FashionPact Recovers from Roof Collapse, Opens New Location
“We like a lot of color at FashionPact,” says owner Brittani Clancey of the swirls added to the floor in the new shop at 68th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway.
Secondhand store FashionPact is returning to full strength, seven months after heavy snow collapsed its flagship location near Downtown Anchorage. The day before, the shop had announced the grand opening of a new branch on Dimond Boulevard. That small outlet kept the business afloat while founder and owner Brittani Clancey set up a new store at 68th Avenue and Lake Otis Parkway.
The Mind Gets Creative
“The community has rallied for FashionPact. It’s rallied for me personally,” says Clancey. “Our allies are wonderful, and they do help us spread the word.”
Those allies are nonprofit partners that are at the core of FashionPact’s business model. The shop pledges 40 percent of its sales to dozens of local nonprofits chosen by donors and customers. The list ranges from Victims for Justice, Bean’s Café, and Friends of Pets to the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation, Life Alaska Donor Services, and parent-teacher associations at a handful (so far) of public schools.
In effect, each donation and each sale have a “Pick. Click. Give.” option, like the Permanent Fund Dividend application. For now, Clancey limits eligibility to grassroots organizations based in Alaska.
Other secondhand stores have nonprofit beneficiaries: Goodwill leverages its national chain for workforce training; the for-profit Value Village franchise partners with The Arc of Anchorage; and Salvation Army thrift stores support the church’s other services. But the FashionPact model is the first of its kind that Clancey has heard of.
“I’m a thrifter at heart,” she says. However, “I didn’t feel a strong connection with the thrift stores that exist. When you’re unhappy with something is when your mind gets creative and thinks of what may be better.”
Each item for sale at FashionPact is tagged with a QR code that tracks which nonprofit the donor wishes to receive 20 percent of sales. Another 20 percent is chosen by the buyer.
Although she considers FashionPact a “social enterprise” that empowers people to support the organization that they want to, the store is also a moneymaking business. The roof collapse last March interrupted that cashflow.
Clancey opened FashionPact in 2021 in a forty-year-old building on Ingra Street, at the junction of the Seward and Glenn Highways. After two years, she was ready to open a second location.
“We got constant customer feedback that they don’t like going Downtown,” she recalls. “We wanted to go to South Anchorage and got a good deal on the space.”
The shop at Dimond and King Street, however, is one-quarter the size of the Ingra location, so inventory was being stored at headquarters in advance of the new shop opening. Much of it was ruined in the collapse. Fortunately, no one was in the building that Saturday morning, so no one was injured.
The Dimond store served as a lifeboat, but the smaller footprint forced Clancey to scale down her staff, from nine to three. She immediately began looking for new space and settled on the storefront at 68th and Lake Otis. The building was recently Alaska Axe Co., among many other previous tenants, and Clancey says she hopes to stick around for the long term.
Brittani Clancey getting the shop at 68th and Lake Otis ready for the grand opening on October 13, 2023.
At more than 4,000 square feet, the new shop is five times larger than the Dimond location, allowing Clancey to restore some staff positions, up to seven. The store also has room to accept and resell housewares, but most merchandise is clothing.
“We only put on the shelves something we think we can sell,” she says. “We do not discriminate against styles. We like to be really open because we want to be a community hub. We want to have stuff here for people of all different age ranges, genders, sizes, you name it. We aren’t picky that way, but we are picky based on condition.”
Whatever FashionPact rejects, it re-donates to other charities.
Although her business is still in startup mode, she remains committed to splitting sales proceeds with allies. Even for a shop with practically zero inventory costs, that commitment cuts into profits. Clancey has had to make some adjustments, especially after the unplanned relocation.
“We have changed pricing to get to the sustainable point,” Clancey says. “We want to stick around; we’re not helping anyone if we go out of business.”
Architecture & Engineering Special Section + Small Business
In the February 2024 issue of Alaska Business, we engineered a special section that inspects the many ways architecture and engineering enrich our lives, from creating beautiful and functional spaces to crafting functional and safe transportation corridors. In addition to the built world in which we live, this issue celebrates small businesses and the many functions they provide, whether they're developing tools in the healthcare industry or opening new dining locations.