By Shannon Watkins
Every shopper who walks through the door of Galax's latest consignment store hears the cheery greeting, "Hello, gorgeous!" no matter if they're fresh from the salon or in dire need of fashion assistance. It certainly feels encouraging.
Hello Gorgeous Consignment Boutique is owned and managed by Julia Jones, who's likely the one you'll meet when you get inside. She says the idea came from her sister, who opened the original Hello Gorgeous Boutique in central Pennsylvania, back in 2010.
"From day one, she said, "You would love this; you should open a store!" "After living in the area for six years and not really getting to know anyone because I commuted an hour and a half to work in North Carolina, I found myself wanting to be closer."
"I have two young boys and want to be here for my children," Jones continued. "I decided to take a chance using her model. My sister and I were raised in and entrepreneurial household by parents who started a restaurant when we were children."
Hello Gorgeous has shoes, clothes, jewelry, accessories and a little home decor. Jones says it's geared toward women, so right now the store doesn’t accept men's items. According to her, they also prefer the better brands and styles of women's and children's clothing; a shopper looking for downmarket items is probably better off looking at thrift stores, as in Jones' words, "we tend to say ‘no thank you’ to less expensive brands of clothing. We accept department store, designer and better brands of women's and children's clothing, purses, shoes jewelry and home decor and decorative accessories all in like new condition."
There are also other limitations, she revealed, along with some tips. "We won't be taking bridal gowns due to space constraints and a limited market," said Jones. "We do take seasonal evening wear, homecoming and prom at the appropriate times of year. You generally want to consider consigning these types of items approximately two months before these types of events occur."
Jones says that Hello Gorgeous also carries a few new items: a line of greeting cards, new jewelry, scarves and Melissa & Doug Toys.
Her store draws a specific demographic, she says. "We truly have two distinctive customers: Cosigners who have items that are "too good to donate" and want to make a money, and those who are looking for brands of clothing, shoes, and purses that aren't available in this area."
Jones' experience with trying to find quality brand-name items -- which usually involved a trip out of the area -- leads her to sympathy for her customers.
"My boys are 3 and 4 years old so having to commute an hour or more to a mall for shopping is kind of out of the question," she said. "When we would finally arrive, they wanted no part of 'shopping." "We can provide name brand merchandise without the drive!"
That quality is what she feels sets Hello Gorgeous apart from other secondhand stores, along with the customer service and the store's software that lets consigners track their merchandise.
Which leads, of course, to where the original name came from, and why she chooses to greet people with a such a lavish compliment.
"The name was born on a lark based on how my sister would greet the daughter of a family friend," she said. "'Hello Gorgeous’ became a unique way to make women feel validated, and let them know that they matter and, yes, they are gorgeous when they walk in the door! When you get to experience the way people respond to that greeting, it is really an affirmation."
Jones concluded, "We may not be what you expect when it comes to second-hand and we hope that is a pleasant surprise! Please come and check us out. We would love to meet you and answer any individual questions you may have."
Hello Gorgeous is located at 7498 Carrollton Pike in Galax. The store takes cash, debit and all major credit cards, and also matches 10 percent if patrons spend their consignment earnings in the store. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
For more information, call (276) 601-2737. Visit them on the web at www.hellogorgeousgalax.com or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GalaxHelloGorgeous.