"Where beauty, fashion, and success wear lipstick and six-inch heels"

HH Boutique Highlight: Second Time Around with Tara Muscarella

Walking into STA (Second Time Around), a consignment shop on Mott Street in Nolita, you will be greeted with not only tons of valuable fashion finds, but also by the likes of Tara Muscarella, who has a spiritual and fashionable energy that is palpable. STA is not your typical run-of-the-mill hand-me-down shop, rather STA’s staff is very in particular about what they sell, and the prices are anywhere from 50% to 75% less than the item’s original price! 

With a pair of Alexander McQueen black knee-high boots, Chanel shoes, and Louis Vuitton bags, STA is certainly a gem in one of NYC’s most fashionable districts. But, what is it like to be the girl who runs it all? Muscarella shares all the details in the “fashion dance” she does all day long. She admits, “ I opted for a job where I could run my own store. Now I curate for a high-end consignment boutique, where I have fun with a diverse clientele, create eye-catching window displays and try fashionable clothes on all day long!” 

Where are you originally from and what brought you to NYC? 

I am originally from Donna Jean’s belly born in ‘74, no just kidding! I am from South Eastern Connecticut, born in New London and raised in a neighboring town called Waterford. I moved to NYC in 2005, after living in Boston for 12 years, to work for an independent company called Sweet. I represented creative artists ranging from directors, editors and musicians working predominately in commercial work.

How did you get involved with STA?

So here I am at Second Time Around, a second time around (talk about serendipity). I worked for the company 10 years ago in Boston between advertising gigs. Then, two years ago, I was riding my bike in Nolita, and the Mott Street store caught my eye! Holy Shit, I thought, that’s STA! I had no idea that the company expanded their business to NYC. I was immediately back in touch with them, and was given a store to manage. The timing couldn’t have been more ideal. Like many, I was affected by the economic downturn, looking for work and thinking about my next steps. I was teetering back and forth about whether or not to return to my “glamorous,” high-paying advertising lifestyle. In the end I realized I needed a change. I opted for a job where I could run my own store. Now I curate for a high-end consignment boutique, where I have fun with a diverse clientele, create eye-catching window displays and try fashionable clothes on all day long!

Tell us about how STA works exactly for buyers and sellers.

Those who wish to offer clothes on consignment make an appointment M-F during store hours. During the appointments, I look through the pieces and decide what items are best for the store. We accept items ranging from J-Crew to couture, which are generally less than two years old. All pieces must be dry-cleaned or laundered. We then price the items at 1/3 or 1/4 of the retail cost, based on style and condition. If an item has it’s original price on it then we’ll mark it half the cost. Consigners receive 40% of the selling price. Unless, it’s high-end handbags, then they’ll receive 50% of the selling price, and STA pays out every 60 days.

Those who choose to BUY, well it’s simple. BUY BUY BUY and SAVE SAVE SAVE. You are purchasing amazing pieces for a fraction of the cost!

Describe a full day at STA, from open to close. 

First order of the day, music! I love to play deejay and set the tone. I typically begin with a meditative vibe and play Krishna Das. Lately I’ve been feeling reggae, jazz, Mumford & Sons, and Florence & The Machine. After that, it’s game on. I can have up to 10 appointments each day, not including walk-ins. Those who walk-in without an appointment can “drop-off” their items with the understanding that pieces that are not accepted will be donated. In addition to processing our appointments, it’s always all about customer service. We have fun with those that walk through the door. We know our merch best so it’s nice for us to pull and find just the item you are looking for, or what you need for a special event. It’s a fashionable dance all day!

What kind of items do you sell at STA?

We sell what’s hot! Clothing, accessories, shoes, handbags…

What is the in look for spring and summer?

Bold prints (think floral and tribal), bright primary and neon colors, and flowy scarves.

Describe your own personal style.

There are no rules. I truly march to the beat of my own inner drum, and therefore let my mood or Mother Nature decide what is best, and I take it from there.

What do you think is more important: name brand or style?

Style for sure! It’s easy to shop a particular brand, but the true creativity is when you can salt and pepper high-end brands with the more affordable brands to create a unique and interesting look, on a budget!

Name two items at STA right now that are most valuable and will be most desired by your clientele.

I am coveting a necklace designed by Rachel Brown who creates custom-made jewelry based on the ancient spiritual teachings of Kabbalah. These pieces are very sought after if you are in the know. If you aren’t, the piece may speak to you. We recently had a chunky cuff called ‘72 Names of God.’ I almost didn’t take it because it was so unique and therefore I thought it was only for a very particular client. Well, I’m so happy I took a chance, because a gentleman came in and was looking for that exact item! You just never know. There is something for everyone! The recent piece I have is a necklace called Unconditional, which retails for over $1k.

The second item is a brand new pair of Alexander McQueen black knee-high boots!

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