Eco-conscious Clothing in Alaska
Palmer, Alaska may be known for its scenic beauty, giant vegetables, and friendly residents—but with a population of 6,461, it’s never been known for its environmentally-conscious clothing options. That is, until a charming locally-owned clothing exchange entered the scene.
Introducing Magpie Clothing Exchange, a shop that buys and sells high-quality, eco-friendly used clothing. If you have been wanting to sell some of those clothes that are sitting in your closet (whatever happened to that awesome dress you only wore once, anyway?), or if you’re thinking about picking up a lovely new addition to your wardrobe, then it’s time to check out Magpie Clothing Exchange.
And, best of all, they’re local. If you normally browse eBay for good finds but prefer buying locally, Magpie Clothing Exchange is the way to go.
The founders, Kim and Greg Scully, understand the importance of a strong web presence—they have both a physical store and an e-commerce website to support online transactions. Their website is beautifully designed and user-friendly, making it easy for customers to navigate.
Check out these insights they shared with us about running a business:
“Maintaining a web presence is simply a necessity for running nearly any type of business; customers just expect to find your business online. For us, it is an opportunity to share with our customers a sense of our purpose, our products, and some of the nuts and bolts of our processes and policies.”
Greg and Kim believe that their company’s website is an extension of their brick-and-mortar store, and they make a special effort to make their online customers feel as though they’re standing across the counter in their store.
What inspired these founders to start a business? According to the Scullys, starting a company fueled their entrepreneurial nature and also fed their passion for giving back to the community. For example, their store has a bag program in place to help local high school music departments:
“When a customer makes a purchase with us, they can choose to bring their own bag or to go without one. We give the customer a small glass token to drop into a jar and make a donation equal to the cost of a bag to one of the main high school music departments in our community. This small (10 cent) donation accomplishes many things: It helps an underfunded public school program, and it also prevents bags from getting stuck in trees or the landfill.”
(For more information on their bag program, check out this video.)
We wanted to dig a little deeper and talk to these founders about what it was like starting up. When asked about their inspiration to start the business, Greg and Kim said that they wanted to help the community and to also be self-employed and reach their full potential on their own terms.
But it’s no mystery that every business experiences their fair share of struggles. When starting up, the team behind Magpie Clothing Exchange were eager to learn more and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors.
“Completing the business plan and obtaining funding were the most difficult parts of starting up—it was very time consuming. We overcame that challenge by working hard and continuing to move forward with our vision, making steps toward the goal of opening our store and getting help! We worked closely with the Alaska Small Business Development Center in Wasilla and it was very valuable for both resources and for keeping us on task. We took classes and met on a regular schedule with their rep, Julie Nolan.”
Magpie Clothing Exchange continues to grow and has many exciting plans in store for the future. Their goal is to continue growing without increasing their environmental footprint, while also gaining traction organically by uniquely pairing brick-and-mortar with e-commerce. Ultimately, they plan on scaling via web sales as opposed to opening up additional locations.
To learn more, visit them at: 1901 N Hemmer Rd Suite 108, Palmer, AK 99645 or view their website.