My love for vintage started when I was a little girl while tagging along with my mother to antique shops on the weekends. Over the years, I’ve collected more than my fair share of vintage dresses, shoes, handbags, coats, and jewelry and my Esty wishlist is packed to brim with more goodies I don’t need but I want. Like lot of vintage lovers, I enjoy the convenience of shopping online but there is nothing like a trip to a brick and mortar vintage shop and one of my favorites is Halcyon. I can still remember my very first visit and purchase from this little shop nestled in the heart of the Fan in Richmond. It’s a black and white floral print tea length dress with a matching sash and since then I’ve amassed a small collection of dresses from them. A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit and interview the owner of this cute little shop and I have a deeper love for this store after.
I think because it’s so unique and you’re not going to see everyone wearing the same thing and it’s fun; regular clothes don’t excite me that much. I think the quality and the uniqueness of the patterns, the style, the way it’s cut; it’s just something about it. When I first started to get into vintage I was just attracted to it and then it became a passion. The more you see, the more you like and the more it’s exciting to find and exciting to save when it needs repairs and it’s exciting when you’re selling to somebody and seeing the right person getting the perfect piece that maybe you loved but doesn’t fit you. It’s actually how I started; I would see things and knew that it was too good to leave behind, I know somebody is going to love it and that makes it satisfying to have the right person come in and get something and it fits them perfectly and they love it and to see them get excited really makes me happy.
When did you first venture into vintage?
When I was a teenager I would go thrift shopping and things would kind of jump out at me that I thought was interesting and I started realizing that I had an eye for picking out vintage; I had an eye for quality and it sort of developed from there.
When did you open your shop here?
Well let’s see….I was actually a partner in a tiny shop back in the 90’s called Heliotrope down by VCU which is a tattoo shop now. Before the store I sold to vintage stores around the Richmond area, including Halcyon, flea markets and truck shows. I did that for a couple of years and then joined forces with a woman who started a store called “Urban Artifacts” in the late 90’s and that store was on Main Street and after being there for about four years, we moved to Carytown and was at that location for seven years. At the end of 2007 we closed; it was good timing because of the economy and my partner was wanting to do other things. In the meantime I started to sell online and was happy to have a break from the whole retail thing but I was starting to miss the connections you make with your customers when selling in a store. Fast forward I found out that Connie (the original owner of this shop), was looking to retire and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to buy the business but I went to talk to a SCORE Mentor with the small business association and my mentor helped me figure out a way to get everything funded, what questions I needed to ask her (Connie), and how to be smart about it; not just buying it because I loved the store but because this would be a smart business move for me. I officially took over May 1st but last year was when I started to work here to learn her way of doing things.
Besides people bringing in vintage items to sell, where else do you go to find the pieces in the store?
Sometimes people will contact us when cleaning out estates because dealers know we are looking for clothing and accessories or just people who are liquidating estates; a lot of times the clothing is the last thing the families care about so they will contact us to let us know they want to sell the clothing. But really a lot of individuals will contact us from around the state that may live in a rural area that doesn’t have a market to sell vintage. We sometimes do personal visits to homes if there is an especially large amount for people to bring in or it’s an older person who is trying to sell to make it easier for them.
Everything is always so perfectly curated and is the best of the best, how do you pick what to buy?
There are different factors and condition is one of them. We clean the clothing and do repairs but we know from years of experience what pieces aren’t repairable so we will pass on them. We look for style and keep an eye on what people are looking for. We do get request for certain things, so that’s always in the back of our minds when selecting items. But quality, style, condition are the three big factors for us when choosing what to sell.
Why do you thing this store works so well in the Richmond area?
I wish Connie was here to answer that lol! Its interesting because I think the three main vintage stores here, Bygones, Luxor and us all are a little bit different. Richmond is really so supportive because Richmoner’s appropriate history and now I think more than ever people want to support small local businesses so it has just evolved over time and there seem to be a lot of vintage lovers here of all ages. The college crowd helps a lot, VCU, UofR and VUU and just being in a city is good for vintage. The fashion department at VCU helps and just people just really love this store. We get a lot of crossover from the other vintage shops in the area and people just appreciate that we have been here for so long.
Now for the fun part, I’m going to give you a few rapid fire questions!
What was the first thing you did when you woke up this morning?
Ummmm get a cup of coffee!
What is your favorite fashion designer?
Oh, gosh, yikes….um, can we come back to that!
What are three things you always have in your purse?
Ummmm chap-stick, a loop…I’ve been carying this in my purse a lot lately to look at jewelry and let’s see… my cell phone.
What is the last song you listened to?
Ummmmm can I grab the tape lol! This was actually made for us at Urban Artifacts, it was Jazz Butcher by Marney
Favorite TV Show?
Ummmm probably, I would say anything Master Piece Theater!
Favorite vintage item?
This is so hard lol! A kimono!!
Favorite period of vintage clothing?
I like all the period but my favorite has to be early 60’s to early 70’s
What is your favorite thing about being a shop owner in Richmond?
Definitely the support of the community. I feel like Richmond is growing so much and I am excited about that! Everything is exploding and I feel like if Halcyon has done well up until now with all the new people moving in it will just better. And I love the Fan and happy to be in this location.
Want more Halcyon?
Store Location: 117 North Robinson Street
This post is in partnership with Shop Small by American Express as a Small Business Champion