In listening to Cathleen Jones discuss her love for recycled items left at the wayside, it’s difficult to believe that she once was unhappy with her life.
Like many Americans, she had lived the 9-to-5 lifestyle that helped pay the bills, but Jones was left craving more. She wanted out of the nice, neat box that had consumed her life and well being.
Jones, 36, had worked in multiple industries since age 15 that allowed her nothing more than to make ends meet. Her passion started with art, leading to her studies in graphic design and illustration at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
But Jones’ role model, her father, discouraged her because of the “starving artist” societal mentality. She still admired her father because he worked at least two steady jobs his entire life, providing for their family in upstate New York.
She left behind experiences in the food, funeral home and pharmaceutical industries; multiple municipality departments; and a gas attendant position at Conoco. Jones wanted a life that was more about happiness than money. After a year of research and developing a business plan, she opened White Clover Recycled Apparel, a women’s clothing and accessories consignment boutique in Independence’s Marketplace Shopping Center on Noland Road, on May 16.
In 2008, Jones contemplated her life and bought some inspirational books. Inside one, she read a quote from Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister: “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“The battle has been with myself in that I’m not doing what is passionate within me,” Jones said. “I was doing a lot more to make a buck, and it was about the salary.”
Trash is Jones’ guilty pleasure, she admits, speaking how much she loves seeing the before-and-after effect of recycled items. Once, Jones found an old, discarded bar table in Kansas City’s bulky item collection program, a municipal program that allows residents to dispose large household items. She stored the bar inside her garage for several years, reassuring her weary, irritated husband that “It has a purpose. I’m just not sure what its purpose is yet.”
She now sits in a once-thrown-away chair behind the rescued bar that functions as White Clover’s checkout counter. A single tealight candle burned inside a Goodwill candle holder with the 99-cent price tag still intact, almost symbolic of the ambiance it provided the business.
White Clover Recycled Apparel accepts gently used and never-worn women’s apparel and accessories for consignment. When items sell, consignors will receive 50 percent in store credit or 40 percent in cash of the store-set sale price. Business hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.whitecloverkc.com.
Jones cautions aspiring business owners that they cannot tell everyone their dreams because many choose to live within “that box of safety.” That never stopped her, though. She can hardly express the excitement that’s renewed within her.
“I’m happier. I have more energy,” Jones said. “Even when I don’t have sleep, I feel like I have more sleep.”
Almost like her business that aims to breathe life again into old possessions.