Step into Alice McQueen and you will, for a moment, forget you are at West Broad Village in Richmond, Virginia. Something about the wide, bright and open space transports you to somewhere more akin to LA. The Barbie pink chairs, black and white curtains for the dressing rooms and sparkling silver mirror in one corner lend to the upscale boutique feel. And if you weren’t yet convinced you’re not in Richmond anymore, take a quick spin through the racks where you will find brands only the most diehard of fashion lovers will know: Yigal Azrouel, Sachin + Babi, Reed Krakoff, Milly, Etro, Balmain, Carven, and Chloe, just to name a handful. For the remainder of the fashion oriented population, you will not be disappointed by the numerous items from Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Gucci, Tory Burch, Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la renta, Jimmy Choo, DVF, and Dolce and Gabbana.
Alice McQueen, a mere 5 days old, is well prepared to flourish under the direction of owner Mimi Tanaka and long time friend and marketing expert, Hope Frank. Mimi and Hope met while in middle school – both new 7th graders at a new school. They bonded, went their separate ways, stayed in touch, moved back to Richmond and are now working hand in hand to launch Mimi’s dream.
Mimi, a notable 23 year old entrepreneur, grew up in Richmond, graduating from VCU’s School of Business in 2012. Her love of fashion comes from spending years watching her mom get dressed and while she has never worked in the fashion industry, the entrepreneurial spirit runs in her family; her father is the owner of Kabuto, a popular Richmond-based Japanese steak house. For the past year, Mimi has been using her inheritance to invest in her future – leasing the building (an old yogurt spot), undergoing renovations, and designing the entire store herself down to the floors and ceiling tiles. She has been doggedly pursing her dreams of being a small business woman despite those who may express surprise at her ability to own and operate a store, largely due to her age. To those naysayers, Mimi turns a blind eye and continues to work even harder – showing more than enough of her signature drive and ambition; two qualities that she believes any young woman needs to be successful.
As second hand lover, Mimi knows that some of her best fashion finds have been found in consignment stores around the US and wanted to transform the consignment experience for modern women. In addition to providing a space that is akin to shopping in what she dubs your “fabulous best friend’s closet,” Alice McQueen does just that while offering extended store hours (staying open until 9 PM, an unheard of feat in the Richmond boutique market), a website for consigners to check the status of their items, and a white glove service where the items you want to consign can be picked up directly from your home.
In case you were wondering, I am in love with this store and its arrival has made me create a “buy myself one nice thing per month” rule. While the Richmond market may seem saturated with consignment, vintage and thrift stores, Alice McQueen brings a special something – a blending of high-end classics with accessible contemporary pieces. They don’t stock pants, but no worry, all you need is that one great top, a good bag, killer pair of heels (ok, maybe 2-3 because their selection is impeccable), and a modern pair of sunglasses and you’re good to go. And if you aren’t a local Richmonder? Well, stay tuned, because an online store is just around the corner. Until then, you can find me hiding out in their fitting rooms, stalking merchandise and maybe even buying a pair of Oscar de la Renta heels.
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace
Please see Alice McQueen for their consignment, return, markdown policies and a full list of what they sell/do not sell.