Chatting with MISRED's Erica Diffee

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A weekly series of interviews featuring people of St. Pete from all walks of life with the goal of showcasing and sparking an interest in the local community. Report conducted by Matt Thompson, Nick Napoli, and Chris Moore as part of a senior year service learning project at Eckerd College.

iLovetheBurg: Tell us about MISRED.

Erica Diffee: I am a sales associate as well as a stylist. While I am on the floor I am not only managing the floor and making the sales but im also helping people that come in. We get a lot of women that come in and say I need a dress for an interview or I need a dress for a wedding. And that is when I get really involved with the customer and I sit there and say well this is your shape, lets try this kind of dress. It is such a great feeling to see her coming out of the dressing room with this perfect dress on and you can tell she feels happy and you can tell she feels great. That’s one thing I love about working at MISRED-- you get this customer connection that you don’t get at a big retail store. People come in and we will do measurements, we will help with colors.

ILTB: Where do you get all of the great second hand clothing, and how does that process work?

ED: It is a really interesting process. We get a lot of pieces from buying. We get some young girls that say, "This is from my grandmothers attic, what do I do with it?” Or you get husbands that are getting this stuff out of their wives closet: “TAKE THIS!” Or people who are moving and say, “I can’t possibly take this.” I buy certain things and my co-workers buy certain things and that’s what creates such a diversity of selections.

ILTB: How many people work at MISRED?

ED: Three people and Sarah, the owner. She is the manager and takes care of everything.

ILTB: Who do you donate your clothes to, and how does that process work?

ED: With the buy, sell, trade, we get customers that come in with boxes and she takes maybe three or four items. But the customer donating doesn’t want the items back, so we will often donate them. We donate mostly to CASA on 1st Avenue N, and it is literally right behind us. We are constantly making trips over there and we love donating clothes to them because they are a great organization.

(CASA is a non-profit against domestive abuse and violence.)

ILTB: Is there a general style of St. Petersburg and the downtown area? How is MISRED a part of that?

ED: Downtown St. Pete is very interesting, because there are many different groups especially if you’re on Central. The 600 block is great because it's all local businesses and it’s all open for retail. Vintage is the biggest clothing industry in St. Pete. Five years ago, there weren’t any vintage shops in St. Pete, and now you have MISRED, ArtPool and all these little ones popping up. So, vintage is really becoming integrated into the style because St. Pete is really building that eclectic vibe and people love vintage. They love that one of a kind piece that they'll wear and feel special and know it. We have some fun pieces and they love that. I would definitely say it’s more of an artsy, eclectic downtown style. 

ILTB: You mentioned the 600 Block and I want to ask you a little more about that and the uniqueness of it, and how that fits in to the downtown St. Pete area?

ED: Well, the 600 Block is its own community in itself with its own group events. We do fashion shows, the indie market, and we all support each other. So, we are our own community and we are definitely supportive of everyone. We are trying to connect and build that community along Central Avenue so that it's not just about my business but everyone's business. 

ILTB: Is there anything MISRED is doing soon that's exciting, maybe new?

ED: We do have a lot of things that are great. Last spring, we implemented a new line that's been blowing up, and we just launched the fall one. So, that's something that we are going to keep pushing. It's been a huge portion of our profit over the last few weeks. My boss has wonderful secret ideas that I can't disclose, but she's working really hard and it's going to be awesome. Anything we do with the Reconstruction line is all local materials and done by local seamstresses. She is really big on the local community!

Check out the entire MISRED Reconstructed line on their website: Make sure to follow them on Facebook for daily updates and outfit ideas. And more information about the 600 Block can be found here:

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