|Vintage selection at a Pretty Genius pop-up sale.|
|Ashley Olsen in a vintage Calvin Klein dress and accessories. -Getty Images|
Erin: We held our first sale in January of 2011after a late night conversation about what we wanted to do with our lives. I literally asked Renee (who I had gone to Indiana University
with) “What job wouldn’t feel like a job to you?” and she replied, “vintage shopping.” And we decided to host a sale right then and there.
FF: Why the pop-up shop concept versus having a store front?
Erin: The pop-up concept makes more sense for us than a store for a few reasons — low overhead, for one. Plus we both have full time jobs — I’m a journalist who publishes the L.A.-based fashion website StyleSectionLA.com while Renee works as a luxury hotel account manager. We started this as a fun passion project that, excitingly, has started to take on a life of its own. Its so great for us to be able to invite our friends and clients to our events once a month and have them see all of the new merchandise we’ve sourced, rather than us having to stand around a shop and wait for business to come in. The excitement that we see in our customers really fuels our own passion for Pretty Genius.
|Pretty Genius vintage pop-up shop|
We carry clothes that feel timeless and unique, and we try to source goods that will help our customers feel confident while wearing them. We like pieces that make us giddy because of a special detail —whether it’s a ruffle on a 1970s silk shirt or a piece of fringed velvet on a belt — we like to sell items that can’t be found anywhere else. We’re both obsessed with dresses, so those who stop by will find those for sure. But we also have some pretty amazing skirts (think leather, silk, suede, etc.) in various lengths, fantastic blazers, caftans, quirky and cozy sweaters and literally a wall of purses.
And yes, there’s plenty of expertise here. My partner Renee is amazing when it comes to working with clients and urging them to be daring in the fitting room — 9 out of 10 times she’s right on the money when it comes to styling our customers in pieces that they might otherwise overlook. While I have worked in fashion for years, first as an intern for an Indie fashion label in college and later as a fashion writer for the LA Times and a contributor to Elle.com, Style.com, Los Angeles Magazine, Angeleno and of course on my own website, StyleSectionLA.com. I do digital branding consulting for fashion brands, and have also produced photo shoots for my website as well as Entrepreneur magazine and styled the City of Newport Beach 2011 Visitors Guide. My grandmother was a hat designer and my grandfather owned a popular Chicago women’s boutique, so I like to think that style is literally in my blood.
Erin: We decided to expand for the simple reason that we are both obsessed with San Francisco! No joke. When I’m bored, I look at Victorian houses in Pac Heights that I would die to be able to afford one day. And I think we both would love to live in the area one day in the future. Since we both have a lot of friends here that have been really supportive of Pretty Genius, we decided that this was the perfect weekend to take a road trip and test out a new market!
Shop silk blouses, high-waist leather skirts, mesh cocktail dresses, tweed heritage blazers and more. Most retailing under $50. Brands include Ungaro, Calvin Klein, Bally, St. John and much more.