3011 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92104
Hours: Wed-Sat 12-6 Sun 12-5
I spent the afternoon strolling around North Park and was so delighted to discover Ms. Vintage, a very feminine, bright and well-curated boutique that had a Parisian flair and caters to the fashion forward vintage collector. I fell in love with every piece in the store and enjoyed chatting with Steven, who is half of the husband and wife team with Michele Gonzalez.
RNR: Tell me how Ms. Vintage began her antiquitous journey.
MV: My wife, Michele, has been dealing in vintage for over 25 years so, she’s really well-known in the fashion and vintage world. She started by doing markets and shows, mostly in L.A. at the flea markets and then doing the vintage clothing expos and she started selling on Ebay when that started.
RNR: What kind of vintage do you specialize in?
MV: Our concept is predominantly 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, more replicant of current and upcoming trends.
RNR: Well, this summer boho has been back (again) in a major way.
MV: We don’t do a lot of the boho. We try to keep it more like a pretty dress shop. We keep it colorful and fun. We have a shop on Etsy also. Before we opened the store here we were one of the top fifty vintage sellers on Etsy. We were looking for an office space or a warehouse to work out of and we found this place. We were originally going to have a by-appointment-only show room and somehow it just flip-flopped into becoming a full-blown retail space.
RNR: How long have you been in the business?
MV: I’ve been in the business for about 8 years but, I’ve been collecting since I was a teenager.
RNR: Did you know a lot about vintage before you met your wife? Did you meet through vintage?
MV: No, we had mutual friends. I always dressed vintage and I worked in retail when I was younger. I had four sisters so, I was very comfortable around girls and fashion and women’s clothes, but I have learned most of my stuff through Michelle’s knowledge.
RNR: What’s the craziest buying-trip story you have?
MV: I don’t know if I have a crazy story but, there’s been some crazy amounts of vintage where you don’t expect it to be. About a year ago we got a call to go to a place called the Hemet which is a small kind of foothill, high-desert town, about an hour and a half north of here, and we get there and it’s a mobile home, and we are like “Oh God, we just drove an hour and a half here for a mobile home?” So we go in and everything in there is just amazing, designer, great labels, shoes still in boxes…
Another time, we got a call out in Yuma and we go into this house and once you start getting out of the living room, every room is waist-high with vintage, stacks of vintage.
RNR: You have a really beautiful collection. I am truly in love with every piece in here. How difficult is it to build a collection like yours?
MV: A lot of people don’t understand how hard it is to fill a store with one-of-a-kind pieces, that only come in one size, and you hope that you find the right person that comes in and falls in love with that piece. The great thing about his neighborhood is that we all have a different aesthetic.
RNR: It really is a diverse neighborhood.
MV: Every vintage store here has something different to offer.
*The neighborhood of North Park has been said to be the twelfth hippest neighborhood in the U.S. and is getting more and more recognition as a go-to hip destination for vintage. It was also recently featured on Racked, L.A.’s must visit shops.