Full disclosure: I have been a client and a seller at Margaret’s for 15 years. So when I finally got the chance to meet and interview her, I was thrilled. She is a force of a woman; someone who knows exactly who she is and exactly what she wants. That explains the success behind Margaret’s Consignments. This is a woman after my own heart. Meet Margaret Browning, the owner of Margaret’s Consignments and our current FACE of Louisville.
Margaret, you have been in business for over 21 years. What prompted you to open a consignment store?
I am the third of twelve children, so needless to say, we didn’t have much growing up. From an early age, I learned to make something out of nothing. Most of what we had was what other people threw away. When I got divorced and was trying to support my teenage daughter, I would take a copper pot or a silver-plated bowl I’d bought at a yard sale for 50 cents, polish it up, then resell it for $5 at my own weekend sales. I did that for years and years. Finally, in 1982 I decided to open my own consignment shop at Stilz and Frankfort avenues.
Your business is hard work, very physical and constant. What is the hardest part of your job? The easiest?
The hardest part is keeping the store organized and clean. Keeping things tidy is a never-ending job. The easiest part is relating to the people who come in and shop. I love meeting people for the first time and getting to know them – it is a very rewarding perk! To have someone come in one day and say they came in just because they were feeling down (which unfortunately happens more than you think) – how wonderful it is to be able to provide that comfort to someone.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Being too trust-worthy.
Who is your mentor?
What is best advice you have received in business?
That I should have checks and balances.
If you did not work here, what would you secretly love to do?
Be a clothing designer or an interior designer.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I will be 70 years old next year and that I come from a family of 12 children.
Your house is amazing. Is it true you move every two years? Do you decorate yourself?
Yes, I have moved 6 times in the last 13 years, although I really like where I am now and plan to stay for a while (Crescent Hill). Of course, as all of the last 6 moves can tell you – I love, love, love Crescent Hill! And yes, I always do my own decorating.
Tell us about your tap dancing.
All of my life, I have wanted to tap dance, and as a child, I couldn’t afford to take lessons. A couple of months ago I found a studio that was kind enough to teach me as a senior. I decided to do it before I got too old. It has really helped me with my strength and it has lowered my blood pressure (in fact, my doctor has cut my blood pressure meds in half since I started taking lessons) and I have a lot more energy.
Tell us about your hair, it is gorgeous, and I know you are a barber.
I do not color my hair; it is natural. I started getting grey hair at age 17 (taking after my Dad) and I did not like it. But now I have learned to love it. I get lots of compliments and a lot of people ask me who cuts my hair – Lyndia R Willis Salon. I am very blessed to have nice hair. I do like to change my style often and Lyndia and I always talk it over before she cuts it. Yes, I was a master barber for over 25 years and loved it, as it was a creative artful business.
What is your favorite restaurant?
Well, I have two: Pat’s Steak House and, of course, Porcini.
Where do you like to shop?
Margaret’s, and I mean every day! (In fact, I spend more than I make).
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
Well, that is simple. At the end of my looooooooong day at work, a hot, tub bath!
What is your weakness?
I do not know how to say “No.”
What is your number one pet peeve?
Having my office, wardrobe, and clutter in my car as I live in two different homes (mine and my husband’s).
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
To promote Frankfort Avenue and all of the wonderful events and businesses that make it so unique. I have a love affair with the Avenue!
What are you reading right now?
Joyce Meyer’s Change Your Words/Change Your Life.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now?
Dance, cook and working at Margaret’s.
And thanks to Adele Reding for taking these beautiful photographs.
To learn more about Margaret’s Consignments, visit her website: http://www.margaretsconsignment.com/
To learn more about Adele Reding and see more of her portfolio, visit her site at http://adeleredingphotography.com/.
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