Shop Crush: The Main Exchange

the main exchange front door.jpg

Hit and Miss - That’s how I’d normally describe my usual experiences vintage shopping in Vancouver. Ask yourself: how often do you walk into a thrift shop or consignment store and get quickly overwhelmed with 1) the smell or 2) the racks and racks of clutter in hopes of finding that hidden gem? In today’s society where many of us have the attention span of a fruit fly, the average time we’d spend in such shops is about 2 to 3 minutes, tops. In. And out.

Vancouver’s Miranda Dendewich, owner of the newly opened The Main Exchange, on East 16th at Main Street (yes, next to the famed Toshi Sushi restaurant) hopes to change the way we think about consignment by completely transforming the customer experience. Her secret sauce? A lovely little indie boutique with spacious interiors allowing clients to freely roam and admire the very carefully curated collection of unique pieces that arrive at her doorstep daily. And the kicker? The price tag.

Dendewich wants to keep things affordable because in her words, “all clients are VIPs.” Items range anywhere from $10 to $300, and clothing options run from Rag and Bone and Marc Jacobs to Alice by Temperley.  Guys can get in on the action too – I found Top Man shirts ranging from $18 to $24 and a Calvin Klein Cardigan for $36. Dendewich hopes to carry a range of sizes as she feels the gap in the consignment market lies with plus-size clients who tend to shy away from such stores and instead purchase new, assuming there wouldn’t be anything in there to fit them.

For those wanting to consign, Dendewich offers a 50/50 split, which is more generous than the industry standard 60/40 split (where 60% of the sales price goes to the store). More details can be found on their website at

I can honestly say that I haven’t shopped vintage in Vancouver for years. Not for the lack of trying but the city has a bit of catching up to do when compared with similar shops in such cities like San Francisco, Paris, New York… you know the list. But I think The Main Exchange really has something great going on – a business model that works with an owner who has a true pulse on what the client wants and what’s hot on the radar. You can clear out your closet and pocket some cash for it, or take that cash and exchange it for some really great pieces. A deadly combination – which means I’ll be back... and I want that poncho sweater.

The Main Exchange
185 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Alice by Temperly poncho/cardigan (err...ponchigan?) $95

Alice by Temperly poncho/cardigan (err...ponchigan?) $95

The Main Exchange  owner, Miranda Dendewich

The Main Exchange owner, Miranda Dendewich