Thursday, February 25, 2010

For the love of all things vintage : Lily Greig

We had the pleasure to interview our first contest winner, Lily Greig. She was an absolute inspiration to us. Besides being a full-time student, she also runs an online vintage store, writes a successful fashion blog, and designs beautiful jewelry.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Metro Detroit and am currently studying Fine Arts. I love fashion and started designing clothing when I was young. My parents were both teachers and allowed me to be schooled at home. I was encouraged to explore things on my own which has been helpful for me when it comes to starting my own business.

When you’re working for yourself,
                                     you work a lot harder.

What motivated you to open an online vintage store?
Being a full-time student, I realized that I needed a job but I didn’t want to go work at a fast food place. When you make your own job, you make your own hours. Even though it’s more hours and less money, I still get to dictate when the hours are. It’s more interesting. When you’re working for yourself, you work a lot harder.

How do you find and decide what goes into your store?
Well, I do a lot of shopping all the time. I go to estate sales, and auctions, and in the summer I’m at garage sales and flee markets, thrift stores and resale stores. I go anywhere I can and I just look for really unique pieces, one of kind pieces that you can combine with modern pieces to make a really interesting outfit. A lot of it, by itself, can be too vintage, but if you combine it with modern stuff and trendy stuff, it can create a really unique look.

What are the challenges for selling Vintage?
Well, the fact that it is so time consuming. It took so long just to get started. I didn’t make very much my first few months, of course, even though I was investing tons and tons of hours. I think it’s just the time consuming factor, and spending the time to go find everything, and you have to be able to photograph everything well. But, I mean it’s fun. If you love to do it, the hours don’t matter.

What advice would you give other people who want to sell online?
Definitely create some sort of niche for yourself. You have to make yourself stand out. You want all your photos to be cohesive. You want something that makes you special.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your store?
It’s important to recycle all these old clothing and it’s not necessary to always go buy a new designer piece and get everything from the mall. If you want to be an individual and have a personal style it’s good to get one-of-a-kind items from independent designers or purchase vintage and incorporate these things in your style to create a unique look. It is good because it does recycle and that’s important these days.

…first impressions are so important, so you want your look to be able to say something about who you are as a person.

How would you define your current style?
I tend to go for a dressier look because I focus on a lot of skirts and dresses. I just like the more vintage feel with my outfits, but I try to combine it with other items so it looks modern. So it’s just a lot of combing individual pieces to put them together for one cohesive look.

What was your inspiration for style?
I look at a lot of style blogs, and just browsing through the pictures, that helps me get a different idea for new things that I want to try. I am in tune to what’s currently on trend, and that just inspires me to create a look off of that. Anything old is vintage, and I just love looking at them, especially the 1920’s. I love the 20’s and the flapper dresses!

How has your style evolved over the years?
Definitely when I was younger, you know 14 or 15, I really didn’t have a style at all. I just wore my punk rock jeans and my band t-shirts. When I was about 17, I think that’s when I started wearing dresses and looking a little more individual and different from everyone I knew was wearing. It just evolved from there to where I really just wanted it to be completely personal and have it say something about me because first impressions are so important, so you want your look to be able to say something about who you are as a person. I want what I wear to represent me, and I want it to be in a positive light, of course.

Do you have an absolute favorite piece?
It changes a lot. Currently I just found this jersey pencil skirt and it’s black and I wear it all the time. It definitely changes because my taste changes. I’ve got a pair of maroon 1970’s boots, and I was looking for years for the perfect pair and I finally stumbled upon them. They’re probably my favorite, because I’ve worn them a lot.

What type of products do you design?
I like to use recycled pieces and then design something from that. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s called “friendly plastic” and I got a whole bunch of it from a thrift store for really cheap. I melt it in the oven, because I just wanted to experiment with melting it and twisting it and making shapes from it. That’s what my latest design is from. My last design, I used acorn tops, and made little acorns with beads in them. It’s a lot of recycling and using scraps to create jewelry from it. I also made some necklaces using vintage scarves. It’s a lot of recycling and using found objects.

You have to support others
                             to get support for yourself.

What advice would you give fashion bloggers in terms of publicizing themselves?
What I learned is to have interesting photos and blog often, just about one topic that you’re really interested in. Don’t be all over the place, and don’t talk about what you ate for lunch. Have a topic and stick to it. Also, networking and commenting on other blogs that are similar to yours, and talking to other people will help you out with your blog. You have to support others to get support for yourself.

It’s finally acceptable to wear
                             other people’s old clothing.

What inspirational fashion bloggers do you follow?
I really love Sally Jane Vintage. I’ve talked to her a few times through e-mail and I won one of her contests a couple years ago. She’s really sweet and she’s definitely really popular. And then there’s another one, called The Glamourai. I absolutely love everything about her style and how she combines textures and prints. I’ve never seen anyone combines prints as nicely as she does. She’s probably one of my biggest style inspirations.

We know that you plan on going to New York to open your own vintage boutique. What are the current challenges to opening a boutique?
I know the whole thing is going to be a challenge, that’s why I’m writing the business plan now, so I’ll know exactly how much I’ll have to spend every month to be able to stay on top of everything. Obviously I won’t be able to get a store in Manhattan. I’ll have to start in Brooklyn. I want it to be on a main street where there’s a lot of foot traffic. The location is going to be everything. I’m going to have to get people to know about the store and get people to want to come to the store. I’m going to have to make it stand out. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I want to do it so badly.

Why did you choose New York?
The reason I chose New York is because I get so many orders from New York. People from New York are already shopping and buying from my online store. New York is definitely the location for vintage. It’s finally acceptable to wear other people’s old clothing.

Lily strikes us not only as a creative and hardworking entrepreneur, but also someone who is supportive and caring. We wish her success in her future endeavors.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Story Behind Mode Republic

Hi everyone! This is our first post and we would like to share with you the story behind why we created Mode Republic.

We frequently spot very stylish people walking down the street and wonder:
They have such great style! I wonder if they are stylists, designers, celebrities or models!

We walked up to these fashionistas and asked them whether they are part of the fashion industry. Most of the time, the response would be "Thanks for the compliment but I am not." Similar to the beliefs of many people, such as Scott Schmann, the founder of The Sartorialist and Tricia Royal, the creator of Wardrobe Remix, we too share the common belief:
The best stylists walk the streets, not down the runway. These people show us what real stylish people wear in real life.
Some of us might approach these fashionistas and ask where they got their outfit from. We often ask this same question when we read traditional fashion magazines. However, often enough once we find out more about the original item, we realize the price is either not right or the item is no longer available. Then we ask ourselves:
Where can I buy something similar?
Do you have the same experience as we do? If so, we have great news! We built Mode Republic for people just like all of us!
By browsing the Mode Republic Fashion Flipbook, you can get fashion inspirations from real stylish people around the world. If you like a look, simply click on Shop This Look to shop for similar items from several hundred online stores.
To express our gratitude towards our photo contributors, we pioneer a revenue sharing program so Fashionistas get rewarded based on sales generated as a result of the photo they submitted.

As for ourselves, we love fashion and building things (anything DIY or technology-related) and really wanted to build something fun and useful by combining these two passions in life.

In this blog, we wish to document our journey especially around things that we learn and people that we meet as Mode Republic grows.

We look forward to your participation through this blog or the Mode Republic Fashion Flipbook and hope to grow with you together. Feel free to drop us a note!