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Refashioning a career

A career change led Alice Pollock to open Fashion Rewind Consignment Boutique in Marlboro.

What does a successful consignment shop owner do on her two days off? If her name is Alice Pollock of Milton and she is operating the Fashion Rewind Consignment Boutique in Marlboro, she can be found keeping her hand in two former careers, all having to do with artistry. On days off, she enjoys styling hair at a local salon or setting tile with an area contractor.

Standing among racks of clothing, some still bearing original tags of purchase, Pollock emphasizes, “We are a boutique, not a thrift store.” The shop specializes in slightly used or never worn women’s clothing and accessories. The store’s logo is a dragonfly, chosen by the owner “because it signifies two lives, larvae and the adult stage. Our clothing also has two lives.”

“I love helping people put outfits together. A bright scarf or special shoes can make a plain outfit look special.”

She also helps working women transform day into evening attire by substituting a skirt for pants.

Pollock grew up on an Iowa farm as one of five children. “We were poor,” she recalls. “The three of us girls were less than a year apart. My mother used to sew and she’d dress us three like triplets.”

When faced with career choices, Pollock chose a year at cosmetology school and went on to own several salons. But fortune lured her to New York state and she sold her salons.  After working in cosmetology and also venturing into tile setting, she opened her consignment shop.

“I wanted an occupation where I could move into retirement,” she explains. “This was not physically demanding; and what woman doesn’t like fashion?” she exclaims.

“Unique shoes, jewelry and accessories are especially popular.”

Already working on the winter line, Pollock finds the bright colors currently appealing to customers. “I think it has to do with the economy – recessions bring on more happy colors, as people are looking for a lift.

Clients run the gamut. “Senior citizens on fixed incomes can buy articles that are both fashionable and affordable,” she says.

“More young people are getting satisfaction out of recycling and repurposing of things.”

Pollock keeps out of disputes between mothers and daughters. “Most parents won’t buy an item unless the child likes it, because the child won’t wear it,” she notes.  “If a skirt is too short, the mother has the last word.”

Valentine’s and Christmas eves find males rushing to the consignment shop. “Panic sets in. Men aren’t particularly fond of going to a mall and (prefer) a shop where people help them choose.”

The shop offers attractive wrapping to make even the least expensive item look special.  “I can recall getting gifts I didn’t want to open because the paper was so pretty,” she says.

The shop at 1504 Route 9W is open Wednesdays through Sundays, usually 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Individuals leaving items on consignment can choose, if articles are not sold, to pay a small fee to take them back or to donate them to the Grace Smith House, a Poughkeepsie shelter for abused women, or Dress of Success, a Poughkeepsie Chamber of Commerce undertaking. She also often donates a portion of her proceeds.

Challenging Careers focuses on the exciting and unusual business lives of Hudson Valley residents. Comments or suggestions may be emailed to Catherine Portman-Laux at cplaux@optonline.net

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