Unique, Eclectic, Charming, Great Deals!… are some of the words first time customers often say as they enter wide-eyed into the world of Ritzy Ragz and Thingz Designer Consignment stores. Owners Jen Kubala and Sharon Stencil came up with the idea of opening a high quality consignment store in Modesto CA in 2004. Since then they have expanded adding locations in Turlock, Carmel and a fourth “Virtual” store through their website. Kubala explains, “we wanted a store that was selective in what we accepted keeping to a criteria of “Unique, Fashionable, Funky & Fun”. In addition to the designer fashions and other high-quality items we put out for sale we wanted to offer our clients a boutique feel in a clean, fresh environment, somewhere they could escape and relax.” Kubala adds, “the advantage of having a consignment business is there’s almost always something new for customers to find, almost like going on a “treasure hunt” each time they come in”.
In early 2010, when Jen first approached the Alliance SBDC, the Central Valley was feeling the full effects of the “Great Recession”. At that time Jen was concerned if her business would survive. Even though the difficult economy would later prove to be a positive for Jen and her company, she needed help adjusting to Jen Kubala, Senior Manager Nina and Sharon Stencil changes in shopper behavior, financial management and education on operating the business in a more difficult environment.
Between 2010 and 2012, Jen and her management staff attended numerous workshops hosted by the SBDC. Jen met with four different SBDC consultants for over 25 hours of one-on-one counseling on marketing, social media, cash flow, accounting, retail shopper psychology, and general business management . Jen says this about her experience with the Alliance SBDC, “The professional services of the Alliance helped us to grow in a time that we could not afford to grow on our own. We were able to add new staff, come up with new marketing ideas and develop new revenue streams. It was so helpful to know we weren’t the only business facing these trying times and to know that the SBDC was there to guide us.”
By taking advantage of all the services the Alliance SBDC had to offer owners Jen Kubala and Sharon Stencil feel their business is now back on solid and improving “ground”. In fact the business has improved so much in recent months they are greatly expanding their “virtual” store through their soon-to-be launched upgraded website. www.ritzyragz.com
Ritzy Ragz has seen a significant increase in sales over the past 6 months and has needed to add several employees. Currently employing 9 persons (including the 2 owners), they have recently posted a position for another employee. The future for Ritzy Ragz and Thingz Designer Consignment is about as bright as a Gucci handbag… in fact I think I saw one for sale last week in their Turlock store!