We got to know you when you were living in New York, before you relocated to LA and started Fairseason. How do you think that move has influenced you and the path you’ve taken with your business?
The move to LA was so important for me and for my business. There are many reasons why, but most importantly there were opportunities for me in LA that didn’t exist in New York. I felt that it was easier to break into the field here in LA. In New York channels seemed established and difficult to get into. I got to LA and there was a market where I could sell my things every weekend, and tons of networking with other small business owners.
Who’s got a better vintage scene? New York or LA? Why?
I think the scene is better in LA. We have everything – from the best flea markets in the world to the most exclusive, high end vintage ateliers, and everything in between.
Were you nervous about quitting a 9-5 and starting your own thing?
What I did was a little bit crazy, so I had a lot of anxiety in the beginning, but I couldn’t see going back out into the ‘traditional’ job marketplace.
Did it take a significant investment to start your business or were you able to start slow and manage the financial aspect yourself?
I feel like I’m still starting slow! In the very beginning I bought a lot of inventory in a short amount of time, so that was an investment, but I didn’t want to take on debt to start. I still feel the same way.
You started on Etsy right? Did that make it easier to start your business?
Yes, Etsy is still my main marketplace. I’m not a technical person, so Etsy was a way for me to have a site without taking on the design or the commerce functions by myself. It was, and still is a great resource.
Toni wearing a pair of her vintage denim.
What are the best and worst things about owning your own business?
I work longer and harder than I ever did at a nine to five, but everything that I make and do is mine. That’s a million times more rewarding than any job I’ve done for someone else.
How do you select the denim for your shop? Do you think you have a particular style that you’re drawn to?
I source pretty close to 100% US made denim. That’s the first thing that I look for. Beyond that I’m searching for sizes that will work for my customers, and washes that are gorgeous. I like to mix in some distressed pieces, and I focus on the 60s-80s. In general I want a timeless, as opposed to a trendy look.
Jane Birkin and her daughters / Diana Ross
If you were to expand your business to other categories, what would your dream scenario be?
I would love to get into new categories. I have plenty of ideas for things that I want to make, mostly in housewares, and mostly using re-purposed materials that I’ve been hoarding. I’ve also gotten to know a handful of local makers, and I’d love to show off their work.
Do you have other interests that you ever considered pursuing as a career?
I had a few careers before I got to where I am now, so I got my exploring out of the way I think. I always wish that I could take a class here and there. If I ever have time it’ll be art history.
Do you know any interesting facts about vintage denim?
There is so much to know it gets overwhelming. Even if you’re just looking at Levi’s, and there are so many other brands out there. The things that I know are the minutia that help me to identify age and value, nothing that would be really interesting to a normal person!
Do you have an all-time favorite pair?
Yes, I’m wearing them right now. They’re 501s with a lot of patches in important places. They must’ve been blue at some point, but now they’re pretty much white. I’ll wear them until they are too shredded to be ok in public.