Getting to Know Janice Scruton/Trendy Threads
This month we are pleased to speak with Janice Scruton, owner of Trendy Threads in Woodsville, New Hampshire. Trendy Threads is a retail consignment store offering quality used clothing for the entire family as well as shoes, jewelry, accessories, music CDs and movie DVDs. Trendy Threads is located at 171 Central Street in Woodsville, adjacent to her husband Gary’s business Trendy Times. You can contact Trendy Threads by phone at (603) 747-3870, online at www.TrendyThreadsWoodsville.com , on Facebook or email Janice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long have you been in business and have you always been at this location?
As of this month, I have been doing this for 20 years, since February 10, 1998. I originally operated the business under the name Cheap Kids II in Barre, Vermont. (The original Cheap Kids was run by my sister in Orford, who ran that store for 30 years. She closed this past October.) I started the business because I got laid off one too many times and wanted to do something on my own. I was looking to do something that could use my people skills and I didn’t mind doing paperwork. My sister said “Try this, you’ll like It!” and she was right! I started out in a tiny place right on North Main Street in Barre Vermont, on the main drag, eventually moving to larger quarters across the street. After I married Gary (owner of Trendy Times), we decided to move the business to Woodsville on the other side of the mountains in 2007. I’ve been doing this longer than many other consignment stores in this area. I like to say “I have never worked this hard for so little and enjoyed it this much.”
Where did the name Trendy Threads come from? Did your business name come first or was it your husband Gary’s business Trendy Times?
Mine came first. Originally, when I was in Barre under the name Cheap Kids II, it was just a children’s clothing store. Later, I decided to add some adult items as well. When I advertised only as Cheap Kids II, it was difficult to get adults to come in to shop for adult clothing so I started using the name Trendy Threads in my advertising as well. Then I sold Cheap Kids II and started using the name Trendy Threads exclusively. Gary named his paper Trendy Times later. I would now warn people against naming two businesses the same kind of name. We would never do that again although it’s cute that we’re known as the “Trendy Folks.” The similar names can confuse people. Gary gets some of my customers every week and I get some of his customers every week as well.
What do you like best about your business and what do you feel most proud of?
I really like the people and the fact that I am doing something that helps the community. I really feel like I am giving something to the community and filling a need. For example, between 1998 and 2018, I have paid consignors over $500,000 that has gone back into the community. For the almost eleven years that I have been in Woodsville, I have paid out around $175,000 that has gone back to the community. I can’t think of any other business that has put back that amount of expendable income into peoples’ pockets in the area. One of my biggest achievements was being awarded the Small Business Association’s Vermont Microenterprise award in 2007. It was quite an honor! I actually got the call letting me know that I had won the award just days before I opened the business in Woodsville.
How many consignors does your store have and where do they come from?
We have over 1500 consignors and about 1000 active consignors. By active consignors, I mean that they have had activity on their account in the last 12 months. Although most of my consignors come from within a 75-mile radius, I have consignors from as far away as Massachusetts and Maine. I even had a woman who moved to Alaska and continued to send me stuff. We also have several nonprofit groups that have their people bring things here to consign. For example, the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Although they receive all kinds of grants to provide services, they don’t get grants to pay for things like the telephone bill or to buy pens and paper. They use the money they earn on consignments to buy the things they don’t receive funding for. Other nonprofit groups that consign here include the Grafton County Mental Health Court, Grafton County Drug Court and Jazzy’s Children Fund. I also have a “donated” account where people donate clothes to benefit people in need. The consignor profits for these items are used to issue gift certificates for needy families in the community. For example, families who experienced a house fire. One of our mottoes is “People Who Care, Neighbors Who Share.”
Can you tell us a little more about what people can find in your store?
You will find quality used clothing for the entire family. We go from maternity to preemie to kids to juniors to ladies to men’s. Plus, we have many other things like nursing scrubs, jewelry, CD’s, movie DVDs, handbags, belts, shoes for the whole family … and more! What amazes me is the amount of brand new items that come in, often with the original tags still on. I think maybe people receive things for gifts and never get around to returning them or exchanging them. We’ve also had expensive designer clothes come through and sometimes I have had a single item come back three or four times to be resold. I laugh because I’ve probably made more money on some of these items than the original manufacturer did.