I recently contacted Daniel when I came upon a gorgeous, vintage Pauline Trigere gown at work, and I was thrilled when he asked me if he could interview me about it for his blog! Daniel's got such a great, positive attitude about fashion, sustainability, and being who you are ... and, as a successful vintage shop owner, he has my dream job!
Q&A With Chicago's Professional Thrifter Vanessa Kaicher
1. When did you start thrifting, and why? What was your first "thrift score?"
I started thrifting when I was 18 and in college. Like every college student I didn't have enough money and needed things for my day to day life. My first major find was actually at an estate sale. I found this gorgeous gold leaf mirror that was made by the woman who was having the sale, she was an older lady going into retirement housing and she told me when she was a little girl she did the gold leaf on the mirror. That lady at the time was 92. I still own that mirror and it's gorgeous, it cost me a whooping $25. It's very French and I love mixing French with mid-century.
2. What has been your best thrifted find to date? Where did you find it and (if you don't mind) what did you pay for it?
I've been thrifting since 1982 so I've been a thrifter for 32 years so I've found just about everything you can imagine but I would have to say that my 'best' find to date would be a green Halston wrap dress from the early 70s, found it a a Goodwill for $5.95. I'm a huge fan of Halston so this was huge for me. I've been lucky I've found Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, LV, Donald Brooks, Pauline Trigere, YSL, Dior,Oscar de la Renta, Burberry, Bill Blass, Geoffrey Beene, Carolyne Roehm, Givenchy, Lanvin, Pucci… oh lord I could go on all night.
3. What's your "Holy Grail" item that you look for (but haven't found yet) when thrifting?
I would have to say that the one thing I'm actually dying to find at the moment would be a Stephen Burrows 70's dress but I would also that anything from Patrick Kelly.
4. Who is one designer that every woman (and/or man) should own, and why? What do you consider "wardrobe essentials?"
Every woman needs to own something by Schiaparelli and every man should own something by Brioni because these 2 labels are the best of the best. Every woman in my humble opinion should also own a cropped jacket and a jumpsuit, vintage of course!
5. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of owning a resale shop? Any advice for aspiring boutique owners (like me)?
I own DOUBLETAKE RECYCLED LUXURY in Atlanta and my biggest challenge is not having enough time to be in 3 different locations at once. The best thing that I absolutely find the most rewarding about what I do is the fact that I'm a caretaker for other people's treasures. I feel it's my responsibility to find the items, I find as well as my consigned items, a fabulous loving new home. I really feel it's my duty to safeguard these items after all they are vintage and collectible, they need to be tenderly cared for. Wearing vintage is the ultimate act of showing the world you are an individual. Everyone can go to the malls and buy something that 3 million other people own but only a few can own something that's luxury vintage.
(I should add that I was born in 1982 ... and yes, I own something by Schiaparelli ... True, it's just a little scarf, but I found it at a thrift shop!)
When I thanked Daniel for taking the time to answer my questions, he sent me the kindest reply:
"I think what we do is important and I'm so grateful that you have this passion… It's so easy for people to go to the malls today and point and buy but it's harder to do what we do and that is hunt for pieces!"
So, thank you again, Daniel! I couldn't have said it better myself!