This week, DBI dishes on Trendz Consignment Studios with Sara Rowland.
Q: What lead you to starting up your own business?
Sara: I never imagined I’d be a business owner. I spent 10 years as a preschool teacher. I think I’ve always meant to be in customer service. I waitressed, taught kids and always been involved with helping people. Business owner was an unexpected journey. I was surprised with just after the first year the great support I had. It has been continual year after year. I started off with a children’s boutique. It was easy for me to be around families and kids. Really shortly after opening up the store ten years ago, the store became way too small. I ended up doubling my business and remained with children’s clothing only. Then after three years, a gal had started a teen clothing store, which I thought was great because it fulfilled both needs for teens and children. Just a few months into her business she called me and asked me to buy her business. I decided to go ahead and buy it and had the two locations. That was a challenge because I didn’t know how well I could efficiently manage both and I had kind of lost my identity. I thought I was just children’s clothing and so I needed to regroup to find that identity again. I started to get that established and decided to combine both in one location and have the two sections, children’s and teen’s, along with incorporating men’s to have the whole family need fulfilled there. It all started to feel like too much. Last year, I had to find a new place, which is our current location. It is such a beautiful space and it is the oldest building in Downtown Brookings and so it’s really great to be able to have people in there to experience that. I feel very honored that we get to reside in that space. I feel like we have finally landed at home and it is where I’ve wanted to be all along. I am very proud. The timing was just right and I don’t take any of it for granted.
Q: How long have you had the name Trendz?
Sara: So I opened up in 2005 and my first store was called Kydz Closeline. Then my second expansion of the boutique was called Planet Kydz. About 2008-2009 when I had the teen store, I became Trendz. Now where that name came from is interesting because I didn’t have that name picked out at first. I was sitting down one morning going back and forth on the names. I had on the news and they were interviewing Matt Damon. He was talking about how he just loves when the seasons change because he likes to see all of the new trends out there. I thought Trendz fits because we have all of the latest fashion trends for men, women and children. The “Z” came from my maiden name so I always put a “Z” in everything because it represents a little bit of who I am.
Q: What can people expect when they walk through your doors?
Sara: I would hope the first thing they notice is being greeted by our staff. I pride ourselves on excellent customer service. Every customer walking in needs to know they are welcomed and appreciated. We care about the community. Our environment is unique. We select all of the items. We try to set up creative spaces and we have a spot for kids to hang out it when they come in with their parents. We have a little vintage shopping cart that kids just love. So those are some of the things that make us stand out and we do a lot of giving back to our community. We have a charity called The Giving Closet, which is just something I do that if someone has that need, we will help them with clothing. We have an account that money is put into to cover items they need and some organizations offer to add to that as well. They can come in and shop to be covered by this account. We work a lot with abuse shelter and social services. I always say yes to helping them. It is too important. We need to take care of each other. I follow the motto: Clothe thy neighbor as ourselves. We do what we can.
Q: What is the process for consignors?
Sara: We used to require appointments but now with such easy access in our new location, you can drop off when it is convenient. We want the clothing to be well presented and fresh. We have a lot of new items that also come in. Once we look through them, we accept the items that follow our guidelines. Once items sell, some credit goes back to the previous owner in the form of store credit or there is a payout option as well. We offer all of our consignors 10% off their purchase when using accumulated store credit as part of our eco-perks program. If the items do not sell, they will be used in a way that aids those less fortunate such as donating to a family in need.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
Sara: I could say many things, but I think my favorite is just the connection with people. I always tell my staff to remember that when someone comes in, you don’t know what kind of day that customer has had. We may be the only smile that the person may get that day so it is important to be welcoming. When you have a business, you really have the opportunity to make a difference. You might not think it makes such a big difference, but that person that came in will appreciate it. We really want to do things for our community and to help others. I also love kids coming in to the store. I love seeing the families and college kids because they get really excited. It is a nice place to be. The people of our community and surrounding have supported us all these years and through every transition. For that, I am blessed beyond measure and that’s all I can ask for.
For more dish on Trendz, call (605) 697-7443, check out their Facebook page or stop in!