Tell us about your store Ollie Otson.
Ollie Otson strives to bring high-quality vintage fashion to the Savannah area. We have clothing from the 40s through the 80s, including dresses, shirts, skirts, hats, handbags, and shoes. Though we are mostly women’s clothing, we do have some mens, so drag your boyfriends along too!
Ollie Otson has been my creative outlet since I was 15 and selling custom purses and wallets on LiveJournal. (who remembers those?!) I eventually upgraded to Etsy when I moved to Savannah for school, and began selling vintage while living in California. After moving back to Savannah three years ago, my friend Adrienne approached me about renting the space above Stitch to open my shop, and I immediately snatch up the opportunity.
We’ve been open now a year, and it’s been an incredibly interesting experience, but I love it! It’s so rewarding seeing people go home happy with items I’ve found, and to see those items have a new life again.
How did you come to find your love of vintage?
When I moved to California and began working at Playclothes, one of the largest privately owned vintage stores in LA, my like of vintage really turned into a love of vintage. From working there, I began to really learn about vintage – the designers, how to determine a garment’s age, etc. Most of all, I came to realize how amazing vintage is, how much care and love have been put into maintaining them. These are garments that are anywhere from 20 – 80 years old and they’re still around! They’ve had stories and lives, and by someone finding them and wearing them again, they’ll have a new life and new stories.
Vintage is such a personal experience, especially when you find a beautiful dress and it fits like a glove. like it was made just for you, but you know it had another owner who loved it just as much and took enough care of it that it can now be loved by you. Just the pure satisfaction you get from that, and from my perspective of being the one who found it and is able to pass it on to another person, is why I love selling vintage.
As a woman who loves fashion, I must know who your favorite designer/era is?
It’s hard to pick one era I love more than any others because they all contributed so much to fashion, but I’ll narrow it down to the 50s and the 60s.
I always joke that I would be such a good 50s housewife because I love cooking and cleaning, and I love the “June Cleaver” look of the full-skirted dresses, the red lipstick, and pearls.
On the other hand, I love colors and prints, which is why I find myself drawn to the 60s a lot, as well. Plus, who doesn’t love a good mod dress they can wear some knee high boots with?
What are your thoughts on being a small boutique owner in Savannah that could help someone wanting to open their own doors to retail?
I don’t think any small business class or any lecture someone could take really prepares us for what is going to happen when the doors open. I took classes and wrote business plans, and within a month, it all went out the window. Does that mean I’m doing it wrong? I don’t think so. I think it means I’m doing it right.
You have to be prepared to adapt to your audience and what they want, and sometimes, what they don’t even know they want yet.
If you could have one super-hero power, what would it be?
Teleportation. (I actually have to give one of my customers credit for this answer!)
What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?
Oh, gosh, guilty pleasures. I absolutely love bad TV. I think my TV mature-ness stopped when I was 16 because I still love the type of shows I watched or would have watched in high school. In fact, my former intern, who was 17, and I used to discuss Pretty Little Liars and The Voice every Wednesday when she’d come in ad how upset we were about something that had happened.
If you had a whole day to spend as you wish in Savannah, what local boutiques and restaurants would you stop by?
A day off?! What’s that?
I would definitely have to stop into our neighbors Red Clover because they tempt me so much with their lovely dresses in the windows. Then, I would travel down to The Paris Market to marvel in all the amazing vintage housegoods they have. After all the shopping, I’d have to go to Jazz’d for dinner and stuff myself with tapas, then go for a late-night cocktail at Circa.
How do you unwind after a long day at work?
I really just like to go home and relax after work. Take Oliver for a walk, make some dinner, put on a movie or go grab dinner with friends.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I have a birthmark on the bottom of my left food and a chicken pox scar above my left eyebrow.. Also, I had chicken pox three times when I was little.
What do you like and dislike most about living and working in Savannah?
Living and working in Downtown Savannah is really like living in a small town. I’ll be walking Oliver and people will stop us to say how big he’s gotten because they’ve seen him walking around since he was a puppy. Or I’ll stop in a cafe, and the barista will tell me about her dress she bought a few months back from the shop. I really enjoy that aspect of the city.
Tell us about your store Ollie Otson.