Second-hand Story: Resale Clothier Model Citizens Gets a New Owner

The Owner-founder of Model Citizens Has Sold Her Store to Her Long-standing Sidekick

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When someone sells a clothing shop to someone else, does that make it a second-hand store?

Downtown favourite Model Citizens, purveyor of vintage, contemporary, and designer resale clothing, is undergoing a change in ownership. Its first owner, Chelsey Paterson, has sold the spot to her long-time second-in-command Mari-Lynn Taylor.

Paterson, who is also a full-time business instructor, is happy to pass the fashion reins to her protégé. “It seemed like the perfect time for me to pivot, and pursue some Masters-level educational and employment opportunities with a focus in social entrepreneurship.”

“Being an entrepreneur is a funny thing: you build something up that is incredibly personal, values-oriented, and you develop relationships that you cherish,” she says.“But as an entrepreneur, when you build a business, you must often then allow it to grow beyond you … kind of like raising a family. I am so proud of Model Citizens and I cannot wait to see it evolve and grow. And I have a billion more ideas. Entrepreneurs never stop. It’s a blessing and a curse.”

Since January, the transition has been smooth for new owner Mari-Lynn. “Life was happening for the both of us, and this move made sense,” she says. “It was the next step.”

“Mari-Lynn has been with Model Citizens since the beginning, and the transition has been very organic,” says Paterson.“She is smart and savvy, and intimately understands Model Citizens. We are best friends and I cannot think of another person in the world who would care for that business and its customers like Mari-Lynn.”

The friendship/partnership started with a chance meeting. “She was new in town and had just opened up Model Citizens,” says Taylor, who shares Paterson’s passion for people and clothes.“She was living the dream in my eyes. I connected with her instantly and was working there the next month. The rest is history.”

“We’ve been shopping in NYC for the last seven years, hand-picking every item for the store,” says Taylor. “Some items are brand new with original tags, from high-end department stores like Bloomingdales, or Saks. Some items are mint condition pieces from the past that are currently on trend. Sometimes you’ll find last season’s Prada coat, maybe worn once. Fashion is a cycle and we curate the best collection around that’s happening.”

“We are working on catering to a variety of sizes and price points … We take customer requests, you can make an appointment with me to be styled.”
“As for future plans, they are pretty simple,” says Taylor. “We want to keep bringing the best selection of vintage and designer resale, to the best people— our fashion-forward, creative, generally deadly clients.”

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