An Optimistic and Upbeat Boutique:

An Optimistic and Upbeat Boutique:

On Main Street in Kennebunk

“If you want brand names for less, go to TJ Maxx,” says Fresh Start Boutique owner Evelyn Libby. “If you want brand names for less less, come to Fresh Start Boutique.”

For Evelyn, Fresh Start Boutique is a passion project. Evelyn has a bubbly and charming personality, and she loves fashion and shopping. She has poured that enthusiasm into her store. “The boutique is what I love,” she says. “I love retail. I love sales. And I love people.”

Evelyn describes Fresh Start as more of a boutique than a thrift shop, and that opinion is backed up by their products. They sell new and used clothing, accessories, jewelry, and handbags in designer names like Kate Spade, Versace, and Dooney and Burke. The shop has clothing for all ages and sizes as well. The shop is very particular with the quality and condition of the products that they take. “We make sure everything is in great condition,” she says.

Recently Fresh Start’s high quality was confirmed by a celebrity consignment from Glenn Close. Evelyn says she has not even had a chance to look through what was donated, but she knows it is high quality, in designer names. “It was kind of exciting because she chose us!” Evelyn says. Glenn Close’s assistant will be providing signed headshots and posters, as well as mannequins in Close’s size for displaying the products.

Evelyn plans to create a window dressing with Glenn Close’s clothing, complete with a Hollywood theme. Her two large windows always have a themed display in them. “I get more compliments on our windows,” says Evelyn. She is currently planning a Halloween-themed display.

The shop is located at 29 Main Street in Kennebunk with parking in the front and the back. Evelyn feels she could not have asked for a better location. “I’m very lucky to have this location,” she says. Evelyn purchased the store in January and opened in March. Of course, then the pandemic hit Maine, and she was forced to close. Because of the travel restrictions, she has also lost many tourist sales and her Canadian shoppers. “It’s been a challenge,” she says.

Recently Fresh Start’s high quality was confirmed by a celebrity consignment from Glenn Close.

Fresh Start was allowed to open its doors again the second week in June, and they have been following strict CDC guidelines for safety since then. They are allowed five customers in the store at a time, and ask all to use hand sanitizer. They also have gloves available. Because of these precautions, customers are allowed to touch the merchandise when they shop.

Evelyn also has a sanitizing wand which she uses on the products and the dressing rooms, which are open to the public. “I use the wand on anything we are concerned about,” she says.

Consigned items sit for three days, and then the shop staff uses the sanitizing wand or steams the clothing before putting it out. “We’re doing OK,” says Evelyn. “We keep everything clean.” With these steps, the owner and the shop create an ambiance as optimistic and upbeat as the boutique’s name: Fresh Start. 

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Christine Simmonds

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