The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Consignment store joins Lexington’s fashion scene

Curator Sheila Glaeser talks fashion, sustainability and community after six months of operation

Lexington has a new venue for used clothing: Violett Consignment. The store, located at 13 W. Nelson St., opened in May 2023.

Owned by Sheila Glaeser, the store has quickly established itself as a go-to destination for unique fashion finds and eco-conscious shopping.

The store’s name comes from Glaeser’s maiden name, Violett. She says that the personal touch of the name as well as the “pretty vibe” it evokes came together in a happy coincidence to match the cheerful nature of Lexington’s other fashion-centric shops, like Clover and Pumpkin Seeds.

Glaeser said that she was inspired to open the shop because she had never lived in a place without a consignment store before.

When she and husband Arne Glaeser, ’90, moved to Lexington in 2016, she found herself thinking that the city was desperately in need of one.

“We haven’t had a consignment store in Lexington in over a decade,” she said.

For as long as she can remember, Glaeser says she has always been passionate about stylish clothing.

“I’ve always been involved in the fashion world,” she said.

As a child, Glaeser participated in 4-H, a youth-development organization. She said that her projects always involved clothing and textiles.

As an adult, the Georgia native was involved in the Atlanta Apparel Market and sold a line of luxury women’s clothing called Etcetera out of her home.

Now, she says that mixing style with sustainability and keeping clothes out of the landfill has become increasingly important to her.

Her “reuse, reduce, recycle” mindset extends even to the store’s furnishings, as she pointed out that almost all of Violett Consignment’s display racks and decorations were purchased from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.

With her consignment shop, Glaeser is able to help the local community give their clothes and accessories a second chance.

“So many of the clothes that people bring me are brand new with tags, or have only been worn maybe once or twice,” she said. “These days, I’ve seen that people are less likely to re-wear and keep outfits when before, people would wear the same clothes for years and years.”

She said that it has been interesting seeing the way different generations view second-hand clothes.

Recently, timeless pieces, vintage finds and “thrifting” have been trendy among younger generations looking for unique pieces, while older generations tend to be more hesitant about buying pre-owned items.

But Glaeser said that her customers still range from middle schoolers to her 70-year-old neighbors.

“I never know who is going to come through my door,” she said. “But that’s the beauty of it. Everyone needs to wear clothes.”

Since opening six months ago, Glaeser has sold hundreds of clothing items, including dresses, shoes and accessories.

From casual, everyday finds to formal dresses for weddings, she said she is happy to have such a wide range of clothes at various price points, making a visit to her store an accessible experience.

She says that her best selling items are boots, especially cowboy boots, and anything that fits the “preppy-revisited” aesthetic that has been trending in recent years.

Vests and oversized fluffy sweaters have also become popular across all ages as the temperature gets colder.

As a consignment store owner, Glaeser said that while she does curate the displays and selects pieces from donations, her inventory is entirely dependent on what community members bring her.

This means that she doesn’t need to actively buy or seek-out stock, which Glaeser said made the start-up process of her business much easier.

Violett Consignment operates on what Glaeser calls a standard consignment model.

“You set up an account, you bring in whatever you want, and then I research each piece to find its worth,” she said.

When the item is sold, consignors receive 40% of the piece’s selling price while the store keeps the other 60%.

This model incentivises community members to give their clothes a second home instead of just throwing them away.

As of Nov. 4, Glaeser said that she had 118 consignors, most of them being middle-aged Lexington women.

Through her role with Main Street Lexington and her husband’s job as city planner, Glaeser said that one of her goals for Violett Consignment is to help build close-knit ties within the local community.

“Being community-minded is at our core,” she said. “I want people to come to Lexington. I want to have a physical storefront for people to explore when they come downtown.”

Because of this, Glaeser says that she doesn’t plan to expand her business online.

She does, however, hope to find a bigger space to house her growing collection of second-hand clothing and accessories. Her collection has also recently expanded to include local art.

She says that Violett Consignment is also in the process of putting together its philanthropic efforts, where she plans to pick a “Non-Profit of the Month” to donate 10% of the store’s profits towards.

As a local business, Glaeser is also eager to become more involved with the students at Washington and Lee University.

In September, the store participated in the university’s “Get Downtown” event as part of first-year orientation. And when the store first opened, she reached out to W&L’s sororities and received a large collection of donated clothes from two of them.

Glaeser plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Violett Consignment on Nov. 13 to celebrate the store’s success as Lexington’s newest fashion destination.

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