Name: Cathy Moore and Darcy Sordo
Business: Poppies, at their new location, 77 Wall Street, Madison
Accomplishments: In the midst of dire economic times Cathy Moore and Darcy Sordo opened the doors of Poppies, a children’s resale boutique, in March. After being laid off from their respective sales jobs, Moore and Sordo teamed up to design a new business plan that is not only surviving the turbulent economy, but is thriving! Poppies just moved from a 680 sq. ft. store on Bradley Road to their brand new 1,500 sq. ft. location on Wall Street.
Key to Awesomeness:The two women did their research, visiting consignment and buy outright stores from Connecticut to Vermont, and came up with a unique, one of a kind store. They buy premium and couture label clothing, consign baby equipment and help promote local businesses owned by other moms.
Sordo is quick to add that they are grateful to have had “business angels” to help them financially with the startup. “’Business angels’ came out of the woodwork,” said Sordo. These angels gave the women money, a cash register, store fixtures and financial advice.
Sordo tells the story of meeting one woman, who joined the ranks of ‘business angel,’ on one of their trips to Massachusetts. She was impressed with their drive to become business owners. “Here we had been interviewing for months and we weren’t getting anywhere,” Sordo said. “We said, ‘no one’s going to hire us, we’ll hire ourselves!”
“We really have tried to come up with a store that is different than the other resale shops along the shoreline in Connecticut,” said Moore. “What sets us apart is that we pay cash and we’re the only one who does and we’re the only one that features only premium and couture labels.”
“We’re really trying to get people to think differently about ‘gently loved clothing,’” said Moore.
In addition, the women buy out boutiques that are going out of business, adding brand new clothing to their inventory. This clothing is greatly discounted and is always current styles, said Moore.
Then there is a consignment end to their burgeoning business. “All equipment we consign,” said Moore. This includes baby monitors, diaper bags, swings, and bassinets.
“We really decided that we needed to have business that will always be there for us,” said Moore. It was at this time that they decided to reach out and incorporate other creative, women owned businesses into Poppies.
Handcrafted rag quilts, crocheted hats and baby sets, embellished belts and headbands, colorful hair bows and one-of-a-kind jewelry are peppered through the store, thanks to area moms and their creativity.
Heather Ignatuk of Killingworth discovered Poppies through Facebook and as mother of two small children, a 5 year old daughter and a 2 year old son, she is a frequent shopper.
When Ignatuk sells her childrens' clothes back to the store she may decide to takes store credit and or the cash. Although store credit does give her 5% more back she said, “it varies. It’s kind of half and half!” She admits she never has trouble using the store credit and the cash often goes right back into the store’s till. “Half the time she gives me the cash and I end of giving a lot of it back because I end up buying!”
Coming into work every day is fun and exciting, Sordo said. “I really feel like the store is very much a community thing,” she said. “People are willing to sell us their clothes so that we can then turn around and sell it for less to other people.”
“I get goose bumps daily,” said Sordo. “Whether it’s from showing someone this incredible dress and watching their expression, or whether somebody sharing a story about their new baby or the grandmother so excited about their first grandchild,” she added. “All day long we’re getting goose bumps!" How cool is that!?”