Mary Bridget Pehl spent 13 years running an “underground” consignment business.
“It was my mom’s basement on Queen Anne Hill, so it was by appointment only,” she said.
When Kieran Malone, owner of Madison Valley’s Canopy Blue, decided to close her women’s boutique in Arboretum Court, Pehl was brought in for a pop-up, to keep the space looking full and attractive to a potential buyer.
“She kept saying, ‘Well, you should buy it,’ and I said, ‘Absolutely not. I have no interest,’” Pehl said.
Jeannine Christofilis soon found herself transitioning from longtime customer to business partner when her cousin told her she’d do it if she joined her.
“So, not with a lot of thought, it just started moving forward,” Christofilis said. “It just felt like an easy fit, and I was happy to get involved.”
Pehl and Christofilis opened Refind in September, and say the reception has been great so far. There is certainly more space and better lighting than in Pehl’s mom’s basement.
“And she was sad to see me go, if you can believe it,” Pehl said.
“And now she hangs out here,” Christofilis said.
Refind is focused on luxury women’s clothing and accessories, with consignment contacts here in Seattle, as well as Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Portland and Jackson Hole.
“It’s all individuals that send me things,” Pehl said. “It’s all been word of mouth.”
The luxury resale market continues to grow, said Pehl, who remembers when people rejected buying used clothing. She said that stopped when the Great Recession started in 2008. Christofilis said she still hears people say they won’t buy used when they come into the store, and she’s always happy when she sees them return.
Refind sells a lot of popular luxury brands, which are priced to compete with average online resale values. Pehl said some brands, such as Gucci and Chanel, don’t tend to depreciate much in cost. It’s a good sign when people do a quick price check on their phones before making a purchase, Pehl said. While Refind caters to women's fashion, men coming through the shop are attracted to the deals, Christofilis said.
It’s a 50-50 split at Refind, and inventory has been no problem for the consignment shop, Christofilis said. Most clothing and accessories will be held for 3-4 months.
“Certain pieces are so timeless, we just keep them until they sell,” Pehl said. “It just takes the right person.”
Christofilis said Arboretum Court businesses are supportive of each other, and Refind is working with them to put on a holiday event in December.
“Arboretum Court’s doing pretty well, and the more we support each other, the better we’ll be.”
Find Refind in Suite 104 of Arboretum Court at 3121 E. Madison St. Items can be found on Instagram @the_refindcloset. People can also visit therefindcloset.com to join a mailing list and keep up with the latest apparel and accessories.