Allison Bross-White* started her Whittier secondhand clothing shop in 2010 with the mission of creating an unapologetic space for socially-engaged weirdos in the community. It’s clear from a single step inside b. Resale that Bross-White met that goal.
A “Justice for George Floyd” sign adorns the Nicollet Avenue-facing window and more protest art hangs on the colorfully-painted walls. Circular clothing racks organized by style and color, hats, earrings, shoes and more decorate the store’s floor.
A picture of Lizzo, who Bross-White used to style, sits across from one of a Lemonade-era Beyoncé. Bross-White said that other stylists didn’t know how to style someone like Lizzo, which was part of the fun for them.
"I just wanted to build this community of misfits,” she said. "We cater to people who I think don't get catered to at other places.”
A Minnesota native, Bross-White started b. Resale after years of fashion school, first at the University of Minnesota with a concentration on design, then in Los Angeles with a business focus. They chose the buy/sell/trade model for the store because it was a relatively cheap way to open a business, and Bross-White relied on donations from family and friends to start. The model is also environmentally friendly and offers fashionable clothing for affordable prices.
“To me it's like 'how can I raise my prices before minimum wage is raised?’" she said. "I just want everyone to have access to cute things.”
Social justice and community are two other essential pieces to b. Resale, and they often go hand in hand. Bross-White takes pride in using their store and store-associated social media as a platform to speak out against racism and support the LGBTQ+ community, among other social issues.
She sees using work to advocate for controversial causes like abolishing the police as an opportunity to take advantage of her white privilege.
"I want to make sure we're still keeping those issues in front of people's faces so they don't forget about them,” they said.
Bross-White implements progressive ideas at the store as well– as the owner, they make less than all of their employees, all of whom make an average of $17.
The minimum wage for small businesses in Minneapolis is $12.50 per hour.
Equity in decision-making is also an important part of b. Resale. All employees are encouraged to provide input on the store, from daily music selections to painting the dressing rooms.
“I hope that people can feel that it's collectively run,” Bross-White said.
The store has a free closet where decent clothes that aren’t quite fit for the sales floor are free to take, and there’s a pay-it-forward system where customers can pay in advance for clothes for a person in need.
“You can come here and get your ego boosted and your self-esteem up from the employees and from buying cute clothes,” Bross-White said. “But also we're out in the streets when there's a protest or we're organizing supply drives, or whatever we're doing to help the other part of our community.”
b. Resale offers individual appointments for people who want a quiet atmosphere or privacy when shopping.
"We're just a safe space-- I give out a lot of hugs,” Bross-White said.
b. Resale also offers style sessions in which an employee picks a few looks specifically for the customer before the appointment.
People interested in selling clothes to b. Resale should contact the store via Instagram DM (@bresalempls) or call at 612-824-1292.
The store is located at 2613 Nicollet Ave, and they sell on Instagram.
*Bross-White uses both she/her and they/them pronouns, so the author alternates between those when referring to Bross-White.