Photographed by Cesca Janece Waterfield
My Closet-Your Treasures is a designer consignment shop located at 5224 Lakeside Ave. Owner Vanita Baugh opened the boutique in Oct. 2007 with the vision of establishing a “bargain hunter’s dream.” It offers women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, many of which feature distinctive labels such as Gucci, Prada, BCBG, Bebe, Fendi and more. Prices are between 30 and 60 percent reductions from retail prices.
Originally from Brooklyn, Vanita earned a degree in Human Services and worked in case management in New York. But she always worked retail and says, “Retail was my back up plan. Fashion is my passion, but I love doing both.” When her mother relocated to Richmond a little more than six years ago, Vanita came soon after.
When she decided to become an entrepreneur, she looked for proven assistance. “I started out with the Small Business Administration, who kind of gave me that boost that I needed,” she says. “I went through them to complete my business plan. It took me about two years to do that. All the resources and connections, I got through the Small Business Administration.”
Two years ago, she opened the doors on My Closet-Your Treasures. On a sunny Tuesday morning, business is brisk. Vanita says she likes the neighborhood and believes that recent developments like the Farmer’s Market down the street at 6110 Lakeside Ave. show its potential for becoming a destination shopping district.
Vanita has a clear sense of her store’s niche: “I get trendy items but I try to stick to more classic items, pieces that will carry you a long way that you can mix and match with trendy pieces,” Vanita says. “In these economic times, people want more of the bargains. They want good quality designer, name brand things, but at a good price.” On the first Saturday of each month, she has a $5 sidewalk sale, and donates a portion of her profits to an area charity. Past gifts have gone to St. Joseph’s Villa, Rubicon and more.
Even with the responsibility of being sole owner, Vanita loves what she does. “It’s a fun store to come into. I have a lot of fun doing this. I love making women feel good about themselves. A lot of women come in and have no idea what colors would look nice on them, what kind of pants or tops. I just have fun helping them figure out what looks good on them, helping them figure out their body type.”