New retailer refines consignment shop style

Mimi Tanaka opened consignment shop Alice McQueen in West Broad Village. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Mimi Tanaka opened consignment shop Alice McQueen in West Broad Village in late June. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Looking to avoid heavier competition in the Fan and Carytown, the owner of a new local consignment shop ventured out to Richmond’s suburban retail stretch to stake her claim in the market.

Mimi Tanaka opened Alice McQueen Consignment 2235 Old Brick Road in West Broad Village on June 28. The 2,000-square-foot store is near Burger Bach and Which Wich in the popular mixed-use development.

Alice McQueen sells and rents out high-end women’s clothes and accessories on consignment. Consigners get half the sale price or 40 percent of the rent price on their items. The shop rents out clothes for four to eight days.

“Consignment gets a little bit of a bad name sometimes. People just think it’s used clothes,” Tanaka said. “This is a different spin on your typical consignment shop.”

Tanaka said she got the idea to do rental and consignment from online retail rental services like Rent the Runway.

Tanaka is trying to differentiate her shop from other consignment stores with a more open layout.

Tanaka is trying to differentiate her shop from other consignment stores with a more open layout.

To combat the cramped connotation sometimes associated with consignment shops, Tanaka designed her space to be open and bright. She said most of her inventory comes from New York City and Los Angeles.

“I’m more about quality than quantity,” Tanaka said. “The clothes are geared toward events rather than casual wear.”

Items at Alice McQueen typically sell from $35 to $500. Hand bags can cost as much as $2,000. Tanaka said popular brands include Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

The name of Tanaka’s shop combines two of her favorite brands, Alexander McQueen and Alice and Olivia.

Tanaka, 23, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 with a degree in international business. Her post-graduate plan was to go work for her father, Yoshi Tanaka, who owns Kabuto Japanese House of Steak in Henrico and a baccarat business in Atlantic City, N.J. Her mother manages the restaurant.

Alice McQueen's inventory includes high-end brands like Louis Vuitton.

Alice McQueen’s inventory includes high-end brands like Louis Vuitton.

But Tanaka said she eventually decided it would better to do a little experiential learning on her own.

“Business school, looking back, is not 100 percent helpful,” Tanaka said. “You can’t just depend on the books.”

Tanaka said she used part of her inheritance to open her shop and has utilized lessons learned from her father’s business sense in running it.

“He’s really helped guide me,” Tanaka said. “His knowledge is one of the things you can’t buy.”

Tanaka said she didn’t want to open her shop in the Fan and Carytown where consignment competition can be fierce.

The consignment shop Paradigm in the Fan shut down in April after two years in business. And Butterfly Consignment Boutique on Patterson Avenue closed after more than 25 years.

The space Tanaka chose in West Broad Village was formerly home to Mix It, a frozen yogurt shop. Will Donovan of CBRE | Richmond, which handles leasing at West Broad Village, said that 46,000 of the shopping center’s 400,000 square feet is still available to be leased.

“I came here because I saw potential,” Tanaka said. “We are getting great flow from other restaurants.”

Mimi Tanaka opened consignment shop Alice McQueen in West Broad Village. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Mimi Tanaka opened consignment shop Alice McQueen in West Broad Village in late June. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Looking to avoid heavier competition in the Fan and Carytown, the owner of a new local consignment shop ventured out to Richmond’s suburban retail stretch to stake her claim in the market.

Mimi Tanaka opened Alice McQueen Consignment 2235 Old Brick Road in West Broad Village on June 28. The 2,000-square-foot store is near Burger Bach and Which Wich in the popular mixed-use development.

Alice McQueen sells and rents out high-end women’s clothes and accessories on consignment. Consigners get half the sale price or 40 percent of the rent price on their items. The shop rents out clothes for four to eight days.

“Consignment gets a little bit of a bad name sometimes. People just think it’s used clothes,” Tanaka said. “This is a different spin on your typical consignment shop.”

Tanaka said she got the idea to do rental and consignment from online retail rental services like Rent the Runway.

Tanaka is trying to differentiate her shop from other consignment stores with a more open layout.

Tanaka is trying to differentiate her shop from other consignment stores with a more open layout.

To combat the cramped connotation sometimes associated with consignment shops, Tanaka designed her space to be open and bright. She said most of her inventory comes from New York City and Los Angeles.

“I’m more about quality than quantity,” Tanaka said. “The clothes are geared toward events rather than casual wear.”

Items at Alice McQueen typically sell from $35 to $500. Hand bags can cost as much as $2,000. Tanaka said popular brands include Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton.

The name of Tanaka’s shop combines two of her favorite brands, Alexander McQueen and Alice and Olivia.

Tanaka, 23, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012 with a degree in international business. Her post-graduate plan was to go work for her father, Yoshi Tanaka, who owns Kabuto Japanese House of Steak in Henrico and a baccarat business in Atlantic City, N.J. Her mother manages the restaurant.

Alice McQueen's inventory includes high-end brands like Louis Vuitton.

Alice McQueen’s inventory includes high-end brands like Louis Vuitton.

But Tanaka said she eventually decided it would better to do a little experiential learning on her own.

“Business school, looking back, is not 100 percent helpful,” Tanaka said. “You can’t just depend on the books.”

Tanaka said she used part of her inheritance to open her shop and has utilized lessons learned from her father’s business sense in running it.

“He’s really helped guide me,” Tanaka said. “His knowledge is one of the things you can’t buy.”

Tanaka said she didn’t want to open her shop in the Fan and Carytown where consignment competition can be fierce.

The consignment shop Paradigm in the Fan shut down in April after two years in business. And Butterfly Consignment Boutique on Patterson Avenue closed after more than 25 years.

The space Tanaka chose in West Broad Village was formerly home to Mix It, a frozen yogurt shop. Will Donovan of CBRE | Richmond, which handles leasing at West Broad Village, said that 46,000 of the shopping center’s 400,000 square feet is still available to be leased.

“I came here because I saw potential,” Tanaka said. “We are getting great flow from other restaurants.”

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