Hi Maggie! Tell us a bit about yourself - Fun facts, what you love, where you're from or anything that lets us get to know you.
I grew up in the Ohio Valley and took some classes in graphic design after high school but never finished my degree. (My crazy Uncle who is an Artist talked me out of doing graphic design. For some reason he thought I was more creative than that). So instead of finishing college I moved to Southern California for a few years and then moved back to Ohio and started Noirohio shortly thereafter. I now live in a house in Dayton built in 1889 that has been my fixer upper project for the past year or so. It's sort of weird to think of having piece from the early 1900's that I have in my stock and the fact that it probably hasn't been in this house since that time period! Sort of a "National Treasure Declaration of Independence" moment if you will.
Tell us about your first experience with vintage - The first time you went vintage thrifting/shopping or the fist vintage thing you ever bought or received?:
I've always been around vintage in some form. I dressed my Barbie's up in my Mom's vintage Barbie clothes (they had REAL metal zippers!!) and was obsessed with them. I played dress-up in my Mom's vintage clothes from the 60's and 70's so I think I've always had a love for older clothing. The first amazing item I found (and kept) while thrifting was a Louis Vuitton speedy bag which was like $40. It needed the zipper replaced which I did and still have it in my closet! I wear my Grandpa's old herringbone Army field jacket as well, which my Grandma used to wear as her "fishing jacket".
Congratulations on Noir Ohio turning 13 this year! Can you give us a little story of how your shop came to be and how it's grown so popular over this time.
I've been so blessed to have been doing what I love for this long. How I got started.. I just thought I could perhaps sell some of the vintage in my closet I wasn't wearing any longer to make room for more clothes ;) I auctioned the pieces on eBay and they all sold, so I took that money to the thrift store and oddly enough found a Chanel caviar bag (!!!) which I sold for a good amount of money. With that money I bought more items to sell and the rest is history!
Selling vintage is some REAL WORK, not just finding cool old things and taking styled pictures... give us some insight into what it's really like to make the shop running.
Honestly, I usually work from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. Most people don't realize how much time is needed to be invested to make a shop really run. I have always been taught that customer service is key by my hard working parents so I have tried to be the best in that department. Taking the time to show each customer that they are appreciated is really underrated in my opinion. I also think that finding your niche is key. In this small but saturated market it's definitely important to stand out from the crowd.
You mainly sell online, do you find it harder to connect with customers that way, or easier because of the broader reach you have?
I think it's 50/50. If I tried to just depend on a B&M shop in my city it would be impossible to stay in business. I think being online for as long as I have has definitely helped in finding those new customers. But on the other hand, being involved in the A Current Affair show in NYC has helped broaden my customer base as well.
I imagine that your personal vintage wardrobe is pretty stellar... what are some of your favorite pieces that aren't for sale.
I feel like it's dwindled over the years due to my honest laziness when it comes to getting dressed! I'm terrible. I'm on my computer most days working so my favorite thing to wear is a comfy pair of beat up jeans and soft t-shirts so it's gotten me to let go of some of the other vintage items I've had in my closet for a while. I always say "If I haven't worn it in a year - get rid of it." That being said, I have a 50's dress I bought for my sister while in Seattle many years ago that she has given back to me and we have both worn it all over the world so it's sort of become the "sisterhood traveling dress". But my favorite piece is a moonstone ring that my Mother gave me years ago with an intricate branch band holding it that my Opa (Grandfather) had made for my Mother in the 70's. This piece is extra special to me since my Opa just passed this past month. He was 93.
What's is your favorite part of the whole process from collecting, to styling, to having a customer find something from you that they just adore?
My favorite part is most definitely having a customer be over the moon about a piece they have scored from me and in turn, developing a relationship with that customer where I know certain items they will be excited for in my shop! Of course, the hunting and buying for pieces is always a exciting. Styling pieces is super fun for me, but actually connecting with my customers is the best.
If your weren't selling vintage, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing something in design - Landscape design, Interior design etc... I love to play tennis in my spare time and have thought about how awesome it would be to design a line of vintage inspired tennis clothes! ;)
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