Tag Archives: consignment

Iowa Artist: Isabel Bloom

isabel bloom

Do you know Isabel Bloom?

Well, maybe you don’t know her … I don’t know her either, but I wish I did.

Maybe you are familiar with her work?

isabel bloom violet

{ This is Violet.  She is my favorite. }

Being born and raised in Iowa, and a fellow artist, I have a special place in my heart for Isabel Bloom and just want to share some details about her that I find fascinating.

Isabel Scherer Bloom

  • born in Galveston, Texas, in 1908.
  • moved to Davenport, Iowa, in 1909 and remained there for the rest of her life.
  • original education was in dressmaking and design.
  • started attending the Stone City Art Colony in 1932.
  • studied under Grant Wood.
  • met her future husband, John Bloom (also an artist), while at the Colony.
  • created and starred in a children’s program at the Davenport WOC television station for several years called “Make Believe” ( she made all the sets )
  • her figurines are crafted from the locally available materials of concrete and river stone.
  • she sculpted in their basement studio in her spare time, mixing her own cement with a shovel.
  • got her business started by submitting several concrete pieces to shops in Chicago
  • Hoops, a garden shop on Michigan Avenue, was the first American retail outlet for the Isabel Bloom figurine line.
  • by the early 60’s, she quickly outgrew her basement and rented studio space in an abandoned ice cream factory.
  • she maintained a studio, which became her shop, on Brown Street in the Village of East Davenport until 1981.
  • Bloom sold the shop to a group of Quad-Cities businessmen who expanded the retail chain on a national scale. The original storefront is still a staple of its quaint shopping district.
  • She continued to advise and promote the figurine company until her death at age 93 in 2001.

Living here in Iowa, we are fortunate to have access to an abundance of Isabel Bloom figurines.  Shoot, it’s practically a staple in the gardens & homes of local residents.

We are also extremely fortunate to receive several pieces on consignment at all of our Stuff locations.  At any given time, you can walk into our Davenport store and find at least a dozen pieces for sale in the case.  The extra special, often retired pieces are featured in our “Silent Auction” – like this one currently available:

{ Girl With Bird,  1ft 7in tall  – isn’t she beautiful? }

Here’s a little sample of what else is currently available in the case at the Davenport Stuff Etc …

Thanks for letting me share!  Perhaps you are an Isabel Bloom fan too?



Changing Our Ways

There is a whole lot of buzzing on the internet today about the MIT prediction “global economic crash; the next great depression”

But what caught my eye and got my wheels a turnin’ in my busy lil’ brain was a comment a friend posted today on facebook :

(hope you don’t mind me sharing Ashley)

“We need to be reducing, reusing, and recycling more than ever! MIT among other groups are predicting another “Great Depression” if we don’t change our ways. We are using too many of our resources at a rapid rate. I am trying to be greener in my everyday life: using less paper towels and using rags instead, I recycle everything I possibly can, repurposing things, taking advantage of consigning items we no longer use or donating them to Goodwill, and even though it isn’t the most efficient on gas…I am driving my 1998 Dodge Durango until I have to replace it. We need to quit living these materialistic lives and bring focus back to what is most important: our families and the future we are providing for our children. You don’t have to turn into a “tree hugger,” but start thinking collectively. Think about how your actions affect your future, others’ lives, the planet, the relationships that the US has with other countries, and so on.”

I think Ashley hit it on the head.  Nailed. It.

I’ve heard of “ethical consumerism” but my favorite term to date is


It’s true that consumerism makes the world go round.  Many believe and promote that the world will tank if we aren’t spending and buying and selling and money money money money.  And the interesting thing is MIT is predicting the opposite.   I say we just need to be smarter.

We all need to be smarter about how we spend, how we use our resources, how we are giving back and what we are leaving behind for our children.

Ashley mentioned steps that she has incorporated into her life and family.

Here is a link from Real Simple magazine that tells you how to recycle EVERYTHING!  I found it fascinating and inspiring.

Some may say it’s too much, too hard, too overwhelming …

But I say we have to start somewhere.  Pick one or two, five or ten …

but start somewhere.

And I would be amiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to say that consigning your  no-longer-needed-previously-loved clothing, furniture, and practically everything under your roof at Stuff Etc is an excellent first step.

Bring us your items and we will turn it into cash for you. I am addicted to this process!  Having four, constantly growing kids, I am always taking our things in to consign and turning it around to pick up the items my kids or home need now … all in one place.  And I didn’t spend any money.  I just recycled it.


So my friends … I ask you, what are you doing today?  What will you be doing tomorrow? How will you “start somewhere”?

