Today we get to meet the lovely Erika from La Roux Vintage. Her interview is fantastic and I spent most of my time nodding in agreement....and my goodness I wish I could try that pizza!!
Be sure to pop back on Friday for a La Roux Vintage giveaway and discount code specially for you guys!
Tell us a bit about you and your shop
My name is Erika, although most everyone calls me Rew - my nickname was the inspiration for my shop's name, La Roux Vintage (roux is French for redhead, and I am a redhead named Rew!) I offer vintage home decor, jewelry, accessories, clothing, and books in my shop. This year I also began my own small line of hand-painted moleskine journals featuring cute, earth-toned owls. La Roux Vintage was really a natural off-shoot of my love for all things vintage. While scouring through thrift shops and flea markets is incredibly fun, I realized that the truly rewarding part wasn't just buying things; it was finding the perfect thing for someone else.
Where else can we find you?
I spend most of my time divided between my day jobs: working in the animation department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, bar tending at Symphony Hall, or packing rare books at F.A. Bernett Books. I keep pretty busy! During my somewhat fleeting free time I can often be found haunting antique stores or running around my lovely neighbourhood just outside Boston. Literally running; I'm training for my second half marathon this fall!
Where did you get your love of vintage from?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a small town in Connecticut that also happens to be host to New England's largest flea market, The Elephant's Trunk. I've spent whole Sundays just wandering through the endless rows of vendors, admiring all the beautiful and old and bizarre treasures. My grandfather was a huge history buff and I imagine some of my passion came from him, but my grandmother and mother deserve credit too. They each taught me about how special something seemingly commonplace can be, when seen through the eyes of the right person. I also really love history (I was an art history major in college) and the learning that comes with collecting - finding something beautiful or interesting and hunting down information about where it came from and how it was made. Did you know that Whiting and Davis (a major jewelry and women's accessories company) originally developed their signature metal mesh for use in protective gloves?
Do you have a vintage obsession, for instance, I am totally addicted to vintage glasses, I have way too many?
I collect vintage iridescent glassware - they live on a shelf in my bedroom, and all the shimmery rainbows look like I have a collection of everlasting bubbles. I also collection vintage children's books with beautiful illustrations. I've just recently bought my first illustrated cat book by Clare Turlay Newberry. Her watercolor studies of cats and kittens are so delicate and beautiful. And I tend to flip out when I find an old accordion. I'm currently trying to teach myself on a gorgeous black and gold Hohner push-button I picked up this past summer at a flea market! I also have a photo album of black and white snapshots of strangers I've collected, which is a little odd. It's like creating a family story from brief glimpses of the past.
What’s the strangest item you have ever found?
There's almost too many to list...an antique, 8 foot tall stuffed fake ostrich, a collection of incredibly racist illustrated postcards from the turn of the century... I once saw for sale a mounted and framed bullet said to have been recovered from the last stand of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. As a distant relative of Bonnie, I found that quite creepy!
What is your favourite item in your shop?
My favorite item is one I regret selling. It was a tiny bluebird pin given to me by my grandmother (with the express purpose of putting it in my shop). I ended up using it as the mascot for my vintage style blog 'The Vintage Bluebird' and boy, I wish I'd kept it around! My current favorite shop item is probably my large ceramic owl. Until he finds a new home, he keeps a stern watch over my kitchen.
Tell us what you love about your favourite era?
My favorite era is definitely the 1920s-30s. The fashion was so beautiful, the spirit of the roaring 20s was amazing and vibrant and will likely never been seen again. The early years when our nations greatest cities were still just being built, and when cars were still new and invited us to see places we'd never imagined. I usually put on big band music while I'm working on my etsy shop, and I love a nice quiet evening in with my cat, a cup of cappuccino, and a Marx Brother's movie :)
What advice would you give to people just starting out?
Don't get discouraged by slow sales or small shop views stats. Always keep learning and researching and asking questions and trying new things. Reach out to sellers whose shops you admire and see what advice they have to offer - the etsy community is absolutely bursting with wonderful, kind, helpful people who are just as passionate as you! If you can spend extra time on just one part of your shop, focus on your photographs. Far too often I see a really remarkable item go unsold because it is photographed poorly - low lighting or flash, on a busy background, without detail shots or interesting angles. An interesting item photo is enough to bring me into a shop, where I might explore all the pages, add it to my favorites, share it with others, or feature it in treasuries!
Is there anything you wished you had done differently?
At the beginning I definitely undersold myself, and lost money on my shop for a very long time. When I finally was forced to sit down and look at just how many hours of work went into each posting, and how low my prices were compared to similar items available, I finally saw how much of a waste it was to underprice. When a price is a bit higher but still a great deal, people are much more likely to buy it. When you start to make a profit, that profit can be invested in new inventory, which keeps your shop changing and evolving, and brings new customers in!
If you could learn something new what would it be and why?
French and how to play the accordion; because I find French to be an incredibly beautiful language and I have so much respect and admiration for those who are bi-lingual, and because accordions are awesome and way too much fun!
Where is your most favorite place on Earth?
There was a tree in my grandmother's front yard that I liked to climb up into and read as a child, but it was destroyed in a recent blizzard, much to my sadness. Right now, it's probably my apartment - watching an episode of Star Trek with my best friend/boyfriend Allan and our kitty Lila. I'm also pretty much in heaven wandering through the flea markets back home on a warm summer day.
I’m a massive pizza fan, what would be your dream pizza topping?
Funny you should ask, I was a pizza chef for a few years! My coworker created this absolutely amazing pizza he called the Scott Special - it was a white pizza drizzled with olive oil, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese, gorgonzola, and mozzarella. Then you added a handful of arugula tossed in light balsamic, roasted carrots, roasted red onions, and maybe some grilled chicken. Top it off with a little extra cheese which melted on impact - MAN I miss those pizzas!
What would your pirate name be?
My pirate name is Rew the Sane - Ship Therapist of the Merry Pineapple. It's a long story!
What question do wish I had asked and what would you answer be?
How do you see vintage style today? In what ways do you think the love of vintage has become incorporated more broadly into mainstream design?
You can find her at the following places too
La Roux Vintage Pinterest
La Roux Vintage Facebook
The Vintage Bluebird
Don't forget to get straight back here on Friday for her giveaway!!