Aly Barohn landed in Denver this summer after living in many cities across the country. And everywhere she's been, she's collected pieces of vintage clothing that she would then sell on-line. But now, after five years of running a virtual shop, she finally has a brick-and-mortar location -- right above Weathervane Cafe, giving that popular coffeehouse an in-house boutique, Vaux Vintage.
Originally from Omaha, Barohn is a bit of a drifter. She was living in Brooklyn last year when, she says, "I wanted a city that was a little smaller, less intimidating and closer to nature. I wasn't sure where to go."
So she moved to Arkansas with a friend while they figured out what their next destination would be. Her friend had grown up in Denver and they had a lot of friends from here, so they decided to make the move to the Mile High City. And as soon as she arrived here, Barohn started looking for places to sell her vintage clothing. "Every summer I would participate in fairs or street markets in whatever city I was living in," she explains. "When I moved to Denver it was just the beginning of summer and I was trying to find something I could be a part of."
She found it at the cafe that Lindsey and Alex Dalton had opened last fall. "I was coming to Weathervane just to work a lot because I live three blocks away and I just loved it here," Barohn recalls, "and I met Lindsey and Alex, the owners, and I just asked Lindsey if she would be willing to do some sort of pop-up shop, and she did. She had actually been thinking of doing that for a while." So Barohn set up a pop-up shop on the sidewalk outside the cafe, and it was a success.
Such a success that over drinks on the Fourth of July, Barohn and the Daltons talked about doing something more permanent. By August, Barohn had opened a shop on the second floor of the cafe -- finally giving her vintage finds a home away from her kitchen floor.
Barohn has always loved the aesthetic of vintage clothing, with its emphasis on natural fabrics and quality work. "I started shopping vintage because it was more affordable for me, and I just fell in love with it," she says. "I love the fact that you can wear something that nobody else has." She finds items at thrift stores and garage sales, and sometimes gets them directly from interesting individuals.
When she made the move to a physical shop, Barohn tried not to have too many expectations. But the experience has definitely been rewarding, she says: "It's great to be able to talk to my customers and interact with them, and see what the garments look like on them, and just kind of talk about the pieces more. Everything I purchase has some history. Just to be able to tell them like, 'Oh, yeah, I got this in this really crazy place in Arkansas' -- it's just really nice to be able to talk about the origin of it."
Aside from collecting her vintage finds, running the shop and managing online sales, Barohn also shoots photos for a look book for each new collection. She's currently working on a book for fall, which she'll be releasing soon. "I like doing the look book because it just shows people all the possibilities with styling," she says. "Vintage can be very wearable. It doesn't have to be really kitsch or retro; it can be modern-looking still."
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