News & Runway

It’s Vintage: Closed Set with Julie Bensman

MissinnaThere’s nothing more maddening than spotting a woman with the chicest bag/shoe/necklace, asking her where she bought it, and receiving the snide reply, “It’s vintage.” (Usually accompanied by an equally snide look). At the same time, there’s nothing more satisfying than BEING that woman. To keep the odds in one’s favor, it helps to have a secret weapon of a consignment store in one’s back pocket. I think I’ve found my new favorite gem in MISSiNNA, Lower East Side’s latest designer resale shop.

At the helm is Inna Plotkin, former D&G retail guru and sister to a powerhouse celeb publicist (to whom I may be paying a finder’s fee soon). Inna runs MISSiNNA with an inviting, low-key approach, but stocked with a sick selection of designers like Christian Louboutin, Balenciaga, and vintage Givenchy (swoon). I caught up with the well-dressed entrepreneur to find out what it takes to score the perfect piece. 

Julie Bensman: What have your experiences at places like Armani and D&G taught you about retail success?

Inna Plotkin: Working in retail isn’t for everyone. It takes so much dedication, hard work and, most importantly, patience. Before starting at Armani, I was lucky enough to go through almost a month of training on fabrics, styling and tailoring. By the end, I could tell the difference between fabrics like polyester and acetate, cashmere and wool. At D&G, we had product knowledge meetings every season, where we were tested on materials, styling techniques and overall knowledge of the brand. While that may not sound terribly exciting to some, the gatherings were such a great crash course for me.

JB: Who are some of your own personal favorite designers?

IP: I love Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada; their pieces are consistently classic and timeless. I also can’t get enough of Alexander McQueen’s designs, which are nothing short of artwork.

JB: Where do you source your merchandise and what qualities do you look for when it comes to new additions for the store?

IP: Working in designer retail for almost ten years in New York City, you meet some of the most interesting people… the type who don’t like to be seen in the same outfit twice. Thankfully, they’re always happy to send their pieces to me, knowing I’ll take good care of them. I accept pieces that are new or slightly used. If I, myself, wouldn’t want to wear it or have it in my closet, I won’t want to sell it to someone, either.

JB: Speaking of closets, who is the MISSiNNA girl?

IP: The MISSiNNA girl is definitely a fashionista! She's smart, knows her designer brands, and appreciates a good bargain – 70 to 80 percent off the retail price. She also knows to come back often, as we get new pieces almost every day…

JB: I see you’ve picked up a thing or two about publicity from your sister. What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

IP: It sounds cliché, but follow your dreams. I always knew I wanted to open a boutique in New York City, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. Many people have dreams and goals in life, but don’t have the confidence to follow through and see them materialize. You need to do everything in your power to make it happen…

Check out MISSiNNA at 190 Orchard St. between E. Houston and Stanton St. (718-569-9098, Mon-Wed 11am-7pm, Thu-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun noon-6pm.