interview with local honey's shea steele, owner of nashville vintage boutique!

Today was the best. This afternoon I walked over to Local Honey, a unique vintage store located in the prettiest craftsman home in Nashville.

Shea Steele, owner of Local Honey, is a woman that juggles ten different projects at once and manages to be successful at every one. Her store (check out the Local Honey's blog here!) has become a staple in Nashville's vintage community, and her design line White Rabbit is gaining ground in the biggest of ways (I wish I could elaborate!!).

What sets Shea apart is her uncanny knack at putting her personality into everything she touches. The seafoam green walls, the old whitewashed sconces, black paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling in one room and paintings of kittens and Native American chiefs in the other - Local Honey is full of addictive character. And more important than the aesthetics is the mission of the store. Shea puts a strong emphasis on supporting young girls who are seeking their own unique sense of style. She also supports local designers, people like La La Lovely (my favorite!) and Valentine Valentine, by selling their one-of-a-kind wares in the shop. All of this, and she also happens to be active in the community - participating in photo shoots, local concerts, and other events religiously.

What have you been up to lately?

Lately, to be honest, I've been working round the clock. Keeping the store stocked with new vintage is my normal day to day. But, since this spring, I have been increasingly busy with my clothing line WHITE RABBIT. Devoting time to it has proven difficult, like I have 2 jobs! I basically have to sew at home in the evenings and then run the shop during the day. But I think it's a worthwhile project, so I'm doing whatever I need to grow it.

What does a regular working day look like to you (your schedule, what you do with spare time, etc)?

Typically, I get up early, decide what particular sewing project I need to finish that day, pack up my supplies and then run all my errands before I go to work. I watch the shop for 7 hours while working on alterations, finishing up a handmade garment, prepping stock for the racks, blogging, or handling emails. 

How did you get involved in the vintage business, and what was the process of acquiring a vintage shop like?

I grew up in a small town. One of my only sources of entertainment was thrifting and antique shopping. Then, when I got involved in retail during college, I sort of naturally incorporated my vintage collecting into my job. After a year, I decided to start my own store. Opening the store was pretty easy. I just found a space, got a small loan, stocked up, and opened the doors!

What words of wisdom would you give to aspiring vintage shop owners?

Carefully consider all the angles. Your clientele, your competition, your overhead, time management, and once you're up and running just remember to roll with the punches. Adapting the business to the market is important and catering to your customers is your strongest tool. A happy customer is the best advertising you can get! 

What have you been obsessed with lately, style wise?

Short shorts, super girly skirts, and simple shapes.

What is your fashion/vintage philosophy?

Wear what you feel good in. If you're trying too hard to look a certain way it will show. The best part of a look is the confidence you exude while wearing it.

What trends do you see emerging in the fashion world?

Honestly, what I see emerging in the fashion world is individuality. Trends are emerging at such a dizzying pace that we have a plethora of options and everyone seems to put them together in their own way. My personal favorite is the return of the super girly girl. After quite a long run of grunge, punk, and the "I could care less to be getting dressed" look, I'm happy to see lacy stockings, tiered skirts, super high heels, and jewelry to the max.

What are your future plans?

I'm really not much of a planner these days. I have a lot of irons in the fire, so I'm just rolling with it. I have some things in mind, but, I'm just letting things evolve organically. Each venture you explore in your life will present an opportunity, then all you have to do is choose the one that makes you happiest. Because at the end of the day, if you're happy, you've made the best choice.

Thanks a lot, Shea! If any of you get the chance to visit Nashville, definitely make a stop at Local Honey. (I couldn't resist buying something while in the shop for so long.. so, a beautiful pink Gunne Sax dress and 80s denim bow headband by La La Lovely will be making a blog appearance soon!)