(Updated March 2019)
Are you new to Dani’s Duds? Have you been involved for a while but never really knew our backstory? Do you just love hearing our history any chance you get? Take a read through the Dani’s Duds story from Kathy herself. She is the brains behind this operation, and nobody tells it like she can.
My name is Kathy Holstrom, and I am the Owner and Founder of Dani’s Duds, Northern Virginia’s oldest and largest seasonal children’s consignment business. After my daughter Danielle was born more than 25 years ago, I realized how expensive new baby equipment, clothing, and toys could be for children that were growing so quickly. I have always loved yard sales, so I thought, why not organize a large sale of used children’s things? Little did I know my idea would grow into what we now believe is the East Coast’s oldest (and at one time, largest) kids’ consignment sale. It celebrated its 25th Anniversary in October 2016.
I ran a “grass roots” campaign of sorts at the very beginning. I started buying from yard and moving sales. I’d wash, sew, iron, and make everything as clean and presentable as I could before selling it. I bought clothing racks, registered my company name, and looked for mothers in parks and playgrounds, elementary schools, pushing strollers, walking with their children. I opened my first sale at a 1,200 square-foot storefront, with 28 consignors, and 2,000 things to sell.
Over the next two and a half decades, Dani’s Duds would go through many phases. When we started, staff would do all the work of hanging clothes, writing and attaching tags, pricing, you name it. Moms would come in, drop off their merchandise, and I went to work. Since everything was done manually, it would take two months’ preparation. Imagine up to 25,000 items in rows on the floor slowly being hand-tagged by a handful of staff night after night. Fast forward the next 20+ years and we are fully automated; the sale operates in just one week: setup, receiving, selling, and breakdown occur in seven days. The Cinderella story of children’s consignment, if you will.
I began as a mother with an influx of baby items that my daughter would grow out of too quickly to use. Today I maintain my mother title, but add entrepreneur, CEO, and philanthropist to that list. We have nearly 60,000 names in our database and have watched over half a million customers walk through our doors buying merchandise brought in by more than 10,000 consignors. Our people have been coming for more than 25 years, some of them grandparents now after finding us in the early 90s. Along with providing opportunities for others to work, consign, and shop, we also make a concerted effort to involve ourselves in the community via local events and festivals and by giving to charities the leftover items each sale. The Salvation Army leaves with a truck full of children’s goods each time. Nothing gets thrown away!
Since 1991, each spring and fall, this great consignment sale event takes place in either Fairfax or Loudoun Counties. Watch our email for our dates and locations. Dani’s Duds services the Northern Virginia/Maryland/Washington DC area, but our name is recognizable as far as Philadelphia, West Virginia, Richmond, and Annapolis. We sell everything a child needs (and we do mean everything) from newborn to teenager, including clothes, toys, books, videos, puzzles, games, maternity wear, baby furniture and equipment, outdoor gear, strollers, bikes, and oh so much more. We also have our “Family Corner” of home décor/goods, furniture, kitchenware, gifts, and a vast book section for all ages.
My daughter, Danielle, was born in April of 1991, and Dani’s Duds was born that fall. This spring of 2019 begins our 28th year, and it is still a family-owned and operated business. You can find my husband and me – and either of our kids if they can take off work – at each of the sales. Join us at our next shindig, April 6 & 7 at the Town Center at Sterling!