Sunday, June 19, 2016

Grand Reopening Video Blog

Check out all things happening here at Upshift Swap Shop

Warning:  The picture below looks like I will sneeze, I do not.  Also, I say, "Umm." a lot.  I'm so out of practice of doing video blogs.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Winds Are a Changin'

Uffduh, we have had so much change happening here at Upshift.  First, a car drives through our front window which set off a whole chain of events.  We were boarded-up and closed for a week, and lucky for us a fabulous artist Stephanie Hagens came forward to paint a phenomenal mural on our temporary store front.  Next, we were told about all the hard work ahead to get our store back to fighting shape; new windows that take 3 weeks to order, garment cleaning, store cleaning, new rugs, mannequins, painting, dusting (dusting and more dusting, seriously where does it all come from), and constant questions about when we reopen.  WE'RE OPEN, come swap!

It's been a tough couple of months, especially with all the construction (to create an amazing new storefront), but mostly with people not really understanding that we are indeed open!

In fact, we're celebrating a Grand Reopening on June 23rd from 4-8pm.  Join us!

We finally have beautiful new windows!  What a blessing to have such an amazing new storefront, guess what though...our huge new windows expose how outdated our interiors are.  We plan to paint and replace all our outdated fixtures; mannequins, rugs, cash register counter, and fitting room curtains.  In addition, we will have a full new floorset (meaning all new trends) done by our merchandiser.

The first step in all these changes, after our new windows went in, was to move our amazing mural indoors.  There was a resounding response from the public that we HAD to preserve the mural and we could not agree more!

We moved that amazing piece of art into our fitting room!  Change Is Good, indeed!  Thank you Stephanie Hagens for contributing this piece to our store!  Here is the mural permanently installed into the store.

Monday, June 6, 2016

New Window Display

Update on our windows display:
Our dedicated staff, Amy has decided to redo her window display despite it being ruined when someone drove through our old windows.

Here are the amazing results:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Grand Reopening

We have new windows!  We are celebrating with our new digs by hosting a GRAND REOPENING on June 23rd from 4-8pm.  Mimosas and wine along with swag bags.

Join us and help celebrate!  $20 swap fee to get an all new wardrobe and party on down!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Keep it Local, Keep it Simple

 Shop local.  Everyone everywhere touts this concept, but what does shopping local look like in action?  It can take many shapes and forms when exercised, and the impact can go a long way.  Shopping local at independent businesses keeps communities alive and thriving all while you’re also saving your sanity by not shopping in a hectic, big box environment.  Shopping local is straight forward and simple while supporting the whole well being of communities both large and small. 
Shopping local creates a lasting impact on communities while supporting small businesses, usually owned by local residents, which in turn employs other community residents guaranteeing that local dollars stay within your city or town.  Most statistics agree that shopping local generates an 80% return of revenue back in to the community. Keeping revenue local is especially important during hard times such as the all too recent recession, during slower months or even during time of road construction.  All these variables can be devastating to the small, independent business which affects the local economy and community.  Spending dollars on a local level can alter the well being of small businesses as well as the foundation of the community.
What exactly does shopping local look like?  It can include sticking close to your neighborhood, even for small things like your favorite bottle of wine or your daily morning coffee.  Set a goal to purchase one specific item at a local shop, even if it’s just one day per week. Shopping local can include visiting destination neighborhoods within town.  These neighborhood gems have boutiques and shops that carry necessities or gift items, and often have restaurants that make it ideal for an afternoon retreat.  You could commit to eating brunch or lunch each week at a small, local establishment along with shopping at the surrounding stores.  Shopping local can also include a day trip to a small, local community.  The intricate matrix of small local businesses is intertwined even if the actual city or town isn’t physically connected.  Chances are the residents of any small community visit a larger, nearby community to shop. Supporting each other ensures we’re keeping both thriving communities alive.  Making a promise to take a seasonal day trip could make a huge impact on independent businesses in all communities.  Taking an afternoon or day trip on a consistent basis will have a lasting impact on small businesses as well as your personal well being.  It’s also worth mentioning that carrying cash versus plastic can help the independent retailer, as well as your own bottom line, by avoiding additional charges associated with debit or credit cards.

