Nestled in downtown Kirkland, Ragamoffyn’s is a designer consignment boutique that attracts clientele both locally and nationally, bringing a taste of Hollywood fashion closer to home. Celebrating its 26th year of business, the clothing store has built a reputation for offering authentic designer garments for a fraction of the cost, including Prada, Gucci, Moschino, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, St. John and many more exclusive designer names.
Ragamoffyn’s owner, Gisela Manning refers to it as the new, trendy way to recycle.
“All in all, I think it’s the Green thing to do. What one person doesn’t like anymore becomes another person’s treasure,” she said.
The boutique consignment shop was the only of its kind featured in this year’s Fashion First 5th Annual Fashion Show. The show took place recently in Seattle and was hosted by founder Joan Kelly. The models walked the runway showcasing some of Fall’s must-have fashions from Ragamoffyn’s including pieces by Escada, Oscar de la Renta , Calvin Klein, Badgley Mischka and Zang Toi. The 2008 fashion show benefited the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation of Washington.
“I am grateful to Joan for including our store in this year’s fashion show,” Manning explained. “It’s just wonderful what she does for charity and the way she gives small, local boutiques a splash.”
With a boutique style backdrop, the store offers new and lightly worn garments, shoes, handbags and accessories for a portion of the original price. The store boasts brand names from Rock and Republic jeans to Chanel belts, but is best known for its offerings of high-end handbags.
Recently, Ragamoffyn’s received a $6,000 Berkin bag, one of the most coveted bags in the world with an average waiting period of two years. The consignment boutique sold the bag to a client for $5,000. On average, the designer garments sell for roughly 20 to 50 percent less then the original asking price.
“If I have to talk about the store, well the store is the best thing since Coca Cola,” Manning said. “Every name you can find in the book is in this store.”
Ragamoffyn’s caters to a broad range of clients from local arenas such as Bellevue and Seattle to fashion staples like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. On occasion, Manning makes exclusive house calls to her high-end clientele, giving them a closet makeover and tips for redefining their personal style. Manning often finds herself in the closets of some of the most luxurious homes in places like Medina.
“Women tend to think you have to have masses of clothes, but really you don’t,” Manning said. “You just have to play with your clothes the same as you play with your hair. My hair is different every two months,” said Manning, who currently sports a short black cut with vibrant red highlights.
“You play with it depending on what you want to achieve with your own personality and it’s the same with clothes.”
Other times, shipments of garments are sent directly to the store from all across the country.
“You open a box when it arrives and you wonder what kind of lifestyle they must have and you just try to imagine where they have worn the fabulous clothes,” Manning explained. “I truly live my life through other peoples clothes.”
Manning first opened the store in 1982 at a time when consignment shops were a novelty. The store has since gone on to win the coveted Hanger Award and has been named the best resale shop north of San Francisco.
“When I first opened everyone thought I was going to fail because at that time consignment shops weren’t around,” Manning said. “I can remember when I opened the first day and I did $920 and I went home and told my son, we’re going to be millionaires. Well, obviously not but I find a true sense of joy in what I do and the store is doing very well, she said.
Ragamoffyn’s not only offers designer garments at a fraction of the cost, but also once an item has drifted through the 50 percent-off room and remains unsold, the garment is then donated to one of the many shelters in the Puget Sound area.
“I think many of the women in the shelters in this area are dressed very well,” Manning said.
Despite the growing popularity in consignment shops, Ragamoffyn’s remains the hub for fashionistas residing on the Eastside.
“I have learned over the years, that to me, this is the most amazing business because I have met the most spectacular women,” Manning explained. “It’s very gratifying to me because you will never become rich doing what I do, but you will have one heck of a good time.”
Lindsay Larin can be reached at email@example.com or 425-453-4602.