California’s Consignment Dream Team
When a self-diagnosed Baby Gear Snob and a lifetime thrifter meet, what would you expect? A match made in heaven, right?
Well probably not, but that’s actually what unfolded between Lauren Aloia and Jeanette Maines, two California moms who decided to start a business together.
Jeanette, the baby products queen, vowed to always give her children the best…starting with their infant car seats and strollers. And when a new, better, trendier piece of baby gear hit the market, Jeanette had to have it for her little loves. That sounded good until her garage was full of really nice, hardly-used kid’s accessories.
Each time she upgraded, she tried selling her like-new, EUC items in online buy/sell/trade pages. What a hassle! Fed up with the time, misunderstood meeting places, and no shows, Jeanette needed another option. She asked her college friend Ashley for help.
Ashley would have to know because, as Jeanette describes her, she was a high-end friend. She and her children were regularly dressed well, strolling the streets in BOB’s and Britax’s finest. Ashley invited Jeanette to consider another way of upcycling her month-old gear: consigning. Ashley owned a Rhea Lana’s children’s consignment event.
Jeanette was leery of putting her nice, quality items in a store of junk. But hey, Ashley wouldn’t stand for that either. Jeanette started trusting that maybe the consignment sale could be more than that.
Jeanette was quickly convinced with what she discovered in Rhea Lana’s brand. Through keeping in touch with Ashley, she saw trendy, superior items for her family at much less than she was spending on her Amazon ordered equals. She wanted to offer this same experience to the moms she cared about in her community. So Jeanette opened a Rhea Lana’s in her hometown of Temecula Valley.
Lauren, a young mom, was heading out of town on a family trip but needed to pick up a few one-time use items her son needed during their vacation. She certainly didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a snowsuit he would never need again. So she headed to a local children’s consignment event, looking for something secondhand that might suffice.
When she walked into Rhea Lana’s of Temecula Valley, she was surprised. She found what she was looking for and more. It wasn’t a store full of discards; she filled her cart with all kinds of name brand, high quality children’s clothing and toy treasures. And the consignment event was run by a cute, classy mom, who seemed a lot like her.
If this mom could run a shop like this, Lauren thought to herself, she could too! Besides, Lauren knew the value of this kind of place. She had grown up helping her mother run a nonprofit consignment store. She already knew the model well, serving the town, inviting volunteers to help, and making it place where everyone found what they needed.
Lauren had recently quit her corporate job because she was missing out on her son’s life. She was gone before he woke up and came home after he was in bed. There had to be something different and she wondered if this might be it.
She googled Rhea Lana’s to find out more. In two short weeks, Lauren and her husband, Matt, were at training to open their own Rhea Lana’s franchise in another local community.
Knowing about the new Rhea Lana’s sale opening nearby, Jeanette decided she could either view Lauren as her enemy or friend. Watching her dad in successful business partnerships throughout her childhood, it was an easy decision. She invited Lauren to coffee with plans to persuade her into a consignment event relationship. She buttoned her blazer, highlighted her handout, and had her business points ready to discuss.
Lauren was an easy sale. She agreed that she’d rather have a partner than a competitor. Jeanette and Lauren each owned their own sale territories, but enjoyed working together so much that they bought a new territory together.
Rhea Lana’s of Northcoast opened with its first fall sale November 2016. One year later, Lauren and Jeanette have proven that working with a passionate, talented friend is a dream way to run a business. More than that, because of their two backgrounds, friend groups, and family connections, Rhea Lana’s of Northcoast is able to personally serve a larger number of moms and families in the area.
Both women want to thank families who make the honorable and difficult sacrifice of fostering children in need. During their event, foster families are invited to shop the donated items free of charge.
From her own experience, Jeanette knows the commitment and hardship that military families face. So military families are also honored at the event. She commented that everyone knows to thank the service men or women, but we often overlook thanking their spouse and family. Lauren and Jeanette do this in a unique way at the Rhea Lana’s of Northcoast sale. Through special donated funds, they are able to offer surprise gift certificates to military families shopping the event.
Mostly, owing Rhea Lana’s is a way for Lauren, mom to Owen (3), and Jeanette, mom to Jude(9), Eile (7), and Emerson (5), to keep their families a priority while also prioritizing the families in their community. Their event gives local moms a place to consign upscale items, upgrade to new items for their children’s next stages, and connect with likeminded women.
Join the fun this week at their North Coast sale, open to the public Sunday, September 17!