Get out of the house this summer and spend time within your community.  Specifically spend leisure time in your community’s unique shops and restaurants to support the business owner, their employees and ultimately your very own community.  It’s that simple.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Remodel Update

As you may or may not know we are remodeling, not by our choice, but hell yeah we get an all new store front! Want to hear the whole story click here. Otherwise update on progress below:

5/12:  Our contractor just called and windows will be installed on May 25th which marks the beginning of the remodel. We anticipate is will take some time so we will have our GRAND REOPENING on June 5th.  Of course, we'll keep everyone posted!

We are officially back to normal hours!

Mon- Fri: 12-8pm
Sat: 10-4pm
Sun: 12-6pm

5/4:  Front windows and door are ordered and shipping!  We feel confident in the progress of our remodel that we will be going back to normal hours next week, until then our hours are:

We are officially open for temporary hours!  We will have a fabulous new mural on our store front, created by local artist Stephanie Hagens.  Our windows will be installed within a couple of weeks, and will greatly improve our amazing little store front!  Until then please help keep us afloat during the following hours:

4/18: A group of helpers came out today to hang all the clean garments and clean any remaining debris. The team worked quickly and we were done by 7pm.  We also met with an artist that will be painting a mural on the front facade until we get windows. The store is totally ready to reopen with limited hours.  We will be open today, Tuesday April 19th from 2-6pm.  We need to recoup lost sales so please come on out to shop today and during our limited hours in the coming weeks until we have our permanent windows in place.

Thank you to everyone that has offered support throughout the past week and in the coming weeks.  It's been a very crazy week to say the least and wouldn't have made today's opening if it hadn't been for such amazing friends, family, volunteers, employees, customers, contractors, and cleaners.

Much love from the Upshift family!

Team Awesome - cleaning the store
Finishing touches

Previous updates:

4/16: Our contractor placed the temporary front facade and new door. The cleaner finished with the building, but now we need to focus on cleaning the garments.  We found hundreds of pieces with debris and glass on them.  We loaded them up and they are being washed now, 12 loads total.  We have committed to using all natural products and are hang drying them all to cut down on environmental impact.  

4/15: We met with contractors and cleaners to begin work today. The boutique looks so much better already. We did an initial inventory of lost items. There are so many garment covered in debris, dust, and glass.  In fact, when I simply reached down to pick up a pair of pants I was cut by a shard of glass (minor, but still worth noting since we need to make all garments safe for swapping)  In addition to all lost garment and accessories,we need 3 mannequins and a mural artist to do a temporary facade on the construction wall until our windows are replaced in 2-3 weeks!

4/14: Met with contractors and cleaning begins tomorrow as well as initial reconstruction. We still have to do inventory and itemize all items lost or damaged. Work begins at noon. Temporary storefront for reopen estimated for Sunday 4/17. They're quoting a full recovery in 2-4 weeks.

Cleaned up and ready for construction

Boarded up with debris

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Mural Storefront

Here at Upshift we choose to only do things that brings happiness and optimism (ahem, fashion and wine), which can be tricky when a car slams through your front store window.  Like champs we took a deep breath, a long swig of wine, and chose to find the good.  We reached out to the community to find an artist that could repaint our temporary storefront.  Stephanie Hagens, a local fashion illustrator, was the first to get back to us and have a concept ready in hours.

Storefront after car accident
This chica is nothing short of amazing, check out her art here and definitely check out how she has transformed our storefront. Once we get our new windows up, in about 2 weeks, we'll move the mural into the store as a permanent art installment.  She was able to take something bland and transform it to something phenomenal that oozes happiness and optimism.  We are so thankful we met her and that she could act fast (all in all from concept to design to mural she did it in 12 hours).

Come on down to our Madison boutique located at 836 East Johnson Street to swap up, sip wine, and see the mural in person!

Follow Stephanie Hagens on Instagram AND visit her webpage here.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Car Hits Upshift Boutique

Our boutique located at 836 East Johnson Street here in Madison, Wisconsin was hit by a car at about 5pm on Tuesday, April 12th.  The car went through our front windows and then through the side brick wall.  Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.  Our staff and co-owner, Dustin Lundt was near the back of the store and the one customer that was shopping was near our front counter and out of harms way. The driver was not seriously hurt, but was under the influence and taken away by authorities. More information can be found on the WKOW news website regarding the identification of the driver.

