Tulsa woman turns chronic shopping habit into a small business
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
9/18/12 at 7:16 AM
See items at Closet Chic and Remix Clothing.
On a recent evening, Allison Price runs her hands over a row of women's clothes hanging from a rack in her dining room.
She's getting closer. She can feel it, she says, before suddenly drawing out a dress.
"This is it! This is it!" Price exclaimed, demonstrating the excitement of finding just the right garment.
But, for the past few months, that right garment has been for somebody else.
This is the way it has to be.
"It's an issue," said Price, who had a chronic shopping habit.
But she's tried to turn it into something else - a source of income and a way she can help women who may be where she's been: down on their luck but still wanting to look nice.
Price's passion for shopping started when she was a small child, she says.
"When I was younger, my mom had all these beautiful clothes," Price said. "And when she wasn't around, I'd sneak in them and play in them and have this little fantasy life."
In high school, Price bargained with her father to buy her the latest fashions, and by college she was the go-to source among her friends who wanted to borrow her cute clothes.
In her early 20s, she remembers, a friend called her seeking advice on what to wear for her first day of work at her first real job.
"OK, go to your closet, turn to the left," Price told her. "Pull out that brown such and such and then put this with this skirt, and then remember those shoes that you got? Try it on with that and then put this belt around it and tell me what you think."
The friend coordinated the outfit on the other end of the line and started screaming with delight. Price said it was a memorable moment.
"'I love it, I love it!' she said. 'Who can do that? Who can coordinate clothes out of someone else's closet?' "
Price continued her shopping obsession, purging the abundance every so often with trips to Goodwill and by gifting barely worn garments to friends and family.
At the height of Price's shopping compulsion, she probably had a couple hundred pairs of shoes. Plenty of purses. Enough outfits that she didn't have to repeat a single one for two years, she guesses.
But it was only at the start of this year that she really began taking stock of her shopping, gauging how it could help her financially.
Having lost a job while in grad school and raising two children, Price ultimately found a new job but thought her life needed more of a change.
"Something needed to happen," said Price, who estimated she was starting each month off a couple of thousand dollars short.
It wasn't until she stopped holding on to so much that she was shown what to do with what she had.
While standing in her closet one day, Price experienced what she calls a paradigm shift. Instead of complaining about the lack of space for all her clothing and accessories, she says she started thanking God for what she had and thought about the encouragement she'd received from loved ones to sell her clothing.
What came from that paradigm shift was a business called Closet Chic and Re-mix Clothing.
Price has been operating through Facebook posts since July, and she is shipping items - some her own, others she buys wholesale, still others she purchases for individual clients - as far as California and New York.
The discounted rate at which she sells the new and gently used items, and the personal interactions she has with a growing client base, are what she says make her business unique.
Price now spends her retail time in search of gems for others. The new business gives her the opportunity to indulge in a passion without it being to her detriment.
"And now, I'm like, 'Really? I get to shop all the time? And help people and make some money while doing it?'" Price said.
It means that often Price is up all night taking pictures of her new finds and posting them to the Web, but with "aha moments" like the ones she gets and shares with others, she says it's worth it.
Original Print Headline: Sharing the wealth
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
Allison Price stands with some of the clothes she sells through her home-based business, Closet Chic and Re-mix Clothing. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Since starting her business via Facebook posts in July, Allison Price has been shipping clothing items as far away as California and New York. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World