“It’s something that I’ve always loved,” says Ashley Gillit, the owner, co-founder, and sole employee of Ashley’s Attic. “Fashion, clothes, shopping, thrifting, being thrifty… so after life experiences, (college, marriage, children, moving) my mom and I decided to just start our own store and see what happens. We figured we would either do well or fail miserably—at least we tried.”
Gillet and her mother accomplished their dream. Ashley’s Attic stands just off the Colorado College campus on North Tejon St., centered between Campus Safety and Wooglin’s Deli, and advertises itself as a “quirky, eclectic, affordable boutique.”
While nondescript on the outside, the inside of Ashley’s Attic holds a very warm and inviting atmosphere. The interesting collection of decorations throughout the store is all supplied directly from Gillit’s house, and the wine-bottle light fixtures were handcrafted by her father.
“It’s an easy place to feel relaxed in,” says Christian Kennedy, a freshman. “I had no idea that we had a little clothing shop so close to us, but I’m really glad I stumbled upon it. I was in desperate need of a new belt, and the owner was not only friendly and very helpful, but she didn’t judge my willingness to buy a women’s belt!”
Ashley’s Attic serves as a great resource for students to find certain items of clothing they may need replaced, or to find funky flair, or some unique jewelry. Since it also functions as a consignment shop, students are able to sell their clothing and earn some instant cash or store credit, provided the clothes are in season and in good condition.
“I buy the items from you, so you just call or Facebook message and make an appointment with me to let me know when you’re coming in,” explains Gillit. “Then, I’ll go through your items and purchase them from you.”
She wants to encourage more students to stop by the store and check it out. “College students are fun,” she jokes. “You guys keep me young even though I am young!”
Surprisingly, only about 25 percent of the local business comes from CC, and the majority of that is made up of staff and faculty. While Ashley’s Attic seems to be thriving, extra support from our college would be a great help for the relatively new family-run business.
“This summer will mark three years for the shop,” says Gillit. “I would say we’re doing well… we’re paying rent, so that is the number one goal. And I enjoy working—I get to meet all kinds of people, so it’s just a great experience.”
Gillit is actually a native of Colorado Springs. “[This city] is home to us, so it just made sense to set up here because this is where we wanted to live and where we wanted to be,” she describes. At the same time, the process of setting up and scheduling in a new business required significant change in Gillit‘s life.
“I was an assistant store manager for corporate retail for a while, so when we decided to do this I had to step down from [my] position and instead work a smaller one from Monday-Thursday, so I could then work at Ashley’s Attic on both Friday and Saturday,” says Gillit. “What we were trying to do is still have an income for me and my family while getting this started; we wanted to get it launched off the ground by doing a couple days of the week. Then we were going to expand, but I got pregnant with my first child.”
The birth of Gillit’s son made the unique schedule of Ashley’s Attic more permanent. At the moment, the store only opens on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. While this seems challenging for a small business, the family has managed to stay afloat, and has actually even seen some benefits from such a small operating time.
“It has built unexpected exclusivity to this place,” claims Gillit. That being said, she still hopes to shift into a more full-time schedule in a couple of years when her son goes off to kindergarten.
“I’m the only one who works here so this store is also my baby,” she says. “I can’t really let go.”
Ashley’s Attic has become an essential and valued part of the Colorado Springs community for those who are aware of it; however, its ultimate success is reliant on the customer’s spreading awareness.
“Marketing and advertising is all really expensive, and I feel like that would affect a lot if I dive into it, so I’m really just clinging onto word of mouth to help me grow more organically,” says Gillit.
To show support of Ashley’s Attic and the wonderful woman and family behind it, you can like the ‘Ashley’s Attic’ Facebook page or follow the store on Instagram (@ashleys.attic). Also, be sure to stop in and say hello—the business is definitely close enough.
For more on Ashley’s Attic, see Colorado Springs Connectoin on pg. 16