Slocal Biz: Curio

While we do not operate on trade or consignment, San Luis Obispo has some great local businesses who do. One of them is Curio Women's Resale, owned and operated by Donna Cody. She is a great friend and colleague to Ruby Rose, and curated a great shop down in the Creamery. Here about her story, and space, here:

Tell us a little bit about Curio—how you got started and what your vision for it was.

I opened the store eight years ago. i love to hunt for stuff—I love flea markets and yard sales, I would always find great items and then they wouldn’t be my size, or I didn’t need it. And then I thought, Gosh, man this is a great item it would be great to have an outlet where I can find stuff I love and pass it on to my customers at a really good deal. I like to be something between a thrift store and a consignment shop: I’m not as expensive as consignment but it should be a little more than a thrift store, because everything is handpicked and just for the store.
I have a couple women that have helped me for a few years find stuff—they sell at the local flea market and they also sell online—they let me handpick all my favorite things from them before they actually go to the flea market. My customers can bring things in and get credit to shop.

What is the process for people bringing items in? Do they need to set up an appointment with you?

We ask them to go to our website now and click on the Trades tab. They can see what we’re doing—whether we’re trading that day, specifically what we need or don’t need, before they actually come in with their items.

How do you like your location in the Creamery?

I picked the location because I think resale shops should be off the beaten path a little bit. Part of the fun of a resale shop is discovering it. And the fact it’s on the corner—I always imagined a little shop on a corner so from both entrances you can see the store. The Creamery doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic, but we have new owners and they’ll be redoing a lot of the Creamery—a courtyard out front with outdoor seating for the restaurants, music venues, etc. They’re working on facelifting the whole place and I want to wait it all out because I hope more people will be interested in having their businesses in here. I like being down here, and though I would sometimes like to be closer to other spots like Ruby Rose, I would be silly to loose this spot. I have yearly people that will come in and say, This is my spot, I’m traveling from San Francisco or LA, and they think it’s a great deal.

Who is your demographic of shoppers?

I actually had a helper one time who kept track of everyone who walked in here—we guestemated their age, whether they purchased or didn’t purchase—just to see. And we have everyone from seventeen year olds to seventy year olds. When we broke them down into ranges, and got to be eighteen to sixty—there was really no difference. I do try to gear towards a young minded person, but I have a lot of women who come in here who are more middle-aged and different sizes who I cater to. If I could pick, I would just have really funky, unique, eclectic fun stuff and not worry about the, Do you have suit for work for me? type inquiries. But I do break it up—I won’t have the suit, but I’ll maybe have a skirt and a jacket you can put together.
The most fun way to do a resale shop is when you get to do all the hunting—when it’s really busy in here I can hire people to be at the shop and I can go out. But having customers bring items in, I still have to like the stuff, see that it has potential. I get to be creative in that way.

Are you a native to San Luis Obispo?

I am—my grandmother who’s 94 used to come to the Creamery with her grandparents when this was actually a creamery (milk processing plant). My family has been here for seven generations. I know that sounds like a lot, but I also have a Native American family who’s from Salinas—that’s my heritage. I’ve take a couple years and been in other places, like in the Bay Area for three years, but this is where is my family and my roots are.