Moth Hole consignment store is full as shoppers recycle clothes

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Lauren Bertolani started working at Moth Hole Consignment Boutique, which opened in Orangevale in the 1970s, when she was 16 and went to college. She bought the shop with her husband six years ago, and since then has expanded and eventually moved the small business to its current location in Fair Oaks. She is seen on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

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As retail stores everywhere struggle to get products onto their selling floors due to supply chain issues and labor shortages, one Fair Oaks store is overflowing with inventory.

Moth Hole Consignment, owned by Lauren Bertolani, was a local retailer from the early to mid-1970s. It offers gently used and new women’s clothing, as well as a variety of gift items in a 3-storey location. 400 square feet. Bertolani is the third owner, having purchased the store in 2014.

For those unfamiliar with consignment, people can bring in lightly used, recently cleaned clothing or accessories and have them sold. At Moth Hole, items sold earn the shipper 40% of the invoice price, paid monthly.

The company specializes in well-known brands that are currently trending. Items not accepted for sale are donated to A Community for Peace, a Sacramento organization serving survivors of domestic violence.

What this model offers consumers is the ability to purchase quality products at a lower price than the original retail store. Shoppers can save money and participate in repurposing clothes, rather than perpetuating the cycle of fast fashion.

“The way we dress has changed so much. People used to spend a lot of money on an item and fix it or alter it. It’s fast fashion now. I like the opportunity to to be a place that offers clothing recycling,” says Bertolani.

Currently, all shipping categories at the Moth Hole are full, and we can probably thank the pandemic for that.

“With quarantine, so many people have gained or lost weight. Some have retired early and others are staying away,” Bertolani said. “Some people combine houses and have less space.”

Whatever the reason, many people have sought to unload entire cabinets, rather than the usual few items.

Bertolani said she had never seen so many items on consignment since she started working at the Moth Hole in 2006 while still in high school. The store got its start in Orangeville as a women’s and children’s clothing and furniture consignment. The second owner moved it to Fair Oaks in 1999, ditched the furniture and added new clothes by purchasing sample items.

Bertolani was taking a course at Bella Vista High School that required her to work in retail, so she quit her job as a restaurant hostess and started working at the Moth Hole. She stayed until she graduated from high school and then earned a marketing degree at Sac State. She says she knew that one day she wanted to have her own shop.

Her luck came sooner than she expected, as the previous owner wanted to retire and offered Bertolani the opportunity to purchase the Moth Hole.

“She told me she would be there every step of the way to help me,” Bertolani recalls. Now married, Bertolani and her husband spent six months working on the business plan before launching. The space’s lease was up and they ended up moving it to a smaller location in the same mall. Since that move, the Moth Hole has tripled in size.

It’s mostly consignment, but there are also new items in women’s sizes ranging from small to 3X. Bertolani prides itself on being a place where women of all ages and sizes can shop.

During the pandemic in 2020, Bertolani had to close the store. She kept an employee to help her with social media and a new store website, where they made everything they could available for purchase online.

“We spent days taking pictures of clothes.”

In June and July they were able to reopen for shopping by appointment, and they were fully booked.

“People were ready to go out,” Bertolani says, and they felt safe in a large space with a limited number of shoppers.

Now that they’re open to the public again, they’ve removed most consignment items from the website, with the exception of designer handbags. Another change they made during this time was the addition of new gift items.

“People might not be ready to buy things for themselves, but they still needed to buy gifts,” Bertolani said. said.

She added new mugs, candles, skincare, jewelry, and other gift items to the sales floor, enhancing the boutique vibe she wants to maintain. These items are available on the website, along with new clothing.

Bertolani says she has good news for holiday shoppers: she’s stocked merchandise for the expanded gift zone. With so much cargo floating around on a freighter with uncertain arrival times, the Moth Hole already has plenty of items handy on the floor and in inventory.

One of Bertolani’s favorite things about the Moth Hole is when a customer is initially only interested in buying the new merchandise and then is drawn in by the quality of the returnable item. Bertolani says that even if you’re not ready for a whole new wardrobe, consignment can be a great way to get some transitional pieces while you figure out what’s next.

Perhaps his greatest passion is making the store a place where generations shop together.

“I didn’t see any stores where mothers could shop with their daughters,” she recalls. “I see it happening now, people are bringing their kids.”

Bertolani puts a lot of effort into making the store and inventory appropriate so that daughters, mothers and grandmothers can shop together and everyone can find clothes.

“We live in a world that’s starting to lack customer experience, especially with anything going online,” she says. “We know most of our customers by name. We start fitting rooms and basically shop with them while getting to know them.

Now in its seventh year of ownership, Bertolani says she is grateful for her staff and for being a family business. Her husband, Steve, takes care of the company’s accounting and technology. His mother, Kristin, has worked at the store for 14 years.

If you are going to

The Moth Hole is at 11787 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, and its website with hours of operation and more information is www.mothholeconsignment.com.

This story was originally published October 27, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Elizabeth J. Harless