I’ve been working on a few collaborations lately and I’m so excited how this turned out! I have become familiar with the Los Angeles area of HelMel (Heliotrope and Melrose for those of you unfamiliar with the nickname) as I’ve been visiting Shampoolio for years getting my hair done. It’s a great little area known for vintage and thrift stores. So, when Vanessa announced she basically has a closet on Melrose, I was excited to head back and snap some shots. Vanessa has been my boyfriend’s friend since high school and she has cut my hair since I moved to LA. She is truly a magical personality and fun to be around. She started a vintage clothing store on Etsy and has been very successful. Her style icon is Priscilla Presley, and she was the major inspiration for this shoot. We also wanted to showcase Vanessa’s unique style and her office. Her studio has the perfect light and so many fantastic colors. I’m so happy we collaborated on this shoot and we will be working together more in the future. Please enjoy the images and the interview!
Lauren: How did you first get involved with fashion and specifically your company the Roaring 90s?
Vanessa: My first foray into fashion was managing a luxe showroom in downtown LA at age 18. I was extremely under qualified but very lucky to have connections. I learned all about fabric, quality, pricing, marketing and sizing. Corey Lynn Calter was a new designer downstairs from us and used me as her fit model. She was so sweet – she’d let me pick out a dress every time. I learned so much.
Lauren: What do you find most challenging about selling vintage clothing?
Vanessa: Keeping my partner Julio from wearing all of our pieces as part of his daily wardrobe. That’s about it…it’s really fun.
L: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while running your business?
V: We also have a hair salon on Melrose whereThe Roaring Nineties displays & racks are. Most of our first clothing customers were the rock stars whose hair were being cut by members of the Shampoolio team, who needed fresh clothing to wear on tour. They started coming in more frequently for clothes than hair and we realized we were onto something.
L: How would someone describe your fashion sense/style?
V: Sometimes vintagey girly. Sometimes I wear G Star. Sometimes glam. Sometimes like I rolled in the gutter. Sometimes like Scilla. Always a sprinkle of dog hair and a spritz of hairspray. Every look fits into the category of LA street style and that’s why we live here. You walk out of the house thinking you look fly as fuck until you realize the dude sleeping next to your car smoking crack out of an apple has on a way doper jacket. Seriously, the homeless of HelMel slay. They’ve also been spotted wearing many a Roaring Nineties hoodies.
L: What do you do when you aren’t working on the Roaring 90s?
V: Now that my partner Julio and I are able to work on this business more full time, I have taken so much more joy in creating beauty through art & collaborative projects just like this one. I love to cultivate every detail of a photo from the hair to the makeup to the clothes and even sometimes the setting. That’s why this shoot was so much fun, it was very personal to me in my work space and in my grandmother’s vintage dress. I also volunteer with the Echo Park dog rescue The REAL bark.
L: What networking do you do that you feel helps your business?
V: #Hastags & Instagram! We have an Etsy store – I am able to track the analytics. It’s pretty amazing how social media gets your product found by potential buyers. Sometimes I feel stupid writing “#ClassicRockHoodie” under a piece that I feel is so much more, but guess what? It sells. And it gets into the hands of someone who truly appreciates it.
L: How would you explain your brand “The Roaring Nineties?” The Roaring Nineties is a concept. The 90’s was a time when fashion was killing it and luxury was in. Music was amazing and people were extravagant. Recession? Um… Beverly Hills 90210 anyone?
V: The Roaring Nineties is a concept. The 90’s was a time when fashion was killing it and luxury was in. Music was amazing and people were extravagant. Recession? Um… Beverly Hills 90210 anyone?
L: But you do sell more than 90’s clothes? Is 90’s considered vintage? We sell the best items from every decade as well as handmade. The concept travels through decades with us. I’m passionate about vintage Priscilla Presley attire & TLC’s fashion. Julio is the king of metal & denim. We have most bases covered. And yes, anything over twenty years is considered vintage. Can you believe our old Spice World tees are vintage now?
V: We sell the best items from every decade as well as handmade. The concept travels through decades with us. I’m passionate about vintage Priscilla Presley attire & TLC’s fashion. Julio is the king of metal & denim. We have most bases covered. And yes, anything over twenty years is considered vintage. Can you believe our old Spice World tees are vintage now?
L: Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
V: Sometimes the things that pay off are the simplest most intuitive ideas you have. Julio & I were both busting our buns working full time when we decided we wanted to just make a little extra cash. We listed about fifty items to start and the response was incredible. We built racks in the hair salon and collected our inventory on the rare days we didn’t take clients. We did our listings in the back of the salon, between color applications for the first few months.
L: How long were you running the business before you started into it full time? How did you live through those first few months/years?
V: Julio has been collecting clothes for years as have I. We didn’t technically start selling until last summer. We both did it in our spare time when we could. In addition to hairdressing full time I supported myself bartending. I’m so happy to be working for myself I cannot begin to tell you.
L: What does being a Lady Boss mean to you?
V: Julio was my mentor in the hair world. On this side, I’m in charge – which is nice. It took a lot of hard work to get there. Sometimes things work themselves out exactly as they should. It’s a nice day when everyone stops calling you bossy and starts calling you the boss.
L: If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
V: Say yes. Be the person on the team that is indispensable. Show up. Do your best. You already have a better chance than most out there, regardless of talent, if you just say yes and don’t bitch out.
You can check out the Roaring Nineties on Instagram and snag some of the highly coveted vintage t’s they have in stock!