GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Makes Vintage Her Business
My first 40 hours a week job was at a Value World thrift store in Southgate, Michigan right on the border of Lincoln Park. I was hired as the pricer and my days consisted of quickly going through racks of donated clothing and pricing them appropriately. I saw all kinds of clothes. Current trends, outdated trends, military uniforms, nurses scrubs, formal wear, sweats that had seen their best days long ago, and so much more wondrous and horrific things. I was also lucky enough to come across a lot of beautiful vintage pieces. The first item that really struck me was a fur from Dietrichs. It was a little mink stole with a champagne-colored silk lining. When I priced it at 20 bucks and sent it out onto the floor, I found myself regretting it a few days later, especially when I told my mom about it. “You should have bought it!” I know, I know. Despite not buying the small shawl, I continued to encounter vintage clothing and when something really stuck out to me I bought it. I’ve kept on slowly accumulating different clothing pieces from different eras and it’s turned into a minor addiction. Traverse City local Kaitlyn Asher shares this addiction in more than a minor way. She’s taken her love for vintage a step further by opening up her own business dedicated to selling all of the great finds she acquires while out thrifting. She sells them through her dedicated Instagram page slip.vintage and the other day we talked all things retro-fabulous.
GTP: When did your love for vintage clothing begin?
KA: “I remember learning about designers and learning about different clothes and I kind of got really into just like, high-end fashion. I thought for some reason that was the epitome of clothes were like these high end designers like Chanel and all this stuff. And I remember the first time I thrifted a designer jacket. It was a Dior blazer and I found it at the goodwill here. It wasn’t even worth anything. It wasn’t even that cool! I don’t even think I wore it but it was a name. It wasthat moment I found that jacket I thought in my head, ‘I can have fancy clothes for a cheap price if it’s old.’ And then I realized in the thrift store, I can find old stuff and it was pretty much a switch for me as far as what I searched for after that because it was like, now I’m not buying anything modern. I’m gonna buy all vintage. From there I just learned more and more about what my style was.”
GTP: So, when did you decide you liked it enough to start selling it?
KA: “The decision was made when I found too many cool clothes that weren’t in my size. The thought of leaving something behind that to me, was so special and cool and awesome, even if it didn’t fit me, was like, no, I can’t do it. Maybe that’s a bit selfish because I could have left it for someone else that could have found it and it was their size, but yeah, that was it. I think it was also, and I hate to kind of say this, but I think it was partially Instagram too. Like, I had kind of curated my personal Instagram to be very into fashion and starting to be into more vintage. So I was looking at all these people who are selling clothes, and I was like, ‘I can do that.’ I can start an Etsy and it’ll be super easy and then I could sell all the stuff that doesn’t fit me.”
GTP: What are some things you’ll stay away from when thrifting?
KA: “I’d rather be searching for things that are classic that I can buy and I can wear now and I can still wear them two years from now and it won’t look weird. Then I started looking for like more natural fibers. No polyester, nylon and rayon, and more cotton, wool, silk, those kind of things. And so that changes your whole kind of aesthetic too I think because those different fabrics are very different in the way that they hang, in the way that they drape, and the way that they like even hold color. A lot of times polyester is so bright with in your face colors, which is great but I started kind of getting away from that.”
GTP: How does laundering all that vintage stuff work?
KA: “A huge part of my job is laundry and I’m so sh*t at it. Recently my boyfriend came into the kitchen and he’s got like two of these handmade rag rugs and he looked down at them and said, ‘What happened to these?’ and I said, “What do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘They’re way smaller than they were before.’ I’ve definitely messed up some stuff. But, he doesn’t even separate his colors! I will say, I don’t use fabric softener.”
GTP: Are regulars a thing when vintage shopping?
KA: “Yeah, I’ve got a lot of regulars that really like buying from me really frequently. And you know, I call them like my internet friends because it’s like all these people from all over the country that have really just been friends of mine, you know? They’ll message me and send me memes or send me jokes or pictures or we just chat. I’m constantly having these really cool conversations with people. It’s so awesome like this community of people that I’ve kind of created and also has already been there is just really cool. And then other sellers are also just awesome. There are other sellers I’ve only met online and they’re just like, the coolest like giving advice or asking questions. The community of people that I have gotten into because of this has been so encouraging. I love vintage and I want everyone to love it so I’m sharing it with everyone.”
GTP: What do you like to wear?
KA: “My style is so boring. In my inventory and in my closet there are so many fun pieces and bright colors but my day to day is jeans and a t-shirt. For the longest time I never reached for jeans and now it’s predominantly vintage jeans, a t-shirt or a sweatshirt, a big belt, a bandana, and some tennis shoes.”
Find Kaitlyn’s shop on Instagram at slip.vintage. You can also find her on Facebook under slip.thelabel.
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