Now that it's the following day and we can take a step back to really reflect on the impact this had on the store and will have on our immediate future, all I can say as the owner is we are so lucky that everyone is safe.  Sure, we lost a couple of mannequins and the store will be closed for a few days, but it could've been so much worse considering how badly the store has been damaged.  Not to mention we are a very heavy pedestrian street so the fact that no one was in harms way is truly miraculous.

We are blessed to have amazing resources in Madison, the first responders arrived quickly and ensured that everyone was safe and that the immediate area was secure.  Our landlord is a wonderful man and owns many properties in Madison and is always quick to respond to any issues.  He had the area cleaned up and secure by boarding up the walls until he can start construction immediately.

He and his team are rebuilding starting today, Wednesday, April 13th.  We will keep everyone posted on our reopening date, which should be very soon.  Our team at Upshift will have our own work to do such as cleaning the garments and the space inside, but we will do it quickly so we can reopen and celebrate in Upshift style; food, booze, wine, and good cheer (and walking or cabbing it home afterwards).  That's when we'll really need the support of staff, friends, family, and of course our customers.  We will need to recover lost sales and can continue to do so through our online store at You can help by spreading the word of our online store.

Thank you to all the people on the Madison Fire Department, Madison Police Department, and Madison Gas and Electric that responded to the emergency to ensure everyone at Upshift and in our Johnson Street neighborhood were safe.

Thank you to staff, especially my husband that was working at the time, as well as customers and other patrons for staying calm and even handling this with a sense of humor after the dust had settled. Thank you to my dear friend Ashley and her husband for being there for us, they both released statements on Blackwater Studios' social media and Madison Story Slam's facebook page to encourage ongoing support during and after the accident.  We are so thankful for all the phone calls, texts, and messages of support from all our near and dear.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress, until then stay safe, make good choices, and go forth and be fabulous.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Front Window

We have students from the Madison College Fashion Marketing Program that utilize our space as a learning environment for creating retail and visual displays. We were so excited for our new spring window created by Amy Lang.  She is not only a student of mine at the college, but also our dedicated volunteer that works every Wednesday!

She has been planning this window for weeks and wanted it to coincide with spring weather so that the garden theme would fit perfectly with our trends and the sunny spring weather!

She knocked it out of the park with perfectly coordinated mannequins and brightly colored flowers and even live plants to round out the garden theme!

We were so incredibly excited to show off her beautiful window displays, but sadly her window was (in a crazy twist of fate) ruined hours after she completed it.  A car drove through our front windows and literally ruined all her hard work. see full report on this link.

Thankfully we were able to appreciate it and take pictures before it was destroyed, but nothing will take back all her hard work and the business that will be lost after the accident.

As the owner I would like to personally apologize to Amy and her daughter that put in hours of work, time, and money.  I cannot tell you how sorry I am that this accident affected you and your hard work.

You've seen the before pictures, and here are the after pictures.  A very sad day for everyone.

Fashion Show

Our most recent fashion show was at Winedown Bar here in Madison, Wisconsin and was sponsored by a collective partly founded by Upshift along with 4 other businesses and photography studio; Change Boutique, Evolve, Rethread, Serrv, and Blackwater Studios.  We are Ethos Madison Collective and our mission is spread awareness regarding sustainable, fair trade, second hand clothing, and eco friendly fashion.

The fashion show was our kick off event to bring awareness to our cause, below are some amazing pics to represent!

Ethos Madison Collective Business Partners
Left to Right; Rethread, Evolve, Upshift, Blackwater Studios, Serrv, Change

Amelia Modeling for Upshift - Blackwater Studios

Ashley modeling for Upshift - Jamie Strehlow Photography

Maya modeling for Upshift - Blackwater Studios

Ashley modeling for Upshift - Blackwater Studios

Lirio modeling for Upshift - Jamie Strehlow photography

Owner of Upshift with DJ and MC in back - Blackwater Studios

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ethos Madison Live - A Free Event to Celebrate Sustainability

Upshift is honored to be a part of this premier event; Ethos Madison Live!  We're featured in this amazing event on April 1st at 7pm at Winedown Bar on State Street here in Madison, WI.

