East Valley residents don't have to empty their wallets to stay fashionable anymore.
Ivy Boutique, co-owned by Ahwatukee Foothills resident Gemma Wilson and her partner Chris Rockwell, aims to bring fashion to its customers at a price they can afford while also doing their part for the environment. The resale store buys and sells quality women's apparel and accessories. Brands offered at the boutique include Louis Vuitton, Juicy Couture, Chanel and more.
"We're really confident that we're filling a niche that has not been met in this area, or even this community," Wilson said.
Joni Combardo said she has been coming to Ivy since April. A fan of resale shopping, the 50-year-old Chandler resident said she comes to the boutique because she finds clothes that other resellers don't have.
"Plus, they carry a lot of small sizes," she said.
Ivy doesn't just sell, but also buys shoes, suits, dresses and more. Although Wilson admitted the two are very "picky" about what they accept, she said this means they are able to sell better quality merchandise, often in pristine or barely used condition.
"That's for the benefit of the customers," Rockwell said.
Jazmine Colomby, who sold clothes to Ivy, said she enjoyed the boutique in part because of its appearance. Many consignment shops look like warehouses, the 36-year-old said.
"This looks like a boutique," Colomby said.
The boutique doesn't just aim to be easy on the wallet, however.
"People should be smarter about how they spend their money and also smarter about how they treat the environment," Rockwell said.
Chemicals used to make new clothing can significantly hurt the environment, she said. Buying resold clothing, Rockwell added, reduces the damage shoppers do to the world around them.
"Even if people don't see it right away, they will eventually," Rockwell said. "This really helps that, whether they realize that or not."
Wilson said she and her partner met through a mutual friend at a book club eight or nine years ago. While Wilson came from a corporate and marketing background, Rockwell was a stay-at-home mom at the time and used to work heavily in retail. Rockwell said the pair's diverse backgrounds brought a lot to their business approach.
"It's a great combination of strengths," she said.
The two, however, needed to flex their business skills before the store even opened, Wilson said.
"Getting the doors open was a bit of a struggle," she said.
Dealing with contractors, finding the merchandise they wanted to sell and making sure everything was just right before opening was difficult for the pair. They succeeded, though, and have enjoyed a stable first year, Wilson said.
"We both really believe in resale and what we're doing," she said. "I've shopped resale before and I just think it's the way to go."
Josh Snyder is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a senior at Arizona State University.