Shop Owner I Bittersweet Vintage
"I was ready for a slower pace and a porch to drink coffee on. I was ready for a place that focused on your passions and not your day job."
Where did you grow up? Describe that place and its people…
I grew up in a tiny town in the tiny state of Vermont. Lucky for me I was surrounded by creative and open minded people. I was extremely lucky to have artistic parents who encouraged my creativity but also, I grew up in the time before computers and smart phones. I lived in a cabin my mother and father built with a wood stove on 8 acres of land. They let my brother and I just kind of roam the land, so I feel like a lot of ‘normal’ things of my childhood are far from it and really influenced who I am. I spent most of my childhood building teepees and forts in the woods and collecting rocks. My elementary school was a total of 60 people, 5 others in my graduating class. This kind of upbringing molds you in a different way. One of the most important influences was in high school when I got involved in a group that worked to put on film, art and music shows in my home town. To be in a collective of artistic folks who work to encourage and support others was very influential to me. Most of the people were older and starting to find their own footing in college and my mind was blown by the potential of my future in the art world — it seemed so much less restrictive than I had been taught in Vermont. My senior thesis project in college was a magazine about this group and although many have gone in different directions, their influence will always be in me.
What were you like as a child? What did you want to do or be when you grew up?
I took an interest in art at a young age and was encouraged to do so. My parents were really great about finding ways for me to be creative outside of the basic art classes my schools had. In elementary school I took painting and printmaking classes after school with the artist Anne Cady and in high school I figured out ways to do Independent Studies and apprenticeships since there was only so much the schools offered. I have wanted to be involved in many many careers but my life went in the direction of what I knew best, which is vintage and antique jewelry. I grew up in my mother’s store which was the biggest influence in my life. At 7 I was left to run the shop which I look back at and laugh. I was definitely not old enough to be running things, but part of that was that we were in a small town. I worked for trade with my mother so by 13 I was wearing vintage diamond rings. There was no turning back. The first jewelry I made was earrings from vintage beads, which I sold for $6 in my mother’s shop. My first love was merchandising and doing the store windows. People who know me see my love of display. My entire bedroom has always looked like a curated store with jewelry and tchotchkes on display in precise positions. I don't think that the people who know me are surprised that I’m a shop owner. It’s kind of in my blood.
When did you first leave home? Where did you go?
I moved to New York for college right after high school. I went into an art conservatory and was blown away by all the options. There were so many more types of art and tools then I had ever seen, the teachers were working artists and the classmates were a true smorgasbord of cliches. It was the beginning of a very different life. Both my parents grew up in New York City and something from that had always been instilled in me. Vermont was a great place to grow up but it was very small in many ways, and I needed to broaden my view of the world. I moved to Brooklyn right after college. I worked many different jobs that definitely influenced me today and how I would run a business. I had a chance to do freelance design work but the craziest job I had was managing a Fine Arts gallery on the Upper East Side. I used to take cab rides with Picasso’s and Warhol’s. It was a very different life.