Join us and enjoy first glimpse of sustainable, spring fashion while drinking wine and tasty apps.  There's a full wine bar and a DJ that'll be adding awesome tunes to the show.

Our efforts as sustainable and second hand fashion boutiques depend on your support!  Join Upshift along with Change Boutique, Rethread, Servv, and Evolve on April 1st at 7pm for this FREE fashion show at Winedown Bar.  We are the Ethos Madison Collective and your support is much appreciated!

Happy hour with free give aways 5pm- 7pm
First 50 to arrive after 6;30pm get free swag bags

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Big Switch Over! Spring 2016

We get asked all the time how it works to switch over our inventory to a brand new season.  Where does our old inventory go?  Where does our new season come from?  When is the best time to swap for new clothes for spring?

Wonder no more you fabulous fashionista!

We take any season, any time of the year and back-stock all "off-season" items in a storage facility.  2 times a year we completely switch over our inventory to reflect the current season; Spring in March and Winter in October.  We also filter Summer items that are back-stocked in June and Holiday items in December.  Of course, we bring in new items daily that are placed directly into our boutique.

We will be taking everything out of our store this coming Sunday, March 13th and replacing it with all new spring items.  We take the old season and pack it up into bags to ship to a local thrift store, Agrace Hospice Care Thrift.  They keep everything local within the Madison community. After everything is packed up and gone we fill the empty hangers with spring! Monday morning we will have all brand new (to you) items!

The best time to swap is everyday!  We currently have great items for transitioning from winter to spring, as you know we may have warm weather today but chilly weather tomorrow.  It's best to keep a bunch of layering items in your closet to get you through until the really warm weather hits.  We have a TON of transitional items.

You can also just stop in to put items on hold until next week when we've switched to spring and do your swap then.  In my humble opinion your best time to swap is ALWAYS (but secretly I'd come in mid-week to hit up a totally organized store and all new spring items.  So, March 16th is that sweet spot).  Remember, we get in a shit ton of new items every single day!

See you on the flip side you beautiful, crazy, fashionista!

Friday, February 26, 2016

We are thee Destination 'Hood

East Johnson Street, Madison's best kept secret!  We are considered part of downtown, however we're tucked away between Madison's busiest bike corridor on Mifflin and Lake Mendota on a one-way street heading away from the square.  If you're headed away from downtown and totally zoned out you may miss this quaint little destination hood that is home to some of the best shopping, food, cocktails, and local services!

You could easily make a full day out of visiting our street where parking is FREE and right in front of the shops and restaurants (I park right in front of Upshift and walk 4 feet to our front door everyday).  The street signs state that it's a 2 hour limit, but has never been enforced in the 2 years we've called this magnificent street our home.

If you pack up your honey bunny or your little ones and head our way it's best to start your day with coffee at Johnson Public House or as we all call it JPH.  They have baristas on hand that concoct amazing brews and tea that is made alongside super duper awesome food.  And, yes they have beer and wine.

On your way to breakfast stop at Burnie's Rock Shop.  If you never have visited, this is one of Madison's shopping institutions filled with jewelry, stones, and crystals.

Next up, visit Sophia's Bakery (right across the street from Upshift) for the absolute best breakfast you'll ever have, promise!  Everything is organic, homemade, and delightful.  Sit outside on their curbside patio or inside where you sit family style with other patrons (it's not weird, it's actually really heartwarming and reminds us of why we love our little community so much).  Of course if the line is long, and sometimes it is, pop on over to say hi and grab a glass of wine while you put some awesome fashion on hold for a future swap.

After your amazing breakfast, and while your food settles (cause I have 2 more restaurants you're stopping at for lunch and dinner), stop in at the newly opened Drunk Lunch for adorable housewares which is next door to Fontaine.  Prepare to spend some time in Fontaine, it's packed full of the most phenomenal housewares and decorations you'll find in Madison.

