When All You Can Think About is Fashion

A life in the fashion industry to owning your own store

What are you dreaming about these days? Are you dreaming at all? Sometimes we tend to forget our dreams. Not the ones we have during the night – mind you – those tend to fade rather quickly. No, the ones we have during the day; the ones we aspire to.

Aleisha Yanagawa is following her dreams. Being unique, embracing trends and having fun with clothes as always been her thing but, now, she is following a new dream: the dream of being a businesswoman, of owning her own store, and to bring fashion, through sustainability, to Gilbert.

It is not easy sometimes. Starting something new is not without challenges. The journey is fraught will peril! Planning, financing, legal documents, permits to obtain, working with contractors and architects. Being a single mom of two teenage girls is already a full-time occupation. Being an entrepreneur and a role model requires strength and character.

Aleisha will admit that it is not something that comes naturally for her. She prefers a less confrontational approach when dealing with people. She had to learn to be able to assert herself. Learn to be able to earn respect by being clear about the direction she wants her store to take. She relied on her experience working for Uptown Cheapskate in Chandler starting in 2016 for that.

You can tell she can be fierce. After starting at the dressing room, she worked her way to buyer within a year. She loves new trends, but also as an eye for upcycling.  Did you know that 80s fashion was back in style this year?

Aleisha dove right in. After retaining the rights to Uptown Cheapskate for Gilbert in September 2021, she signed her lease in December and started building her store in January. While construction was not impacted by the lack of building supplies, she did have to iron out some differences between architects and learn to navigate the world of business contractors.

Originally slated to open in June, her soft opening was pushed back to July then to August. Hopefully, things will go well, and she can look forward to smooth sailing during the fall and winter seasons. Only a few last-minute hurdles to overcome, nothing that be handled … right?

Things are coming together. She already as some inventory, but is looking for more. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the practice, upcycling offers a sustainable way to refresh your closet by turning in things you do not wear and trade them for cash, some new clothes, or accessories.

Uptown will purchase men's and women’s clothing that are in great condition and current style. The better the quality, the more you can get in either cash or trade – just make sure that what you bring is freshly laundered and ready to wear.

Upcycling is a great concept. Not only is it a great way to refresh your look, it also has a positive impact on your future. Reusing helps reduce pollution, supports your local economy, conserves water, and energy. It is a socially conscious way to return to a simpler time when barter was the main engine of economic growth.  

Aleisha anticipates having her Grand Opening in September…so keep an eye out and stop in to find some great clothes at a great price!

Uptown Cheapskate – Gilbert

919 N. Val Vista Drive, Suite 107

Gilbert, Arizona 85234

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