BROOKINGS – Kids tend to outgrow clothes before they wear them out, so two moms started a business to help other families get slightly used clothes for less money.
Little Rascals Consignment and Studio is located at 314 Main Ave. in Brookings and is run by sisters-in-law Sarah Wilson and Natasha Raguse.
The consignment part carries anything for kids to wear, sizes preemie to 16-18. They also take maternity and nursing clothing for moms.
For more information, visit Little Rascals Facebook page, Instagram, or call 605-838-3807.
“Anything fabric,” Wilson said of what they’ll take, including “baby-wearing wraps,” hats, gloves, shoes, boots, snow suits, even costumes.
Those with clothes to sell should set up an appointment via Little Rascals’ Facebook page and hit the Book Now link.
“They can find a day and time that works best for them,” Wilson said for a 20-minute appointment with her or Raguse.
“Because of the amount of stuff that we have, we did have to set a two-tote maximum,” Wilson said. “Can’t get through much more than two totes in 20 minutes.”
People get paid when the stuff sells. The consignor is entered into their system and all their items are tagged with a bar code. “When it sells, the system automatically credits their account; they get 40% of the sales and then the store retains the difference,” Wilson said.
“It’s a 90-day consignment period,” Wilson said. Items that don’t sell in 90 days can be picked up by the consignor or Little Rascals will donate them.
Raguse runs the photography studio, specializing in children.
“I do the families, too, but I tend to do those outside just ‘cause there’s a little more room,” she said.
They also feature vendors in the space, as well.
Idea to reality
Wilson and Raguse saw a need for a children’s clothing store due to all the recent bankruptcies of large department stores and after another downtown business stopped carrying kids’ clothes this year.
“I went there one day and realized they weren’t doing it and I got really fired up,” Wilson said. “In town, we realized there was no place to go (for kids clothes).”
Both women have two small children each and knew what it meant to have good children’s clothing available nearby. They heard the same thing from other parents.
“We just got tired of going to Sioux Falls,” Wilson said, adding she was selling items on Facebook and “it’s just a hassle to meet up with people, especially during COVID.
“I reached out to Tasha, and I said I have this crazy thing that I want to do,” Wilson said.
Her idea was to start a store, and it was crazy because neither one had experience running a clothing business.
Wilson works in finance for a bank, and Raguse is a radiology coder for Sanford.
“I vividly remember sitting in our house,” Wilson recalled. “This is a family decision, because we do have kids … our husbands have to pick up dad duty when we’re at the store.”
Not only do the guys pick up the slack at home, “they did a lot of the handy work” at the store, Wilson said.
Wilson is originally from Sioux Falls and is married to Raguse’s brother, Josh Wilson. Raguse’s family is from Nunda and she’s married to Troy Raguse.
“Her dad and my husband started farming in Nunda, so we kind of all have gradually made the move up here (to Brookings County),” Wilson said.
The COVID-19 pandemic actually spurred them into the clothing business, not away from it.
“For this consignment store, it really does make sense because now more than ever, people have to be on a budget and life has to go on a little bit, so why not bring affordable clothing into Brookings?” Wilson said.
It was still scary.
“I mean both of us have full-time jobs, we both have families. We signed a lease, and that’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done, taking a risk like that. We just have a lot of faith that it’s gonna work out,” Wilson said.
There were a lot of things to be done; first of which was deciding on a name.
“I just brainstormed it, really,” Wilson said.
“I have a dog named Darla who we got given to us, named after the Little Rascals’ (character) and it just fit when we thought of kids clothes. Tasha has two little rough-and-tumble boys, and the name really just fit.”
They picked Brookings for several reasons, not the least because they knew there was a market.
When Wilson’s daughter was in kindergarten, “they told me that year that there were 300 kindergarteners in Brookings,” she said. “Multiply that times 12. There are a lot of kids in this community and surrounding (areas) that need clothes.”
“We really loved the downtown Brookings, like the atmosphere down here and the support of the other businesses,” Wilson said, including the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Brookings.
They consulted with Jennifer Quail from the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, who walked them through starting a business. They reached out to other entities to learn about sales tax, payroll taxes and other business knowledge.
Busy, busy, busy
The duo pushed themselves to open before Crazy Days and are glad they did; everyone was sharing Little Rascals’ post and “that was our best weekend,” Wilson said. “There’s just so much support in this community.”
“Everybody that comes in was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve needed this,’” she said.
They’ve seen people from Watertown, Humboldt, Pipestone, Huron, and Madison, to name a few.
“There’s nothing like this in even our surrounding towns,” Wilson said.
If the shoppers have come, so have the consignors.
“The first week we started taking appointments, it was like brand-new stuff on hangers ‘cause their kid wore it for one time and they just put it back on a hanger,” Raguse said.
Because it’s a consignment store, you never know what is in stock: from name brands on down.
“If you’re somebody that wants to just come and get affordable clothes, we have those … good clean, affordable clothes,” Wilson said.
More than clothes
It’s about more than selling clothes.
“I just want to see the impact that we can make in Brookings, Wilson said.
Fun is the name of the game.
“We put in a kids’ play area,” Wilson said. “Thinking we’re moms, our kids are gonna be in the store a lot.”
“There have already been repeat customers come in and their kids beeline it for the kids area to play with the tractors or the blocks. Then they throw fits when they have to leave,” Wilson said. “It’s really nice to see it.
“It’s so fun to see little kids come in and get excited about looking for clothes,” she said.
While staff helps the youngsters pick out clothes, parents can relax because they won’t get sticker shock “when they see the price tag,” Wilson said.
“You can come in, and a kid can get a great outfit and the parents don’t have to worry,” Wilson said. “That’s … probably what I’m most excited for.”
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]