LaDonna Telford admits she's a shopaholic. But she also admits having had some feelings of guilt as she's brought home each haul – especially when adding to her stock of shoes, which she estimates at 150 pairs.
Telford knows that there are families out there who can't afford anywhere near such largesse in bestowing footgear on their children, who might have just one or two pair to wear year-round.
She is also an unabashedly Christian woman, and helping the poor comes as a natural mission to her.
So, as Telford prepares to launch her first business, that essentially begins with clearing out her own overstocked collection, she's come up with a unique "give back to the community" plan.
Under an arrangement with Stride Rite, each month she will underwrite a new pair of shoes for a needy child, their selection, the families to be recommended by her customers.
Lady in Red, 7219 W. North Ave., celebrates its grand opening at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with a blessing by her pastor.
Telford put together these 10 points demonstrating how Lady in Red will be "A Unique Boutique":
- We offer gently used/pre-owned clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories at a fraction of retail prices.
- We believe in quality. As the owner, I would not sell anything I would not wear. If it’s not good enough for me, it’s not good enough for you.
- When pricing items we not only go by the brand label and condition of the item but we also think about how much would we (the owners) be willing to pay for the item if we were the customer.
- We do not sell, trade or buy any replica (knock-off) items. We do not support those vendors. Instead, we would encourage you, our client, to purchase a genuine leather handbag, for example, for the price you would pay for a replica item. Again, we are about quality.
- Every Tuesday we offer free coffee, relaxing music and a 10 percent discount for girls over 55.
- Each item is cleaned before being put on the racks. The shoes are wiped down, inside and outside, with a bleach wipe. Fashion is my passion, but I am a nurse by profession.
- We provide a clean environment and a great shopping experience by offering good old-fashioned customer service.
- Every Wednesday is Family, Facebook Friends and Familiar Faces Discount Day.
- Rain or shine we are open. Therefore, if you shop with us on a raining day or snowing day, you will receive an additional 10 percent off your total bill.
- Last and most important, we are Christians, and we believe it is better to give than to receive. So, once a month Lady in Red will purchase a pair of shoes from Stride Rite for a child in need of them. You can be a part of this by shopping with us on a regular basis and putting change in the Shoe Fund banks located throughout the boutique.
"While you may be purchasing your fifth, 55th or, if you are like me, your 155th pair of shoes, there is a child somewhere in the Wauwatosa/Milwaukee area that is in need of a pair of shoes," Telford said. "Please help support this fund.
"This is something that God placed on our hearts to do, and we would always like to be able to afford to do it. We are praying it can soon go from one pair of shoes a month to one pair a week.
"You, the client, would also be able to give me the name and contact information of a child that you may know who would benefit from a new pair of shoes. Of all the names that may be given, I would then draw a name from a hat – or shoe – and contact the parent.
"The parent would then take the child to Stride Rite in Mayfair Mall and chose a pair of shoes of the child’s choice without paying for them.
"I may not ever see or meet this child, but it brings me joy, knowing that Lady In Red helped a child. In today’s time, it really takes a village to raise a child, and we would like for Lady in Red to be a part of that village."