New Downtown Bangor Consignment Shop Has Neat Name And Sells Cool Stuff
Quietly and without much fanfare, a really cool new consignment shop opened in a building in downtown Bangor, appropriately on Small Business Saturday, of all days.
Red Rabbit Bazaar is the brainchild of Maine native Cara Oleksyk.
"This is just the beginning. Currently, the consignment books are open and Red Rabbit Bazaar is offering vintage & modern apparel and accessories for all bodies. As our inventory builds, we plan on bringing a garment district-style pay-by-the-pound picking area. The aim is to be as economically inclusive as possible. We also want to help folks let go of what is no longer serving them, so they can make more room for things that bring them joy."
Oleksyk came to the world of consignment early on in life.
"I grew up part-time on a small farm In Frankfort, ME. My early jobs were raking blueberries and working on an organic farm. While I was a student at Bangor High School, I joined the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international initiative geared towards supporting garment workers. It was as if I was loosely aware of the importance of sustainability long before I understood the practice and [its] implications. "
Through the years, the area of downtown Bangor became familiar stomping grounds for Oleksyk.
"I frequented downtown Bangor businesses as a teen. I bought my first pair of Dickies pants at the Army Surplus Store on Main Street; thrifted my first grunge granny sweater at the Goodwill on the corner of Union and Short St.; and got curious about clothing materials and styles at The Grasshopper Shop."
Taking her cues from an older member of her family, Oleksyk started to really hone her style.
"It was my great-grandmother who inspired my passion for vintage apparel, adornments, and home decor. She was an artist and a teacher and built an amazing jewelry and tin collection. I helped clean out her home when it was time for her to move on. No matter where I lived after that, a few of her pieces always traveled with me."
"With help from a few key people, including Betsy Lundy from the Downtown Business Partnership, I began scouting out locations for a brick & mortar shop this past summer."
"I think Bangor was just ready for a used clothing market. I don’t know how else to explain it really."
"I REALLY lucked out with my neighbor, UniKue & OriJinal’s. They house an amazing collection of vendors selling preloved household items, which is a perfect complement to our inventory at Red Rabbit Bazaar."
If you want to know how the shop got its name, well, it's kind of cool and complex, very much like the items Oleksyk has for sale within it.
"My first pet was a rabbit. The first animal hide I ever preserved was a rabbit. My nickname in my 20s was Rabbit. Rabbits live in underground, interconnected tunnel systems called warrens. We are all interconnected and interdependent. I am more able to experience my humanity because you are also experiencing your humanity. The pandemic put the truth of interconnection into laser focus."
"Symbolically, rabbits are considered to be Psychopomps, serving as liaisons or guides between planes of existence. In the big system of the fashion industry, businesses like Red Rabbit Bazaar operate outside of the assembly-line, linear supply chain. We are here to help steward the story of stuff and create more circular economies. It’s not that one modality is better than the other though; there’s room for all of it. And there’s also room for improvement and evolution."
"Red is the color of love, passion, and lifeblood. Downtown Bangor is a heart, not to say it is the only cultural focal point in our city, but it is the one I feel most connected to. Red Rabbit Bazaar is my opportunity to give back to the downtown community that so freely gave to me."
Oleksyk says she will have a grand opening next month and invites everyone to come in and check out the newly renovated space.
"Red Rabbit Bazaar is celebrating its Grand Opening with an event on Friday, December 16th, 5-8 PM. We’ll have some specials on inventory and also feature performances by a local vintage burlesque troupe with Eye Candy Studios (our upstairs neighbor)."
"Next year, we will introduce USA-made clothing lines to the racks and also launch basic sewing repair and darning classes. I believe we deserve a closer connection to the production of our goods and also knowing how to extend the life and use of those items. Our motto is: together, we can reduce the waste stream one outfit at a time… and we can do it in style."
For the Holiday Season, the Red Rabbit Bazaar will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Fridays & Saturdays from 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sundays from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Welcome to town, Red Rabbit Bazaar.