Five years after launching b. Resale, her “feel good fashion” boutique, Allison Bross-White received an award acknowledging the success of the business. In an interview about the honor, she spoke of her love of hip-hop music, her passion for clothing design, and her desire to reduce the amount of fast-fashion items clogging up landfills as the inspiration for opening the shop. And then her eyes began to well up with tears. It had become much more than that. With a lump in her throat Allison explained, “I’ve created a safe haven for people who might not feel comfortable shopping in other stores.”
At a young age, Allison began to notice that all things were not created equal. As a teen she started speaking out about the injustices she saw happening around her, and she wanted to make a difference. When she wasn’t thinking about how she could change the world, Allison dreamt of launching a nightclub where everyone felt welcomed and accepted. She even began crafting her business plan while she was still in high school.
Her plans evolved over time. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, California, Allison returned home to Minnesota and started working at the corporate headquarters for Target. The new vision for her own business was now urban resale. In 2010, while she continued to work full-time, Allison opened the doors to her used clothing store in South Minneapolis. From the start it was different than other thrift shops. Allison is intentional about the items she curates in her boutique. She offers a mix of used, new and locally made goods with a streetwear vibe. The store offers lower price points than most used clothing shops, making it a place where quality fashion is affordable for all. As Allison sees it, everyone should be able to afford a Gucci suit.
But perhaps more importantly, b. Resale provides a different type of shopping experience. Everyone is welcome to shop or just socialize, without being suspected or accused of any wrongdoing. The sign at the front door says, “In our house we believe that Black lives matter, women’s rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything.” Allison is proud that her business is defined not by the bottom line, but by how shopping there makes people feel. In fact, if money were no object, she’d gift the shop to an up-and-coming entrepreneur or make everything there free.
Today, b. Resale continues to combine Allison’s passions for music, fashion and social justice. The murder of George Floyd happened not far from the shop, which has intensified Allison’s commitment to take a stand and use her business to make a difference. Whether it’s coordinating supply drives for individuals and organizations in need, encouraging others to vote, or fighting for policy reform, Allison continues to play an active role in supporting the community and advocating for change.
For more information about Allison’s business, visit bResale.com.
Photo: b. Resale
About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose”. Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story and Publish Her as platforms for doing so.