” she says, adding that she has two criteria when reselling items: They must be gently used, and she and the consigner must agree on price. “Some women may come in and say, ‘I spent $3,000 for the shoes; I want to get $2,000 back,’” says Shepherd. “That’s not going to work because we’re trying to resell it.” Once they reach consensus, Shepherd asks for 90 days to prepare, advertise and sell the item. Sales prices range from $10 to several thousand (like for a Chanel bag), depending on a given item’s retail value.
As Rotate approaches its first birthday, Shepherd — who’s already hosted a fashion show and jewelry pop-ups at her boutique, plus a podcast for fashion guru Chuck Bennett — is looking to the store’s future. Her goals for 2020 include bringing in men’s accessories and expanding her already robust collection of secondhand designer pet wear (yes, dogs love Gucci sweaters, too). In the meantime, she’s busy taking mental notes on her customers’ style. “I have to remember what they like and don’t like,” she says. “When I go into a store and someone says, ‘Hey, girl, I know you were looking for this, and now it’s on sale,’ I love that.”
4076 W Maple Rd, Bloomfield Hills