Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Allison Bross-White of b. resale
b. (a resale shop)
2613 Nicollet Ave., Mpls.
Even at the ripe age of 23, as a student at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, California, Allison Bross-White had the mind of an entrepreneur.
And when she left the West Coast and returned home to Minnesota after graduation, this life-long lover of retail had a pretty clear idea of the type of store she wanted to open: urban resale, with an environmentally conscious bent.
“When the recession hit, people’s ideas of shopping shifted,” she recalls. “It became more socially acceptable to start shopping at used-clothing stores.”
When Bross-White opened the first location of b. in June 2010, she was working 40 hours a week at Target, trading free evenings and weekends for shifts at her startup. It was worth it: Just three years later, in June 2013, b. upgraded to a space nearly double in size in the Whittier neighborhood.
Growing her business did not mean losing her eco-consciousness. “I think it’s everyone’s duty to take care of the earth and do what we can to reduce our consumption,” she says. “That plays into how I live my everyday life, so I wanted to carry those values over to my business life.”
At both the startup and growth stages, WomenVenture was there to support Bross-White’s dream. “In four years, we went from 800 square feet to 1,400 square feet, and our traffic has more than tripled,” she says. “It’s good to know WomenVenture supported me through the move, and now they’re recognizing me for the work that went into it.”