For more than 20 years, Collage Designer Consignment has outfitted some of the best dressed women in Alabama. With locations ‘On the Curve’ in Downtown Homewood and at the Vestavia City Center, who would have thought a former bank management consultant would have such a passion for the consignment fashion business?
Where We Began
In 1992, Collage was born. Original Owner, Shirley Carson, started Collage, Inc. in 1992 in English Village in Mountain Brook, Alabama next door to the Blue and White Cafe. After two years, she moved the business to a quaint, 70 year-old home on Crescent Avenue in Homewood complete with hardwood floors and several rooms to wander and discover new treasures each day.
In 1995, Tracy True Dismukes, a 26 year old Internal Management Consultant at SouthTrust Corporation, had been wanting to start a consignment store and bought the business from Shirley. Her purpose in buying the store was in part to test her newly acquired MBA skills but more importantly to own a business that truly offered a service to people on three levels: shoppers, sellers and charities. Tracy loved getting great deals on professional clothing to wear as a banker, in the eighties, where business suits and floppy ties were the norm for women in the workplace. (Thank goodness THOSE went out of fashion!)
She thought if she loved the concept of buying high-end, pre-owned items in a cozy boutique atmosphere with as much or as little personal attention as you like, then others would, too. She created that at Collage on Crescent Avenue and kept her day job at SouthTrust for another 5 years before leaving in 2000 to give all her energy and creativity to her own business. Many remember our lovely Store Manager, Cheryl Ellis, who was with us then for 5 years and was so gracious and caring for our customers.
Collage was already known for being the best consignment shop in town and that was due in part to the fabulous consignors Collage pulled from Mountain Brook, Homewood and surrounding areas. Consigning items at Collage was a great way for sellers to get cash out of their closets and continues that legacy today as Collage has been voted ‘Best Women’s Boutique’ by readers of Birmingham Magazine and ‘Best Consignment Shop’ by many publications and ‘Best of Birmingham’ year after year.
Charities make weekly pickups at all Collage locations and we have supported the Foundry, 55th Place and My Sister’s Closet of the YWCA among other charities for over 20 years. It is really cool to be a part of the community that truly helps people in a real, tangible way every day.
In 2000, wanting to get Collage to the ‘main drag’, Tracy moved Collage from the old house on Crescent Avenue to ‘The Curve’ in Downtown Homewood in the former ‘Who’s Who’ location. In 2001, Collage became a chain when we acquired Nice As New that had moved from Lorna Road to Hwy 31 in Vestavia next to Red Lobster. That’s when Jill joined Collage as Store Manager after working with Nice As New for more than 9 years. In 2002, Catherine’s Plus Sizes moved out next door to the Vestavia Collage store and Collage Plus Sizes was born in that space. Tracy used to wear plus sizes and always had a heart for women who loved fashion and had beautiful curves but very little selection. Collage Plus Sizes solved that problem for many women and became a favorite destination. In 2003, Collage opened a brand new location in Hoover on Highway 150 in the new Wal-Mart center and stayed for 3 years but closed in 2006.
In 2008, in the face of the recession, Tracy launched a television show on CW21 on Saturday mornings at 11:30am so women could SEE what gorgeous fashion they could buy at 60-80% off retail at consignment shops. The show was called ‘Consignment Chic’ and featured stores in 22 counties in Alabama, CW21’s viewing area. Many will also remember Homewood Store Manager, Barbi Brown and now Manager Elane Youngblood who so beautifully runs the Homewood location now. In 2009, Tracy launched the online community and online store at ConsignmentChic.com for stores across the United States and Canada to sell online on one site. As President of NARTS, the national association of resale stores, Tracy had many shop owner connections across the country and the site was a huge hit with fantastic Google rankings and views.
That same year she created private label consignment themed t-shirts and sold them wholesale to consignment shops across the country to sell at their stores.
In 2010, Collage was a finalist for the national NAWBO TrailBlazer award and also won ‘Retailer of the Year‘ by the Alabama Retail Association.
In October of 2012, in our 20th year in business, we moved the Vestavia Collage and Collage Plus Sizes into a larger space in the Vestavia City Center.
Earlier in the year we rebranded our business with a new logo and now we had a brand new, freshly renovated space to spread our wings and the space has been fantastic for our business and more importantly for our customers. They love the convenience next to Panera, Starbucks, Moes, Zoës, and the Egg and I and also the ‘Saks’ look of the new space.
We added a fantastic mens department in 2013 and renovated our flagship Homewood store that same year, too. Collage is poised for a fantastic next 20 years!
Thank YOU for making it possible for us to serve and get to know so many amazing people in our community over the last twenty something years.
Please come see what’s new at Collage.
What sets COLLAGE apart from the competition
- Personal attention from friendly sales staff
- NEW jewelry and accessories hand-selected by the owner from New York, Chicago and Atlanta
- Very selective of merchandise accepted for consignment
- Two convenient locations
- Special Curvy Girl department in Vestavia catering to women who wear size 16 and up
- MENS Department at the Vestavia City Center location of Collage
- Labels you love at 60% – 80% off retail prices!
- Over 500 prom, bridal, and social occasion gowns to choose from at the Vestavia City Center location
- State of the art technology
- Over 20 successful years in business – Since 1992
- Over 20,000 Happy Consignors who are making money on items they no longer want
- COLLAGE has been nationally recognized by NARTS, the national consignment industry trade association.
- COLLAGE was voted ‘#1 Women’s Boutique’ and ‘#1 Consignment Shop’ by readers of Birmingham Magazine and is listed in their ‘365 Things To Do in Birmingham’ list.
- Owner, Tracy True Dismukes, is Past-President of NARTS, the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops and ‘Retailer of the Year’ – Alabama Retail Association. She is also a founding member of the ARI Mastermind, the national Association for Resale Innovation, which meets semi-annually to learn best business practices from fellow successful, multi-location business owners.
- Tracy is a member of Hunter Street Baptist Church and has worked for the last 8 years with the 1 year old nursery and as administrator for her Sunday School class. She is married to Mike Dismukes and has two sons, Jeremy and Dalton, and she is lucky to have her mother, Celesta, living with her family as well.
- On behalf of our family and our 13 beautiful employees, thank you for supporting Collage with your business, your consignments and your love. We love you, too.