Learn how the new downtown consignment-like boutique is bringing more sustainability and individuality to the shopping community!
Meet Lauryn Schneider, a recent college graduate and new business owner stepping into her role as a local entrepreneur. Her dream of starting her business, Gatherings Collective, sparked in college while she was studying fashion at NDSU. As she worked on her senior project of creating a business, the idea of pursuing it outside of school became more realistic.
With inspiration from this college capstone project and a collection of skills from various classes and life experiences, Lauryn began molding together her business. She began with just a retail website in the fall of 2021, then moved to pop-up events during the winter of 2022 and finally in July, opened her first storefront in downtown Fargo. While it may seem like she has achieved a final goal, like most other entrepreneurs, she feels like she’s just starting.
Lauryn was heavily influenced by her childhood, where she remembers spending time with her loved ones adventuring to local garage sales, thrift stores and any other one-of-a-kind shopping stops. That, coupled with her passion for creating a more sustainable fashion industry, are what fueled Gatherings Collective.
“The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and we really need new leaders on both a local and a global level to help change that. So the fact that [my college program] started to incorporate that into every aspect of what we were learning was really cool,” Lauryn said. “That heightened my desire to live a more sustainable life, and all of these pieces just started to come together with this idea that I had for a thrift boutique.”
To create a shop with unique finds, that supports sustainable fashion, while still feeling like a curated and sorted place for everyone to shop was the goal for Lauryn; to get there would take time, trial and error, and passion— which Lauryn doesn’t lack.
She began building her inventory with clothing, accessories and small home good donations from family, friends, and even her own closet. Her stockpile became so large and has stayed consistent that she hasn’t had to go any other route to obtain merchandise. Everything in her shop is going from one loved home to another, and that’s part of what makes the shopping experience at Gatherings Collective so special.
“I took inspiration from a consignment shop or a vintage shop that has higher quality merchandise and merchandising, where you walk in and it’s a better feeling, but you still have the thrill of the hunt and the unique pieces from a thrift store,” Lauryn said. “Because that’s what people love, walking in and finding things amongst the racks. But there’s also something to be said for a clean environment, and having a space that doesn’t feel overwhelming… I took the experiences that I’ve had, working in a boutique with new merchandise and combined them with the thrifting and sustainability aspect. I then just created this idea of a store and started collecting merchandise.”
Since her items are secondhand, Lauryn doesn’t necessarily follow any hard fashion trends or styles in particular when going through donations. After doing a quality check to make sure they are in good condition, Lauryn said she has been lucky enough to be able to keep a lot of the items for the store.
“I’ve really tried to create an eclectic mix of styles. It’s really important to me to support individuality and inclusivity and fashion. And for that reason, I haven’t had to be too picky… I’m really thankful that I don’t have to be so specific. For example, saying that it has to be from this time period, or it has to look this certain way, be this certain color; and instead, I can just accept what comes to me and know that someone’s gonna get inspiration from it,” she said.
As most locally-owned businesses do in the community, Lauryn works with a handful of local vendors to showcase their work in her storefront. And even these collaborations follow Gatherings Collective’s mission of sustainability, individualism and community.
For example, she collaborated with Slow Burn, a natural candle-making business by artist Anna Macy to create their own line of candles. Using melted down, secondhand candles, Anna crafted them using her style to create beautiful, colorful pieces. Not only was this a fun project, but it promotes reusing materials and supports another local business. These kinds of projects, as well as featuring local products that support her mission, are what Lauryn has worked on and hopes to continue to as she settles and grows into her business downtown.
“I want to support them and I want the community to be a part of the store. As long as sustainability and individuality have something to do with it, I’m gonna love it.”
Her passion for sustainable, affordable and inclusive fashion can be seen all around the store, along with beautiful and eclectic pieces. Visit Gatherings Collective at 12 Broadway N, Fargo, and check out the website to see all available pieces at gatheringscollective.com