Just months ago when Kathy Hume was thinking about starting her own business, she had an in-home consultant perfect for the task: Sarah, her college-aged daughter.
“I asked her ‘What’s missing here? What do kids need?’ ” Hume said. “She said ‘Well we don’t really have any place we can shop that we can afford.’ ”
Pair that need with a passion for being a small business owner, and voila — Funky Trunk Happy Valley Consignments was born. The consignment clothing and accessory store is set to open on Dec. 4 at 236 E. Calder Way.
Hume, a Penn State grad, recently returned to the area. She said being back in the community and around the students energizes her, and hopes her store can fill a niche for shoppers on a college budget.
“It’s just so refreshing where the community is so nice and active,” she said. “I think you have to live away from here for a bit to appreciate how special the community is.”
The store will feature clothes and accessories geared toward the college crowd and “the young at heart,” Hume said. Though fast-fashion brands such as H&M and Urban Outfitters are popular among millennials, a growing contingent are combing consignment shops to stand out.
Finding a trendy (and cheap) sweater at the local thrift store is the new cool.
With Sarah, a freshman at Penn State, an organic focus group was at the ready.
“That was her perspective, which I thought was interesting,” Hume said. “Because when you’re a college student you don’t have a lot of money, so the Funky Trunk was kind of born from that idea — that it would be a great place for the community to come to get affordable clothes.”
Hume plans to be open during the evenings and weekends to cater to the students and downtown crowd. Hours are still tentative at this point.
Hume said she is looking to partner with both the students and the local business community. The store will accept clothing donations and work with student groups to donate to charities of their choice.
For Hume, a former healthcare administrator, the move is a change of pace similar to her business: taking something old and making it new again.
“You get to that point in life where you’re at the crossroads,” she said. “Like ‘I’ve been doing the corporate thing forever; what do you want that next thing to be?’ For me it was being part of the State College community in a very real way, and doing something I’ve always wanted to do.”