Is the Third Time the Charm for Mighty Aphrodite?
Women’s consignment store gains a boutique vibe.
Mecala Fitzpatrick, the boutique’s new owner, says the third time is the charm for Aphrodite.
Photo by Chris Duffey
A former marketing director, Mecala Fitzpatrick has reinvented Aphrodite’s Closet, the consignment store for women in the Park Street Plaza, bringing a fresh approach to the secondhand store.
So, you’re the third owner of Aphrodite’s Closet?
Yes, three’s a charm! The previous owner before me actually moved it to this location after the first location of Aphrodite’s on San Jose and Park Street burned down. After a year of her being here, I bought the business with my partner, Michael Gill. I really believe this place was waiting for me. I am turning it into something Alameda has never seen before. We intend on making it a more high-end women’s clothing store with everyday pricing. We carry all sizes for every body type, as well as shoes, handbags, jewelry, lingerie, and never-used bras and panties. We’ve also started carrying a local, chemical-free, organic body care line that I’m very excited about.
How does your consignment agreement work?
We consign by appointment only, and we pay the consigner 40 percent of the sales price of each item sold. If your item is very high-end, we can negotiate percentages. Unclaimed items after four months (120 days) get donated to the Midway Battered Women’s Shelter. I have donated over $3,000 worth of clothing to this cause so far—they’re really great to work with. In the end, consigning is good for everyone. It’s a way to recycle, reuse, and get “new” things without breaking the bank. And what makes it better than retail stores is that besides being less expensive, when you shop consignment (at least at Aphrodite’s), you see a wider variety of styles, cuts, and prints, giving you a broader selection than usual. And if pieces don’t sell, they go toward a good cause.
What are some of your new business ideas?
For starters, I’ve recently redesigned the store’s logo to better reflect its new face and am using every form of social media to market and advertise. I’m also starting a customer wish list allowing women to give me their sizes and favorite brands so I can call them when requested items come in. I’m starting to sort styles and designer pieces separately to make shopping easier for my customers, too. A big goal of mine is to encourage women to let go of what they don’t wear and make some money for what they will wear. I also want to show women that no matter what their body types, they are beautiful and can show off their beauty with the right cuts and styles. I’m very willing and happy to help customers put together outfits and see what’s right for them. I also love hosting parties at my shop to help out local causes and promote women any way I can.
Is it difficult being in retail not having street exposure?
It’s actually working out really well. The Park Street Plaza is slowly but surely being discovered; we are like the little hidden gems on Park Street. All it takes is for people to visit our little mall once to see all the great stores there are, and they almost always come back. From gifts to flowers to crafts to high-end wine and cigars, the Park Street Plaza has a lot to offer. People refer to our stores as the secret shops in Alameda. We feel lucky to have such a large space (1,152 square feet) in such a cool shopping district. I’m involved with the Park Street Business Association helping to market the Park Street Plaza and all shops on Park Street and the surrounding areas. This is where my background in marketing comes in handy.
Any advice for young, enthusiastic people like you going into business?
First and foremost, I would recommend that young people try everything they can. Every experience counts. Whether it is retail or marketing or working for a startup or whatever, the more skills one has, the better. Once you’ve tried several types of work, I say just get started in doing what you love. And everyone in business should remember that social media is your friend. It’s a new day and businesses are moving more and more online, so being savvy in that department is a really good idea.