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Kellie Scott is easily recognized by her shock of blond hair and a megawatt smile that lights up her face when she’s interacting with customers or joking with staff at her resale furniture and home décor shop, Divine Consign in Oak Park (111 N. Oak Park Avenue).
Watching the gregarious proprietress maneuver her way around the shop, one might not guess that Kellie was a litigation lawyer for sixteen years previous to embarking on this retail venture as a fledgling entrepreneur.
“This is so different than my past life. It was quite adversarial,” Kellie explains. “I love what I do now. I am a people person, and I love interacting with people. There’s never a day that’s the same.”
While an accomplished career as an attorney consumed most of her time, Kellie's intrinsic creative talents could not to be contained.
The few spare moments she had, she spent watching HGT design and remodeling shows, unwinding after long days in the world of corporate America.
When it came time to stage and sell her own home in Oak Park, Kellie was more than ready for the challenge. She refashioned her home and it sold promptly. She went on to do so for a second house that she and her husband purchased. It, too, swiftly sold. Soon they were buying, renovating, and selling houses.
In an ironic twist of fate, HGT reached out to Kellie to feature an Oak Park home she had designed and remodeled. Kellie shares animatedly, "The home was showcased on Generation Renovation and New Spaces."
An expanding portfolio of revitalized properties yielded a unique predicament: she was left with all of the furniture used to stage the homes. There didn’t seem to be a shop in the area where she could sell or consign her pieces, and she wasn’t interested in going the Craigslist route.
So she decided to organize a house sale. The morning of the auspicious sale, before opening her doors, Kellie saw something that surprised her. At least thirty people were lined up outside her home, waiting to shop for the goods she had amassed. And even more astounding to Kellie: at the end of that very same day, she had sold $12K worth of furniture.
Kellie shares, “I wondered where people can go to buy and sell quality furniture. I realized there was a niche missing, and so the idea was born. I decided to give it a try.”
While Kellie was faced with two initial reactions - she was giving up an established career and she’d touched upon a great idea - she knew one thing for sure, she had to trust herself.
Kellie discerned there was much to learn about the new business industry, and she is quick to point out she had necessary guidance along the way from a SCORE representative, “My mentor, Frank, provided essential counsel. I had to learn numbers; I had to learn marketing. I even developed our logo.”
Every step of the way, Kellie had a reoccurring thought: “This makes me very happy.”
On September 1st of 2010, Kellie opened the doors to Divine Consign. She shares, “The store has been very well received. Oak Park is the perfect community; the personality of this town is a perfect match [for my venture]: people are eco-conscious and community-minded. They like to support local businesses and they appreciate a bargain. They have really supported and accepted me.”
There’s a reason Kellie has earned the trust and respect of shoppers. She has truly revolutionized resale retail and dispelled consignment myths. You’ll find no dusty antiques or musty oddities. Carefully selected pieces and brand new items pepper the floor. New inventory arrives daily. The prices are borderline shocking, they’re so low.
In the beginning, Kellie’s business grew so rapidly, that she was struck with a sudden realization, “I thought I’d be able to do this on my own,” Kellie remembers, laughing. “It took me only three weeks to realize that I needed help.”
Kellie now has seventeen part-time and full-time staff members. She has seven professional interior designers employed to help patrons plot out new layouts, address space and style issues, or select custom drapery and upholstery.
Her team of talented staffers also creates the very clever, very witty signs that grace many of the pieces in her shop. Droll signs draw the attention of customers with comical expressions like “What are you waiting for? Take me home!” or “Don’t just stand there and stare! Buy me!”
“These signs make work fun. It’s really an opportunity for the personality of each staff member to shine through. They’re designed to give each furniture piece personality and sometimes they conjure bad pick-up lines!” Kellie reveals with a chuckle.
Besides incredibly low prices (I’ve often had to check a tag twice to make sure I hadn’t misread read the low, low price) and top quality furniture in different styles (nestled among the generous selection on this particular day are pieces from Horchow, Ethan Allen, and Mig & Tig, to name a few), I do admit to loving the “talking furniture.”
This is a store that runs like a well-oiled machine, yet doesn’t take itself too seriously. The quirky signs dotting the furniture give this store character; slips of paper with messages not only engage the consumer, but add a little humor to our day.
Kellie has now expanded her booming retail business to include an Annex; she opened the Divine Consign Annex in Oak Park (810 North Boulevard) two short months after Divine Consign opened its doors, and she recently launched Trends in Oak Park (810 North Boulevard), a fashion resale boutique (you can now pick up a smart Marc Jacobs number right here in town for a fraction of the original price).
As we sit chatting in her shop, a large truck full of new pieces arrives. I can’t help but be distracted, after all, I just moved into a new home.
My partner recently asked if there was a shop in town to consider as we looked to furnish our new home: he wanted well-made furniture that was reasonably priced - where the staff wouldn’t descend on us like hawks on prey, where we wouldn’t have to make sure we had our phones in case one of us got lost in a large expanse of space. Divine Consign was the welcome answer.
To learn more or for store hours visit www.divineconsignoakpark.com.
Have you purchased a favorite piece from Divine Consign? Tell us about your find or what you love about this unique consignment shop.
Answer Book 2018
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
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