SOLANA BEACH — It was a fusion of fashion, philanthropy and fun on Cedros Avenue when Janet Sinclair celebrated the one-year anniversary of her consignment boutique by thanking her clients with a runway show, discounts and opportunity drawings to benefit the Greyhound Adoption Center.“This is our way of saying thank you for your loyalty and your love,” Sinclair said.
The April 26 event at La Femme Chic also featured music, French desserts, pink passion cocktails and wine. Prizes, mostly donated by Cedros merchants, included artwork by Aaron Chang, Haute Yoga classes, photos by Coast Highway Photography, eyebrow waxing from Alexis K and hair services from Shampoo Too.
Sinclair said she raised about $1,300 for the Greyhound Adoption Center, which rescues, rehabilitates and places the animals that come from shelters and racetracks.
“I’m really proud of that,” Sinclair said. “It feels good to be able to do that.”
Her greyhound, Sedona, adopted two years ago and a fixture at La Femme Chic, strutted down the runway wearing a Chanel coat, but seemed more interested in the dog treats on the sidelines.
When Sinclair, who lives in Carlsbad, decided to open a business, she said she looked for something that would do well in North County.
“In this economy, consignment boutiques are thriving,” she said. “I searched long and hard for a place with a sense of community. I feel like I’m in a little European town.”
As soon as she opened her store on South Cedros, she said she knew she “had found a really special place.”
Sinclair, who once owned a talent agency in Texas and worked for Ford Modeling Agency, said she has been in the fashion business all her life.
She was introduced to the consignment world while working with models in New York.
“They made more in a day than I made in a month,” she said. “I had to dress the part but I couldn’t afford it so I shopped in consignment boutiques. Later, when I could afford it, I began consigning my clothes.”
Vowing to provide “love-me” merchandise at “buy-me” prices, Sinclair said she is very particular about the items she accepts. Many have been worn only once or twice, some never.
She said she doesn’t take in anything she wouldn’t wear herself.
“I get a lot of items from socialites in Rancho Santa Fe who don’t like to be seen in the same outfit twice,” she said. “I do closet visits. They are happy to clean out their closets. And a lot of them donate the money to charities. One client is using the money to help pay for her grandson’s hospital bills.”
Sinclair specializes in offering designer and name-brand clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories from Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo and Coach, to name a few.
The hottest trend right now is mixing vintage clothing with new accessories, she said. Bright colors such as tangerine as also fashionable.
Some of her consigners have become customers and vice versa. Many are surprised to learn La Femme Chic is a consignment store.
“A lot of consignment shops are too crowded with stuff,” she said. “I am careful not to make mine overly stuffed.”
She said that may be one reason her shop was named Best Vintage and Resale Store in the county four months after opening by the Channel 10 News A-List.
Items that don’t sell after 60 days can be picked up by the consigners or Sinclair donates them to women’s groups she said she has handpicked. They include an organization for female military members and those trying to escape sexual slavery.
Starting a business in a struggling economy can be risky. Myriad taxes and regulations in California don’t help, she said, but she has been successful during that critical first year.
“I could not have asked for a better community to be in,” she said. “I’ve made so many friends. I cannot tell you how deeply touched I am. Every day I feel blessed.”