Teacher, National Guard member runs local consignment shop

Employees are fashion, business majors; store remains open by following COVID-19 guidelines



The students employed at Michelle’s Closet are all fashion or business majors.


Before opening her consignment shop, Michelle’s Closet, founder Michelle Kelly struggled to find variety at retail outlets on the Palouse. 

In 2019, Kelly and her husband opened the shop hoping to benefit WSU students and the Pullman community. 

The store’s mission is to provide quality sustainable clothing at an affordable price, Kelly said.

Kelly understands the frustration students experience with the lack of retailers in the area and she is happy to provide a diverse shopping experience, she said. 

“Many times, people think that we have a limited selection because we’re a consignment shop, so I love getting to see their surprised reactions when they find something that they love,” she said. 

Kelly said she is enthusiastic about the fact the shop is able to conduct in-person business by following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

All of her employees attend WSU and are fashion or business majors, she said. 

“It’s nice to provide an opportunity to see if this line of work is something they enjoy, as well as teaching them through my mistakes and triumphs,” Kelly said.

Julie Essex, sales associate at Michelle’s Closet, said she loves the work environment her colleagues create and is often inspired by Kelly’s dedication. 

“I really like seeing the wide variety of clothing items we get in the store,” Essex said. “I also love when a customer’s eyes light up because they’ve found something they love.”

Working with people her age as well as other women in the store, Essex said she enjoys the dynamic of everyone’s conversations.  

“We all have very different styles so it’s fun to talk about fashion with one another,” Essex said. “Some of us are in Greek life as well so we enjoy sharing our experiences with each other.” 

Kelly is also a professor at WSU, where she teaches Military Science in ROTC, she said. 

Running a business, teaching and serving in the National Guard can be challenging at times, Kelly said. But she still finds a way to balance things. 

“If people are daunted about not having the time to start something they are passionate about, I would encourage them to jump in with both feet,” Kelly said. “I believe there is always a way to morph and find time for your goals and dreams.”