H. Leigh Toney has been the executive director of Miami Dade College’s Carrie Meek Entrepreneurial Center for more than a decade. During that time, she has seen hundreds of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs pass through the Liberty City center’s doors.
“I’m a girl and I like clothes and I wanted to be in business,” she explained during an interview at the boutique. Opening a business that would require the type of “intellectual horsepower” that she must expend at her “day job,” was not appealing, said Toney, an avid consignment shopper.
“I didn’t want to do that. I like to shop, I like clothes. I go to consignment shops. If I’m traveling in a city, I’m going to at least two consignment shops.”
Besides being a fun business, Toney said, owning a consignment shop is smart because it comes without the cost of inventory associated with other retail operations.
“People bring in the inventory, I do the marketing and the storage and the merchandising for their clothes and we split the proceeds 50/50. Everybody wins,” she explained. For the consumer, the shop provides access to gently used, really high quality clothing at a seriously discounted price.
Since opening three weeks ago, Leigh said customer feedback has been great.
“The very first person to walk in the door was practically jumping up and down. Everybody that comes, stays and talks. And they come back, which is great,” she said of the venture that she wants be more than just a store. Toney said that C3 plans to partner with other small businesses and will offer seminars and other opportunities to assist entrepreneurs. One such partnership already exists with jewelry designer Shonna Smith, of Cleshon Designs, whose jewelry is available for sale at C3.
Toney said that the shop’s clothing range from “at the low end, Macy’s, at the high end, Dolce and Gabbana.”
Her husband, Fredric Toney, who is the assistant director of Advisement/Career Services at Miami Dade College’s north campus said he’s responsible for the “heavy lifting” at C3. The couple spent their wedding anniversary at the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops Convention in Palm Beach last summer, where Leigh said the idea to open C3 was “crystallized.”
Leigh said C3 is a family affair. Savannah is so excited about the shop that she pitches the business to anybody, anywhere. A beloved nephew is temporarily running the store and it’s likely that Leigh and Fredric will spend future anniversaries at Resale conventions.
IF YOU GO
12735 Biscayne Blvd.
Photo: James Forbes/For South Florida Times
H. Leigh Toney