0713 Silver Linings
Silver Linings Boutique owner Sonja Pettus
Sonja Pettus first discovered the double benefit of consignment shopping while she was in medical school. She got hooked on making money by consigning and then turning around and buying clothes. But there was more; she also saw a business opportunity in it.
Originally, she thought it would be a nice retirement idea, but she quickly decided it would be a nice side job from her medical practice.
With the lull in the economy in 2010, she saw it as the prime opportunity for a silver lining in the economy, both for a business owner and for customers.
“Finding treasures in your closet is your silver lining,” she said of the name.
Pettus found a storefront in John Hawkins Parkway shopping center, conveniently located near several subdivisions, and that it had a salon, fitness center and restaurant but was lacking a women’s boutique. Soon, her storefront was filled with what she calls “upscale resale.”
Silver Linings isn’t a take-all consignment shop; the staff looks for a specific style in the clothing they select to resale. They choose in-season, gently worn clothing for the store.
“We have to be very selective,” Pettus said. “We want to have a niche of better items that don’t look secondhand.”
Last year Pettus started DeVon Designer Fashions, a boutique within Silver Linings Boutique. DeVon provides customers who do not like pre-owned clothing with an equally fashionable and reasonably priced alternative to expensive designer brands.
Pettus frequents Atlanta Apparel Market and chooses designs to bring back to the DeVon portion of the store. Apparel from a’reve, Blue Pepper, Pretty Angel, Veronica M outfits and other designers ranges from $20-$40.
Whether shopping consignment, consign-ing clothes or browsing for new material, Pettus said her staff is there to help and interact with customers.
Although she is seldom at the store because she works as a physician at Walker Medical Diagnostics LLC in Jasper, Pettus leaves the store to her friend and manager Kim Mills. Mills and staff know regulars by name and offer a “Wish List” option. When an item or style that a customer wants comes in, the staff will inform her.
Both Silver Linings Boutique and DeVon Designer Fashions also have Facebook pages that occasionally offer freebies and prizes for liking and sharing a post. Frequent customers can also use the rewards card: after collecting 10 stamps for each $25 purchase, customers receive $25 off their next purchase. Pettus wants to keep customers up-to-date and help them feel included creates a family atmosphere.
“It’s a lot of work owning a business, but it’s sort of like my baby,” Pettus said. “You nurture it and check on it every day. It’s fun, but you worry about it.”
2341 John Hawkins Pkwy., Hoover, Alabama View Map
Monday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.