Asheville – There was a time when buying secondhand clothing was looked down upon. Families would hand down clothes and shoes to younger children, and women made clothing out of linen or cotton flour sacks. However, today, resale clothing is trending big time, both online and in brick-and-mortar consignment shops. Depending on the city and location, the findings can run the gamut from jeans to designer garments. The shops that are well run and offer desirable products can be around for years and years, even through some of the hard financial times we’ve had. One of those stores is Mine & Yours Asheville Resale, which will be celebrating its 22nd anniversary on January 15th, 2023.
In 1999, Lori Dawson, the owner of Mine & Yours, was working at a financial office. She wasn’t happy working in an office environment and knew there had to be something better for her. Then the thought came to her in the middle of the night, “How about opening a consignment shop?” Dawson always loved shopping secondhand, and as a single mother, she raised her two boys for most of their lives with second-hand clothes and gifts. “Not once did a complaint ever come out of their mouths,” she shared. “Teaching my kids about the importance of shopping secondhand was extremely important to me, and they continue to support my passion and business. I am so blessed.”
An Auspicious Start
The next day, after her middle of the night inspiration, Dawson found a small space for rent. Amazingly, she found out that there was already a consignment shop there, and the owners were trying to sell it. How perfect! “I prayed and prayed about it,” said Dawson, “and decided to take the chance of a lifetime.” It was a good choice.
Lori Dawson opened Mine & Yours Asheville Resale on January 15, 2000. “That first day I only sold 53 cents, and although I felt discouraged at the moment, I realized that every new beginning takes time to start seeing progress.” She continued, “After three years at the original location, I decided to take another chance and move to a bigger space, which is still the current location at 234 New Leicester Hwy. I went from having 600 square feet to 2,600 square feet. I did not know if I would be able to fill the entire space. Little did I know this new location would be the best move I could’ve made.”
Resale Clothing Is Trending
Like most consignment shops, Mine & Yours carries girls’ and women’s wear, but unlike many consignment stores, she also carries things for babies, men, and even a large supply of home goods. Having a variety means helping more people. Emily Fish, the manager of Mine & Yours, shared how excited she is about the latest trend towards consignment buying: “Social media and TikTok have really made secondhand shopping trendy, especially for the younger generation. Cost is a huge factor; I mean, who doesn’t love to save money on necessities? Dawson added, “I know it helped me so much when I was a single mother trying to make ends meet, and now with everything raising in price we are trying to stay consistent in our pricing to help people out, and to encourage secondhand shopping more.” Consigners can make money too. When the items they’ve brought in sell, they get a portion of the purchase price. Win-win.
Local Handcrafted Products
It hasn’t always been easy. Throughout the 22 years of being open, my shop has definitely seen many ups and downs, shared Dawson, “From 9/11 to the recession in 2008, it was a struggle to keep my doors open. If it wasn’t for the kindness of my landlord, I probably would’ve had to close.” As things eventually started turning around, Dawson started expanding to carry items from local artisans and crafters, inviting artists and vendors to set up shop inside the store. “Soon enough, we had a whole section dedicated solely to showcasing local goodies,” said Dawson. Those goodies include handmade jewelry, soaps and body care, aromatherapy, handcrafted chocolates, teas, and a variety of yummy edibles. Bosma stated, “Some of our best-selling vendors include Sprouted Scribbles, The Need, Livin’ Freely, Quill & Honey, Cornerstone Tea, Conjure Chocolate, Red Moon Herbs, Brother Nature Beard, Asheville Soap, Firewalker Hot Sauce, Shanti Elixirs, Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters, Silver Cascades, Poppy Popcorn, Postre Caramels, and Well-Seasoned Table. That’s only a few of the AMAZING vendors in the shop.”
Hard Times Hit Again
Then in 2020, COVID hit, and we all know how that story goes. “The shop closed for over two months, which was devastating,” said Dawson. “I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to reopen the doors. However, with the tremendous support from the community and consignors, Mine & Yours was back and better than ever. With all this new energy and passion for the community, I went full force on the local section. I love supporting those who have supported me. My motto is, ‘Put out there what you want to come back to you.’ I started out small like everyone else, but all it takes is support as a community to help people grow and become successful.”
What’s in the future?
As far as the future of Mine & Yours goes, Dawson’s vision is to expand the local section and spruce up the interior. “Last year, I had a local artist paint murals on the walls, and I fell in love with the idea of revamping and adding more pizzazz to the shop,” she said. “It’s a big task, but I’m ready for the challenge. My team and I are very active on social media, and for the next year, we all want to see our followers not only grow but also engage more. It’s not about the likes you acquire online; it’s about the products you carry, the customer service you provide, the sincerity of each sale, and the way you make people feel when they walk in the front door, even if no sale is made.
For all of her good fortune and the help she received, Lori Dawson believes in giving back, and helping charities is one of her favorite ways to do so. She has donated to Hospice Treasures, Salvation Army, Carolina Rescue Mission, ABCCM, The Bear Closet, Black Mountain Children’s Home, Meals on Wheels, Mountain Pet Rescue, Brother Wolf, Toys for Tots, the women’s shelter, and so many more. She went on to say, “I’ve also sponsored athletic programs at Erwin High School and supplied clothes to the clothing closets at Erwin Middle and West Buncombe Elementary. I only feel it’s right to give back to the community since they’ve given so much to me.”
Check out Mine & Yours this week for the 22nd anniversary; you never know what treasure you might find.