Next stop is Good Style Shop, and it is a must stop!  They have the absolute best, curated collection of vintage clothing in Madison.  If retro or vintage isn't your thing it's still worth stopping in because the clothing is high quality and always trend on (my husband got his favorite dress shoes from there and they were way less expensive than a big box retailer and because they were made in the 50's the quality is unbelievable!).

If you're hankering a cocktail (and let's be honest who doesn't while they're shopping *ahem* wine while you shop at Upshift *cough*) a brand new craft cocktail bar opened on our street!  The Robin Room just opened up and serves hand crafted, specialty cocktails.  You know that delightful place called The Merchant, yeah, the guy that helped create their menu opened his own joint.  We are so happy to have this place in our hood!

If cocktails aren't quite your cup of tea stop next door to Macha Tearoom.  Yes, they reopened in our neighborhood! They used to be an institution over on Monroe Street, but headed to our end of town and we could not be happier!

Alright, by now you've had a ton of caffeine and possibly a cocktail or two.  It's time for lunch and the perfect spot is, well, The Spot.  We spend a ton of time there and they have our favorite items on their menu, which continually evolves based on their chef's recommendations.  It's safe to say anything on the menu is unbelievably delicious.  Their food is complex and simple at the same time, but never disappoints (and you're hearing this from one of the pickiest eaters out there).  The food and drinks are super affordable, too.

If you forget any necessities while on your day excursion you can stop at our corner store, Madison Food Mart.  They have everything from produce to beer to munchies or household necessities. If you need to replenish your liquor cabinet stop across the street at Cork N Bottle where they have a wide selection of wines and beers.

Ok, last but not least you should save room for dinner and I insist on Salvatore's Tomato Pies.  Not only the coolest space for a pizzeria, but their pizza pie's are to die for. At this point your shopping bags are full and so is your appetite. You can go home and bask in all the glory that is The East Johnson Neighborhood.

Now for the secret of all best kept secrets.  We are literally 2 blocks away from two of Mad ison's main-stays; Caribou Tavern (where you can get the best burger while you do laundry, yeah you read that right) and Forequarter where your taste buds will not be disappointed.  While you visit be sure to stop at Juneberry Studio and Marketplace for some of the cutest accessories, crafts, and housewares.

Additionally, here are a few businesses on our street that are perfect if you need specialty services:
Black Moon Tattoo
Wilke Chiropractics
Dog Haus University
Spruce Tree Music and Repair
Wisconsink Tattoo and Piercing
Studio 924 Hairstyling
Old Town Cycles
Jewel in the Lotus Yoga

There you have it!  Plan a visit and prepare to fall in love with our neighborhood as much as we all love it!  Every single business that exists in our hood is a small business owned by people in our community.  We depend on patrons like you!  We especially depend on and appreciate when you visit us and then spread the word on your experience.  Word of mouth advertising is the marketing most of us rely on because it has always proven to work.  Thank you in advance for visiting us!

Fashionably yours (and usually with a drink in hand),
Owner of Upshift Swap Shop 

Franzia - also saving the world through sustainable practices!

Franzia is not only the world's most popular wine (true), but it is the world's most cost and carbon effective wine (also true)!  The perfect fit for UpShift!

  • Boxed wine is lighter than heavy glass bottles so their carbon foot print is significantly smaller (we all love a good bottle of think about buying local). 
  • Box wine has 85% less landfill waste than bottle wine (also, be sure to recycle all the plastic, cardboard, and of course glass). 
  • Box wine requires fewer trucks to transport more wine than glass resulting in less emissions, less pollution, and less greenhouse gases.
Bottom line -  WE LOVE FRANZIA!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Private Party - Host for FREE!

Private Parties at UpShift are a huge hit!

Here are just a few reasons why:
  • Host swaps for FREE!
  • Bring a minimum of 8 guests and they swap for $10 each (that's half price!)
  • Complimentary red wine while you swap
  • Option to bring your own beverages and food for your guests
  • Complimentary invite created especially for you to send to friends or post on FB
How do we make it happen?  Easy:
  1. Please email with your top 2 dates and we put it on the calendar after confirmation with you.
  2. Email your friends or create an event on Facebook with your complimentary invitation.
  3. Show up and shop your ass off!
It's that simple!