Lara Spencer

0
1125

To Lara Spencer, clothes are about much more than clothes.

In her newest role as the manager and re-imaginer at Gold Mine Consign, a consignment store in Ketchum that supports the mission of The Community Library, it’s all about connection.

Lara has created a space downtown that not only offers stylish, affordable clothing, but a place to sit, chat, relax, regroup and, yes, connect. Lara explained, “To me, clothing is a vehicle to talk about inspiration and a woman’s soul. That vehicle allows me to get a deeper connection to women. Yes, I love to dress women and help them look and feel their best, but the bigger picture is I have always been something like a counselor to the Valley, too.”

To Lara, clothing is a conduit to conversation, a way to reach out. “Fashion is a vehicle for inner truth. I like to think of it as caring beyond clothes.”

Laura and her mom, Dottie Spencer, in 2008. Photo courtesy of Lara Spencer

The timing of Lara’s new job working with and for the library seems meant-to-be for her. She lost her mother, Dottie Spencer, a beloved longtime local, on Dec. 3, shortly after the re-launch of Gold Mine Consign.

“I found out that the library had been kind of a haven for my mother as she struggled with dementia,” said Lara. “There, she found companionship and a warm chair by the fire. Now, all these years later, I feel like I can give back to this wonderful place that does so much to serve the community in so many ways. I was given this gift to be able to create this space for mothers and daughters and all the women in our Valley.  It is not just a job. I am living my life’s purpose.  It is very grounding.”

It was from Dottie that Lara developed a passion for fashion. While the Fairbanks, Alaska, native loved growing up in such a stunning place, there was not a lot of shopping to be had.

“My mom was always a fashionista,” Lara explained. “When we needed clothes, Mom and I would fly down to Seattle and shop with a personal shopper at Nordstroms after the store closed. That’s where it all began. That’s where I learned not only what I loved to wear, what was beautiful, interesting and unique, but also to connect. In those after-hours shopping trips, my mom and I had deep conversations in the fitting rooms. It was a unique space, a unique moment in time.”

Lara’s love for fashion took her to Seattle to school for fashion design and merchandising before she was hired by Major League Baseball to help create the vision for Safeco Field, working to put excellent retail options into the stadium.

Lara Spencer. Photo courtesy of Lara Spencer

“Adding team shirts that actually were cut for women doesn’t sound ground-breaking, but it was,” she laughed. And while she cut her teeth in a corporate world, Lara was always a thrift shopper at heart. She explained, “When I was a kid, I was all about finding the cool piece no one had.”

When she moved to the Wood River Valley and opened the iconic Dollhouse in Hailey, this passion, and her love for sharing it, made going to work a joy. It was also at The Dollhouse that she discovered her superpower.

“I’m actually an amazing stylist,” Lara confided. “I can just look at a woman’s figure, go to the rack and find the exact jeans or piece that fit perfectly and look fantastic. People can’t believe it. I am bringing this superpower to all the women of the Wood River Valley at Gold Mine Consign which, by the way, I am nicknaming GMC.”

Since the shop’s reinvention, everyone is raving. “The width of inventory is fantastic,” Lara enthused. “We are carrying brands from H & M to Valentino, in size 00 to plus sizes—literally something for everyone. I love that we are able to offer a simple denim skirt that someone might need for work, to a black-tie gown for a memorable event. It’s all at the right price, too.”

The future looks as bright as the selection of items and level of service at GMC and Lara is thinking big.

“I hope to expand floor space and expand the parameters of what we do. I’m not sure what that will look like, but want to be a resource like the online consignment retailers that are so popular right now, selling affordable luxury and style. I am taking the pulse of the community, figuring out what people want and need, and it is my goal to provide that.”

Lara also emphasized that she is not only putting great clothing on people’s bodies, but is also putting money back in people’s pockets.

“To me, it’s all about a spirit of collaboration and connection,” she said. “This is a super-positive place where we can all help each other. For the months of December and January, to date, we paid out more money into the community than has ever been done in this business before. Our consigners receive 50 percent of every sale and can use it to shop at the store or as a check. It’s very empowering for the consigners and our shoppers to know they are supporting the library’s amazing programs and also their neighbors. I couldn’t do my job and provide this service without the support of the community and I am grateful for it.”

Five questions for Lara:

What’s the best way to play in the Wood River Valley?

The best days are spent floating the Bigwood. I love to put a tube in in Bellevue, float for ten minutes or so, and when it gets shallow just stay there and let the water run over my feet.

What’s your go-to date night spot (with husband Jamie Canfield)?

I like to go to the movies.  Because I vibrate on a high level it helps me relax.  The best movie I saw this year was The Joker.

What do you consider yourself an expert in?

I am an expert in inspiring others.

Word has it you have a pretty unique ride?

Yes! Everyone knows the Thunder Bunny. I first painted her to advertise The Dollhouse way before people were putting advertising on their cars. I guess I will need a new ride eventually but I really like to live out loud with this one.

What’s your favorite section in the library to check books out from?

I don’t really have a favorite section but my favorite book of my life that I read and read and read over is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I love it so much I am getting a tattoo of “Howard Roark laughed”.

No matter where you live in the valley, it’s worth your time to pop into GMC, grab a seat, warm up, say hi to Lara, check out the designer picks at locals’ prices, and let her work her superpowers on your wardrobe and your life. Whether you have a party to go to or are just looking to freshen up your wardrobe, chances are you’ll walk out with something in hand. And just think … it’s all for a great cause. Gold Mine Consign is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 591 Fourth Street East in Ketchum. If you need more information or want to set up a time to talk about consigning your items, call 208-726-5544.

This is a new weekly feature in the WRW. If you would like to recommend someone that the community should get to know better, please email us at production@woodriverweekly.com with the subject line Someone to Meet.