Jasmine Baillio remembers driving down Academy Road in neutral with only a splash of gas in the tank, “thinking, ‘I’ve just got to get to work,’ and praying I could make it to the gas station afterward.”
Baillio, who lost her home and real estate business in the 2007 financial crash, still had one thing left: the small boutique consignment shop she had opened on a lark several years earlier.
And the way her What Goes Around store and its customers sustained her family back then is the reason she is still grateful for every customer who walks through the doors.
“It was an awful, awful time,” says Baillio. “So when someone would come in or someone would buy something, they didn’t know, but I was so, so grateful. That’s what this means to me. I’ve never let go of that feeling.”
That original shop near San Mateo and Academy has since doubled in size, and there’s now a sister store across the river near Montaño and Coors.
Although Baillio was forced to lay off most of her staff and shut her doors during the pandemic, business boomed — and continues to boom — across the internet. She and her staff spent the early days of the pandemic photographing every article of clothing and all of the accessories, and figuring out the best ways of selling the entire inventory online.
Now, internet sales equal about three-quarters of the revenue at the West Side location.
“After that initial first week of crying and lying on the couch … we got to work,” Baillio says. “We said, ‘OK, this is our chance to get really amazing at online.’ So instead of just Albuquerque, now we can be everywhere.”
What inspired you to open your first store?
“I love consignment stores so much. I love any kind of treasure hunting or getting a fabulous deal. I never pay retail for anything. At the time, there were consignment stores, but they were one of two things. They either had really great pricing, but the atmosphere was more of a thrift store. Or it was a really cute atmosphere, but the prices, I thought, were too high. So I thought, ‘Why can’t you have both?’ And that was our original vision, an awesome environment with great pricing, and it worked really well. I ran it by myself, and it just grew into more and more and more. I’m one of the really lucky people who loves what they do. It’s not work.”
What do you like best and least about running your own business?
“My favorite is definitely the people. I have women who have shopped with us for 18 years. Just knowing their lives and what they’ve been through, and just knowing my team’s lives — that’s really special. My least favorite: those pesky financials. It’s really common among entrepreneurs. You love all this stuff, and it’s fun but oh, paperwork.”
What was your first job?
“My first job when I lived in Santa Fe was at Miller’s Outpost, and I was 15. That whole summer, I just folded jeans and folded jeans and hung up clothes. When I quit that job, I said, ‘That’s it. I will never work in clothes again.’ I am still folding, but I love it.”
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
“Probably get a (business) coach earlier. I feel like I would have avoided a lot of mistakes. I know timing is everything and probably my life was supposed to go that way, but if I could do it differently, I probably would have grown faster sooner. I really didn’t have a fire under me to grow the business until maybe eight or nine years in. And then I thought, ‘You know what? I really like this. Where can we go with this?’ That’s when things started turning.”
What do you do in your free time?
“I love dancing. All types — ballroom, country-western, competitive. I love New Mexico. We’re so close to so many things.”
Please tell me about your experience in the 2007 crash.
“My (former) husband and I had started a real estate company here, and then in 2007, the market just crashed. And we had just put all of our eggs in one very big basket. We were doing great, and … we wanted to go into bigger commercial (properties). We were buying the Simms building Downtown. We had plans for it; it was really cool. We acquired the bridge loan, no problem, and we had our permanent financing in place. Then, when everything happened, they said, ‘Oh, never mind. We’re not lending money any more.’ We had several investors at the time, too. We couldn’t give them cash, so we gave them all the property we had at the time. We lost everything. We were kicked out of our house. I just had a new baby. It was awful.”
But you didn’t have to give up What Goes Around?
“I was kind of running it as a hobby. They were taking all the assets, and they looked at the business. But I wasn’t running it like a high profit or anything. I think we were running even. I said, ‘I own a cash register, a printer.’ It was really like nothing. So they put that aside. All of a sudden this one little store is everything for the family. I had to lay off the team at the store and run it myself. It saved my life.”
Is there something you’re particularly proud of?
“One of our biggest successes and what I’m very, very proud of is everything here is locally sourced. The inventory all comes from women here in Albuquerque. There are people I know we’ve helped. Some are selling excess whatever and then just turning around and using it to shop or save for Christmas or to take a vacation. But there are also people I know who we have helped pay their mortgage, helped them put food on their table. And then people just having a rough day. Retail therapy is a thing. It just makes us happy, too.”
What’s your advice for other business owners or aspiring business owners?
“I think team is vital. Having that coach in your corner is vital. Knowing your numbers is super important. But don’t have that superhero complex, where ‘No one does it as good as I do. I have to do everything.’ You have to be able to delegate. We do the 80/20 rule in everything. If they (the staff) can do 80% as well as I can do it, or my management team can do it, that’s probably going to be great.”
How would you describe yourself in three words?
“Exuberant, joyful, visionary.”
THE BASICS: Jasmine Baillio, 46, born in Albuquerque; married to Michael Garcia since 2021; three kids in a blended family, Sabrina 24; Oliver, 15, and Savanna, 13; one dog, Atlas, a German shepherd, and two cats, Ruby and Charlie.
POSITIONS: Owner of What Goes Around consignment boutiques since 2004; co-owner of a local real estate company, 2002-2008.
OTHER: Consignment business has raised money for the Assistance League of Albuquerque, Southwest Animal Rescue Fund Inc., the Barrett House and Watermelon Mountain Ranch, among others. Also, the business has donated merchandise to raise money for auctions benefiting Pursonalities, Pegasus Legal Services for Children and various women’s groups.