By Tristan Hiegler
Owner: Megan Rush
Start Date: Feb. 6
Address: 2518 Meridian St., Bellingham
Phone: (360) 303-2249
Women in the Bellingham area have a new place where they can buy stylish or professional clothing that won’t cost them an arm and a leg.
Megan Rush opened the keiko.keiko resale clothing boutique on Feb. 6. The store, located off Meridian Street in the Fountain District, offers used clothes suitable for women ages 30 and up. Rush said she studied fashion design, art and English at Washington State University. Ultimately she received her degree in English but never used it. She said she has come full circle now by returning to fashion.
Rush said she was inspired to start her own boutique after volunteering for a year at the YWCA Back to Work Boutique. She was a consultant, helping people put together professional outfits so they could go to job interviews and attend work. She said volunteering with the YWCA, along with celebrating her 40th birthday, helped her focus in on getting her own career started.
The idea of resale cloths appealed to Rush because selling used items would allow her to keep prices down and conserve resources. She said she is a big fan of recycling and reusing. Most of the furnishings in the store were crafted using materials from the RE Store, which sells used buildings materials.
The location for the shop was discovered by one of Rush’s friends. The former home of Kalamalka Tattoo, the building is a converted home that’s been on Meridian since the 1920s and was recently remodeled. Rush is the first tenant to enjoy the renovation. She said she was able to lease and furnish the shop because she sold her house when the market was still good.
Rush travels down to Seattle once a week to browse other used clothing stores for items useful to keiko.keiko. She said now that the boutique has been in business for awhile customers are actually donating clothing items to the store. She said 25 percent of her stock is comprised of customer donations.
Rush said she has been able to attract repeat customers because they like the streamlined setup of the store and the selection of clothing offered.
“Most of my customers are really liking the clothes I pick out,” she said. “I think I have a really good eye for picking out clothes.”
Rush said she has tried hard to give the shop more of an upscale boutique feeling. She said she is working on hosting a spring ladies night sometime in May for customers to come into the store and enjoy food, drink and other activities.
As for the name, Rush said “keiko” means “spot” in Hawaiian and is the name of her 19-year-old Calico cat. She said she always calls out “Keiko, Keiko,” when trying to find the pet and she thought it would make a cute name for the store.