Tucked away just slightly off East University Drive in Auburn, fashion-forward patrons are delighted to find a quaint little shop known simply as “Ginger’s.” Inside, a virtual treasure hunt of fabulous finds awaits eager shoppers. To the right, patrons will delight to find neat rows of Louis Vuitton hand bags carefully displayed, at deep discounts, and boasting near-perfect condition, while to the left, more casual selections (perfect for a fall football game) await them as well. The premise of this upscale, resale boutique is simple: offer a wide selection of high-quality, fashionable items at price points sure to suit any budget. Here, patrons are never forced to choose between quality and affordability – with the advantage of resale, shoppers can easily enjoy both! And behind the counter, shop owner Ginger Whatley greets customers with a warm smile and eagerness to help them find that special item on their list.
When asked how the store differs from a traditional boutique, Whatley explains, “The shop runs like any retail boutique, except that we don’t carry multiples of each item. To maintain high standards, we accept only new (or like new) items with no signs of wear. The store is arranged like any other retail space …so much so that it’s easy to forget you’re even shopping resale!”
In addition to the stellar fashion finds, patrons benefit greatly from the one-on-one interaction made possible in a smaller setting. With many years in the fashion and retail industry, Whatley delights in helping shoppers find that perfect piece, saying, “We are very involved with our customers! We love helping them find just what they’re looking for and encourage them to shop ‘outside of the box.’ Our merchandise ranges from quirky to classic, and you never know what you might love until you try it on!”
When asked how the store’s concept originated, Whatley confides with a smile, “Clothes have always been my passion! I’ve always loved experimenting with fashion and fads. Both of my parents had fabulous taste, and I remember having fashion shows for my dad after we’d been shopping. His opinion was everything to me, and he loved my individuality. When I was voted ‘Best Dressed’ my senior year of high school, the distinction further validated my own unique style.”
Even early on, Whatley fueled her passion for fashion by securing a position in the field she so loved. “As soon as I turned 16 and could drive myself to work, I began my career in retail. And I have now been in the industry for all but 15 years of my life. Initially, I worked at a shop called ‘The Closet’ throughout college. While attending Auburn University, I actually majored in Political Science, but I took at least one class each quarter in Fashion Merchandising, which was required to work at the Apparel Mart in Atlanta. Each season, I would work as a runner, dresser or whatever was needed.”
Upon graduating from Auburn, Whatley married and moved to Knoxville, Tenn. There, she found employment at a shop called Benetton Boutiques, where she worked until she had her first son, Sam. After leaving retail, Whatley soon had another child, Josh, and opted to stay home with both boys for several years. As she recounts, “When I decided to go back to work, retail hours simply didn’t suit my family life, so I went into sales and ended up in pharmaceuticals. I occasionally helped a friend in her boutique to get my ‘retail’ fix and also started ‘treasure hunting’ in local consignment stores for fun. I had to be very conservative in my dress for work…but my play clothes were absolutely fabulous!”
When asked how she arrived back on The Plains, Whatley fondly recalls, “We moved back to Auburn in 2005 so the boys could grow up near family. I continued in pharmaceuticals until they graduated high school. Shortly thereafter, a local shop owner wanted to open a more upscale ‘consignment boutique’ in Auburn, and I was approached about the opportunity. I was hired and the new store became my baby! I had a great time, and the local market quickly caught on to upscale resale. When I was given the opportunity to do my own thing, I rented a small space in the Golden Crown building in Opelika and opened Ginger’s. We moved to our current location on East University in Auburn in 2015 and added men’s clothing and accessories, which has been very successful”.
At Ginger’s the focus is less centered on brand names and expensive labels, but rather on determining what is truly fashionable and fabulous at any price point. Expounding on her own sense of style, Whatley continues, “Personally, I’ve never been brand driven. I just look for great pieces. As a result, my closet is a quirky mixture of vintage, funky and classic elements.”
In short, Whatley prides herself on serving a broad range of clientele and shattering the stereotypes related to resale. Towards that end, the boutique both carries and consigns clothing for men, as well as women.
So whether you have been drooling over the latest designer hand-bags, but are limited by budget, or just want to freshen your current pieces, Ginger’s has the shopping solution for you! Whatley succinctly states, “Though we may look high-end, we will accept anything with style, regardless of the label. People sometimes feel we may not fit their budget, but our price points span the spectrum. We just ‘dress it up’ really well!”