One-of-a-kind finds is what we’re about at Pop Up Ave—and it’s why we’re in love with Highway Robbery Vintage. Coming to us from Pittsburgh’s South Side, Kate Minton has an eye for the best pieces from the 50s to the early 90s that mesh well with the modern-day items we already have in our closets. We chatted with her about how she developed her taste for vintage and which decade had the best fashion.
How did you get into selling vintage?
I started selling vintage on Etsy then opened the physical storefront. I had worn and collected vintage since I was a little kid and worked retail since the day after my 16th birthday so it seemed like a natural progression. I love meeting shoppers face-to-face and I really love the clothes.
How did friends and family react to you starting your business?
I kept my plans pretty low key until I really had things figured out as far as how I was going to make it all happen. When I broke the news that I intended to open a store to my friends and family, no one seemed surprised at all. I think they could totally see me wanting to do this so they were really excited and supportive of my idea. They helped me with everything from remodeling my space to going on buying adventures to spreading the word about the shop. There were some really hard days (especially in the beginning) and my husband always propped me up and encouraged me to stick with it. He has really given me the confidence I needed to grow the business and continues to be a major support to me.
Have you sold any pieces that you wish you kept for yourself?
So many! A large reason I do this is because I love the clothes, so there are always things I want for myself. Sometimes I'll look back at old Instagram photos and wish I would have kept something.... it's especially tough in this business because I know I'm not likely to find it again. At the end of the day, selling something awesome to someone cool is a bigger thrill to me than anything so I'm never really too heartbroken over it. And trust me, I get my fair share. Ask my husband...
What was your favorite customer reaction to your vintage?
We have amazing customers. A lot of them have become regulars and even friends. Any time someone comes in the store and 'gets it'... I'm thrilled. Doesn't really even matter if they buy something that day. If someone is excited about it, so am I. I love when people who travel and have been in a million vintage stores come in and compliment the shop. That means a lot to me. I also love when people come in who have never been in a vintage store and lose their mind over how fun and different the vibe and merchandise is than the places they're used to shopping.
Which decade had the best fashion?
There are things I like about every decade! Personally, I tend to gravitate to the 30s and the 70s. I love the silhouettes of the 30s. America was kind of going through it at that time and I think that tends to spark creativity in design. Celebs today have nothing on the movie star glamour of that era. People were making beautiful, one-of-a-kind things by hand and I love that stuff. I'm drawn to the youthful, free-spirited, rock and roll inspired styles of the early 70s and the sexy, draped and flowy dresses that came along later in the decade. Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface vibes.
What’s the most exciting thing about attending fleas?
I have spent so much time in my store over the past few years that any time I can sell somewhere new it's an exciting thing for me. I like being able to meet the other vintage vendors and see what they're selling. Learning what works in other cities is very helpful in evaluating my own business and merchandise assortment. I like to buy things for myself from other vendors too. I've noticed that flea attendees tend to be in a great mood. They could have spent their weekend doing anything and they decided to come to the flea. It's nice to be around that kind of energy all day. And the food!!
We're pretty psyched that Kate's coming and can't wait to see what she brings to Pop Up Ave in just 9 days. Until then, you can find her online at the following sites:
Etsy Shop: etsy.com/shop/highwayrobbery