Big Changes Ahead

We've finally found a studio space!  WOOHOO!!!  We're really excited about all of the possibilities the space holds.  It is a HUGE basement space in an artist studio building in downtown Raleigh.  There's a good amount of natural light and plenty of room for future events.  And, the best part, we'll be able to meet with customers in person!  Keep an eye out here to see how the space evolves as we make it our own (there's lots of cleaning and painting in our future!).
Here's what the rough, untouched space looks like...

Three of those large windows.  A sliding barn-style door to storage.  And, SPACE!

At the other end there's an actual office space!

And, there's a side space that will become the shipping/repair area.
Yep, the bar is going away

I wanted to tell you a little bit about how we got here simply because I truly appreciate reading other business owners' stories of both the highs and the lows.   We started looking for a studio space over two years ago...when realized the house was SO overcrowded with vintage racks that we could no longer have any friends over (and we love to host a good party!).  We found the probably predictable dilemma...finding a space we both could afford and that had a good 'vibe'.  I really think with vintage clothing in particular, the setting can make all the difference...we didn't want a generic, new retail space, but one with older, original features.  In Raleigh especially, this "ideal" space was proving extremely difficult and I'm not one to just settle.  So, like I said, we spent years looking at spaces.

Then, we saw a tiny sign in a vacant building about four blocks from our house.  After being vacant for years, it was finally for rent.  We called immediately and, sure enough, it sounded perfect.  It was basically a rebuild of a 1920s building, but the owners wanted to save as much of the original structure as possible.  It meant we'd have exposed brick walls, extremely high wood ceilings, polished concrete floors, and a reproduction of the original store front with huge windows.  We agreed to take the space and began working with a wonderful local architect.

About 6 months into the project and right when we were starting the lease negotiations, a bomb dropped.  Our state House and Senate were divided about the funding for the renewable energy center where Isaac works (his full-time job).   Since there was only a 50% chance that he'd have a job in two weeks (at the time we were supposed to sign the lease), we had to turn down the space.  I cried for days...I still refer to that space as 'my dream space'.  (Note:  the NC legislature has delayed voting on the budget three times now, so we're STILL in limbo.)

But, a few days after having to say goodbye to my dream space, we got a call about a large space in an artist studio building.  I was hesitant to look at it knowing there was a possibility of moving in the very near future, but...what the heck.  It was pretty darn close to what I wanted (just missing the high ceilings and a beautiful facade...but we can live without that, right?) AND the amazing owners of the building were able to offer us a stort-term lease.  Yep, signed that lease on the spot!

Ok, didn't mean to say 'store' as this isn't a store, but a STUDIO.  We'll be photographing and meeting with customers by appointment (details about how to make those appointments will come soon).  We're already planning some fun events and workshops and trunk shows with artists and other vintage dealers.  We're also going to be able to display some of our menswear in the new space.   So, as I said above, keep your eyes open for so many exciting happenings and changes!

Welcome to the next chapter of Raleigh Vintage!

The Cost of a 1926 Spring Wardrobe

While doing some research on this amazing early 1920s cocoon coat (label from Mme. Najla Mogabgab) we recently added to the shop, I ran across this fascinating New York Sun article from 1926.  In it, Mme. Mogabgab proposed that a husband should expect to spend at least $6,000 for his wife's Spring wardrobe.  These prices are definitely a far cry from the prices we see in the Sear's Catalog from the same periods!
1920s Mme Mogabgab Flapper Cocoon Coat

"Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 19 (U.P.). - Husbands must prepare to spend at least $6,000 for clothes for the wife this spring if they would have them appear 'smartly dressed,' according to the dictates of aristocratic Palm Beach.  Mlle. Najla Mogabgab, a Paris modiste, who is here to see that the American society woman stick to the French style decrees, made the estimate, and then said $15,000 or more probably would be near the proper amount to spend for a woman's spring wardrobe.
In the first place, the 'smartly dressed' woman should appear in at least twenty-one different dresses during a week, three a day, she pointed out.
There should be at least seven morning gowns, each costing from $75 to $200.  Two piece crepe de chine and fille in pink and Monaco blue are the most correct for the spring season, Mlle. Mogabgab said.  Love nest green is also a good color.
The afternoon dresses, more elaborate, range from $150 to $300 each, and the well dressed woman should have seven, one for each day of the week.
Printed chiffons and flower patterns are correct for afternoon gowns.
Seven evening gowns each costing from $200 to $1000 should also be added to the list of expenses for the wife's spring wardrobe, Mlle. Mogabgab said.
Gold and silver patterns, very elaborate, are demanded for the proper evening dress, she said.  Taffeta bouffants are also popular.
The most fetching evening wrap is a Bianchi brocaded silk affair as colorful as Joseph's coat and decorated with ostrich feathers.  Such an evening wrap may be had for $1000.
Colored linen shoes of brilliant hues to match the gowns, large hats and French nude colored stockings complete the style requirements, although it would be well to have several suits of beach pajamas for bathing and a number of brocaded shawls for evening wear, it was said."

What does that mean in today's dollars (accounting for inflation)?
...from an astounding $79,000 to almost $200,000! 

Here are some ads from Mme. Mogabgab's shops found in The Smart Set magazine, 1911

And what did her Edwardian era shop in Palm Beach look like?

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