College Sophomore Builds a Business With Name Brands
POSTED: Friday, May 20, 2011 - 4:38pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 6:12pm
EL PASO- At 18 years of age, a young El Paso woman finished her first year of college and opened a business. She did it to pay her tuition at UTEP and things are working out better than she imagined.
The doors just opened and the first customer of the day arrives at Encore Xchange in Central El Paso. There to greet her, is Ashley Rodriguez, 18, a college Sophomore at UTEP and also the owner of Encore Xchange, a consignment boutique.
“So consignment, you bring in your items. I take purses, shoes, clothes, just about anything. Oh jewelry. So we kind of discuss the price together,” says Ashley. “So, they tell me the price and we kind of each get a percentage.”
Rodriguez put some of her extra scholarship money to use and opened the boutique in order to raise money to pay for the rest of her college education. “Scholarship money is what's helping me pay for everything. It's what's keeping me up right now,” says Ashley.
The psychology major spent her spring break painting and getting the store ready to open in early April. She's been real busy juggling her dual life as a student and a business entrepreneur. “School's early in the morning. Like, just school. I can't think of anything else. From that, when I get here it's, 'Do I have everything in order? Do I have anything to tag, any consignment, anything that needs to be on sale, anything that needs to be cleaned?' After all that's done, then I do homework here. And then, when I go home, it's more homework,” says Ashley.
She says her opening week, she had one rack of clothes, but business has been picking up a month and a half after opening. “Lately, I've been having people bring in consignment. I have two or three ladies come in a day bringing in their consignment and they bring me a lot of consignment,” she says.
Her store has prices anyone can afford. She says, “I have tops for like $6, dresses from $10 - $20. I have formals for like $40. I have Prada shoes for like $90. I had Louis Vuitton purses for $300.”
“I do like the prices and she does have good items. I think I'm going to take this one home," said first-time customer Lulu Stewart, showing a summer dress she liked.
Encore Xchange has a wide variety of items, ranging from department stores all the way to designer brands.
“This is a Betsey Johnson. I mean, it's in perfect condition. And it's like $40. Dooney & Burke, this one’s $40. It's in good condition and it's cute. It's a bucket-style purse. I have Prada shoes. These are $90. I mean perfect condition. They're like not even used," says Ashley.
"BCBG, super cute. I have coach shoes. $14 for BCBG. This should be like $90 at the retail store. Alfani, this is like Macy's $15 brand new, still has the tags. Super cute top, brand new, it's from Express, $15. A little more formal, really cute, funky $13. This one, really cute for like a prom, completely beaded. It's in really good condition. It's $38,” says Ashley.
And oh, come to Mama Louis. She's got quite a few Louis Vuitton purses on hand. So much stuff!
How does Rodriguez manage to not fall into temptation and buy stuff at her store? For that, she's got her mom. “Sometimes I get items that are like, 'Wow! I want that.' She's like, 'No. It's for the store'. OK, mom. I've only kept this dress and a top, two things that I really wanted. My mom stops me,” says Ashley.
Encore Xchange is located at 407 E. Nevada. Their number is 694-6542. They’re open Tuesday - Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 1:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Encore Xchange is having a fashion show on Saturday June 18th at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.