Ah, Ann Arbor. A town nestled in the heart of Michigan; full of delicious eateries, quaint shops, and of course, our beloved University. Although there are many things to love about the wonderful college town that is A2, nothing can really compare to its exceptional vintage and antique retail. And one of the best shops in town has to be The Get Up Vintage. Set on downtown State St, The Get Up is the perfect place to go for a little time travel. Just one step into the shop, and you are greeted by racks of vintage party dresses and old-school band tees. Sounds like heaven, right? But did you ever wonder who is behind the stores full of your grandparent’s memories? I was able to answer that question and more in an interview with the Get Up’s owner, Kelly McLeod: What made you want to open your business? Have you always really loved vintage fashion? Or just fashion in general?
I have always loved Vintage fashion. I started collecting vintage aprons when I was eight and started wearing vintage clothing at 15. When I was younger, I romanticized the past through old photographs. And then when I met my husband, we both loved collecting vintage things and decided to open up a shop.
When did you open your business? Why did you choose Ann Arbor?
I opened in February 2005. I live in Royal Oak and used to work at the vintage shop there called Lost and Found Vintage. After checking out different places to open my own store, I realized the college town of Ann Arbor really could use another vintage shop. It was a great opportunity to share what I love with the college students that live here.
How do you find and buy the clothes for your store?
Everyday people call; either they have inherited an estate or are collectors of vintage items. So I talk to them and set up an appointment to check out what they have. Basically, every weekend I am up at 6 am doing estate sales. I love it!
What do you love most about your job?
There are two things: First, I love when I go to people’s homes, they are usually older in their seventies or eighties, and they have held onto something that really meant a lot to them, such as a dress they wore on their honeymoon or just something they have a memory with. I just love the story behind every piece I find.
Second, I love when people who are not really into vintage come into the store a little hesitant and then end up leaving loving what they found and with a new perspective on what vintage fashion is all about. I love turning people on to vintage. And ultimately, I really believe vintage fashion is not just for a subculture; that is a true misconception.
What is one of the best things about owning your own business?
I definitely love being able to have the joy of really surrounding myself with great people every day at work. I also love the freedom of being able to change the direction of the shop.
What do you love most about your store?
Without a doubt I love the 40s and 50s section the most. I love not just formal party wear but especially 40s and 50s everyday cotton house dresses. Things grandmas wore every day in the kitchen. Love it.
Any vintage fashion advice?
Don’t follow trends. Wear what speaks to you.
What advice would you give readers who are interested in starting their own business in either vintage clothing or just retail in general?
Save a lot of money beforehand. Opening your own business is not cheap, so make sure you hire a financial advisor early on. Also, location is everything, really know if your market is where you are opening your store. I know people who have been successful on Etsy, but not as successful in a town where the market wasn’t really there.