One very special customer recently got lucky at Lucky You, the Valley Village resale boutique taken over in early February by Idrea Lippman. Readers of this column know who teaches the highly popular Attitudes class at S. Now, she is developing a new set of fans through a new venture.
But first, back to the customer, who holds the record for the largest dollar amount spent at one time at Lucky You to date: $312. And it’s hard to drop that much at Lucky You, where resale items are always less than $100 but seem to fall mostly in the $5-50 range. This customer walked out with 6 pairs of shoes (including Lucite pumps and a pair of Jessica Simpson pumps), faux pearls, rhinestones and a Chloe gown in bright tangerine chiffon– the spring color for 2012, according to the buyer.
Yes, this was one very happy cross-dresser, Idrea recalls. He was especially delighted to find size 10 1/2 shoes and size 12 gowns to flatter his manly physique. When he goes treasure-hunting at most consignment stores, he confided, the clothing is not only expensive, but usually small. “I’m not a size 6,” he explained to Idrea, rather unnecessarily. He’s distributing Idrea’s card to all his friends (10% discount), and Idrea is under strict orders to call immediately should that perfect little black dress with no zipper become available his size.
But you don’t have to be a cross-dresser, or a size 12, to find something you like at Lucky You. In fact, hurry – in March, traditional men’s clothing is 20% off. And in the women’s department, you can be a size 16, a size 6 or anything in between. Or not even a 6. Just ask tiny CalArts student Sasha Swedlund, whom Heidi and I met on our Thursday visit to Lucky You. Sasha appears to be a size 0. A fine arts major who also teaches African drumming and dancing, Sasha finds that Idrea’s offbeat selection suits her eclectic tastes. She watched enchanted while Idrea slung a vintage gold mesh snake belt around her neck – why not make it a necklace? “It’s hot, right?” Idrea asked.
Heidi didn’t buy anything, -- she only wears bandanas -- but was in her usual state of retail bliss on the floor guarding the merchandise while I chatted with Idrea between customers. Actually, this was not our first visit – Heidi and I showed up for the March 4 grand opening, where my husband Alan and I saw some great bargains and Heidi kept her eye on the cheese tray. We came because we liked Idrea’s idea (we also like the phrase “Idrea’s idea”): To create a shop where a woman without much money could come in and get outfitted for a job interview or important social event for under $50. “Rich women love a bargain, and poor women need one,” she said.
Idrea does not take clothing on consignment, but is willing to either purchase or trade (though be advised she doesn’t need any more stuff until after April 18 or so, so right now just stop in to shop). The store is on Magnolia Blvd. at Whitsett, across from that post office that looks like a Grimm's fairy tale castle.
The venture got started when Idrea was laid off from her other job besides teaching at the gym. Not sure what to do, she discussed the situation with her four dogs, two Jack Russells, one Dalmatian, and Monty (“I don’t know what Monty is.”) They didn’t say much, but listened intently. Because of her prior retail experience, she and the dogs decided she should search Craigslist for a retail job. She found one – working for $10 an hour at this very location. Little did she know that, in about two months, she would be asked if she was interested in buying the store. “It was serendipity,” she said. At age 58, she’d been presented with the opportunity to reinvent herself.
Of course, Idrea hadn’t really thought too hard about the money part of it. When she told her son Devon about the deal, he gently asked where the start-up funds would come from. Idrea suggested, uh, maybe her severance check from the old job? No, the realistic Devon said. He would give her the money to launch the business. Maybe he’d get paid back someday. He’d take that risk.
On our first visit to the shop for the grand opening, Heidi and I wandered to back door and noticed the words “SECOND CHANCE” etched into the cement doorstep. This time, we asked about it. Idrea said the words were there when she bought the business. She had the step painted white so people wouldn’t trip on it, but left the words intact. “I feel like it absolutely applies to me finding this place,” she said.
Or to those who come into Lucky You, looking for just the right clothes to go out there and find their own second chance.
TODAY’S SPECIAL REQUEST FROM HEIDI: As her readers know, Heidi is an actor -- which means, in this town, she’d better learn to be a waiter. We’re looking for a local actor/waiter who would be willing to meet with the actor/dog and show her the ropes (preferably at a restaurant with open-air seating, but we’re flexible). Interested? Please let us know.