Michelle’s Closet celebrated its one-year anniversary last week. Owner Michelle Kelly said she remembered being a student at WSU and noticing there were no consignment shops within walking distance.
“I wanted to add more affordable shopping to our area,” Kelly said. “My goal was to be the medium between Walmart and Flirt.”
Kelly completed her undergraduate degree in sociology at WSU and minored in military science. After she graduated, she joined the Army.
“Having two kids was so hard with deployment,” Kelly said.
When WSU ROTC offered her a teaching position to teach sophomores, she took it. She taught up until June 2020 due to COVID-19.
After the pandemic hit and school moved online, Kelly said she decided to devote her full time to her shop. Once WSU goes back to in-person, she will go back to teaching and working part-time. Working at the school helped her meet her primary demographic, which is the 18-25 year age group. She got to see what they wore on a daily basis and tried to get those types of clothes in her shop.
“I consider myself very hardworking, which may be my downfall,” Kelly said. “Work is my hobby, which may make me seem like a workaholic, but I consider it my passion.”
Kelly’s main goal is to focus on details in her shop. She does not want people to picture a cluttered used clothes store; she wants people to see her shop as a boutique experience, she said.
“I don’t want people to feel like they’re buying used clothes. I want them to feel like they are getting a brand new experience with new clothes,” Kelly said. “I can tell people like the aesthetic when they walk in.”
Around 50 percent of downtown is run by women, Kelly said. Poppy Salon & Spa, Rockstar Body Bar, Palouse Country Candy, Glassphemy and a few other shops are owned by women.
Michelle’s Closet has a large female employee base, Kelly said. Men do not really apply to work at the shop, but she said she would love to add them to their team. She tries to make everyone feel like they are heard and cared for.
“The best part of this job is getting to interact with customers, make connections with them and help out the community,” Michelle’s Closet employee Payton Griffith said.
Griffith has worked for Michelle’s Closet since they opened last year. She enjoys working for Kelly and her husband, and they make the experience great, she said.
“If the girls want changes, I try to make them feel implemented,” Kelly said. “It’s all about team spirit here.”