Meet Corri McFadden, founder/owner of Chicago’s favorite luxury consignment company, eDrop-Off. Since 2004, eDrop-Off has specialized in the resale of designer handbags, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. Corri started her business in 2004 at the age of 22. eDrop-Off has made over 450,000 successful transactions and has been featured in top publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Marie Claire, and People. Corri’s business even had its own reality series on VH1 entitled “House of Consignment.” She sure has made her way to the top! Read on to find out the inside scoop on her business, day-to-day life, and what’s she’s learned over the course of her career.
What started as your senior-year graduation portfolio business plan for a brick and mortar eBay store is now a multi-million-dollar international luxury consignment company. What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs in the market today?
So much has changed since I took this on. I was 22 when I wrote this business plan and it was the beginning of the internet as far as e-commerce goes. This was back when people were skeptical of putting their credit card information online and there was no social media except for Myspace! When I started it was a very difficult landscape because there weren’t as many resources readily available. Now, what I tell entrepreneurs is that there is a difference between being an entrepreneur and having a hobby that you really love. Having a hobby that you love is a really beautiful thing. This whole “girl boss” movement, “work for yourself,” and “be your own,” has a lot of people feeling pressured to turn something that they enjoy into a business and that’s not what being an entrepreneur is or what it means. It’s fine to have a hobby that you can make money off of, you love, and enjoy. Don’t ever let someone pressure you into turning something into a business. If it’s meant to be a business you should feel it in every single grain of your makeup. If you don’t, keep it where it’s at and don’t take that step.
Tell us as if you were talking to someone who has never heard of the phrase “luxury consignment” Explain what eDrop-Off does and how it works.
eDrop-Off redefines the way you look at your closet. Let’s say you buy one pair of Chanel sunglasses and then, one day, decide you don’t want to wear aviators anymore. Naturally, what happens is that, because they are designer, you start pushing them to the back of your drawer because you want to hold onto them because they are Chanel. But, at the end of the day, you aren’t using it. So, rather than holding onto those things because they are nice, we can turn them into money to help create disposable income. We’ve created this with something you are constantly consuming, yet you’ve never looked at getting something back out of it.
I always say that it’s not all about the money, too. It’s also about the weight that merchandise holds. Your closet should always be a reflection of who you are today. Everything in there should fit you and it should be something that you would style and wear in some way. If it’s not, it’s holding weight. Keeping your closet clean and curated makes your life so much simpler. When you can get a check out of it, it’s even better!
You started your company at the age of 22. Looking back, what advice do you wish you could give yourself?
I’ve been through a lot of hurdles just because I started my business at the age of 22 and I’ve been self-funded. In that respect, I never had anyone else to lean on. I would tell myself, “You’re going to have some difficult chapters ahead of you, but they are only to prepare you for something greater later on. Look forward, keep hustling, and keep moving because everything will always fall into place.”
What is a day-in-the-life like of Corri McFadden?
My days are crazy and no day is the same! I usually get up at 6 a.m. and my daughter gets up at 7 a.m., so I like to get time with her when she’s up. Since becoming a mom, I am really possessive over my time with her because being a working mom comes with a lot of guilt. So, in the morning, I like to have at least two hours with her before my nanny arrives. We play tea party and hang out and it eases me for the day ahead! After my nanny comes, I usually work at home for a couple of hours just to get myself afloat in my e-mail inbox. I am in the office about 4 days every week and I try to work from home one day per week. I am REALLY productive working from home. My days at the office usually consist of a lot of meetings. As far as my evenings, I try to get home by 6 o’clock, so I can hang out with my daughter for a few hours before she goes to bed. I’ll go out to a dinner maybe once a week. As I’ve gotten older, I only go to what I need to be at or what I really want to be at. Learning how to say “no” is a beautiful thing and there’s nothing wrong with that! So, wherever I am, I am there, and I am physically and mentally present.
You were the star of your own reality show, “House of Consignment” on VH1. It focused on the in’s and out’s of eDrop-Off, which meant you, your employees, your clients, and all of the behind-the-scenes fun. What was that like for you and your business?
For my business, it was amazing! Back then, reality T.V. was totally different. I mean, they sent me a flipcam to record in my office! Each chapter of this was an experience. I filmed for 16 weeks, all day every day, 6 days a week. I was filming during the day and doing my real work at night. I was exhausted! I got in the groove after a couple weeks and it was SO fun. It brought about so much opportunity. One of the coolest things was when they flew me to Brooklyn and they built a whole set just for me!
Now, no one was doing “luxury consignment” when I started this 15 years ago. I founded this! So, I think it was a really good time to tell our story. It brought tremendous traffic and opportunity.
You started college wanting to be a police officer/crime scene investigator and then took up fashion design as a concentration. You found your niche and stuck with it! What advice would you give to people who are struggling to find out what they love to do and are passionate about?
Just go play. Just go figure it out. Figure out what you need to live. How much do you need every month? What will pay your student loans, your rent, and your Panera bill? Go find something that can cover it and you can get by, and go experiment! It’s a beautiful thing to figure it out. If you have interest in something, explore it.
What is one thing you could say you have stayed true to while running eDrop-Off?
My work ethic. I work extremely hard and I am willing to sacrifice whatever is needed for my business, except for my family. There’s no task that I’m above. So, I would never be like, “Oh, I’m not going to empty the trash.” No, if the trash needs emptied, I’ll empty the trash.
You started your business in 2004, so technology was a whole new ball game back then. How has technology, social media, and marketing changed the way you run your business in today’s day?
It’s 100% changed everything. What you’re able to do through social media is tremendous and who you’re able to connect with is a beautiful thing when it’s used correctly. Back when I first started it was like you would buy a commercial on cable T.V. and you would put a promotion in the coupon book that would land in your mailbox. Now, it’s doing strategic Facebook ads, field and influencer campaigns. It’s night and day. It’s not even the same at all anymore!
I do think this is a good thing and a bad thing. What it does is that any competitor that exists, it brings you all together because everything is so easy to search online, so you really have to differentiate yourself and take care of your niche. As well as, everyone is their own critic. You have to be aware that you’re going to get negative feedback. It’s just the name of the game. You can’t please everybody. But, it also allows you to connect with people instantaneously!
Do you have a favorite moment/memory since starting eDrop-Off?
My favorite memories are my early-on memories. When we were growing out of our 600 sq. foot space, we had a nail salon next store. I convinced them to let me rent their closet so we could put our computers in there with two chairs so people could work! That time was really exciting because it was that early growth and, to me, that time is so awesome.
What’s next for eDrop-Off?
We have a couple things that are coming up that I can’t say right now, but we do have something very exciting at the top of 2018!