But I don’t do it all myself. I have help. My parents both lend their expertise, as does my graphic designer friend, Jeni Adkisson and my photographer friend, Rachel Fettig.
So here’s a little refresher on how I ended up opening an online vintage store.
I have loved vintage since my mom started taking me to antique stores when I was about five or six years old. Right away, I loved all the sparkly, costume jewelry at antique stores.
I also loved the old clothing. I love 50s and 60s style clothing, Dior New Look style dresses with nipped waists and the paisleys and the floral prints of the psychedelic era. There was an extended period of time where I wished I was born in 60s, so I could have lived my true life as a flower child.
As I got a little older, I started to frequent thrift stores. I searched for the clothes to complete my grunge wardrobe along with cute, 50s style cardigans.
I kept thrifting as I moved out on my own and needed furniture and décor to furnish my apartments and then eventually my house.
I wasn’t into interior design at first, fashion was really passion. But when my mom helped me furnish my first solo apartment, I began to understand how pulling a room together is similar to pulling an outfit together. You need a design concept, a little bit of money and a lot of creativity.
And then I moved to NYC and started working as a visual stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue. Not only did I learn a lot more about fashion, but I also learned about interior design.
I learned how to create a statement wall with some peacock feathers and a staple gun, how to build a chandelier out of Frisbees and how to design fabric flowers from muslin and liquid starch. I also met some crazy talented, wonderful people who shared their knowledge with me.
It was wonderful. It was exhausting.
I got burnt out. So I landed in Minnesota, back much closer to my family in Iowa.
I started refinishing furniture, basically sanding and painting vintage furniture to give it new life. I started with an abandoned dresser at my old apartment. I spray painted it silver and added new hardware. It looked brand new.
The next piece I refinished was a vintage buffet I inherited from my grandparents. Sometime in the 60s, my grandma painted it the at-the-time popular avocado green. I painted over the unsightly avocado with black paint. The beautiful lines of the buffet were accentuated with the new, moody dark paint.
I also decided it was time to go back to school. I enrolled in a Strategic Communication Master’s program, so I could find a new career, hopefully something with writing involved. Along with fashion and design, writing has been my longtime passion.
Last spring while I was deciding on a Capstone project, I had a “(wo)man in the mirror” type of moment. I wrote about that moment here. It was basically a “who-am-I-and what-am-I-doing-with-my-life” type of moment, and it led to me ditch my original project idea. Instead, I decided to write a business plan. A business plan for this business, the Vintage Modern shop.
That is how I wound up creating this website and how you wound up here. And because everyone loves a list these days (me especially), I thought I would share a list of more get-to-know me stories.
1. In the 3rd grade, I discovered I loved writing. We were assigned a story prompt (something about adventure), and I had to attach page after page of notebook paper to finish my story. I do write BIG, but I was also like wait, I can just make up a story and have anything I want happen in it? That sounds fabulous. I was hooked.
2. At one point, I was so into the baggy pants, oversized, thrifted men’s shirts look that my mom was completely fed up. She went to The Buckle (I know all you Midwest kids know what The Buckle is) and came home with bags of clothing. I kept one shirt. My poor mother.
3. My great grandmother had a large collection of vintage costume jewelry. When she passed, no one in my family really liked the jewelry, except me. I only kept two necklaces and some earrings. This is something I regret to this day. Her jewelry was bright and sparkly and FABULOUS. I should have saved every last piece. I should have channeled Iris Apfel and lived in my big, sparkly truth.
4. Whenever I write something that I am really passionate about, I lose time. I become so involved in the story or blog or whatever that I look up and suddenly an hour is gone. It is the best feeling. Because I am so happy to be doing what I’m doing that the rest of the world falls away.
5. I find painting furniture relaxing. I often just throw down a drop cloth in my living room, put on a movie and start painting.
6. Even though I often paint in the living room, I am an incredibly messy painter. One time I was painting the stairs to my basement, and I didn't think to buy a smaller, stair-size paint tray. I ended knocking into the paint tray, and it went down the back of my pants. That’s right, I had paint go down my pants. Now when I paint, I wear an apron and use a drop cloth. But I still end up spilling paint. Oh well. Life is messy. Better to make yourself happy and worry about cleanup later, right?
Hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me! And thanks to Rachel for taking my picture. Truly, I am a lucky to know so many talented and generous folks.