What’s better than one? Two. At least for sisters-in-law Megan Podolsky (pictured above right) and Katie Coslov. Not only did they purchase Mint Condition, a favorite Old Town Alexandria consignment boutique, in August 2019, but they also opened a new concept next door a year later—amid the pandemic, no less.
“There was a point where Meg and I thought, how the heck are we going to navigate this?” shares Coslov, who’s married to Podolsky’s brother, Ryan, and gave birth to her second child in the midst of it all. “When life gives you lemons, we made it into lemon-infused vodka spritzers.”
We’d like to think those cocktails are topped with mint leaves, or the pair had that in mind when they debuted their latest spot. Dubbed Mint Collective, the 300-square-foot space is filled with their favorite things. “We are bringing new brands to Old Town that are approachable to your style and wallet,” says Podolsky, also the owner of nearby upscale children’s store 529 Kids Consign, wife and mother of three. It’s the ideal complement to Mint Condition. “It simply completes our motto of
#shopconsignrepeat. We want to encourage our community to shop local, consign local and then repeat.”
It all began when Mint Condition’s former owner, Toni Henderson, presented Podolsky with the sale pre-market. It was an offer the Alexandria resident couldn’t pass up, and she knew Coslov, who lives in Fort Hunt, was the business partner for her. (Born in San Antonio, Texas, Coslov has a background in retail and consumer sciences, has a minor in business and has worked with Louis Vuitton. Podolsky hails from Pittsburgh and was a communications major whose fashion career started in the buying office of Hecht’s.) They got lucky again when the space next door went up for lease, allowing them to grow their retail concept.
It’s a good thing they like to shop together—virtually and in person. A recent family trip to North Carolina’s Outer Banks saw them scouting new brands for the boutique that fit the casual-chic, work-from-home vibe many women are embracing this fall, according to Podolsky. They’re carrying pieces from Pistola Denim and Charlie Holiday and have sold out of nearly every shipment. But the local labels are where their loyalties lie: custom masks from Dmaran and Tulusa and mask chains from Fifty-Two Thursdays. Coslov loves the homemade candles from CMS Supply Co. “We’re particularly partial to the Mint Julep,” she says. They even sell original abstracts from Podolsky’s mother, artist Cindy Wallace.
It’s truly a family affair. “It’s so fun,” Podolsky says. “But sometimes I think we drive our husbands crazy. Dinners turn into business meetings that turn into a virtual buying trip.”
Coslov adds: “Megan and I know our strengths and weaknesses. We cater to those and work very well as a team. I’d like to say we’re a dream team! We are in different stages of our lives, but we have a lot of common ground. We use that to our advantage for our customer: [There’s] something for everyone.”
Their client base spans the U.S., thanks to Instagram—though they admit they wouldn’t exist without their local customers. Their Old Town address is a benefit, too. “We’re right next to a Starbucks and a Bluemercury and get a ton of foot traffic,” Coslov says. When they’re not at Mint, you might find them picking up sushi from Momo (they’re regulars), sipping margaritas at Urbano 116 or admiring the footwork at The Shoe Hive.
This sense of community has helped them in the face of the pandemic. “It keeps us going,” says Coslov. “People still want to feel a sense of normalcy, and I’m happy we have a safe place for women to come and feel good again.”
They always have ideas for what’s next. They’ve played with the idea of men’s consignment—they think Old Town needs more for the fellas. Maybe they’ll squeeze in some relaxation with another OBX trip. Whatever they’re doing, we’re toasting their newly minted success.