We’re still highlighting the local businesses you voted the best in our Golden Anchor Awards last year. This issue we talked with Dawn Schultz, owner of Babies in Bloom to learn about consignment tips, how they give back, and more! If you would like to vote in this year’s Golden Anchor Awards you can go to shoreupdate.com.
What inspired you to start Babies in Bloom?
Initially when I was a preteen my great aunt used to take me to thrift and consignment stores as a treat for polishing her silver, and I looked forward to it every summer when I visited. Fast forward, I adopted a child, then had twins and moved to Queen Anne’s County. I was commuting to DC and wanted something I could do to be home with the kids. At that point there wasn’t anything in the county for kids’ consignment so my mom and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity. After having two more children, it was a blessing I could bring my children to work, make my own hours and outfit my children in great, inexpensive clothing. Years later, I was fortunate enough to meet my awesome business partner Mandy Jones, and we opened a ladies consignment store next door to the kids store in downtown Centreville. When we outgrew the space, we moved and combined the two stores into our current space in the Centreville Plaza.
You have grown the business not only in retail space needed, but also into an online store. What do you attribute this success to?
First it must have the support of the community… our customers, consignors, friends, family… they have followed us every step of the way. When covid hit and we had to be shut down, we were luckily in a place where we could move some of our business online with a website and Facebook Live selling. Certainly, the movement during covid to shop more online also helped. Secondly, we have an outstanding staff that is welcoming, works hard and is always willing to pivot when we need to make changes to our business.
You are both known for giving back to the community. What are your favorite ways to do this?
We love to give back. Some of our favorite ways are through our Cases for Kids Program and our Charity Bag Program. For Cases for Kids, we receive duffle bags, small suitcases, and totes from the community, fill them with clothing and other essentials for kids and give them to kids and families in need in the community. We receive referrals for those in need from schools and maternal/child health organizations. The Charity Bag Program is a way for customers to say no thanks to a bag for their purchases, and we donate 10 cents on their behalf to a charity that we change each month. It is a great way to recycle and help local organizations.
What advice would you give those who love to shop at consignment stores? How about those who love to consign?
If you love to shop consignment, one of the best things you can do is stop in often. Our store puts out about 800 new items per day, so essentially, it’s almost a new store every day. Also, check out the new arrivals racks in store or on our Facebook Live shows or shop our website bloomingconsignment.com, which is open 24/7 Also, be sure to look for what the tag sale color of the week is in store. If you love to consign, be sure to prepare your items for sale. First, say to yourself, would I buy this item in the store if I saw it? Also, be sure to make sure your items are cute, current, and clean and drop off items often to get the money on your account to grow.
Do you shop for your clothes at your store? Any items you’ve picked out for yourself that stand out as a “favorite?”
Oh yes! The staff always says that a big portion of their paychecks goes back to the store with all the goodies that they find. Personally, I recently purchased a brand-new Kate Spade purse and matching crossbody; we get so many new items with tags!
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
You bet. We attend the National Association for Resale and Thrift Stores conference each year and come away with so many great ideas. We are looking forward to having in-store special events for moms in the mornings starting in September and expanding our online presence.
You can go to https://bloomingconsignment.com/ to see and purchase a full list of items and get more information about becoming a consignor. If you would like to vote for your favorite local business, you can go to our website at https://www.shoreupdate.com/.