Our regular series “Five Questions With…” is back this week and we are talking to Elyssa Alfieri of Lilise Designer Resale in Concord. I (Rachel) have been visiting this store for a few years and love shopping there because I can buy cute clothes for less money, support a local store that’s owned by a woman, and help care for the Earth all at the same time. Let’s see what she has to say…
1) Please tell us a little about Lilise Designer Resale. What made you want to start it? What is your favorite aspect of owning this store? Lilise Designer Resale is a mostly second hand clothing store that sells women’s and men’s clothing, shoes and accessories. We are also home to two lines of new clothing: _inclination which offers elevated basics hand selected by me, and Achromatic which sells exclusively neutral colored clothing in a variety of styles. I’ve been a life-long vintage and resale shopper and I’m thrilled to bring my passion to the women of Concord. I’ve always believed in the value of shopping local and supporting your neighbors. For me, connecting people with a way to help the environment and the people around me is a dream come true.
2) What are the challenges to owning a small business in NH – environmental or otherwise? Owning any type of business can be so challenging, especially when you are working alone. For me, environmentally it’s most difficult when I don’t have the time to drive to a store and buy things I need to run my business and need to place online orders and get things shipped in tons of plastic. We do reuse our packaging as much as possible and use it to box up donations or mail online orders to our customers.
3) How has your experience been with COVID-19? What challenges have you overcome? COVID-19 has been so challenging to navigate! We got hit with this right on the heels of our store being completely flooded due to a water main break last December, so it was really a “kick ’em when they’re down” situation. The uncertainty of the flood did prepare me to deal with the unknown which I suppose helped a little when the State implemented the shut down in March. I did live stream sales where I set up my phone and laptop so I could simultaneously record myself on Facebook and Instagram live and that helped to make some sales as well as helped me mentally feel like I was working. I love my job so being out of work for me wasn’t fun at all – I missed my customers! Now that we’re back to being open 6 days a week, it’s started to feel a little closer to “normal”, but predicting consumer behavior is basically impossible right now. It used to be a strong suit of mine: knowing what customers would be looking for and having a feel for which days would be busier than others… but right now nothing is certain and I have a hard time with it!
4) Fast-fashion and new clothing are big contributors to climate change. One reason why I (Rachel) love your store is because it allows me to be fashionable but simultaneously Earth-conscious. Can you tell us about your own zero-waste journey? I am a SHOPPER, so for me the thing I tended to be most wasteful with was buying clothing. I loved Forever21, H&M, Zara… all the big huge fast fashion giants. I would buy all of this clothing because it was so cheap but then wear the same 5 sweaters anyway! I was living under this huge mound of clothing all of the time – when I moved into a small apartment (an attempt at a “tiny house” situation), I realized I needed to get rid of all of this clothing that I was holding onto and started consigning and donating a lot of it. I had only ever shopped second hand, I had never been a part of the other side. Once I did that I realized how useful it was and when the founder of LDR was looking to sell her business in 2016 I jumped at the opportunity to make a career out of it. I just think the impact of consignment is so great – to be able to shop second hand and get really great items from higher end brands is a great way to reduce your consumption of clothing. By buying higher quality items you can wear them longer and therefore buy less. Otherwise, I am a recycler and try to reuse as much as I can, but I will admit that I have a long way to go! I’m trying to replace the disposables I have with reusables, as the opportunity arises so slowly and steadily I’m getting to a better place!
5) Anything else you’d like to share? I’d just like to invite everyone to come and shop at LDR! It’s an amazing opportunity to shop higher end brands and get your hands on items you couldn’t normally find in New Hampshire, plus it’s a great way to give back to your community. LDR splits its proceeds with the people who consign their clothing – aka your friends and neighbors! The money you spend at a local consignment shop impacts the surrounding community far more than shopping almost anywhere else.