"My plan from the beginning was to give back to my community, to be involved with charities," says Kathleen Palmer between rushed appointments earlier this week. Kathleen owns Deja New Consignment on Jacarandas in Old Town Vallarta.
After managing a popular Seattle-area thrift store chain called Value Village, Kathleen moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2010 to start her own "value village."
In just 2 1/2 years, Deja New Consignment has come a long way. From Kathleen's first charitable donation to the Bucerías Children’s Program during one of her early fashion parties, she is now putting on several charity fashion shows a year and accepts donations on behalf of numerous charities.
"Just think," says Ginger Carpenter, a volunteer for Pasitos de Luz, a local charity for children with developmental delays, "Kathleen could be on the beach working on her tan, but instead she's putting on fashion shows for Pasitos. She also receives donated food, cleaning supplies, and clothing. We are very lucky to have business owners like Kathleen in our beautiful city."
Marilyn Khan, fund-raising coordinator for the PuRR Project, a local no-kill feline shelter, tells me, "Kathleen is a force of nature! She has been such a help to me - introducing me to vendors, collecting clothes for our account at Deja New, giving me advice on marketing, being the point person for our fashion shows and, best of all, she gives up every Wednesday night to call the numbers for PuRR Project Bingo at Nacho Daddy."
One of Kathleen's most ingenuous ideas has been to invite area charities to open consignment accounts at Deja New. People can then bring in clothes and accessories to consign and the charity of their choice receives the proceeds.
Deja New currently accepts donations through these charitable accounts for: Cleft Palate Program, Pasitos de Luz, Vallarta’s SPCA, PuRR Project, Banderas Bay Women’s Shelter, CompassioNet Impact, Boutique Theatre, Harkness Institute, Los Mangos Public Library, Playas Gemelas Scholarship Fund, Ayuda Mutt, Colima Free Spay/Neuter Clinic, and others.
Kathleen says it is not uncommon for her to receive 3-4 donations to her charitable accounts per day.
Kathleen reaches out to people in ways she'll never get credit for as well. For example, other consignment stores in the area focus on high-end items only. "I have local people from the neighborhood that come in and put a 50 peso item on lay-away," she says. "I keep my prices real." The average price of an item at Deja New is just 80 pesos.
"I want to give credit to the people that helped me get started," insists Kathleen. "Robin Spencer, Pam Thompson, Wendy Allen, Gary Beck, Brenda Ratzlaff, Pat Carey, Bill Kelly…" rattles off Kathleen.
In fashion shows that have raised as much as 70,000 pesos, Kathleen's showmanship and enthusiasm shines through. For the ticket price of just 250 pesos, one of Kathleen's fashion shows included door prizes, raffles, lunch, a drink, and -of course - the fashion.
When asked how she'd describe one of her shows, Kathleen says, "Fun!" With "regular people" as her models and discounted fashion, how can you go wrong?
To attend one of Deja New's celebrated charity fashion shows next season, 'like' the Deja New Consignment page on Facebook and stay abreast of Kathleen's monthly blow-out sales, fashion shows, and other promotions. Her shows always sell-out, so reserve your spot early. In the meantime, clean out your closet and either open your own Deja New account to receive 50% of each sold item or put your things on a charity account.
Do you have an innovative, creative idea to help out your charity? Please contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Kathleen says, "Look for new charity ideas coming up next season!"
Deja New Consignment is located at 280 Jacarandas in the Romantic Zone on the south side of town. Cellular is (322) 157-4965, or connect with Deja New Consignment on Facebook.
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If you would like to donate directly to the non-profits in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, here are some suggestions you may want to consider to help our local communities in this time of greatest need.