Tell me about yourself and how Ms. Lonely Heart Vintage came to be.
I went to school in a very southern country town and did not fit in. My style did not fit in and I longed to get to a big city, so I could feel normal. So I went to the city and my goal was to get into some kind of clothing industry. I got to the city and unfortunately, it was a lot of gigs of waitressing and trying to make it. I finally landed a job at a rag house, where clothing would come in huge bales. I was trained on how to pick out different vintage pieces for companies like Urban Outfitters. Then I landed a job at one of the most well-known vintage boutiques in St. Louis. I went from sales person to merchandising director. On the side I would set up at flea markets and sell my own things.
Finally, a Japanese company hired me and gave me an allowance, their company car, and a list of items to look for and purchase. That was life-changing for me. Afterwards, I managed Value Village for 2.5 years. Then, I met my husband and we moved to Vegas. There weren’t really any thrift stores here. I was lost. I still picked here and there or I would go to L.A. to go shopping and gather my collection. Then when Savers finally came out here it seemed like the whole thrifting industry opened up. All of the other thrift stores started offering a higher class of selection. It kind of led to me thinking maybe this is something I can do again. I would keep trying, but life kept taking me in other directions. About a year and a half ago I started again. It finally was calling to me and everything just finally took off. I”m so thrilled about the downtown community of Las Vegas embracing me and giving me the love that they have.
When did you first develop your love for vintage?
My love for vintage started when I was young. My brothers would take me thrift shopping. They were all in college and I was much younger than them. I was 13 or 14. They would start taking me around thrift stores and I fell in love. I always really liked old movies and I identified with the fashion in older films and wanted that look. Gloves and accessories were always my thing. Because I’m so tall, accessories would always fit, so that was my go-to item.
Where did the name Ms. Lonely Heart Vintage come from?
It comes from an Alfred Hitchcock movie called Rear Window. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Grace Kelly, of course, one of the best icons in style ever. One of the neighbors across the street that they’re watching, they nickname her Ms. Lonelyheart because she’s without love and sad in life. And I’m like I love that. It kind of goes with me here because my husband works a lot and I felt really alone out here in the Vegas community. It took me a long time to find myself. So I was like that’s the perfect name for my business.
You mentioned that you were really inspired by old films. Who were some of your style inspirations?
Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn, any of the 1930’s and 40’s movie stars like Myrna Loy.
Would you say the 30’s and 40’s are your favorite decades for fashion?
No, I love watching the elegance of what used to exist and I wish that it were my favorite, but I’m not a girly girl. I love 60’s and 70’s bohemian comfort clothing, that is my favorite era of fashion. I guide my selection and my shop to that era because I get it, I can explain it, and I know how to style it. That is me.
It sounds like your personal style reflects the items you sell in your store.
Oh for sure. I feel like people compliment me on my style all the time and I think it’s just because it’s me. I’m not trying to be somebody else. This is just who I am.
For your style, do you prefer to do an all vintage look or do you piece vintage pieces with new?
I love high-end design. I am a sucker for a name brand. I’m sorry, but I am. I’m not totally dedicated to vintage. I will still shop the mall for a good high-end piece. A good high-low outfit is key. Being able to put pieces together that are vintage with modern and making that outfit pop, I love that.
Do you have any tips for anyone who is newbie to vintage shopping? What should they be looking for?
It’s so tricky now because so many of the new brands have taken on that vintage style and look. I’d say look for texture, style, cut, tag, how it’s sewn, buttons, and details. It is all about being able to touch the item and see it, you’ll know almost instantly if it’s vintage or not.
When you first started your store did you always sell Bohemian inspired pieces or did it evolve into that?
It started with more grunge, southern rock, so kind of still that bohemian look. But I would have more classic pieces in there or anything that I spotted that was vintage. I had to pare it down. I could not bring home everything. I was being overloaded and a lot of things people just didn’t understand. It has to be in style, which I get, because I like stuff that is on trend too. To make an outfit that you feel comfortable in, you kind of want it to be on trend. A lot of pieces, unfortunately, that are vintage, just aren’t good. Some vintage needs to stay in the thrift store.
Who are your favorite artists right now, musicians, who are currently inspired by?
This has always been a hard question for me because I love so many genres of music. But again, 70’s southern rock kind of just has my heart. That’s the heart of everything for me.
What are some of your other passions other than vintage?
I love art. I’m surrounded by art. All of my brothers are artists. It’s something that’s always been in my life. Music as well. I’ve always had a passion for new, different, underground music. I think that really goes hand in hand with fashion too. And then having my son is my other passion. Having a background with him in special needs and making sure that every child has a childhood, they have a right to that. I fight really hard for special needs children and children with disabilities.
If you had to choose a favorite piece in your shop right now, what would it be?
Oh hands down the furs. I’m sorry PETA, but I love me some fur. I will name myself Cruella de Vil, but the nice version. I try to only do vintage fur so it’s not killing anything new because I love animals. The big fur coat in my shop right now, I just love that piece, and even though it goes against my tomboy style, I have that love for rhinestones and fur.
You love furs, but you can’t really wear furs in Vegas. In what ways has your style changed since moving here?
I was all about layers. Total mod 60’s fashion. Now every day is cut off sleeveless shirts. I hardly ever wear a jacket. I used to hoard coats like crazy. Now I don’t even own a coat and that makes me sad. But I love boots, so I wear all my boots with cut off shorts and I make it work. My style is still the same, but it changed to adapt to the Vegas climate.
You sell some homemade pieces in your shop, like your beautiful cactus pillow. What inspires these pieces? How are they made?
I take things that I see in nature, now that I’ve embraced Nevada as my home. I love getting out into nature and seeing the cactus growing, the plants, and animals. All of that kind of inspires me and what I make. I try to only use reclaimed fabrics or vintage fabrics for all of it. So it’s kind of a no-waste kind of thing, except for the stuffing inside.
You also make no-waste handbags. Can you tell us more about those?
If I cut a pair of pants down into shorts, I’ll use what is leftover to make something else instead of just throwing it into the landfill. I try to use whatever I have rather than going out and buying new. I think that’s kind of cool because it makes it one of a kind. No one else is going to have that item.
What are your favorite thrift stores in Vegas?
I’ll go to Goodwill and I’ll go to Salvation Army every once in a while, but Savers is definitely my go-to.
Any tips for someone who wants to become a more conscious consumer?
Definitely be aware of what’s going on in the world today. Make those decisions of buying from a reputable company that doesn’t have the background of sweatshops. Buy something from a conscious maker and put more effort into knowing more about the clothing that you are buying because it’s so important to the earth.
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