Meet Toni of Fair Season Vintage
Since in-store events at Prism Boutique are on pause, we’re highlighting some of our most-loved vintage brands with exclusive collections of one-of-a-kind finds.
Basics at their best, our next vintage vendor to virtually pop-up is LA-based Fair Season Vintage. Specializing in worn-in, super cozy basics and classic denim with an elevated ease, her pieces are as timeless as they are cool. An avid thrifter since high school, learn more about Fair Season’s owner, Toni, and how she got started.
Tell us about how your love of vintage first began.
I’ve been thrifting since high school. I grew up in the ‘burbs and had a strong feeling that I didn’t want to dress like everyone else (my mom didn’t have the money for Bloomingdale’s anyway). I wore sailor jeans, ringer tees, plaid bell bottoms and often got made fun of - but I didn’t care.
When did you start your shop? What gave you the drive to go for it?
I started Fair Season after a stretch of years working in retail. I got laid off and used my severance to get my business going. I looked at corporate retail jobs, got called in for interviews, but I couldn’t stomach actually taking any of them. I made a pretty rash decision and went out to the Midwest. I went to estate sales every weekend, built up an inventory, and started photographing it. I started selling on Etsy in 2010. A lot has changed since then!
How would you describe Fair Season’s vibe?
Classics that’ll never go out of style. I’m giving you the perfect pair of jeans with a classic graphic tee. The jumpsuit and overalls you can wear year after year. The look is always approachable and easy.
How do you stay true to yourself while building and growing as a brand?
I think this business is constantly changing so we all have to be flexible and learn along the way. Staying true to myself means something different daily. Most of the time there’s too much going on to get caught up in angst about little decisions. I’ve definitely said ‘no’ to some things over the years, but for pretty practical reasons. Basically, treat the people you work with well, treat your customers well, and treat yourself well - which are all easier said than done.
What do you look for when you’re sourcing vintage pieces and how do you balance buying what will fit your brand vs. what you think will sell?
I’ve learned to be very focused when I’m sourcing. I have core pieces that I try to always keep in stock, like denim, tees, and sweatshirts. When I add something new it’s always a basic that will mix and match easily with core items.
Where are some of your fave types of spots to shop for vintage finds?
Right now it’s tough to have one of the best flea markets in the country closed. The Rose Bowl is a treasure trove. I miss it a lot.
Where do you find inspiration? How do you stay motivated?
I’m inspired by my customers, I love seeing how they wear pieces year after year. When they get excited about something new that I’m offering it keeps me going.
What are some challenges you’ve experienced while running your own business?
There are challenges every day. The vintage business is a ton of work and since I do almost everything on my own, there’s a lot of labor involved and pitfalls are possible at every stage of the process. I’ve had trouble sourcing the quality of denim that I want since it’s become so hard to find. It’s a challenge to constantly find studio space to shoot in and models who are available. Then there are the logistics of packaging and shipping. I could go on, but that would be boring!
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to open their own vintage business?
If you want to get into vintage, work with someone who does it for a living first then see what you think. Have a plan, have a budget, and know that overnight success does not exist. You will likely work your behind off for quite a while before you see results.