We are starting the New Year with a fresh batch of retail businesses that are unique and diverse in their offerings and their journey. We hope to continue to inspire you with these stories of success. Our latest Store Owner Spotlight is a consignment shop. The consignment shop has become a retail destination for women looking for clothing that is new or gently used. We are proud to introduce you to DejaNu Consignment Boutique.
DejaNu is located in the city of Missoula which is also home to the University of Montana. This is a women's consignment boutique that sells quality new and previously loved clothing and accessories. Owner Kimberly Partridge opened DejaNu 5 ½ years ago with the idea of offering local women who couldn't afford new clothing a place to buy gently used clothing at a reduced price. DejaNu continues to grow while maintaining their commitment to customer service and the community. They are a truly unique shop that focuses on empowering women and creating an individual shopping experience.
Do you have a background in retail? If not, what is your employment background?
"My first job, at age 15 was at Nordstrom's. I worked my way up and moved on to other retail companies in store management while attending college. I earned a BA in accounting, so I took time off from retail, to raise my family. I continued to work in the accounting field. I have over 20 years of retail, management and accounting credentials".
How did you come up with the name of your business?
"The name of the business is a play on words. DejaVu is derived from the French phrase meaning already seen. The word Vu was replaced by the word Nu because the items are new to you, the shopper." The result is a name that is fun, clever and memorable.
To support good retail flow throughout the space, DejaNu incorporated fun unique displays, many of which were re-designed by Kimberly. The store design is playful and functional.
"I was going for fun flirty, trendy, and classy all at the same time. The customers love it. I also have nice boutique clothing racks from the Cobblestone Collection and other quality retail displays which I purchased from Store Supply.
I wanted it to be bright, clean and organized while maintaining a unique personal flair to it".
Store Special Events
What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?
"One night a month I host a "Girls Nite Out" shopping event, with extended hours. I provide our guests wine and hors d'oeuvres. I invite a special guest vendor, a local woman in business for herself, to set up a table and display their products or services. This allows me to introduce my customers to them and in turn introduce their customers to DejaNu. We have drawings for free items, and I have a special sale that night".
"I also work with our local, non-profit Dress for Success that caters specifically to local women, by providing outfits for job interviews, and appropriate work attire after they get the job. I have been able to donate over $10,000 in quality clothing, shoes and accessories from DejaNu. I also accept donations on their behalf and consign them so the organization will receive the proceeds, or I store clothing for them until they are able to pick them up."
Words of Advice
What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?
"I had the opportunity to work in retail and customer service. I think anyone who wants to be in retail should spend quality time in the retail world and have extensive customer service skills. Second, I recommend that you gain some knowledge in basic accounting. You need to know how to calculate your overhead, and understand your financial reports to be able to make the best decisions for your company. You can have fun, but you need to educate yourself first if you want it be successful".
Would you like to be featured in our next installment of the SSW Store Owner Spotlight? Email Patricia Sims for more information.