For Lily Bee’s, ‘Giving back is the reason we’re here’


KYLE TUCKER | The Daily Evergreen

Lily Bee’s consignment store owner Melanie Hodges discussing her desire to give back to the community through cosigning.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

For those who have a yearning to find stylish clothes, save their bank account from hitting $0.00, stick it to The Man by not supporting a consumerist society (if that’s your thing) and be eco-friendly in the process – consider shopping resale.

Melanie Hodges, owner of Lily Bee’s Consignment Shop, shares this mentality and believes supporting mom-and-pop stores is an important part of contributing to the community.

With a family line of entrepreneurs who emigrated from Italy, Hodges said she has always believed there is significant importance to owning and supporting local businesses.

Owning a business allows people to showcase their talents, and it can be sad when customers don’t see that because they are so corporate about shopping, Hodges said.

As a consignment store, Lily Bee’s strives to support community members by selling secondhand items for them, and in return giving them a percentage of the profit. By doing so, items someone may no longer need can be utilized again by others, Hodges said.

She said she understands the importance of consignment stores because at one point in her life, she had trouble making ends meet.

As a 23-year-old widow with three children, Hodges had to find a way to make money to support her family.

In order to fulfill her financial responsibilities, Hodges sold her possessions and from that moment on fell in love with running her own antique business. In 2007, Hodges established Lily Bee’s after working in the antique and consignment business for several years.

With a large number of consigners on record, Lily Bee’s offers various products, from vintage embellishments to prom and wedding dresses.

Items in the store are displayed in their best state – all thanks to the time and care Hodges puts into making them look their best.

“I take some of the clothes back home and wash and iron them,” Hodges said. “I’ll even take a toothbrush to shoes.”

Although being your own boss may be the best job ever, there are some sacrifices you have to make, Hodges said. She might not get a paycheck every month or have to go through the holiday season without presents to give, but Hodges continues to persevere because Lily Bee’s is almost like her baby, she said.

To serve as a reminder of how precious and important the shop is to her, Hodges said she placed a bow on the front door to symbolize how big of a gift it is in her life.

“I believe that giving back to others is the reason we’re here,” Hodges said. “Period.”

While Lily Bee’s is an advocate for recycling and repurposing consumer goods, Hodges said the store also supports local charities and shelters, such as Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, through clothing donation.

Lauren Ellenbecker is a freshman studying communication from Anchorage, Alaska. She can be contacted at [email protected].