By Scott Elpers - Photography by Aaron Patton
With its minimalist look, Aerial in the heart of the Douglas Design District could easily be mistaken for a high-end designer clothing store.
It does carry designer wear – everything from Valentino to Tory Burch to Michael Kors – but each handbag, dress and pair of shoes at Aerial has a history looking for a new home.
“It’s an eclectic blend of styles,” said Renee Duxler, Aerial’s owner. “Wichita has consignment and resale shops, but nothing quite like this. I’d visit Kansas City, Tulsa and even Austin and they’d have these really cool, highly curated resale and consignment stores. I kept thinking I would love to have something like this in Wichita.”
Friends urged Duxler to pursue her passion and open a resale shop of her own. After 15 years in social work, she opened Aerial in October.
“I was trying to conceptualize what life after social work would look like, if I ever decided to make that transition,” she said. “I did my research. I did a business plan. Owning a business seems like a far stretch from social work, but it’s definitely not.”
With an extensive background in social work, Duxler had hands-on experience in marketing, budgets and making a return on investment. She was also an avid resale shopper herself.
On top of designer bags, shoes and clothes, Aerial carries “common brands,” like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Gap. Each piece is handpicked by Duxler, either by purchasing from resellers who come to Aerial or shopping for the clothes herself.
Aerial is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., but Duxler hopes to expand her hours in the future. She would also like to expand her business to offer closet organization and personal styling.
Nestled at 1716 E. Doulgas next to The Donut Whole, having Aerial’s location in the Douglas Design District was essential for Duxler.
“I love the location and the space. This whole area is becoming a walkable district,” Duxler said, who sits on the board of the Douglas Design District. “Everything in this area is definitely growing. All of the other small business owners are great. It’s hard to find a small business owner in this town who isn’t helpful and supportive 100 percent.”