Lovely Things Vintage favours girlish pastels, old phones and cat ceramics in the women’s section.
Retro Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles water bottles share self space with a glittering unicorn.
Owner-operator Chelsey Gordon stands next to her store’s logo. The decorative skull motif runs throughout the shop, as do equestrian details.
For those bemoaning the frock-shaped hole that was left in Victoria’s fashion scene when Hunter Gatherer closed its doors, fret no more: there’s a new vintage store in town. Lovely Things Vintage staged its grand opening on Dec. 1, complete with complimentary cake pops.
The stock is as sweet as the confections that were on hand. Gold-tinted rotary phones, demure dresses of ivory lace, and fuchsia Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles water bottles all compete for top billing in the underground space. And, lest you fear death by saccharine ladies’ wear, there’s a well-curated selection of men’s wear, including Levi’s jeans (primarily 501s).
What sets Lovely Things Vintage apart from the slew of other second-hand shops in Victoria is its aesthetic, says owner Chelsey Gordon.
“We kind of went for pretty instead of retro ’80s or ’70s with the oranges and the browns. We went for the mint greens and the cats and the skulls.”
Gordon sources her clothing on Vancouver Island. She does not consign clothing; instead, she’ll give store credit for clothes or, if a piece is from the ’50s or older, she will consider buying it outright. As for pricing, she says she looks at what similar pieces are going for online and tries to drop the price by $10 or $20. Much of the clothing is priced between $30 and $50.
Gordon’s interest in vintage retail was born out of more than an idle affinity for kidskin gloves. It grew out of adversity. In 2010, her boyfriend struggled through cancer and, shortly afterwards, suffered a broken back. Gordon found caring for him and working rigid, full-time hours too much of a strain.
She first opened a shop in June 2010 as an annex to her parents’ Royal Oak-based wine store. But when her parents closed the business, Gordon was forced to move her venture online. She began to volunteer at another Victoria vintage store, Mavens. In September 2012, the owner of Cavity Curiosity Shop approached Gordon to see if she might be interested in sharing a space next to Cenote, tucked beneath Lyle’s Place on Yates Street. With financial backing from her brother, Gordon agreed.
Cavity has since moved to Pandora Avenue, leaving Gordon with more space, some of which she still fills with Cavity owner Andy Anderson’s imaginative furniture. Gordon also remains close to Mavens owner Ashley Tait.
“We want to do a pamphlet that specifically locates every vintage store [in Victoria],” says Gordon of her plans with Tait. “We’re in the midst of doing something where if you buy something here and we send you [to Mavens], you get a discount card — and vice versa.”
Though these plans are still in the early stages, there is one thing Gordon is clear on: her motivation for getting into business.
“I’m not looking to become a millionaire,” she says. “I’m just looking to help more people get into vintage.”
Lovely Things Vintage
768 Yates St. (downstairs, next to Cenote)
Open Monday–Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.