The Ultimate Accessory

Is it safe to say that a designer handbag is a woman’s ultimate accessory?

I wouldn’t.  But my sister would … FOR! SURE!

One time I went to remove her handbag from a chair so that I might actually sit down … in a chair …  that I thought she was “saving” for me.  WRONG!

It was a chair that was being saved for her purse. And I quickly got a lesson in all the “bad mojo” that can occur from sitting a handbag such as hers on the floor.  Who knew?

Apparently a whole lot of other women know, because every where you look – on the street, magazines, online,  etc – there is always attention being given to “the bag”.  I have actually witnessed women stopping other women just to compliment a handbag and ask to touch it.  Who are these women?

They are our consignors.  AND our shoppers!

Check out these designer beauties that you can find RIGHT NOW in our stores:

{ at Coralville }

(cream– Fossil $59.99; tan – Coach $69.99; red– Gianni Bini $59.99)

{ at Davenport }

(red– David Pilner $39.99; gold – Coach, in silent auction, bids start at $75)

(both – Coach – in silent auction, bids start at $90 (silver-NEW) & $75 (blue)

{ at Iowa City }

(Stuart Weitzman, $65)

{ at Cedar Rapids }

{ at Waterloo }

(  spring floral , AMI , $16.99 )

And there is WAY more where those came from!

Baby sister … I’m thinking of you when I see that Betsey Johnson bag!

{ sshhh … don’t tell, but  I’m secretly crushing on that red Pilner … who knew?! }

Click here to find our five Stuff Etc locations!

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

You’ve heard the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”…


neither is a Stuff Etc,

but we’ve accomplished a lot in the last seven days!

Please excuse  my delay in posts.

I’ve been working with our new team at the Davenport store, opening on September 19th for consignors and October 10th for shoppers.  Putting a new store together is physically challenging but extremely rewarding to see it all come together.  We are so excited to share this new location with you and the entire Quad Cities area.

Here is a small glimpse into some of the progress we’ve made so far…

(installing the secondary sign over the receiving entrance)

(the street sign is up)

(all the fixtures, display units, supplies, etc as it was unloaded)

(the receiving counter has been built, now it needs some RED paint)

(Jose & Doug setting up the shelving)

(Greg & Adam moving jewelry cases)

(Rhea & Heather setting up the clothing rows)

(LuAnn moving/putting away THOUSANDS of hangers)

I promise to do my best to keep you up to date with our progress throughout the week.

Better yet…

Come see for  yourself next week when you drop off your consignments!

3568 Brady St, Davenport, Iowa  (563) 391-1000

Before It Was Stuff Etc…

Some of you die-hard Stuff lovers would remember this little blue gem on Keokuk St.  Just as our name said, we were strictly devoted to consigning and reselling just items for children.  We rented HALF of this building to start with, but we quickly outgrew the space and had to ask our neighbor if he would so kindly move out so we could have his half!  For almost 13 years we operated in this fashion, but our customers would often ask us if we would be willing to take other things.  In 1997, we moved to Pepperwood Plaza and changed our name to what you know today… “Stuff Etc”.  And the rest is history! 

Don’t forget to join us this Saturday, April 16th for our 26th Anniversary Sale & Celebration!  As our way of saying thanks, enjoy 26% off store-wide, excluding mattresses, free refreshments and door prizes given away every hour at all FIVE of our locations – Iowa City, Coralville, Waterloo and two stores in Cedar Rapids.

Did you know…??

Did you know Stuff Etc started out in 1985 as Kid’s Stuff in a 750 sq ft space in the back of a bar? A mother/daughter team made up of Pat Collins and Mary Sundblad, set out to sell other people’s used infant and kid items on consignment.  At the time, this was a rare concept and not widely recognized as a means of business, let alone something that could make money or people would even be interested in shopping.  Well, 26 years later, no one is questioning the Stuff Etc concept!  We’ve grown from this tiny kid’s resale shop to 5 department consignment stores ranging in size from our smallest store in Cedar Rapids at 23,000 sq ft to our largest in Coralville boasting two levels and 36,000 sq ft of quality used items.  We recently opened our first franchise store in Waterloo, with plans to open a Davenport and Des Moines location within the year.

Watch for more details on our 26th Anniversary Sale/Celebration coming on April 16th!

A Bit of a Shoe Crush

Since my daughter was 2 years old, anytime she’d meet a new person, the first thing she would do is look at their shoes…The FIRST. THING.  Now, this is not something I taught her to do, it’s just part of her nature.  It’s true!  Her love of shoes is part of her nature, and that, my friends, she inherited from me.  Of course, this inheritance can be seen as a curse, but you can learn to live with it and not go completely broke! And you don’t even have to suffer with “shoe envy” as long as you  shop consignment!!

