We had the chance to sit down with Kevin, owner of Just Ducky Consignments to talk about the business and his favorite parts of the work. Check it out below!
Can you tell me a little bit about the business?
My mom and my sister thought it up, when I was younger, and I helped come up with the name. My sister ran it for 18 years, and then my wife and I bought it from her, and we’ve had it for the last seven years. So you’re looking at almost 30 years in business, which is pretty cool. Just Ducky is a labor of love. I think most of our customers are moms and kids who come in, looking for some nice clothes. They’re going to find things like Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Matilda Jane, all these great names, and we never raise our prices. I want to keep it really accessible for everyone to be able to shop here. We also started on a women’s section this year, and it’s doing amazing. We’re actually getting a lot of brand new items because people, all the stuff that they weren’t able to use during the last three years of COVID. And I feel like we really are able to help the community, you know, when you come in last minute and get a pair of cleats because a soccer game or you know, if somebody has to go to a recital, you don’t have a leotard, you can come to us and we can probably help you out.
What would you say is something unique about Just Ducky?
Something unique about Just Ducky would definitely be the community aspect. It’s a place where someone could say – like this one time, a lady said, “I need black pants and black shoes, my child forgot to tell me about a thing at school, and I just need something right away,” and I’ll just leave my house and meet someone at the store, let them go in and shop. I love that we can do that. That’s like that old, tiny, small town that you don’t find anymore. You know, that kind of intimacy, and that flexibility. It’s funny, people sometimes think that it bothers me when somebody calls and needs help like that. But it makes me so happy! Because all you want to do, especially once you get older, is just give back. I like to give back and help somebody else. And when that happens from time to time, when someone comes in and they find exactly what they needed, it’s just food for my soul.
What do you think people should know about your business?
I would say that it’s family owned. Behind it all the time, is me, my wife, and my two girls. People should know that. It’s, you know, even though it’s a nice looking little store, it’s the furthest thing from a corporation. And that was something I was shooting for, because I worked for big businesses before and I remember what it was like to not be helpful and never make any exceptions for anyone, being really limited by the structures in place that you couldn’t control. My hours are 10-4, but if someone had to work until 5 and they needed something, if you reach out to me, I’m happy to wait for you, to go in early or stay late or to come in on a Sunday, anything. Those those – that’s what it’s all about, and that’s what I wanted it to be like. These bigger places and corporations make you turn away people for this or that reason. We turn away no one. Everyone is welcome here.
What’s your favorite part of your work?
One huge thing is how at home my kids feel here. You know, they’ll come in, and they can, you know, answer the phone, while I help someone find something. Or they can go behind the counter and go in the fridge and get a snack. They’ll pick a book from the bookshelf, and they’ll read for a while. I just like that. I work at a place where my family can walk in anytime. It’s one thing to be welcoming to everyone coming in as the customer. But when your kids and your family can come in – that’s always something that makes me want to try hard to make sure we keep the place going. There are times where you want to throw in the towel. July is always a pretty slow month, and with COVID, really, really slow. But I know that as school starts again, we’re back on our feet again, and everything will kind of take into gear again. The fact that I have those perks, and the fact that my wife and my kids feel so comfortable and so at home, makes me want to make sure we keep going.
Is there any piece that you’ve had or sold that sticks out in your mind from over the years, something that was either really incredible or random? Or otherwise sticks out to you?
There’s definitely some amazing pieces of clothing that have come in, but there was this one thing that came in that just blew my mind. So one thing we sell is American Girl dolls and accessories. This woman came in, and she brought in, like this American Girl doll horse-drawn carriage, and when I saw it, I knew it was expensive. But I said to her, “Let me look this up and see where it goes and figure out how we’re going to price it.” I’ve never seen one of these before. I’ve never even heard of it! I saw one on eBay with maybe like 55 bids, and it was almost $800. And I told the woman, you know, “This thing may go for $800-$900. Why don’t you take it home, put it online and make some big money off?” Because I can’t charge that at the store. That’s the whole point – I try to make sure I beat every price. You know, I just want to give the best deal possible, and I knew I couldn’t do that with this piece. And the woman was so awesome. She said to me, “Kevin, I don’t want to make $1,000 off, but I want it to go to someone who loves it.” So I waited for the auction to end, and it went for maybe about $850 or so. And I told her, “Look, let’s put it up for about half that price, and if it doesn’t sell well, we’ll put it on sale.” So I put it at $450 – which to me was still outrageous, right? And I put it on my Facebook page, and I got a call from a woman in Connecticut whose little girl was searching for that piece. She was like, “Please hold it. I’ll be down there tomorrow.!” They drove down. That little girl walked in, and she was just – she couldn’t believe I had that. And I thought to myself, “I almost hate charging $450 for it, it seems so blasphemous to me.” And she said to me, she was bidding on one on eBay and she lost out on it. She had bidded to up over $700, then someone beat her out in the last few minutes. That she was willing to spend $700, and then found it for $450, she was ecstatic. So the seller made great money, and the person that bought it found this almost holy grail piece.
And another thing that happens a lot – I think you’d be shocked by the number of teachers that come in here and tell me about students coming into school with no winter coat on. Oh, when they tell me the story, I have to give them the biggest discount! And I can because I want that kid to go home with a jacket, and not only that, I want it to be one that is good quality. Because I know that it’s most likely that those students can’t afford jackets, and then the teacher on their own private time and money was going to come and buy them a jacket. If there’s a way that I can help out or give back to the community and the people around me, that’s the best feeling in the world.
Check out Just Ducky at 201 Gooding Avenue in Bristol, Rhode Island!