Artier Resale prides itself on affordability, inclusivity

Artier Resale has become Waco resident Harold Alexander's passion project to gift local artists and creatives with affordable supplies. Abby Roper | Photographer

By Hank Holland | Reporter

Just shy of its 20th anniversary, Artier Resale continues to be a gem among local businesses. Harold Alexander, a Waco resident of 50 years, is still driving the message of affordability, inclusivity and creativity.

Arriving in Waco in 1974 to attend beauty school, Alexander has been a frequent participant in Waco events, even running for mayor in 1988. He said the cultural revival spurred by Magnolia has brought a new level of creative expression to Waco.

“The owners of all the businesses were using [them] as tax deductions,” Alexander said. “They were just letting them rot, and then when all the transformation with Magnolia started, it was like, ‘OK, now it’s being done.’ But you get pretty angry having to wait 40 years before cool ideas came about, right?”

Alexander went on to open Artier Resale in the early 2000s, starting as a part-time hobby to sell items and jewelry that he had already collected, but as friends moved from place to place, his collection grew. Eventually, most of the items Alexander sold were those given to him, taking the store to a full-time job. Now, Alexander not only sells vintage and repurposed pieces but also supplies to those looking to create their own art.

One of the tenets of Alexander’s business is affordability — a value that stems from his grandfather. Alexander said the only profit he gets is the satisfaction that comes from running the store, not the money. He prides himself on his mainstay deal of $5 Hawaiian T-shirts and his own crafted and repurposed jewelry kept at affordable prices, especially for college students.

“I’ve always been a thrifter,” Alexander said. “My granddad, when I was 5, said, ‘Don’t buy anything new.’ … That’s, again, 50 years ago, and so the least expensive I could charge is how I want to do my business.”

Another big commitment for Alexander and Artier Resale is inclusivity, with pride stickers on display. Alexander said pride is something that comes with a strong sense of individuality. Alexander has done his fair share of work with Waco’s LGBT community and drag groups, donning the persona of Anita Mann to raise money for the AIDS crisis in the mid 1980s.

“Inclusivity is very important,” Alexander said. “I think I just feel like everybody’s themselves. I don’t think pride is just to say, ‘I support.’ The fact is that pride is something that we all should have with our individuality.”

Alexander said he would love to see the cultural expansion of Waco continue, and visitors stopping to see things like the Silos should explore and spread the word of local attractions.

“There’s a lot of cool things in Waco that we’re getting lots more people coming back,” Alexander said. “Once they see the Silos and all that, they come back and see Waco. And that, to me, is most important too, so tell your friends.”

Baylor alumnus Cheyenne Fryar fondly remembers her trips to Artier Resale, and despite graduating last year, she said she still misses the shop. Fryar said she enjoyed her visits with Alexander, and his homemade crafts and art benefit the greater Waco community.

“Harold has shown the artistic community that meaningful art does not have to be made from fancy new supplies,” Fryar said. “His work is an example of how seeing beauty in things others have discarded or written off is essential in making art sustainable.”

Fryar said with prices for art supplies getting higher, Alexander and his shop offer a solution to those who can’t afford new materials.

“Affordable crafts are such an important part of making creative expression accessible to everyone in communities with a large amount of wealth disparity like Waco,” Fryar said. “Making sure that everyone has access to the tools they need to be creative allows for the next generation of artists to be more resourceful, inspired and diverse than those before them.”

Fryar said she wants to see the success of Artier Resale continue for Alexander, as well as any person interested in creative expression.

“I hope that Harold is able to continue offering an eclectic, welcoming space for all Waco community members for a long time,” Fryar said. “Throughout my time at Baylor, Artier Resale was always the place in Waco where I felt the most at home and like I could be my authentic self. It makes me so happy that Harold is getting recognition for everything that he does for the community.”

For more information on Artier Resale, visit its Facebook.