Another week, another interview. This week Lara Long, owner of Plaid Pony Vintage tells us all about scavenging for vintage finds, collecting toasters and being inspired by design.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Philadelphia PA with my husband who is an artist. I guess I'm kind of a scavenger, and I've always had a penchant for vintage. I especially like things that are a little quirky (like ridiculously cute animal planters), but I'm also drawn to clean minimal design (I love mid-century modern furnishings). With my website I've been able to combine all of my passions into a business. It's my full time job and I love it.
Why did you open your shop?
I spent a lot of years working in retail with a good percentage of them working for Urban Outfitters. I always planned to start my own business, and 5 years ago I came to a turning point in my life when I decided to take the plunge and go for it. It was really just a matter of everything being in the right place at the right time. My website went live at the end of 2004, and I've just recently started a blog.
What inspires you?
Overall what I'm really inspired by is design. It might be a print on a fabric, or the fabric itself. It might be a quirky ceramic piece, or a beautiful lamp. I love color and I find certain color combinations to by very uplifting. I like things that have a sense of humor or a sense of fun. Basically, I guess it's just anything that causes me to react on an emotional level. Sometimes it can be something very classic, and other times it might be something that's completely out there.
If you had to wear just one fashion designer's clothes for life, who would it be?
Hmmm - that's a tough one. I tend to be pretty boring in how I dress myself. I'm really a jeans and a t-shirt girl. I always think I want to try to be more girly, but it doesn't seem to stick. If I could have a closet full of clothing from The Vested Gentress I would totally rock it though. They made hand screen printed clothing that is along the lines of Lilly Pulitzer only a little more twisted. I love their prints. For shoes - Fluevog hands down. I have way too many pairs and I love them all. I have a thing for colored shoes.
What are your top 3 high street stores and why?
I was only there once about 15 years ago so I have no idea...
What has been your biggest ever bargain?
It's hard to say as far as clothing goes, but the best overall score I ever made was a vintage Leica camera I got in a box of camera equipment for $5. It was worth about $500.
And what has been your biggest ever splurge?
My biggest splurge was a metal handbag I bought from the designer Wendy Stevens years ago. I think it was about $300. I had never spent so much on an accessory before, but I fell in love with it. I have it on my dresser and I see it every day. It's like a work of art.
What is your beauty routine?
I'm super low maintenance when it comes to a beauty routine. I don't know that you can actually call it a routine. I won't leave the house without lipstick, but aside from that I'm not much of a products girl. The few products I do buy are from Aveda - I love their face wash and lotion.
What do you collect?
My husband and I have a collection of vintage toasters on the wall in our kitchen. I love the designs. It's sad to me that so little effort is put into the design of everyday products now, although there has definitely been a shift where mass market stores like Target are focusing on design now. We also have a lot of art and ceramic pieces we've collected from friends. I used to collect tons of tchotchkes, toys and kitchen stuff, but my house is very minimal now so I funnel all of my collecting passion into my business.
Which celebrity do you think has the best style?
I honestly don't pay attention to celebrities. Is that bad??? I'm much more satisfied by matching a regular person up with something they love and that looks great on them and having them be really happy with it.
What is your favourite trend of the moment?
I'm usually not big on trends. I tend to like designs that hold up over time, and aren't going to make you look ridiculous two months down the road when the magazines all declare the trend over. That said - if you can pull off an adorable little romper, go for it!
How do you turn around a bad hair day?
I usually clip my hair up. It goes along with the minimal beauty routine.
What would you wear on a first date?
Geez - I've been married for 10 years now. I'm not planning to have to make that decision ever again, but if I did I'd have to say jeans. They're what I feel most comfortable in. And some kind of shirt of course...
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