We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Schipper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I had been working for a company a few years back where I experienced I guess what some would call a spiritual awakening. Suddenly I had a completely different perspective on myself, the world and others. I took a hard look at my life and realized that what I was doing for work was not fulfilling me in the slightest. I also realized that nobody in the working word really knows what they’re doing, we’re all just trying to figure it out. So why not try to figure ‘it’ out for myself? I’ve been reselling clothes for the past 12 years, couple that with my previous jobs in the beauty/fashion industry which included retail operations, wholesale and e-commerce I felt I had gained the necessary experience and skills to start my own business. I’ve always had a love for styling, merchandising and fashion so having my own online shop is a great way to bring sustainability and fashion together. I absolutely love finding amazing vintage pieces and bringing them to my audience. It was important that my business have a social and environmental impact; to inspire people to make better choices when purchasing clothing and to develop a better relationship with the items we bring into our space. When someone chooses to buy an item vintage/secondhand vs new we are keeping clothing out of landfills and protecting our earth’s resources (making one pair of denim requires almost 2,000 gallons of water!). My aim is to provide knowledge and awareness in regards to the fashion and textile industry so we can all make better decisions when it comes to consuming. Learning about the production of fast fashion and the textile industry’s extremely harmful effects made me look hard at my own shopping and consumption behavior and I realized I had to make some major changes. I want to leave this planet in a better place than when I arrived.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Schipper Vintage is a collection of curated vintage apparel and accessories inspired by the laid back California lifestyle. I was born and raised in Northern California and as of last year am now a So Cal resident so my style and vintage curation is definitely influenced by the landscape of our beautiful state. Most of my vintage comes from the 70s -90s, with 70s bohemian vintage being my favorite if I had to choose. Each vintage piece is hand-picked based on quality, fabric, construction and silhouette. I search for vintage made from mostly natural fabrics (cotton, silk, wool, linen) because they take less of our earth’s resources to create, they take less time to biodegrade and tend to hold up much longer than clothing made from synthetic fibers (polyester, rayon, nylon and acrylic). Most of my pieces retain a classic and timeless look to them so they can be worn for years or decades to come and still be relevant and in style. I love a good blazer, some vintage Levi’s 501s and a classic leather moto jacket. My aesthetic and how I style vintage pieces together is what sets me apart. I have the ability to see the potential in vintage pieces and bring them to life when styling. Each piece I find while out sourcing only comes home with me if I can imagine how I’m going to style it. Overall my aesthetic can be pretty easy and comfortable, I’m almost always in vintage Levi’s so most of my pieces will always look great paired with some denim. One of my favorite parts of owning this business is getting to see who connects with each piece and how they go on to style it with their existing wardrobe. A fellow vintage seller once said to me that we are “fashion messengers”, bringing fashion to the people and I couldn’t agree more.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since I live in Ventura and haven’t really spent much time in LA I don’t have an answer for this one. Sorry!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so fortunate to have an amazing support system. My family and close friends have been there for me to keep pushing me forward and stay motivated (definitely hard to do sometimes!) but my husband deserves this shoutout. He’s been my rock, always there for me during the ups and downs, the one who gets me through the tough times and celebrates the wins with me. Running your own business is an emotional roller coaster, it’s so important to have people you can depend on for support!
B+W portrait image: Leslie Carvitto Photography