Marisa Fabri always dreamed of owning her own business, but soon after opening Design 2 Consign Boutique in Olyphant, a strong desire to provide the best customer service led her to becoming the personal stylist for many of her customers. She is a graduate of Valley View High School and studied biology at Penn State University. She lives in Jessup with her rescue dog, Wicky.
Meet Marisa Fabri…
Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
A: I grew up in this area, but I fell in love with the West during a ski trip. I went to live there for 20-some years and came back to live here when my parents got older.
Q: What first got you interested in fashion?
A: I wanted to own my own business, and consignment was a way of getting started without all the hundreds and thousands of dollars of inventory. Consignment stores were popular out West but not as well-known here. They were new to this area, and I wanted to bring the idea back home.
Q: Talk about the styling and work you do.
A: When people have a special event and need to dress up with a theme for a gala or event like red carpet, Hollywood, British-themed weddings, Gatsby, Kentucky derby outfits, any theme, people call me to see if I have something that will work for them. I even did Steampunk for the Steampunk festival in Honesdale. Basically if somebody calls me for a Gatsby outfit, I’d pull together all my beaded, fringe outfits. I add hats, headbands, jewelry and anything else they may wear. I go through the entire store and create a rack of only Gatsby-lookalike items. People share their fashion nightmares with me and tell me what they want to hide and disguise with their bodies. There’s nobody the same size or shape. I have to be honest with people if something looks just OK, too big or too tight. We work together until we get fabulous. The best reward is when people come back and say, “I got so many compliments from the outfit.” That is so satisfying and rewarding. Sometimes a group of women will come in at once and help each other out by putting pieces together, and it turns into a girlfriend day. I’ll serve coffee and order pizza because sometimes they are here for hours and hours.
Q: How did the concept of you styling others come out of your consignment store?
A: I learned so much from my customers and from Vogue magazine. I was never a big fashionista, but the more demand that was put on me, the more I tried to learn and got the hang of it. Everyone has a particular item they need. Everyone has a different body shape; I’m here to help and provide good, old-fashioned customer service. What’s great is it always turns into friendships, and it seems to be an ongoing thing.
Q: I hear you have a big secret?
A: A lot of my consignment comes from referrals. Someone had told a specific consigner that I like show-stopper and statement pieces. The consigner came to me and asked if I was interested in carrying pieces that were purchased for the wardrobe and entourage of a very famous female Grammy Award winner. Due to privacy for the artist, I like to keep it a fun mystery, but many people guess correctly upon seeing the display.
Q: What is your own style like? And include your go-to outfit choice.
A: My typical outfit is jeans, boots, leggings, Uggs and almost always black. My friends and customers say I should put some color on. So I like to pop the outfit with turquoise jewelry or other colors, so I’m not in black all the time. And bling. Bling will brighten up black all the time.
Q: For you, what is a show-stopper piece, and why?
A: Anything that people are going to admire and stare at and ask, “Where did she get that?” For me, it would be a piece of vintage. A phenomenal white faux-fur vest. I’d mix it with jeans or leggings and boots and a gorgeous sweater. The other piece for me is a hat. I have a hat that is one of my signature pieces. It’s a silver faux-fur hat. I love to wear it all day long. It keeps me warm, and a lot of people like it. It also gets them interested in trying on fur hats.
Q: What other community organizations are you part of
or hobbies/interests you have?
A: I like to donate coats and clothes to a local church on our block and to other local charities and anybody else in need. There are always clothes that can be given off the rack, and my consigners say if anybody is in need of a coat, give them a coat. I like to go shopping when I’m not working. I like keeping up with new styles in fashion. I also like to go out to dinner with friends. It’s not really a hobby, but it’s something that is near and dear to my heart is being kind to people. I want to show everyone some positivity and happiness. You never know who is going to walk through the door, what may have just happened to that person or what story they’re carrying with them. A word of kindness can help somebody out so much, and you don’t even know you’re doing it.
Q: What is something about you that would surprise a lot of people?
A: I’m so serious all the time, but I really love when people tease me or tell me a joke. A lot of jokes go over my head, and that person will get a kick out of me missing the point, then I crack up too.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape the person you are today?
A: My faith has gotten so much stronger. Meeting so many different people from my travels and my time out West has helped me look for the best in them. People have shared things with me that I never really thought much about. I later realized that what they shared was very giving and real and kind. It made me realize I want to be the best person I can possibly be and keep working on myself. I can’t let circumstances dictate my feelings. I try to find blessings even in lousy circumstances. A lot of the people I met were very happy people. Happiness is a choice, and I am glad that I choose to be happy.
Q: Do you have anything else to add?
A: Let’s all spread kindness and positivity to strangers. We don’t know what people have been through. I know people say the world is dark, but I choose to believe that love and people are better.