Women have a Blast at new consignment shop

At Blast Consignment shoppers get more than a good deal; they get a personal experience. Not only does owner Nikki Krohnfeldt make an effort to know your name, but she'll learn your tastes as well.

The Laguna resident opened her designer consignment store March 3 and has been very content with response. On opening day, they kept their doors open past midnight because people were still shopping.

Set in a quaint, converted cottage, Blast offers designer labels such as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Guess, Versace, Michael Kors and many more at 65% to 90% off. They also carry vintage items dating from the 1920s.

Their prices range for all budgets, from $8 to $800, Krohnfeldt said.

The other day she sold a Dolce & Gabbana coat for $1,200 — originally worth $4,900 — but she boasts that a pair of jeans from her designer denim bar never exceeds $58.

Krohnfeldt isn't a stranger to the retail world. She started Urban America boutiques in Laguna Beach, Long Beach and Irvine, though they've since closed.

For a while she dabbled in designing and had her own line, Nikki K.

The mother of four has decided to take the retail route again, but this time trying her hand in second-hand.

"Where the economy is today, with the recession that we're in, people are willing to unload some of their goods to purchase new items," she said. "In a sense, it's like recycling."

She also credits the city for embracing her shop.

"It takes the entire community for a consignment store to come together," she said.

Krohnfeldt wasn't always in retail. She studied Bible theology and is an ordained minister. Over time, she realized her love for finding vintage goods wasn't just something on the side.

"I love the hunt. It's almost like a challenge," she said. "It became more than hobby. It became a career."

Thanks to her skills, locals get the chance to score designer pieces for less than half the price.

Antonia Burns, 20, of Laguna Hills, found a pair of Lucky jeans for $28.

"I can never find jeans that can fit … ever," she said.

Frequent patron Susan Arredondo was there the first night and said it felt more like a bunch of friends swapping clothes than a grand opening.

"It was really a lot of fun," she said. "Girls started trying on things. It was like a mini-fashion show."

She said women starting giving advice, telling each other what to try on and what to ditch. Arredondo also donates to the shop, which buys designer goods.

"It's nice to get money for my higher-ticket items that I may have only worn once," she said.

Krohnfeldt's friend and publicist, Lauri Julian, joked that every item she wore — from her Christian Dior tee to her designer jeans — were found in Blast. For a while, Julian said, she would buy something every time she came in.

Now she's thinking she might have to periodically leave the wallet at home.

Blast will be taking part in first Thursday art walks by hosting a reception at their store that will include appetizers, wine, champagne and special guests, such as artists and designers. A well-known edgy designer from London is supposed to show up at the next soiree, but Krohnfeldt wouldn't reveal the name just yet.

For more information, call (949) 494-9608, visit blastconsignment.com or go to the store at 1936 S. Coast Hwy.

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