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Being trendy for less

In these trying times everybody is trying to pinch their pennies, and one of the ways to save money that is repeatedly overlooked is consignment shopping.

In the past, consignment shopping for "used" clothing has developed a sort of stereotype of being "low class" or "troubled."

But Woodbury resident Kelly Stransky is working hard to dispel that myth with her store "Upscale Consignment."

Upscale Consignment is located at 2170 Eagle Creek Lane in Woodbury.

"There is a difference between a thrift store and a consignment store," she said. "At a thrift store you have to go through a lot of junk to get something good."

Stransky said her store is very picky when it comes to the inventory they will accept because they do want to be considered more upscale and trendy. The store houses everything from Old Navy brand clothes all the way up to Armani at a fraction of the cost.

"I've been able to keep up with the joneses basically by garage saling so I now there's good quality stuff here in woodbury," she said. "So why not use recycled clothing when there's nothing wrong with it."

Stransky said when she opened her store in 2007 it was a challenge to get people to take her seriously and understand that her store was not a thrift store.

Over, the last two years her business activity has risen nearly 100 percent because people are starting to lose pre-conceived opinions that buying used clothing is somehow beneath them.

"The stereotype has been more accepted because you can get a really good deal if you can just get over that tiny little hump," she said. "Once you finally break the stereotype and start shopping that way, it makes so much more sense."

Stransky, who is also a flight attendant, said another appeal to consignment shopping is the uniqueness of the inventory that shoppers can find. Because of Stransky's job, she receives merchandise from all of the world, so it's just a matter of looking.

"You can find that special something," she said.

And for those who are still weary of buying recycled clothing, Upscale Consignment also does sell some fresh off the rack clothes in the form of samples and jewelry.

The way Upscale Consignment is set up is that anyone can bring in clothing that they no longer want and the store will set it for one-third of the estimated retail value. Stransky will hold the merchandise for 90 days, when it would be a fraction of the initial cost because after so long, clothing is marked down 50 percent.

If the merchandise doesn't sell after 90 days the owner can reclaim it or Stransky will donate it to various organizations.

Whatever items are sold, the consigner would receive at least 45 percent of the sale.

Stransky foresees this trend of consignment shopping continuing because it is such benefit to everyone involved and you can never pass up a chance to save a little money.

"Everybody kind of wins," she said. "All of that would have been in a landfill, all of that would have been sitting around in people's houses collecting dust and now someone else can save money on nice clothes."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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