There is a sense of excitement the second you walk through the doors of Kellie’s Consignments. Beautiful clothing and jewelry catches your eye with every step you take, and the more you explore, the more bountiful these treasures become. It’s hard to leave without at least one smartly displayed piece coming home with you, but you’ll feel good about yourself and your wardrobe when you’re done. And that’s exactly how Kellie Johnson, founder and owner of Kellie’s Consignments, wants you to feel.
Although Johnson is now a successful business owner, her career didn’t follow that traditional path. She earned her degree in radiology technology, and her first job was as an x-ray tech, specializing in mammography and specialty procedures. From there Johnson stretched her wings, arriving in a sale role selling technology equipment, before finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
Johnson opened Kellie’s Consignments in December 2009. In 2016 she moved her store to a new 24,000-square-foot space in Okemos after outgrowing her previous space. With thousands of customers and a growing demand for quality consignment shops, Johnson found a niche area that has served her well for years. The store has seen remarkable success over the years, but like many businesses it took a leap of faith to open its doors for the first time. A risk Johnson was willing to take.
“I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit,” Johnson said. “I knew I wanted to do something wonderful, but I had no capital to start with — literally none. So, I had to be creative in getting started, and consignment offered me that opportunity. People trusted me to sell their items, and in turn I built inventory for the store and provided affordable, stylish options for shoppers.”
And her plan worked. Johnson has built a loyal following and her business continues to grow with new customers stopping in all of the time, looking for a chance to explore the countless men and women’s styles. But Kellie’s Consignments isn’t just a consignment shop for clothing; Johnson developed the store to house almost anything you can imagine and has taken cues from her customers in regard to what they want to see next.
“I listen. I think that is so important in owning a business. People will tell you what they want if you just listen to them. I had to make sure I was making smart choices, but people would say to me, ‘When are you going to start carrying furniture?’ or some other item, and when it made sense, we did,” Johnson said.
The store sells gently used, quality clothing for men and women, as well as furniture, home decor, jewelry and accessories. These items range from vintage to modern, from basic to couture; making shopping a Kellie’s Consignment an adventure every time. On top of that, Johnson has also taken her business on the road through the estate-sale side of her company.
By expanding her service offerings and focusing on customer wants and needs Johnson has seen and expanded interest from shoppers and the community; meaning Johnson finds her calendar filling up pretty quickly these days. Running a business demands a lot of time, but she’s found a way to make it work and still have time to give back to the community.
“Your weeks aren’t Monday to Friday when you’re a business owner. So, you make a schedule that works how you need it to. It gives you a little more flexibility in how you use your time, but really, it’s about finding time to get everything done and make sure it gets done right. I take that very seriously,” Johnson said. “I do what I need to do and always take time to make sure my team is taken care of.”
Johnson is the first to praise her team with gratitude for their unwavering support. The friendly faces that greet you when you walk into the shop make you feel at home, and Johnson makes sure to always take care of her employees.
“We’re a family here, and they’ve done so much to make Kellie’s what it is today, and I know — in order to make this work — I will always take care of them. I don’t take what they do for the company lightly. I am so thankful for the team I have,” Johnson said.
Johnson also shares an overwhelming appreciation for the community that has supported her growth over the years. She is passionate about finding ways to give back and show her ongoing dedication to the community. Money earned and spent at Kellie’s Consignments goes right back into our community — Johnson and her team put nearly $400,000 back into surrounding households last year.
“We couldn’t do what we do without this amazing community, and I never take that for granted,” Johnson said.
She also takes time to acknowledge her family — especially her two sons, Jordan and Jake — who have always let her know they believed in her since day one.
Johnson’s journey hasn’t been an easy one, but she has always chosen to focus on the positive, the support and the love rather than dwell on all of the challenges. Even throughout personal obstacles and family health scares, she has always remained steadfast in sharing joy, encouraging confidence and inspiring others.