I was never really into buying second hand clothing before, I have a thing with sharing spaces and things with strangers (just ask my friends and family how I feel about hotel rooms). But then I realized that lots of the clothing that is being resold has barely been worn, you can even find pieces with the tags still on! You won’t find me at Value Village, but I have become addicted to the boutique consignment stores popping up around Calgary to find cheaper Aritzia pieces and other brands that are a little over priced in the malls.
The Clothing Bar is in Marda Loop, and it took me weeks of driving past it to finally stop in and check the store out. Katie Evans, a born and raised Calgarian, is the founder and owner of The Clothing Bar. She is a sweetheart and I was super excited to sit down and chat with her about where the brand came from.
The fashion industry has also been Katie’s passion – at a young age she learned to sew, learned about the different designers (“by watching a ton of fashion week reruns!”), and then moving into working in retail and getting a post-secondary education in merchandising. Basically she has spent her whole life working towards where she is today in the fashion industry. “Growing up in the industry, I got to see a lot of different perspectives and viewpoints on how things were done, and long story short-I knew very quickly I wanted to create something different.”
Calgary is the perfect spot for someone like Katie who wants to evolve the fashion scene, and bring new ideas into the industry. It feels like “Young entrepreneurs and style gurus are banning together and creating a buzz around fashion in Calgary. This really cool movement has started, to shop locally, and it has built an amazing community around supporting all sorts of fashion movements in our city.” And the Clothing Bar is right in the midst of it.
The Clothing Bar, inspired by Katie’s love for prosecco, styling, and good deals, started as a hobby in 2012, but became a real fashion name when Katie made the leap to make it a full time career. The most rewarding part of owning her own business is “seeing your ideas come to life and people actually wanting to be a part of it with you.” This makes up for all the challenges that come with entrepreneurship like money, needing support, and staying motivated.
To entrepreneurs just starting out, her advice to you: “Find out where every penny is going, and what that does for your business. It might sound like a daunting task, but if you expect your business to survive then you need to know where and how to spend your money. Example) I spent $54 my business hadn’t made yet, on specialized cookies, thinking it would help bring people in the door…well it did not, and that was the worst $54 I ever spent. (Not entirely the worst because I got to eat 2 dozen cookies by myself later), but every dollar counts.”
Staying busy and continually looking for ways to grow the business keeps Katie motivated. Next time you’re in the area, pop into the shop in Marda Loop and you can see that all her hard work has paid off – plus pick yourself up a cute outfit.
The outfit that I’m wearing here all came from the Clothing Bar for under $100 (!!), that’s my kind of shopping.
Photos by Deanna Antony