Tag Archives: vintaging

Junkin’ in Houston

10 Jul

While I still count myself a New Yorker, I spent most of my adolescent life in Houston. First living in southwest Houston, and then north Houston, and now I’m pretty sure I’ve lived in just about every part of this large, thriving city. People always ask where you are from, and once you tell them Houston, they want to know what part. There are about a thousand parts, and a dozen new, hopping neighborhoods popping up every few months. The trendy parts are ever changing and adapting to the hipsters that want to be where all the action is. My mom, aka the original-hipster as I have coined her, swears she was cool before cool was cool. She has always been a “thrifter”, and says she used to go “junkin”, as her friends called it, way before it was cool to do it. One of my girlfriends had mentioned an amazing resale/vintage shop in Houston, in one of those trendy parts of town, of which I don’t remember the name. I decided last Friday that I needed a girl day. Too many days at home, in the summer, with MY child, lets just say it wears on you. I made a few calls, mom promised to babysit, and the day was planned. We were going “junkin”, just us girls.

For some reason, this shop closes at 2pm on Saturdays. Coined the “best resale experience in Houston”, The Guild Shop may be the largest store of “junk” that I’ve seen in a LONG time. And as big as it was, filled to brim with patrons as well. Apparently, this is the Saturday shopping hot-spot. My friend being the expert that she is, took me on a tour of the store before we found a section to begin in. The store is broken up into housewares, a room full of dishes, bowls, mugs, etc, a smaller room of just silver and brass, a large room full of large furniture, the showroom has clothing, bags, and a jewelry section, for which you need to take a number and it closes before the store closes itself. Now, being the daughter of a “professional thrifter”, I’ve been dragged to a lot of thrift/resale stores. This one topped them all. Of all the resale stores I’ve experienced, not including ones that carry strictly clothing, this was the most organized and thought out, well planned resale store I’d ever seen. They were a well-oiled machine. There must’ve been 50 people working in this store for the five hours it was open. I was thoroughly impressed, and I’m rarely impressed by much these days. The phrase, “customer service is dead in this country,” must come out of my mouth several times a week. But these people…These people knew what they were doing.

So not only was I impressed with the lay-out, the staff, the organization, but also the price points. Each tag has a starting price on it with the date it was brought in. A month from that date the price goes down a certain percentage, something like 20-25%. It may vary per type of product. Two weeks from that date, the price goes down again. Two weeks from the above date, the price goes down to its lowest price point. For most products this is $1, unless it’s something like furniture or other big ticket items. From what my partner-in-crime has experienced, it never usually makes it to its last and lowest price point. This place is serious business. If you see it and you like it, you better get it before the person walking in behind you does. This stuff is priced to sell and does. I found a dresser that would be perfect for us to take home refinish and repaint and add to our baby room. My husband comes home this week. Hopefully it’ll still be there when I get a chance to go back. Fingers crossed!

 

 

Needless to say, The Guild Shop will be a frequented destination in the years to come. What did I come home with you ask? Well, let me brag here: an shiny orange bowl, two Fire King mugs that were a set of four that I split with my friend, and a set of six New York theme dinner plates by Homer Laughlin. Total spent: $34. A mere drop in the bucket for the amazing finds and great quality items.

The next place we wanted to stop was Bluebird Circle. Bluebird Circle is a charitable organization, started in 1923, helping womens organizations and childrens charities, they are one that has left there mark on this city for many years. My mom remembered visiting their resale store as soon as I mentioned it. Unfortunately they also closed at 2pm and we were unable to make it this time. Because of its reputation, I know we’ll be back to visit soon.

If there is one thing Houstonians take seriously, it’s their resale shopping. I’ve never been to a city that has more resale shops than Starbucks, and I think that says a lot. I’ll definitely keep you guys updated on all the great spots to hit up, and all the stores that take the word “vintage” to mean “expensive”. What’s the point of green-shopping if you can’t afford it?

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Kalen’s Guide to Thrifting

2 Jul


A few months ago, one of our favorite customers, Margaux, asked me if I would be interested in going Thrifting/Vintaging (yes, those are real verbs!) with her as research for her blog. We think Margaux has one of the most unique styles around and I was thrilled to say yes! We decided to go exploring in Dallas since I never get out much and it was a good excuse to go East. We both did some research on places to go, both thrift stores and vintage stores and we headed out. We didn’t have much luck on our first two stops as they were both closed at the time. One place we really need to make time to go back to was Voodoo Chile. Described by one reviewer on Yelp as being a “…very special opium den themed episode of Hoarders”, this thrift/antique/junk store is only open from 7pm to midnight. Its owner, Jimi Hendrix, (swear), dresses as his namesake and “lurks” around the store with a “fishbowl glass of red wine”. This definitely sounds like our kind of place and worthy of a trip back to Greenville for Bluefish Sushi and Voodoo Chile.


