A background in retail was only part of the reason that Megan Podolsky took the plunge to open 529 Kids Consign. Here she explains how her then baby boy had everything to do with her business idea.
When did you open?
What made you start your own business?
As a new mom, I found my son Ethan was growing out of his clothes so quickly. With that, I quickly realized there should be a great way to resell his gently used or new but too small clothing so other families could enjoy it. Soon I started organizing pop-up consignment events and before long the 529Kids Consign boutique was born!
What had you done previously?
I had a long history of retail. I managed multiple Abercrombie & Fitch stores before I moved on to an assistant buyer position in contemporary dresses at local Arlington-based retailer Hecht’s (now Macy’s). I gained an immeasurable amount of knowledge before moving onto a different facet of the business at Calvin Klein Jeans. I worked my way from retail coordinator to East Coast Regional Manager, helping to create the Calvin Klein aesthetic in department stores from Boston to Miami.
How did you prepare to make the switch?
I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but a lay-off and a new baby helped nudge me along.
What is your favorite part about owning your business?
I love the flexibility of having my own shop, and creating my own hours. With the help of my extraordinary team, I have flexibility to cater to my family. Just recently after my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, our family just had to be there in Pennsylvania to celebrate and attend their victory parade. As a boutique owner, I was able to pick-up, grab my husband and kids, and go!
What was the most surprising/difficult thing you’ve learned?
As with any other retailers, we have certainly seen a shift with customers wanting the convenience of shopping online. So, we decided to take advantage of that by making sales available on our Instagram page. Anyone can simply make purchases from the pictures we post. Now, in addition to our local customers, we have babies, kids, and expecting moms all over the country wearing finds from 529 Kids Consign!
Tell us about a local independent business you love and why?
Just about half of my closet comes from The Shoe Hive and The Hive. From their selection of clothes to shoes to accessories, they have such great style. Beyond that, I really admire and appreciate how the owner Elizabeth Todd promotes a sense of community among the area businesses. They are all about small businesses supporting other small businesses, and how can you not support that?!
What changes have you seen since you’ve been in business?
We have really seen the power of social media, from the opportunity to sell items on Instagram to working with area bloggers to help spread our message; it’s been great to have that powerful tool in our back pocket.
What are you most excited about right now?
I love helping to change the way of thinking about used clothing. Every family wants to find a way to save and with our boutique we try to make it chic and easy. Even our name says it. A 529 Plan is a state plan to help families set aside for college funds. We love that idea so much that we created 529 Kids Consign. The idea is if you spend less on your goods and clothing, you can save more for you kid’s future!
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
I really love that I’ve created a place where moms can feel good about buying high-end, gently used clothing and accessories for their kiddos at great prices. I am proud of what I have created at 529 and hope I can continue to grow my brand for years to come.