Smarties, we’re excited to introduce you to Charlotte’s latest mompreneurs, Emily Biggs & Betsy Breen, the brains behind Charlotte Style Exchange, Charlotte’s newest, and probably biggest, consignment event for Women’s, Junior’s, and teen Boys’ clothing & accessories as well as for Luggage and Home Furnishings. These Smarty Mamas recognized a huge void in the consignment industry and decided to give their brillz biz idea a whirl!
Just in case you don’t know how it works, consignors bring their new and gently-used merchandise to sell. Shoppers then browse and purchase these items at great savings, usually far below retail prices. You can participate just as a consignor, just as a buyer, as both, or even as a volunteer at the event (to get access to the pre-sale dates). It’s a great day to be a CSP reader though – FIVE lucky Smarties will get to pre-shop on Wednesday and SKIP the entire line – thanks, Charlotte Style Exchange! All you have to do to enter is “like” CSP on facebook and leave the comment “I’m a skipper!” and voila, you’re in like flynn! Click here to enter the skippers line!
Emily’s Smarty Mom Quick Facts:
Years in Charlotte: Has lived in the Huntersville/Charlotte area most of her life
Married to: Scott
Smarty Mom to: Izzy (10), Charlie (7), & Lila Reese (4)
Betsy’s Smarty Mom Quick Facts:
Years in Charlotte: 12
Married to: Kevin
Smarty Mom to: Alex (12), Jack (9), & Luke (5)
Ladies, tell us about Charlotte Style Exchange and what inspired you to launch it.
The Charlotte Style Exchange holds semi-annual consignment events which carry women’s and teen clothing and accessories as well as home décor items. Betsy and I met last year while working at Madison Avenue Closeout’s “Charlotte Warehouse Sales” where she was the Director of Retail Sales. We enjoyed working together and had a lot in common including each having three children, trying to work outside of the home while caring for our children full time, and our children attending the same charter school in Davidson. We also really enjoyed working at the Charlotte Warehouse Sale events and interacting with the customers. Betsy & I talked about the many successful children’s consignment events in the Charlotte area, and how there were no consignment sale events for teens, women, or home decor. As we explored this idea and spoke with friends and business associates, we realized that there was a lot of interest surrounding this idea and we formed Charlotte Style Exchange in July 2010. We wanted to focus on having semi-annual sale events rather than a permanent location, which enables us to minimize our overhead and offer a higher percentage of sales to our consignors.
Give us the skinny on the sale itself!
Kids and strollers are welcome, but space is limited so moms should plan accordingly. Our payment policy is cash only (no credit cards or checks), but there are several atms nearby. We will have dressing rooms so our shoppers can try on the items they’re interested in.
What is your criteria for accepting consigned pieces?
We accept all types of clothing (casual, business, and formal) and accessories with a focus on inspecting all consigned items to ensure only items in good condition are offered for sale. We also accept home goods, such as décor and furniture, and inspect them as well.
Do you have to be a consignor to get all the good stuff?
Definitely not! It helps to be a consignor or volunteer to allow you to shop first, but we have so much merchandise that there will be lots of great stuff available throughout the sale days. My experience with consignment sales has shown me that often times some items need to sell to allow you to see others. I believe that there will even be great stuff still available at our ½ sale on Saturday! (Consignors have the option of reducing each item by 50% for the last day. Not all items will be 50% off).
What Smarty tips can you offer to other Smarty Mompreneurs looking to make the leap from hobby to business?
We really believe that the idea needs to be something you are passionate about. It is very time consuming to start a business and “get the word out” but it is also extremely rewarding and exciting to see your business develop and ultimately see what you’ve built. It has helped us enormously to have done this as a partnership. There are so many things to determine and it helps to have someone to discuss the options with. It’s also important to have priorities and make sure that you schedule quality time for yourself, your children, and your spouse.
OK, let’s learn more about you as moms! As fashionista mamas, tell us your favorite digs to score kids clothes and shoes?
Our favorite place is other local consignment events, which is how we got started in this business.
What is your favorite family time activity?
Betsy – we have a family movie night every Friday where we eat pizza and watch a movie together that we choose as a family.
Emily – backyard cookouts with the family!
Favorite “me-time” activity?
Betsy – getting a massage or facial!
Emily – reading!
Favorite lunch spot sans kids?
Betsy – Toast in Davidson
Emily – Brixx in Birkdale
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
Betsy – Red Robin
Emily – Cici’s Pizza
Favorite date night spot?
Betsy – Mickey & Mooch
Emily – Coral Sushi
Best book you’ve read lately?
Betsy – Nicholas Sparks – The Lucky One
Emily – Kim Edwards – The Memory Keepers Daughter
Betsy – Top Gun
Emily – The Sound of Music
Best fall tip to hang with your kids?
Visit as many of the local fall festivals, farms, and pumpkin patches as possible! The Amazing Maize Maze at Rural Hill Farm in Huntersville is also great!
Best birthday party you’ve ever attended/hosted?
Betsy – My oldest son had his birthday party at The Bobcats game. It was amazing! The kids were able to watch warm-ups, get autographs as the team went into the locker room, go down on the court at the start of the game, had his name on the jumbo-tron, and more! The price per child was very reasonable.
Emily – My oldest daughter had a princess party at the old Huntersville library which we rented out. The girls were able to dress up, have their make-up done, and had a blast! The entire party cost $25 even with the rental!
Minivan or SUV?
Betsy – Minivan – we go on a lot of trips to visit family that live far away (NY & Miami!) so we need lots of room for 3 kids, the dog, and all of the luggage!
Emily – Crossover – because I can’t bring myself to drive a mini-van!
Favorite Smarty Phone app?
Betsy – Shazam
Emily – Hipstamatic Camera App
Best kept secret in Charlotte/Huntersville?
I could not live without my…
Betsy – morning coffee
Emily – chapstick
Charlotte Style Exchange
Open to public, cash only.
Thursday, 9/30: 10am-9pm
Friday, 10/1: 10am-6pm
Saturday, 10/2: 9am-Noon (1/2 price sale)
VOLUNTEERS & CONSIGNORS PRE-SALE DATES: 9/29 and then 10/2 for the 1/2 price pre-sale.
CHARLOTTE STYLE EXCHANGE IS LOCATED AT:
13034 Rosedale Hill Avenue, Huntersville NC
Rosedale Shopping Center (around the corner from the Harris Teeter)
See you at the sale, Smarties! Thanks Emily & Betsy for sharing your story!
Register for our latest Smarty giveaway:
Got mess? Well momma (or daddy), our Smarty friends at Rubbermaid have just the solution! Want a shot at taking the first step in organizing your whole home, including family room, closets, garage & more?! Register today to win a free 2-hour in-home consultation with a Rubbermaid specialist.
We could ALL use this, but only one lucky Smarty wins a free 2-hour in-home consultation valued at $130. Click here to register AND leave a comment on the official giveaway blog including what your most challenging area to keep organized is (make sure you leave your name in the comment!). We’ll pick our favorite Smarty answer! Good luck from Rubbermaid & all of us at Charlotte Smarty Pants!