Anyway, our first real stop was at Buffalo Exchange. Advertised as being a mixture of modern resale and vintage, we had to actually dig to find much vintage. We did end up with a sweet yellow lace 60s prom dress and a 70’s Lilly Pulitzer poly tunic. The tunic, we noticed when we got back to the store, had the points of the collar CUT OFF (!!!) no doubt to make it less 70s looking. Thus, bringing us to Rule #1 in vintaging/thrifting; look over everything VERY carefully, and then have someone else look over it again. People do weird things to their clothes, and age does even weirder things to clothes. We have made many a buying blunder by not looking over things closely enough and it’s heartbreaking.
Margaux found some killer cobalt blue rhinestone encrusted platform sandals that she carried around the store for a while but then decided against. If anyone could rock these shoes, it would be her, no doubt with some sweet Hello Kitty ankle socks.


Next stop was Lulu B’s Antique Mall in Deep Ellum. Whereas most antique malls have only a smattering of vintage clothing, the entire upstairs at Lulu B’s is full of vintage. We really didn’t know where to start, kinda like walking in to a wine tasting with 10 bottles lined up in front of you. Margaux is searching for items for her new apartment, so in addition to vintage clothing, we were on the hunt for fun, eclectic things for her. Our first find, something everything needs, was a blowfish on a stand. Sadly, she passed on that, but opted for painted busts of Diana and Adonis. So versatile, we thought; jewelry holder, hat holder, perpetual party guests so she never has to drink alone. I once picked at a house where the owner collected dolls. There were dolls on the sofas, dolls at the breakfast bar, dolls on the bed, and 2 giant teddy bears (like 6 feet tall giant) seated at the head and foot of the dining room table. It was a little creepy, hopefully Margaux will be satisfied with Diana and Adonis and not feel the need to go all William Randolph Hearst with the Roman statuary.


Anyway, we ventured upstairs and hit the jackpot with a 75% off section. Now, Rule #2 of vintaging/thrifting: Just because it is a cheap price, doesn’t make it a good deal. I have learned that lesson as a buyer for the store and with my own personal wardobe. Even if it’s a $1, if it won’t sell, it’s not a good buy. Personally, if you spend $5 on something you’ll never wear, it’s worthless. And those $5 worthless purchases add up to big money that Wendy could spend on a really great bag! Those of you who shop our store know that I’m very picky about what I buy. It was hard at the beginning to not buy every vintage item I saw while thrifting simply because it WAS vintage and I was afraid of what would happen to it if I didn’t buy it. I know now that I’m not in the business of rescuing vintage from the throes of thrift stores and I have the strength (most of the time) to walk away if it isn’t right. Your wardrobe deserves the same respect. It’s OK to walk away from the $5 Tshirt bin.
I did walk away from the $5 Tshirt rack and found some great dresses for the store. I tend to look more for cocktail dresses when I come across these sales just because those are the items that can give you the biggest bang for your buck. And vintage cocktail dresses are just one of those things that if you are me, I can always sell; and if you are you, you will eventually have a need for. Rule #3 of vintaging/thrifting: If it passes Rule #1 (intense inspection) and Rule #2 (a good deal) and it fits you like a glove, BUY IT. I don’t care if you don’t know where you are going to wear it to, you will, someday. And trust me, it saves you the stress of going in to a store at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon frantically trying to find a dress to wear to a wedding the next day. Every girl should have at least one (or eight) “go to” dress for each season that you love and fits you impeccably. Buying when you find the perfect dress is way better than being forced in to buying something that you don’t love for three times the price because you ran out of time.
After a quick lunch at La Duni (because sadly we have to get our Latin food fix in Dallas), we ended our day at Genesis Thrift. No such luck there, so we said goodbye to Margaux and Dallas and headed back to the Fort. It was a great day and loads of fun to shop with someone with such great style. Make sure you check out Margaux’s blog at http://thegirlwhoworeeverything.blogspot.com/.