Laura Uhlir is a busy woman. Photographer, stylist, blogger and now shop owner she does it all with grace and an upbeat attitude. We were thrilled she agreed to chat with us a bit about her latest venture, Olive Vintage. Pretty much the most amazing little gem on the East Side, the must visit Olive Vintage is tucked inside DOMY Books. Here’s some of what Laura shared with us…
FELIZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Laura: Well, I’m a happy Austinite who dreams of California & sprawling West Texas often. I love avocados, smoosh-faced dogs, cold sheets, cooking supper after a long day, ankle boots, people who make me laugh, messy hair, bright colors, washed silk, spacey music, little tchotchkes, bobby pins, strong coffee & of course my husband, friends & family.
I grew up in a small town in East Texas where entertainment & fashion options were limited at best. So, one boring afternoon I ventured into Goodwill & came out with a life long love of vintage. It was cheap, it had character, it was fun to explore – I was hooked! I couldn’t get enough soft thin t-shirts, worn out jeans, weird blouses from the 70s … I’m sure I was an odd looking duck, but I was happy. I liked standing out a bit. I still love vintage for the same reasons, but now I love working my vintage collection in with contemporary pieces. And I try to do the same in my shop.
Something about owning a shop has always appealed to me. I loved the idea of creating a second home of sorts – a space to clearly share all of your loves and interests. Also, I spent a summer helping friends solidify their business: putting together a list of designers, doing research, hunting down an ideal shop location, even naming the shop & that really put the retail bug in me! After watching my little online shop grow & hosting a few successful pop-up shops I finally had the nerve to take the plunge.
Currently, I’m really inspired by all of my fellow ladies out there achieving their dreams, cheesy but true. Women opening businesses, touring the country with amazing bands, running organizations, writing, making incredible art, gorgeous floral arrangements, delicious food, crave-able jewelry .. the list goes on. I’ve been so inspired by those women as of late that I started a blog chronicling their amazingness: radlady.com.
What are some of the hardest parts about working for yourself?
Discipline! For sure. It’s so tough not to order things from every single designer you’d like to support. There is so much great work out there now & I’m itching to share every single bit of it with Austin (& everywhere else, for that matter!) but with a fledgling business I have to pace myself. I also have to be strict with myself when vintage shopping for the store. I’m learning to buy things I love & let go of them so others can love them too.
What are some of the best things about owning a shop?
It’s pretty fun throwing a cute outfit together, getting asked where you got it & exclaiming, my store, Olive! It’s also incredibly rewarding to see each piece walk out of the door with a new, excited owner. Traveling to find new items for the shop is a blast too. Nothing beats the thrill of unearthing something incredible in an unexpected place.
1) Scout & Catalogue Mañana clutch in burgundy snake. It’s a total dream & has a shark tooth on the zipper – so tough!
2) A classic vintage black leather jacket cut like a classic jean jacket. I love things with a twist.
3) The collection of wooden & cork beaded necklaces I came across on a recent shop trip to Abilene.
4) Saipua soaps! It’s touch to pick just one scent, but if I had do I think I’d land on Vetiver. I love scents that toe the line between feminine & masculine.
5) A pair of oxblood Bass penny loafers, I think they’re such a classic shoe. They look great with just about everything & they’ve never even been worn!
Ooof, it’s touch to predict the future, but I’d love Olive Vintage to keep marching in the same direction. You will definitely always find a curated selection of vintage for men & women – stuff you can easily work into your wardrobe. Vintage will always be my backbone. With that being said though, I’d love to expand my inventory a bit & add a few more talented designers. Right now the only new work I carry is in the accessories arena & it would be nice to be able to stock a few new wardrobe staple pieces. I’m also hoping to start hosting more workshops & events. I want to refine & grow my online shop a bit too. I’m so excited to see where the next year leads Olive. Whichever direction the shop moves in, I’m sure it will be great!