Style on a Dime – Inexpensive Shopping Options for Olympia Area Teens

Plato's Closet, on Olympia Westside, offers today's name brand fashions at a fraction of the cost.


By Emily VanMarter, Northwest Christian High School Intern to Thurston Talk

shelton dental centerHave you ever wanted to get that one pair of jeans, or that awesome jacket that everyone else is getting, but you just don’t have the money? Well, now you can. Though most people think you have to go through brand name places to get your clothes, the owners of these inexpensive shopping places beg to differ.

Autumn Dixon is a 21 year old woman who currently works at Fir Lane Health and Rehabilitation Center as a nursing assistant. And yet, on the side, she is helping people not only regain their health, but also save money on clothes. Autumn has started a Facebook page called Shelton Area Clothing Exchange, which covers Shelton, McCleary, Elma, Belfair, Olympia, Tumwater, and Lacey areas. “What made me start this page was trying to sell some of my clothes I don’t wear for some extra cash,” commented Autumn.

Autumn Dixon started the Shelton Area Clothing Exchange Facebook Group as a way to buy and sell used fashions for less.
Autumn Dixon started the Shelton Area Clothing Exchange Facebook Group as a way to buy and sell used fashions for less.

Fortunately, many of Autumn’s friends also thought this was a good idea. Many of them joined the page, and today, there are more than 800 people that are involved in the clothing exchange. “The experience of starting this page and maintaining it can get overwhelming, especially when people start fighting and it’s up to me to help sort out the problem. However, I do love when people thank me for making the site because they got the homecoming dress that they never could afford from the store.”

This tends to be the case for most people involved on her page. If they can’t afford the clothes in the stores, they come here to find great deals, especially on designer clothing. “I see quite a bit more designer items then I would have first expected. A lot of the girls are like me and get bored with what they have and they want to trade,” said Autumn. “People sell very nice items for very good prices. You can get designer jeans and North Face jackets in awesome condition for about half the price or less!”

Over all, the experience of starting this page has not only changed the follower’s way of shopping, but Autumn’s as well. “It has changed how I shop,” she commented. “I can get some new clothes for half the price, or trade clothes I have stopped wearing for something new.” On top of great deals, Autumn does all of this hard work for almost no personal gain. “I make no profit off of this, except the clothing I sell to people. It’s all done in my free time.”

Bargain shopping opportunities can also be found in the stores that many people might overlook. Plato’s Closet is a store that buys used clothing and sells them for outrageously low prices. It was started by Dennis and Lynn Blum, who earlier started an organization called Once Upon A Child for their children. Dennis and Lynn wanted to pay less for good quality clothing, and this was their way to do so.

When their kids started growing out of the children clothing, both Dennis and Lynn decided they needed to make a new store, one that held teen clothing. At the time, one of their kids was doing a project on Plato, the

Greek philosopher, who was said to be a wise man. They connected this with their customers who were being wise in looking for less expensive shopping sources.

Plato's Closet, on Olympia Westside, offers today's name brand fashions at a fraction of the cost.
Plato’s Closet, on Olympia Westside, offers today’s name brand fashions at a fraction of the cost.

Today, Plato’s closet is a well-known business, with over 400 franchises in the United States. “We get North Face, and Columbia often, but our main stock consists of Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, and Hollister. These brands are like our bread, butter, and pickles,” commented the store manager at Plato’s Closet, Jennelle Fletcher. “We target the 14-24 age group when we buy our clothing from others.”

However, they won’t buy just any clothes. “We make sure that the clothes are in good condition. We also make sure that they are still in style. If they are out of date, not many people are going to buy them, and we have to keep business.” The process of buying and reselling clothes not only benefits the sellers, but the new buyers as well. “We give the [original] sellers approximately one-third to one-fourth of the money we think we can sell the item for,” commented Jennelle. “We then sell the clothes in our store for about 70% off of the full retail price. I would definitely say that our prices are cheaper than brand name clothing stores.”

The idea of getting something on sale is always appealing to people, especially when it comes to brand name clothing. Unfortunately, many times out of the way places are overlooked in fear that they may not have the quality people are looking for in brand names.

This just goes to show that if you dig a little deeper, you can find that the boots you have always wanted are not only in the department stores, but also maybe online, or a store down the road, and for a much more reasonable price.


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