Upscale, ladies’ consignment shop opens in Redmond’s Village Square

Shalimar Backman

Consignment shoppers are a savvy bunch, willing to search far and wide for designer fashions at low prices.

Since The Closet opened at the Village Square, 16150 NE 85th St., frugal fashionistas from Seattle, Edmonds, Maple Valley and elsewhere, have been flocking to downtown Redmond for “the thrill of the find.”

Owner Shalimar Backman, a Sammamish resident whose children attend The Bear Creek School in Redmond, said choosing The Closet’s location was easy, because there weren’t any nearby, upscale, ladies’ consignment shops like hers. She specializes in “like-new” clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry, from high-end brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and DKNY to Ann Taylor and Chico’s.

Plus, downtown Redmond is just a short jaunt from downtown Kirkland where dedicated bargain-hunters routinely make the rounds of women’s consignment shops there.

If you think of clutter and musty merchandise when you hear the word “consignment,” rest assured that The Closet is different — bright, airy, charmingly decorated and well-organized.

“My goal was to stay very, very controlled, not too cramped,” said Backman. “I looked at other stores to chart my path and to see what I didn’t like. In some, I’d walk out because it was too laborious to dig through stuff. I wanted to do ‘consignment friendly’ but don’t want you to feel like you’re in a thrift store.”

Prior to opening The Closet this month, Backman spent 20 years selling real estate on the Eastside.

“When the real estate market went bad, this seemed like the time,” to open her own consignment shop, she noted.

And before she became a realtor, Backman worked 10 years as a fashion manager and buyer in Los Angeles.

“It felt logical to go back to my roots. I’ve always liked self-employment and fashion,” she explained. “And this is a recession-proof business. Clothing is something a woman doesn’t want to give up, even in a poor economy.”

Backman said she knows this firsthand because she’s been a consignment shopper for years.

“I like to feel like I’m getting a deal on something,” she said. “You can look like a million bucks when you shop in consignment. You can get a full outfit for $100 and look like you spent $500 at Nordstrom.”

Most items at The Closet are priced around $20-$30, although some special designer pieces may cost up to $495.

Backman said she’s very selective about what she accepts. Clothing must be new or gently worn, currently in style, immaculately clean, fresh, pressed and on hangers. There can be no tears, snags, stains, broken zippers, etc.

The Closet’s terms of consignment are available in handouts at the store. Consigners can either pick up their unsold items at the end of their consignment term or can authorize Backman to donate them to Seattle Children’s Hospital. Tax reciepts are available to those who wish to donate items to charity.

The Closet will hold an open house, with refreshments, from 4-7 p.m. Friday, March 19. Regular store hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call (425) 558-0809 or e-mail s.backman@comcast.net.

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