How does 15 years of being a social worker prepare someone to open a designer resale shop?
Well, not “ever making an ungodly amount of money” helps, Renee Duxler says.
“I would spend a lot of time thrifting and trying to procure professional clothing, quality clothing that I could wear but not spend a lot of money on,” Duxler says. “That’s kind of what I’ve done for all these years.”
Now, she’s opening Aerial, which will be “a kind of highly curated designer retail store” at 1716 E. Douglas next to the Donut Whole.
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Duxler says she’s visited other cities for her thrifting, too.
“I kept saying, god, it would be so nice to have something like this in Wichita.”
Finally, she says she said, “What would it look like if I brought something like this to Wichita?”
When she got more serious about the idea, she looked at the Douglas Design District, particularly the block by the Donut Whole and Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.
“Ideally, where I’d like to be is right there,” Duxler says she said out loud.
Then “something like seven hours after I made that statement,” Duxler says she saw a Facebook post by Leon Moeder about how he had space available.
“He posted that ‘right there’ is available,” she says. “It was kind of providence.”
Duxler had previously worked in the Douglas Design District and says she enjoyed “seeing the district as a whole take off.”
She says she likes how walkable the area immediately around her store is and likes the other businesses there, too.
“They’ve really supported me,” she says. “Our small business owners in this town are so generous.”
Duxler says resale shops sometimes have bad connotations, which is partly why she says hers will be on the high-end side.
She’ll pay cash for some clothing and accessories – the store will have men’s and women’s – and items worth more than $50 likely will be taken on consignment.
Duxler is naming the business after her 7-year-old daughter, Ariel, but she’s spelling the store name Aerial to also pay homage to Wichita’s title as the Air Capital.
Duxler says Aerial’s definition as “high” and “lofty” is “the attitude that I kind of wanted to give the store.”
In addition to always hunting for her own bargains, Duxler says she’s often helped friends organize and downsize their wardrobes.
“So kind of my entire life has been leading up to this,” she says.
Before her mid-October opening, Duxler says she’ll have a few events where people can bring their clothing to sell in the shop. Her Facebook page will advertise when they are.
She says she’s going to have to do a lot of procuring and thrifting even in other states before she opens.
“You just have to spend the time to find those gems.”