Check out these name brand beauties I found at our Coralville location…

Brands such as Jessica Simpson,  Steve Madden, BCBG, Seychelles, and Breckelles. Not pictured here, but waiting for you,  are several pairs of Coach, Donald Pliner, Michael Kors, Gianni Bini, Kenneth Cole and so many more must haves!  Slide your pedicured tootsies into any pair of these, a quick glance at the price tag, and the rest is a no brainer…they’re going home with you!!

Has CR East Gone Mad?

They most certainly have!!  Crazy excited over their store changes.  Crazy excited over your SPRING stuff!!  They want your spring items so much, they’re willing to forgo our standard company procedures and let you bring it in ONE DAY (tomorrow) without making an appointment with NO LIMIT!!!  I know.  Shocking, right?  So before their craziness wears off, load up your car, minivan, SUV, box truck, whatever, and get all your goodies to Stuff Etc Cedar Rapids East (252 Blairs Ferry Rd NE) TOMORROW, Thursday, February 24th!  They open at 9am and close at 8pm.  Drop your stuff off anytime before 4pm and your givebacks will be ready to pick-up by 8pm that day.  AND an added BONUS… when you drop your stuff off, they’ll give you a 20% off coupon to shop the recently redesigned store good for Thursday only.  Still need more info?  Give ’em a call at 319-373-2380 and they’ll fill you in.

A Dress With Previous Experience

ex·pe·ri·ence  noun \ik-ˈspir-ē-ən(t)s\

something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through; : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge and skill               ~ Webster Dictionary

Sooooo….thanks to the definition provided by good ol Webster, one can deduce that Stuff Etc’s fabulous selection of formal dresses with “previous experience” is a good thing!  Prom is right around the corner, and it’s never too soon to start looking for a dress that will be the perfect fit and color, not to mention, be completely different from all the other dresses in the room.

A prom dress is a right of passage for a high school girl!  I saved up my prom experience and only attended my Senior Year.  I can remember every detail, stitch, and the way the vibrant purple satin felt on my body and how proud I was of its individuality – there wasn’t another one like it in the room… and I bought it at a small consignment shop in my home town for less than $100.  We at Stuff Etc appreciate the value placed upon selecting the garment that will accentuate your best features for such a memorable evening.  Therefore, we are collecting from all five locations and hand-picking some of the best dresses you’ll be able to find in this area (consignors that get their dresses from Chicago boutiques for example) for our Prom Event coming in February. Click here for more details. We will also have new dresses available that we selected straight out of a 2011 Prom Magazine (like the blue one you see here) for only $89.99!

Purchasing a dress with previous experience, according to Webster,  means you are gaining a dress with knowledge and skill.  And a fashion savvy, economically conscience  girl like you will also appreciate  gaining such a unique, skilled dress at an amazing price.  Again, setting you apart from all the other girls that maxed out their parents plastic or spent collective months of their barely there, after school paychecks.

Join us for our boutique Prom Event in IOWA CITY, Sunday Feb. 6th and in CEDAR RAPIDS, Sunday Feb. 13th from 1-3pm.  Click here for more details. Try-on & purchase dresses, jewelry and other accessories.  Bid to win one of the FIVE featured dresses in the LIVE auction.  Enter to win awesome door prizes from our sponsors like a free limo, up-do, floral orders, and restaurants just to name a few.  Don’t miss out on one or both of these unique opportunities to score the perfect dress for your perfect day (each event will have completely different dresses).

Everything But My Underwear!

This morning I got a very welcomed message from a shopper that made it to the Iowa City Half Price Sale on Saturday (two days ago).  It went a little something like this…  “GAWD!  I love Stuff Etc! I had so much fun getting dressed this morning and have so many new, cute combinations to wear this week.  Someone complimented me when I got to work this morning and I proudly proclaimed, “I got all of this at Stuff Etc this weekend!  In fact, everything on me, except my underwear, is from Stuff!  Gotta love consignment!” ~ Diane from Iowa City

Thanks, Diane, for sharing AND most of all, for shopping at Stuff Etc!  To the rest of you, be sure to stop in the Cedar Rapids East store this SATURDAY, Jan 14th from 8-5 so you can be like Diane … everything but your underwear!  I want to hear about it too!  Let’s see if we can get a testimonial for each sale this month!  Go Stuff Shoppers!