Looking for that style that will never go out of style? That style which T Swift so wonderfully remarks when she sings the line “We never go out of style”? Well now there is a company that is just that. Unique Vintage takes the best from the 20th and 21st century clothing and updates them to today’s quality standards for fresh style that will stay “in”. It’s like a Remastered Disney movie…Classic, yet new.
Today, the ex-saleswoman Katie Echeverry, CEO, tells LA TechWatch about her journey and why her product is not just a fleeting trend.
Tell us about the product or service.
Unique Vintage is a vintage-inspired clothing line and online destination for retro style apparel and accessories.
How is it different?
We offer a unique assortment of clothing with a classic point of view that distinguishes us from the thousands of other clothing retailers in the market. We curate a collection of classic silhouettes, patterns, and color ways that blend staples from every fashionable vintage era from the 1920s – 1980s with what’s on trend today. We also have an assortment of hard-to-find 1920s flapper style dresses that are intricately hand beaded and perfect for Great Gatsby style flapper themed parties, which have seen a resurgence in recent years.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are going after the women’s fashion and apparel market as a whole. We don’t want to be pigeon holed. While our assortment definitely has a vintage point of view and some of our unique offerings are perfect for era-themed parties, the vast majority of what we offer is every day wear with a touch of retro charm. We aren’t limited by a specific pin up girl filter. Our audience is much broader and styles our clothing in a variety of unique ways, which we embrace and celebrate.
What is the business model?
We are 80% eCommerce, 10% wholesale, and 10% retail out of our flagship store on Magnolia Blvd in Burbank, CA.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
I had a career in pharmaceutical sales but always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I started Unique Vintage as a hobby as I enjoyed thrifting. A friend made the website for me for free in 2001, and the rest is history.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
I love my hometown of Los Angeles. I could never live anywhere else. I am so fortunate and thankful because this business wouldn’t have been possible without the resources that LA has to offer. It started with thrift stores all over the city but then led to flea markets and eventually the fashion mart downtown.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
This is an interesting time because we are looking to make some big moves that will also involve a bit of risk. I’d like to add another C-level executive to our team to help take us to the next level.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
I’d love to be involved with someone who has fashion ecommerce knowledge, who has started from the ground up and taken a company to new levels. In addition, this person would help us grow strategically to ensure short and long term growth. I want to learn from my predecessor’s mistakes and be careful to not get too far ahead of myself and grow at a pace that does not destroy my infrastructure or culture.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
The company was literally “Made in LA,” started from the ground up in my garage in my hometown. We’ve had opportunities to outsource or move, but it’s important to me that we keep our roots here, from keeping our store and warehouse in LA to taking advantage of the breadth of independent LA designers at our disposal to tailor our unique assortment.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Free networking would be an amazing opportunity for young entrepreneurs. Especially in the world of ecommerce, ebay, etsy,etc. it can be very isolating and hard to network with other business owners. If I could do one thing over it would to have been to network and seek advice sooner.
What’s your favorite fall activity in Los Angeles?
Since I have 2 children I don’t get to do too many things for myself so what I do love the most is a good concert. I can always use a good dose of Jay Z.