Favorite Interview Ever*: James from Bleubird Vintage

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sometimes, even I get all excited about posts on my own blog, and today is one of those days. Because! In the first of what will probably be a very sporadic Fashion is Spinach interview series, we have a delightful (if we do say so ourselves) q&a with the lovely James, the owner and very pretty face -- as you can see here -- of fantastic retro resource Bleubird Vintage.

If you've ever shopped for vintage on eBay, chances are you've come across Bleubird in your quest. Week after week, James (it's a nickname) scours a variety of vintage resources to nab fresh finds for her Bleubird Vintage eBay store. The items are so fantastic they're known to regularly induce massive bidding wars (I still regret not being able to afford the amazing village-print dress, above right. It went for $137.50. Sigh.) What's especially cute about Bleubird is that it's a family affair: James models each piece herself (with occasional help from Moose the pug), while her husband, Dustin, shoots the pics (we imagine their two little kids provide lots of moral support). She has tons of cool projects in the works – including an upcoming move from Florida to Portland, OR and the launch of her own vintage-inspired clothing collection (!!!) —and was sweet enough to share a bit with us.

And! We also got her to spill a bit about the secrets behind her fantasic skin. (You know me. I couldn't not ask!) Read on…

FiS: Bleubird Vintage is so great! Is it your full-time job to thrift for good finds?

James: Thank you! Yes, Bleubird is my full time job – although it's overwhelming at times, I love everything about it, from the hunt to the presentation to the sale! I am a busy little bee—I work sometimes 12 hours a day but I never get tired of it. It's a lot of fun and very rewarding and I try to make each buyer feel like they are receiving a little vintage present in their mailbox by adding a personal touch to each and every order.

I get new items daily and love to travel or take long road trips to find new pieces to add to my collection. I have been an avid thrifter since high school and my vintage collection is pretty massive. It's a little hard to part with some things at times but then again, I only end up wearing things once or twice because i have so much!

FiS: Where do you dig up all those cool clothes? And what do you think makes for the best vintage goldmine -- tiny church thrift shops, sprawling Goodwills or is there somewhere else you've discovered?

J: I search everywhere, near and far, high and low. I love tiny hole-in-the-wall church shops—they have great deals and sometimes you can find some really unique pieces. I love flea markets and there are a lot of great ones here in the south. I hit up every thrift store I come across. It's a dig to find the real goods but definitely worth it. Garage sales and estate sales are also great treasure spots.

FiS: So, have you ever had to wrestle a piece away from a little old lady?

J: Ha ha, no. Not yet, at least. I have spied a cute dress or two in another's hand and prayed that they will put it back on the rack but have never snatched it from them.

FiS: Do you wear vintage yourself? And if so, how do you part with so many great finds every week? There must be a little separation anxiety.

J: Of course! It's pretty much all I wear. The only things that I splurge on are jeans, the occasional "have to have 'em" pair of shoes and sunglasses. I have 2 closets full of vintage in the house plus 5 huge racks in my gar-office (a converted garage) packed full of goodies. Confession: I tend to keep some of the extra-special finds for myself. Sometimes it's hard to not just keep everything but I have so much that i can't possibly wear it all.

FiS: What are your own favorite thrifted finds?

J: I collect vintage owls and fawns. My house is covered in them.

FiS: And what's the best vintage find you've ever scored?

J: Hmmm... It's gotta be a toss up between this amazing limited addition 1960s 20" owl figure statue and this unbelievable powder blue 1970s tulle ruffle prom gown that is to die for.

FiS: At the risk of sounding a little creepy (we swear, we're not), you have undeniably great skin. Do you have some sort of beauty product secret that the rest of us should know about?

J: Thank you very much! I wash my face twice a day and moisturize like crazy. I never go to sleep with make up on, and I use a Vitamin C serum that is great for keeping skin young, bright and vibrant. I am also a huge fan of bronzer since I try to stay out of the sun. It's a great alternative to skin cancer. :)

I use the Vitamin C serum by Juice -- you can pick it up at Sephora. [FiS note: Juice has several serums, many of which contain Vitamin C.] I think it's around 50 bucks. I also use lots of moisturizer (Pevonia is my fave, I think it's around $40.) and exfoliate often (I use el cheapo... St. Ives scrub. Maybe $3. Ha.) I feel so funny writing about how I wash my face. Kiehl's non-detergent cleanser is also a must!

FiS: From what we see on the Bleubird Vintage website, it sounds like you're expanding. What's in the works?

J: Yep! A shop-able website is coming soon! We are hoping to have it up and running sometime this month. Cross your fingers!

I am also a clothing designer and have been secretly working on a small collection of women's contemporary "vintage-inspired" apparel called tweet which should be available within the next few months.

*We are not just saying this because it's our only interview ever.


Anonymous said...

i loved your interview and i am a frequent visitor of bluebird vintage. thanks!

holly said...

how fantastic! i can't wait to see pieces of tweet. love the name!

Anonymous said...

what a great interview! she's delightful :o)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the interview! i still remember i first came to know of bleubird vintage cause of your article a while back...if only i can afford their stuff :(...anyway i bought my first vintage kimono from House of Japan a few weeks ago and was wondering how i should go about wearing it and accessorising besides just wearing it as a coat.its red in colour with traditional flower prints(yellow & green), the material is kind of thick, not the cotton kind...its short, about 8 inches above my knees.and kind of a little too big(oops)...any suggestions? thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love the bleubird girl too. She is so lovely and her taste is to die for. Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

can anyone show me the link to blue bird vintage? it sounds amazing! btw is the online shop in business yet?

sidetracked: like to ask a question after reading an old August blog of urs - Where and what are the shops that carry Tsumori Chisato on a regular basis in Singapore?


*ebay+vintage toddler from SG*

Anonymous said...

totally off topic, but that dog is freaking adorable! i wonder what the breed is....

Anonymous said...

Great interview. She's one of my favorite sellers by far and has the absolute best finds.

JellyGirl said...

oh thanks you, this is wonderful! Bleubird is one of my favourite eBay sellers, although I wish I could afford to buy any of her vintage finds!

chimera said...

great interview (and photos), I don't blame you for being excited about your post!

NATRIBU said...

Hi! I'm a girl from Barcelona (Spain). I like your blog!
I have a blog about women with style in the street, in Spain.
I invite you to take a look to it and if you like you could add a link to my blog in yours.
Thanks anyway.

Tamar said...

wah! i want ALLLLLL of her cute stuff!

also, fyi, missha makes a really wonderful vitamin C serum. word is bond.

Anonymous said...

she actually bids up her own stuff. thats why her ebay shop was closed for a little bit.

there are many other great vintage sellers that are HONEST.

Anonymous said...

not the cotton kind...its short, about 8 inches above my knees.and kind of a little too big(oops)...any suggestions? thanks!
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