Fashion has always been an important part in Alesha Bowman’s life. Through going thrift shopping growing up, she acquired a huge collection of clothing. So, she thought, “What if I opened up my own thrift store?” And she did.
Bowman opened UnLESHed+, the only thrift and resale store in Kansas City that caters primarily to women sizes 14 and up.
Bowman curates affordable new, used and vintage clothing and also provides private shopping sessions. Customers can also sell clothing items to UnLESHed+ for up to 30% of their resale value or swap their items for in-store items.
“It grew from something that I needed, to being a safe space and a safe haven for so many more women,” Bowman said. “Our whole goal is to build community, build confidence and build self-love amongst plus-size women in Kansas City and beyond.”
Bowman began UnLESHed+ online, then transitioned to a building on 27th and Troost Avenue, then a small, narrow space on 39th and Troost Avenue.
That’s when producers from the “The Ellen Degeneres Show” noticed the generous work Bowman was doing for the community. Despite having to break into her own savings to keep her store open during the pandemic, she worked to raise money to help local Black teachers and made care packages for protesters after George Floyd’s death last summer.
Via Zoom, Bowman was a guest on the Degeneres’ show last October and the famously generous host gifted her with $10,000 to help her continue her work. She used the funds to move into her new and bigger storefront at 4243 Troost Ave.
“For me growing up, there were many different people who gave back to me, I think it’s my purpose in the community to do the same thing,” Bowman said.