by Nejela Almohanna
Tucked away in downtown Spokane’s Eldridge building lays Fringe and Fray, a locally owned resale boutique with treasures hiding in every nook and cranny. Vintage tables are covered with colorful pendents and medallion necklaces hang from the decorative tree branches.
Grace and Ryan Johnson, owners of Fringe and Fray, had the idea to start a resale boutique in Spokane after seeing the success their friend had with a similar concept in California, Grace said.
As a resale store all items for sale are found in garage sales and vintage shops and are hand picked by Grace, as she selects items carefully to keep the feel of the shop. Brand names are mixed in with unique vintage pieces, all at thrift prices ranging $7 to $15.
“So many people haven’t stopped in because they think we are going to be really expensive but then are surprised at our prices,” Johnson said.
The store’s atmosphere is more like a high-end boutique than a resale store. Bright green stripes are painted on the walls and the store window is covered in tasteful decor and well-dressed mannequins.
“We wanted a resale store that felt more like a boutique,” Johnson said.”We don’t like the standard, from the mall stuff, we like things to be unique.”
The fashion in Fringe and Fray is usable vintage, attracting customers of all ages with a range of clothing that goes from ’70s dresses and ’80s jumpsuits to modern gently used clothing.
Lindsey Treffry, a Fringe and Fray customer and SFCC student visits the store about once a month.
“I like Fringe and Fray because they only sell resale items. I love their mix of vintage and nearly-new items,” Treffry said. “You can tell they only take good quality items. Plus, they have house decor and art.”
Walls are covered in organized racks of men’s and women’s wear. The shop is well organized into categories; skirts and dresses, jeans, jackets and shoes are sectioned off into categorized men’s and women’s wear racks. This system creates a relaxed environment for shoppers that helps take in the whole inventory, but eliminates the ‘thrift store’ feeling. The Johnsons hand pick the most worthy clothes, leaving behind any pieces that are tattered, torn, out of fashion, stained or unusable.
“One of my favorite items I bought from there is a long black, sleeveless sweater,” Treffry said.
The Johnsons will buy or trade used clothes that are in good shape for in-store credit. Trade in items must be in good condition to be accepted into the store with no holes, stains or odors.
“We will buy clothes for 20 percent of what they will sell for in cash, or 40 percent in credit,” Johnson said. “It is good if you need cash fast, but in-store credit gives you more value for your items.”
Eclectic style furniture can also be found in the little boutique. Bright colored coffee tables and dressers are used to display smaller home decor items by stacking little teacups and candle holders on top. The Johnson’s also sell some of their own creations like jewelry and hair accessories made by Grace, and photographic art by Ryan.
For the store’s first birthday last month, the Johnsons drew raffle tickets for customers to share in the celebration.
“The store’s first birthday was a very exciting day,” Grace said. “We had a lot of fun sharing cupcakes and some really great merchandise with our customers.”
Fringe and Fray offers its customers coupons on Groupon to get even better deals on already low prices.
“I think students should visit the store because they can find some really great designer clothing at really affordable prices while shopping in a very creative environment,”Johnson said.