We had the good fortune of connecting with Alysha Cassis-Shaw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alysha, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Vintage clothing already exists in the world so getting people to shop in the far more sustainable way positively impacts the cycle of waste inherent in our culture.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business Neutral Ground specializes in vintage and pre-owned designer clothing in a predominantly neutral color palette. I also try to focus on natural fibers and fabrics wherever possible. In a vintage market that continues to become more and more crowded everyday, I am happy to say that we stay true to our roots. We promote quality over quantity, classic clothing over trends and still manage to keep our prices accessible.
Getting to where I am now wasn’t easy but in all honesty the Covid-19 pandemic helped. I was having a difficult time growing my business outside of the bay area as I couldn’t focus social media or website promotion in the ways I would have liked. When in person selling was eliminated from the equation I was able to develop in areas where I was lacking. I also found I could sell a wider range of product once I was no longer limited to one geographical area.
Now I have a large online customer base, am selling on multiple online platforms and have a studio space where people can come and shop one on one in person. I’m be better able my cover all my bases.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To start our day we’d grab a yam or honey lavender latte at Red Bay Roastery in Fruitvale.
Then we’d take in the outdoors with a walk along the Embarcadero in Jack London Square. We’d stop and get fresh seafood at Seabreeze. Their lobster rolls are both delicious and substantial. We’d have a fabulous view of the marina and all of the gorgeous yachts, not to mention Alameda island just across the way.
We’d do a little day shopping at the Black Girls Greenhouse in West Oakland and pick up some greenery and elegant housewares.
We’d then check out Bar Shiru, a Japanese themed whisky bar that plays strictly jazz inspired vinyl. We’d marvel at the ever changing wall record wall that harkens back to a 1970’s wood paneled basement an enjoy a whisky cocktail.
Then for dinner we’d hit Bardo, my favorite mid century modern themed supper club. The hospitality is unmatched and the crowd is hip, diverse and cultured.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband Dwayne Shaw gets the ultimate shoutout. He’s been supportive of my business in every way possible. He gives nothing but encouragement, his time and expertise where applicable, and is my biggest cheerleader. Without him I wouldn’t have been able to do this thing I love, especially in the early lean years.
Katie Thompson Anna Alexia Basile