PEORIA – When Jessi Linn Litterst heard four years ago that Moxie’s Resale was in danger of closing, she decided to buy the business.
“It was a total whim. I don’t think anybody could listen to their heart more. I was in love with the store and I wanted it to stay,” said Litterst. “So I asked a friend, an investor, if he wanted to help, and I wrote a business plan and he went for it.”
Litterst had mainly worked in food before she bought Moxie’s, but she was on her way to getting a degree in business — and running a business was something she knew she could do.
The previous owner had been in business for about five years at 3817 N. Sheridan Road, next to Sheridan Nursery. When Litterst took over, she made a few decorating changes, but everything else stayed the same — until this spring, when she moved the shop to Studios on Sheridan in the Sunbeam Building, 923 N Sheridan Road.
“Last year was really, really hard. We stayed at the store most of the lockdown, because money was really, really tight,” said Litterst. “Since then, we downsized. We came here to Studios on Sheridan. I knew I needed to downsize because I still owed my landlord for the past year. They had helped me out, to keep my head above water.”
Though the new space is smaller, it still has the same amount of retail space as the old location — just has less storage, said Litterest. Customers are still seeing the same great selection of gently used and vintage clothes.
“Moxie’s is about you making your own fashion. It’s how you make it, how you own it,” said Litterst. “So I sell tops you can make an abundance of outfits with, or bottoms that are unique, that nobody has seen. Or vice versa. It’s about how you put it together.”
In addition to modern fashion, Litterest also carries vintage clothing, which family members often bring in when cleaning out the closets of loved ones.
“A lot of the women around here had some really nice stuff. They’d travel up to Chicago and get some dresses in the 1950s. I’ve had several dresses go through here that were hand-tailored in New York or Chicago,” said Litterst.
One of the most interesting garments she’s sold over the years was a fur coat with a black and white diamond pattern and suede inserts.
“I sold it for $500, and I sold it in the middle of summer,” said Litterst.
Clothing is accepted on consignment with a 60-day contract and a 50/50 split on the proceeds, paid in either cash or store credit. Litterest also buys clothes for $2 a pound. Customers should make an appointment before bringing in clothing, and Litterst has final say on what she will take – she knows what will sell, and what won’t.
“When I first started out, I tried everything. I had a bunch of really nice suits, Anne Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein. I had them for $50 a piece. These were like $200-$300 suits, and they would not sell,” said Litterst.
Women are often surprised when she won’t take suits, but her customers are typically shopping for something more casual.
“My customers are looking for a cute outfit for a Friday night show. They want to go down to the riverfront to watch a band and they need a pair of jeans, and they can find a really cute, unique pair here,” Litterst said.
While the move to the Sunbeam Building required some creativity, it has been a good decision, Litterst said.
“We had to do a lot of finagling with the space, but everything ended up working out. Like I went down from three dressing rooms to one, but the one I have right now is really cute,” said Litterst, who created the dressing room with a screen and a couple vintage wedding dresses.
The move has also helped Litterst expand her customer base. The Sunbeam Building is home to a variety of businesses, which provides more foot traffic than what Litterst had at her former location. And because the surrounding neighborhood has a more artsy vibe, the shop is closer to the type of people who wear vintage clothing.
“I’m near Bradley, I’m near the West Bluff, where people are more into that vintage-type look,” said Litterst. “It’s just a better demographic for me at the Sunbeam.”
Contact Moxie’s Resale through Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Moxies-ReSale-141912842602649/, or by calling (309) 713-2887.
Leslie Renken can be reached at 270-8503 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.