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Marci Kessler

CEO, DoubleTake

I started working in fashion by accident. I didn't get the job at the pizza place and ended up working in the changing room at Loehmann's! Thanks to that experience, I realized that you don't have to spend a lot of money to look good. In fact, you can spend very little and get more than just knock-offs and cheap trendy items. When I conceived of DoubleTake, I wanted to create a store in which high quality designer clothing could be purchased for very reasonable prices.

It took many years learning about every aspect of retail fashion before making DoubleTake a reality. I graduated from the University of Maryland and the Fashion Institute of Technology. My career began as an assistant buyer in NYC and eventually I became a buyer. Then I moved to the sales side of the business, working for a few manufacturers. Here I honed my skills at being able to detect the fine craftsmanship of a luxury item versus the poorer imitation.

In 1990, I found myself in a place where many women find themselves--in my closet up to my elbows in unwanted sweaters, dresses and pants that had somehow accumulated. I realized that if I wanted to shop for new clothing, I needed to eliminate all of the excess. Although I didn't particularly want to wear much of my excessive wardrobe, I couldn't bear to toss or donate all of that expensive clothing!

This was the moment that led to the creation of DoubleTake. I spent a year traveling the country, living out of my car and working in consignment shops all over the U.S. I spoke to the owners of these shops, their clients and their consignors. I talked to my friends about what it would take to get them into a consignment boutique. I talked to the lady at the checkout counter at the market, and to the women I played tennis with. I was hooked on this idea, but I knew that in order for it to be successful, my boutique would need to be completely different from anything else out there.

Over the past 21 years I have been given the opportunity to be on national television shows, the radio, and local news stations. I have been interviewed for numerous publications, sharing my story and my vision. I have met many interesting people in the business from Tony Award winning actresses to authors to other women entrepreneurs who have had a dream and made it come true. I have been privileged to get to know the women who buy and consign items at my four boutiques and to hear their amazing stories. Every day at DoubleTake is a surprise; you never know what is going to happen or what fantastic new items will appear on the racks.