Cincy Chic: What made you open The Mustard Seed Boutique?
Christie Reinshagen-Wallace: My creativity, energy and passion for helping people find that perfect outfit is the reason I ultimately opened my own shop. For a long time, I knew I would have a business of my own. That dream became reality shortly after moving to San Francisco. I worked at a consignment shop in Oakland called Maribel. The first day working there, I just knew it was meant to be.
Cincy Chic: What’s the concept behind your boutique?
Reinshagen-Wallace: The Mustard Seed Boutique is an upscale consignment shop where people bring their clothes to resell and get a percentage of what the items sell for. Financially, because it’s consignment, our inventory changes daily and is supplied by the customers, it creates a business with low overhead. Aesthetically, I wanted to create a west-coast style boutique that catered to a broad range of people. Clean lines, bright space and an inviting layout were my inspirations. Getting to know our customers on a first-name basis and creating an eclectic, welcoming and a no-pressure atmosphere was equally important.
Cincy Chic: What differentiates your store form other local boutiques?
Reinshagen-Wallace: Well, it’s consignment. That’s the biggest difference. But I think what else separates us is our fantastic mixture of new and vintage clothing, shoes, hats, belts, purses, jewelry and many local designer items. It’s a treasure hunt every time you come in. Where else can you find a pair of Chanel shoes and a Gap tee all in the same place?
Cincy Chic: Your store serves as a consignment store as well. What’s the most memorable item you have received so far for resale?
Reinshagen-Wallace: The most memorable thing we ever got in on consignment was a Gucci leather motorcycle jacket. Amazing!
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite item in your store right now?
Reinshagen-Wallace: I can’t just narrow it down to one. I just got in a pair of Missoni Pants and an Issey Miyake pleated jacket and skirt set. Oh, and a pair of brown suede Manolo Blahnik shoes!
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite fashion trend right now?
Reinshagen-Wallace: The high-waisted, wide-leg pant is my favorite trend right now. But they are not right for everyone. Fashion is about knowing what works for you and your body. Right now in fashion, it is great to be different from everyone else. Be creative, find your own sense of style and be confident!
Cincy Chic: What are some trends do you see in the business of boutiques? Why do you think they are so popular among women?
Reinshagen-Wallace: Boutiques have become popular because of the uniqueness of their merchandise. Malls have become tired and boring; you find the same thing in every store. Women want to be different. I also think people are realizing the importance of supporting local businesses.
Cincy Chic: Do you have any advice for other women who are interested in opening their own boutique?
Reinshagen-Wallace: If you are looking for more flexibility, less stress and time off, you are not in the right business. Some people have this idea that owning a boutique is glamorous and easy. On the contrary, it has been a huge roller coaster ride and I have learned so much about myself since opening the shop.
Cincy Chic: Your store’s moniker was inspired by the mustard seed charm on a necklace that your grandmother wore. How has she influenced your sense of fashion and style?
Reinshagen-Wallace: My great grandmother is a huge inspiration to me. She was courageous, resourceful and strong. She endured many difficult times throughout her life but always exemplified great faith and so the mustard seed charm will always remind me of that.
Cincy Chic: Mustard Seed is located in the heart of the Clifton Gaslight District on Ludlow Ave. Does the eclectic presence of the neighborhood/clients influence your selections?
Reinshagen-Wallace: I chose to open the store in Clifton’s Gaslight District because of its charm. I think because the customer base is so eclectic, it allows me to accept a vast array of consignments. I am pretty selective in what items I bring into the store, but feel as though it’s a good mix of casual to dressy, vintage to new, and inexpensive to high end. Hopefully everyone can find something they love here in the store.
Cincy Chic: What’s your favorite thing about Cincinnati?
Reinshagen-Wallace: Cincinnati is a great place because it’s affordable. The cost of living is low and the opportunity for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses is good.
Photo: The Mustard Seed Boutique