Meet Our Advertisers #5: Holly at Lucite Box Vintage

by Erin on July 11, 2008


Lipstick Kiss dress

Today's advertiser: Holly of Lucite Box Vintage!

How long have you been in business?

I've been on the internet since 2001. I began selling part-time on eBay. I left a job about a year later to work with vintage full-time and started my site, lucitebox.com. We just gave it a face-lift a couple of weeks ago and I'm really enjoying working on the new site. It's amazing what a new look can do for a gal!

What motivated you to go into the vintage business?

I had just quit a corporate sales management job. While sitting on my friend's porch one afternoon after a long season of temp jobs at area banks, I was bemoaning the boredom of working in the private sector. I cleared trades at the bank.

My friend (who I call The Determinator because her tenacity and determination usually gets big results) gave me a kick in the pants when she asked me,
"Holly, man…what are you doing?! What are you gonna do?"

I wasn't sure what she was getting at, so I told her that I had saved some money and was thinking of traveling for awhile before I figured out how to re-enter the work force. I said, "I think I'm going to travel to Morocco. Wanna come with me?" True to Determinator form, she said "No. I mean what are you going to do with your life now? You seem totally bored and I'm getting sick of hearing about your temp job at the bank."

I said, "Well…I suppose you're right. I might open a vintage store. I've been thinking about it for a long time, you know."

That conversation got the ball rolling for me. I started selling on eBay a few months later and just as expected, the Determinator was right there helping me brand my company and cheering me on all the way!

What did you do before this?
I was the national sales manager for a small-ish start-up company that grossed about 5 million the year I left. Then, I went into a tailspin with a series of seemingly dead-end temp jobs.

Where are you based?
Chicago.

More fun questions:

What's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever
found?

These things rank right-up there for me…
1) Howard Greer 50s Dress that's cut down to THERE!:
Greer

2) Irene Lentz 50s Evening Jacket
Irene Lentz
3) A trio of amazing 30s gowns
30s gowns

What do you have in stock that you can't believe hasn't sold?

Well, I have racks of things that I haven't offered yet. There have been a few items I've listed on eBay didn't sell and they still mystify me. Why, oh why doesn't anyone understand this wacky novelty jacket?

If you ask me, this novelty print jacket and dress duo is a winner and it will surprise me if someone doesn't want to snap this up quickly. Check out the print–don't you just love the lady in the shopping cart?!

What do you dream about finding?

I deal a lot in what I'd call wearable, everyday fashions that are usually quite affordable. My vintage dreams (and they do actually wake me with a start) are about finding an estate where the woman was my size, had good taste in clothes, and maintained her wardrobe well. You can't imagine how many times I have found the ultimate 50s sun dress with a fabulous novelty print–in my size–only to wake and find I'm in bed and there's no sun dress!

My wildest daydreamy kinds of fantasies always involve something I'm almost certain I won't find. My holy grails are vintage Adrian, Yves St. Laurent's Mondrian dress, a heavily embellished Nudie suit, and maybe a Charles James or a Fortuny just because I figure that if you're gonna dream, you might as well dream big.

What do you enjoy most about working with vintage?

It's very pleasurable to research the history of fashion. It's most exciting to share my passion for history with someone else. When something that I sell lands in the hands of a person who'll treasure it (and probably even wear it), I'm always very pleased.

You know, you start to feel like you're somehow an ambassador for these old things. I've always been attracted to that idea of merely being a host or a steward of vintage…like things are just visiting me for a little while and then I get to send it someplace else where they will be appreciated.

It's sort of like being a connecting link in a big chain. I'd like to think that the things that leave lucitebox will eventually end up somewhere else in the distant future and that the chain just goes on and on. I have some of my grandmother's home-sewn clothes. I look forward to passing them on to the right person after I'm gone. When I look at one of the pieces, I almost feel her presence in the dress…as if she's right there sitting at her Singer in the sewing room working on it.

What do you wish someone would ask you about your site?
Would you be interested in being featured in Vogue magazine next month?

It's a good day at work when …
I can easily find one of my three or four tape measures! It's as if you put them down and they quickly end up wherever the one missing sock from the dryer goes!

If I ran the internet for a day I'd …

Ask for limited amounts of flash animation on any site. I'm sorry, I just don't have time to wait for your cool graphics to load. I would also put an end to the soundtracks that accompany sites. Please. Quiet sites, people. What you may not know is that even though I'm shopping and I really do want to read your blog or read about your merchandise, I already have my iTunes loaded and your music overlapping my music is creating a mind-bending mix that rivals any really, really bad acid trip. Hello, Advil Liquid Gels!

The blogs I read (other than ADAD) are …

I am seriously addicted to design and decorating blogs. I can't ever seem to get my fix and when I miss a day or two, I get cravings fro them. It's a joy to catching up with my bookmarks. Here are a few blogs that I like:
decorno
design*sponge
apartment therapy
design boner
making it lovely
poppytalk
ikea hacker
it's (k)not wood

Oh, and somewhat unrelated to interior design, but seriously entertaining–I just found a blog called Yardsalebloodbath that I LOVE! There are the people I want to party with!

Oh, and of course, I do read a lot of blogs that my vintage colleagues write. My favorite at the moment is Random Acts of Vintage.

You'd laugh if you knew this about me …
My longest running dream in life is to own a goat farm and make artisanal cheeses. But, tomorrow, I'll probably have a new one to replace that dream. At the moment, it seems that it might involve auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance!

Holly is also offering a discount for Dress a Day readers.
Please take 15% off of any item on lucitebox.com. Use the coupon code "erinisawesome" [Editor's note: I did not ask for this code!] HURRY! The sale ends on July 26th!

You should also check out Holly's blog — she's got a great feature on collections

Also, Holly is looking for a Chicago part-time sewist to help her with some piece-work at lucitebox. She sometimes purchases vintage items that have modest but fixable damage (a hem needs to be replaced, a shoulder is blown out, there's a rip at the waist, etc.) and is looking for someone who isn't just technically "good" at sewing, but someone who can troubleshoot to find the best solution for fixing something while appropriately preserving the sensibility of the era. If you're interested, drop her a line …

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