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X-ing out high retail prices

Jackson Bell

Mark Raz Walden laughs when he talks about starting X Boutique, his

discount clothing store.

“The joke is that we started with $40 and an eviction notice,”

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Walden said.

A few years ago, Walden and Rilee Fagan, his business partner and

girlfriend, needed rent money fast, so they began selling her vintage

clothing on eBay. Before long, they were buying secondhand T-shirts

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from thrift stores and reselling them online full time. But after

discovering less competition for resale designer clothing, the pair

opened their Burbank Boulevard storefront in May, and marked down all

of their high-end items 30% to 80% below the original retail price.

To date, the store has an inventory of 1,600 articles of women’s

clothing from designers such as Katayone Adeli, Marc Jacobs, Theory

and Rebecca Taylor. Fagan said the items range in price from $20 to

$100.

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Because the store only sells women’s clothing, Walden and Fagan

are planning on installing a “man lounge,” equipped with comfortable

couches and satellite TV for bored boyfriends and spouses of

shoppers. They are also planning to host art exhibits and promotions

featuring massage therapists as soon as the fall.

“We want it to not just be a store, but more of a service,” Walden

said. “We’re professional bargain shoppers.”

Walden said what distinguishes X Boutique from such discount

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retail stores as Nordstrom Rack and Ross is that the couple handpick

everything sold in the store. Fagan said it ensures all of their

items are fashionable, the clothing isn’t damaged and that they only

select the best designers.

Suzanne O’Conner, a bargain shopper who reports on various retail

stores throughout the L.A. area for her Web site, www.bargainsla.com,

said their high quality and low prices should make them a destination

store.

“X Boutique carries very pricey stuff found on Sunset [Boulevard],

Melrose [Avenue] and Montana [Avenue], but sell it for about half the

price,” O’Conner said. “They have the highest quality [retail

clothing] in Burbank, including the mall.”


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