When a company or individual catches my eye it’s because I can feel the adventure and life in their entire business, and when I stumbled upon Velvet Moon the feeling was strong. “Made in the USA,” as one of the sections in the shop, I knew there was more to this brand than just awesome styling and perfectly simple, bohemian pieces. So I reached out, met Gina (sadly, only electronically) and there was instant connection. “My goal in life is to enjoy it," she wrote, "laughing each day, smiling at strangers, walks with my dogs, and my family and friends are so important. I’m passionate about my business and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.”
From our short talk I started to see a very persistent, hard working side of Gina, a characteristic that is so central to starting a small business.
“A few years ago I found a letter I had written around the time that I started sewing,” which she told me was by the 5th grade, “that read ‘I want to be a fashion designer.’ I don’t remember writing it or knowing exactly when I decided that, but I knew what I was passionate about from a very young age. I also remember being inspired by my mother’s artistic abilities and my father’s business that he had started. I would daydream about being old enough to work like them.”
Ambitious and determined, Gina went to FIDM to study fashion design right out of high school. With an associate’s degree and a few summers of internships in New York City and Los Angeles under her belt and after having travelled through Europe, she moved back to Minneanapolis where she was raised, and started her own clothing line, Gina Marie Vintage. “Simple silhouettes, loungewear textiles, and classic color palettes became my niche,” reads her “about” section on the site. “Gina Marie Vintage is a minimalistic, vintage-inspired, bohemian clothing line. It is designed for women who want to feel as good as they look and fill their wardrobe with staple pieces that will last a lifetime, not just a season.” And Gina took these beautiful values and dreams and moved right into a different side of this industry in 2013. “Just about everything is harder when you’re a small business, but I would say my most vivid and recent epiphany is when I decided to rebrand and open my online boutique, Velvet Moon. I still love designing, but I also love seeking out and providing other amazing brands. I now have the best of both worlds!” “This field has a lot of competition,” she said as we wrapped up our short, but encouraging conversation, “so if you decide you want to do it, then tell yourself you are going to make it happen and don’t take no for an answer. Don’t give up when it gets hard and surround yourself with people that will encourage you to keep going. Stay inspired and stay true to yourself.”
Her last words seemed to ring. I see these two attributes all over Velvet Moon – in their pieces, their styling, even on their social media sites. Throughout the entire process, from getting to talk with Gina, to styling the lovely pieces, and shooting with Maddie and Zachary, I could feel the heart and thought that went into everything that is Velvet Moon. It’s not just cool pieces that make a boutique stand out, but it’s the people who are behind it and what they stand for.
So stay inspired and stay true, everyone.