For some people, it’s a discarded shoe. For Nancy McConnell, it’s a magic wand.
McConnell is the owner of Crazy About Clothes, a upscale consignment store based out of Maple Ridge BC that specializes in high-end, brand name and high quality fashion. Previous to starting the business in 2011, she spent 27 years working as addictions counselor, including 10 years in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.
After nearly a decade working in what is often called Canada’s poorest neighbourhood, McConnell explains that one of her reasons for opening the store was to surround herself in beautiful things—and help others do the same.
“I had a young girl and her mother come looking for a prom dress when I first started. They were on a very limited budget and had been struggling to find something. I brought in my niece’s dress for her the next day and when she tried it on and it was just perfect she started crying, then her mom started crying, and I started crying. It was such a special moment.”
In true fairy godmother form, McConnell gave the dress to the girl and her mother for free.
Thanks to McConnell’s magical touch, Crazy About Clothes has grown since those early days to include a clothing selection of some of the highest quality items in the lower mainland.
“I have women come from Chilliwack to West Vancouver to consign their clothes in this small store all the way out here in Maple Ridge—and that’s because of the relationships I have with them. I think I bring my counselling background into it because I always learn the story behind each piece—or me that is what makes each item so unique.”
McConnell also supports women, youth and families in need by donating all of the clothe she can’t sell to Atira Women’s Resource Society, which supports women and families who experiencing the impact of violence committed against them and/or their children.
“The clothes I donate go directly to participants, like single mothers attempting to transition back into the workforce. I feel good about that because it’s my opportunity to give back.”
McConnell has also helped raise funds for charities by putting on fashion show fundraisers, including $9,500.00 for Connor’s Cancer Warriors at Make A Wish Foundation.