Vintage Grace Boutique Store Opening! My Story...
The day has finally came where my dream has come true.. to open a fun, fashionable, and unique boutique!
My journey actually started in college, where I originally went to school to obtain a degree in Education, as an Art Teacher. I quickly realized that in the state of Pennsylvania, to actually find a teaching job in that particular field, I would have to 1. wait for someone to retire, or 2. wait for someone to die (sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but its true!) I quickly changed my major to Business Management and minored in Art History. In my senior year of college, I had to complete a thesis upon graduation. Of course I didn't want to write a fifteen page paper, so I opted to do something creative and join the other art students for a gallery exhibit. My exhibit consisted of my favorite artist, Georgia O'Keefe; with my interpretation of her artwork with modern day clothing. The clothing was constructed by myself as well as the elements used to display my work.
Who would have thought, that after graduation, my passion for art and fashion would then lead me into many years in retail management. I worked for a major department store, where my career and creativity collided. I became a Visual Merchandise Manager and loved every aspect of the job. For those of you that are unfamiliar with what a Visual Manager position entails, lets just say it consists of ladders, mannequins, hanging tons of stuff from the ceiling, signage, windows, managing placement of fixtures, cosmetic events, basically anything that you see while walking through a department store or any store that catches your eye. So for those young folk that are not reading this, there ARE creative jobs in Pittsburgh, and great one's I might add.
To say the least, my job experience and education, has led me to this fortunate point in my life. It is funny how God puts you on a path that you least expected, not realizing that your dream, that you have tucked away for years, is coming to fruition. I started Vintage Grace Boutique by making jewelry that women already loved, but wanted to add my own flair and creativity to it. The jewelry was my way to eventually open a boutique and to meet so many wonderful women, who are now my best customers. (love you girls!) So a year and a half later, the VGB doors are open and the real journey begins!
A little side note as to why I chose Dormont, PA for the boutique location.. it was pure luck and a little push from my late grandfather, Giuseppe. My grandfather passed away a few years ago and he is still a huge part of my life even though he is no longer here. He moved to this country from Italy, with my grandmother, mother, aunt, and uncle. When they settled here in Pittsburgh, they lived on Hillsdale Ave., which is in Dormont, AND which is literally the street next to where the boutique is located! I had no intentions of opening up in Dormont, but there was a listing posted online and I thought, okay lets just take a look see. To my surprise, the address was 2991. When you mix the numbers up, it becomes the year my grandfather was born, which was in 1929. (Do you have chills yet?) So yep, I like to think that my grandfather had a part in making this dream come true for his little granddaughter. That is why when you enter the boutique, you will see a photo of my grandfather and I, because he, I believe, has been guiding me all this time. Ti Voglio Bene Nonno.
Thank you for taking time to read this, and I apologize in advance for any grammar errors, misspellings, or any thing else written incorrectly in this blog post.. :)