In a time with plenty of bad news, I’m thrilled to announce that this small business will NOT be closing its doors. Kids on 45th, which we shared about in this January article, has been sold and is looking at a bright future with new owner, Elise Worthy.
It all began when Elise, a Wallingford mom of two boys (Isaac, 3, and Cooper, 8 months), missed her consignment appointment. “I called to reschedule and they refused, stating they were closing. I think it was the day they had decided to shut the door,” shared Elise over coffee recently. “I thought to myself, we can’t lose this for the neighborhood.”
Elise contacted the owner, Susan, with interest in buying the business. However, Susan had just declined a low offer and was hesitant to discuss. They started the conversation over phone and email and eventually met to arrange for a deal that would enable Susan to be compensated for the business and turn over the consignment credit.
While Elise is currently a part-time marketing director at Formidable (a software development house in Fremont), she has a broad background in start-ups, nonprofit and technology. She not only knows how to code but has managed developers and worked inside one of the world’s largest online retailers. Recently, Elise transitioned out of managing Ada Developers Academy, a small nonprofit, which she co-founded, that focuses on teaching coding skills to women.
It’s no surprise that Elise plans to use her experience to build upon the success of Kids on 45th. While she does not foresee changing prices or altering the consignment model, she is clearly excited about the possibilities technology can bring to the business. “The great thing about being technologists is that we can build it ourselves. We don’t have to rely on the high capital investment that big retail requires.” The “we” here is Elise’s husband, Bookis, who is also a developer and co-founder of LUNA Sandals, which manufactures in Seattle. His technical and wholesale expertise will no doubt be an important part of this family affair.
At the top of the list is to bring the store online – both the consignment database and all of the inventory. “All of it?” I asked. “There might be a minimum price, but yes – all of it.” This will mean moving the processing of consignment out of store, which opens up flexibility in the retail space for shoppers and inventory. Elise envisions a time when customers will not only be able to shop online, but receive free local deliveries. “We need to respond to how people really live if we are going to empower a small business to compete with Amazon and Target. We have to be creative and scrappy!”
While these are big ideas, Elise is taking a start-up approach. “We’ll try one thing out at a time to see what works.” She is also committed to the foundation Susan built at Kids on 45th – making it easier for families raising young children. This means keeping prices affordable and making consignment a valuable activity for a family to take part in. She cites online consignment stores that are focused only on maximizing profits, paying pennies on the dollar to consigners. “I want this to be sustainable for our community. This is about making money but also about doing good.”
Farewell and Welcome
As for Susan? She is excited to be moving on to her next adventure. “It’s time,” she said to me recently, with a big smile. She plans to take the summer off before embarking on any projects. She’ll be in and out through June 1st, so don’t miss saying goodbye!
You are also invited to greet Elise at a Kids on 45th Open House, Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Enjoy cookies and goodie bags for kiddos! You can reply to the Facebook invitation here.