About Evilena’s Red Dresser

Founder image

Evilena’s Red Dresser materialized after I spent 30 years in the field of nursing. I felt an urgency to leave nursing and start my own consignment business. I enrolled in an entrepreneur class through Governor State University along with Prairie State College and it was through that process that I was able to clarify the consignment business.

As a young girl, I was encouraged by my mother to re-purpose things around the house. My mother would encourage me to use what was in the basement to create anything I wanted out of things most people would throw away. She had an old dresser in the basement that a family member made, which I’ve painted and used many times. When I opened the consignment shop I painted it red, my favorite color and we use it in the store. That is how we named the store. Evilena, my mother, is now 100 years old and we celebrate her birthday each year at the store.

Evilena’s Red Dresser consignment shop is an eclectic mix of traditional, retro, vintage, rustic and upcycled furniture pieces and home decor. It is staged in a way that might inspire the shopper to use old or typical items in a new way.

Evilena’s II opened across the street at 20887 S. LaGrange Rd. on Feb. 12, 2014. It is now our current and only location. We have a mix of women’s clothing, jewelry, both costume jewelry and handmade, along with shoes, purses, as well as furniture, custom barn doors, and home decor. We are proud vendors of Farmhouse paint and ClingOn! Brushes for all your painting project needs. You can also find some salvaged items such as doors, windows, and hardware.

My goal is toward excellence, which is a constant work in progress. I aim to serve the community in the way that God is leading. Therefore, I have found it to be quite an organic business, moving, growing and ever changing….

Jan Sabey

After 30 years in the field of nursing, I searched for a different way to serve the community. After attending a variety of classes and community groups, sought guidance from God and many business professionals, I decided a consignment shop could be a way to truly help people in a down economy. I was seeing people walk away from all of their possessions in a foreclosed home when the economy crashed in 2008. I thought consignment could be a place they could sell their items and make a little money rather than just walk away. I wanted to help people through transition of moving out for the first time, downsizing in retirement, new baby, death of a parent, or just relocating. There are so many reasons that cause people to be in transition and it creates the need to buy something more appropriate, or sell something no longer needed or useful.

When raising my 3 children, garbage picking, going to garage sales and flea markets became part of the summer weekly entertainment. We would find little things for the house, and a few toys too! The hunt was always fun, and the prices were fantastic!

With my business, I wanted to inspire customers to combine a variety of styles, eras and colors, using what they already own and supplementing with used items. I wanted to show customers how to use inexpensive items, alongside quality pieces, both new and old and create a comfortable space. Since the price of goods in consignment is far less than retail, a home could truly be furnished beautifully on a tight budget.

I believe order and simplification in our lives helps to decrease stress, and also create or maintain a certain level of peace and contentment. We have proven over the years that you can have a well functioning and beautifully designed home on a very low budget. And by buying resale, we are all contributing to the quality of our earth by not putting these items in the landfill. We are indeed extending the life of an item by using it in a creative new way, changing it’s purpose or appearance, and teaching those around us the true meaning of recycling!

So that’s why I chose consignment, Here is why I chose the name…

I chose to name the store after my mother, Evilena, who was 91 when I first opened in August of 2009. She was the thrifty influence in my life. My mother recycled everything before it was given the name recycling, and never wasted a thing. We created projects from anything we found, which was usually in the basement organized by type of object. We literally bought next to nothing. I believe this is why I love to be creative and always feel there is an answer or a way to solve any problem.

The other part of the name of the store came about because my favorite color was always red, (that seems to be finally changing) and I have always loved painting,refinishing or reupholstering furniture. Then, I realized that I still had a dresser from when I was young that someone in the family made, so we painted it red and it sits in the store. Hence the name, Evilena’s Red Dresser.

Mom, Evilena, passed away at the age of 101.5, on Oct.24, 2018. Naming the store after her turned out to be a far bigger blessing to me, and I think her, than I ever could have imagined. She had no concept as to why I would ever leave the field of nursing and open a “what kind of shop?”

But once she saw the sign go up outside the building, we both got choked up. My mom was simple, steadfast, and very mindful. She was practical, good with numbers and forgot nothing. Even at 101. So over the past 10 years, we decided to celebrate Mom’s birthday at the store each year. Strangers would come and wish her well. Family would come like it was an open house type thing. We would have cookies, cake, coffee, balloons, and flowers. I told her “it’s kind of a marketing thing, mom…..is that bad?” And she would say, “I don’t care! Do what every you want to do!” And she really seemed to enjoy it. She would pop in on Saturdays in the beginning and sit for a few hours and watch and listen. She helped me paint frames for chalk boards by holding on to the table with one hand and painting with the other, and move her way around the table to reach the big frames. She used to love those types of projects when she was young.

She also seemed to enjoy talking business with me, and said she wished she could help me more, and would have liked working in the store if she was younger and able. We held a 100 year old party for her at the store and the newspaper came and photos were taken and an article was written about her. In fact she was on the cover of a local magazine, and there were many articles written about her because of my store and I think she really felt special. Like a little celebrity. She once commented that her 101st birthday in my store was her favorite. She had more fun! We had expanded so we had more room for guests to visit. We hired a harpist. She loved flowers so we loaded an area with flowers, my sister in law made a sweet table, and we had a beautiful cake. So many of her family, friends, and customers visited with her, she was like a queen!

It really wasn’t about marketing after the first year, although we would joke about that, it became more about honoring mom and making her feel special. Seeing her face light up when the customers would begin singing happy birthday as she walked through the front door with her walker was absolutely priceless. Who knew ? I guess God knew!

Over the years we have created events at the store in order to give back to the community, or just enjoy learning something new and gathering for fun and fellowship. We have supported a number of organizations over the years, but most recently hosted a fashion show to benefit the LWSRA, and for 2 consecutive years we hosted a Garden Walk to benefit the Conservation Foundation. In the early years we supported a Christian boarding school for troubled teens. We have promoted Tracy DeGraaf in her comedy and speaking ministry, The Teen Bridge Center, The Bobby Noonan Schools, Love Inc, and others. Through my own personal experiences, I have developed a strong faith in God. One day I decided to create a prayer corner, where customers can write a prayer or take one. We also give away free Bibles.

Denise Lough with The Room Designer, has worked with me since day 1. She is an interior stylist and is for hire to help you style your own home. Denise was integral in getting my business off the ground with her expertise in using an eclectic mix of decor to design any space.

In 2015 we expanded across the street and began consigning and selling women’s apparel as well as furniture and home decor. In 2016 we closed the first store. In 2018 we expanded and continue to sell furniture, home decor, women’s apparel and accessories, and host a variety of classes and events. We are active on Facebook and instagram, have a large email base, and you are looking at our new website which includes our new online catalog.

I am so grateful for all of our customers and consignors, and have new people stopping in every day. We do our best to serve you well, and no appointments are needed except for furniture. Please see the How to Consign for more details! We look forward to see you soon!