Wares to Wear: Entrepreneur launches vintage resale line
Amy O’Connor has a passion for vintage clothes. She likes clothes with color and fringe and she tries to weave pieces from classic to couture into her every day wardrobe. Each piece she finds tells a story from a time many people haven’t experienced. O’Connor wants to change that and educate women of the Chippewa Valley about those times with her new business, Harmony Vintage, which recently launched at Red’s Mercantile in downtown Eau Claire. O’Connor has two racks in the back of the store chock-full of vintage-style tops, dresses, and earrings. O’Connor says she’s always loved vintage and resale, and enjoys finding items that she can share with others.
“It’s so much fun to find treasures when traveling, at small-town estate sales, and via family members and friends,” O’Connor said.
“It’s so much fun to find treasures when traveling, at small-town estate sales, and via family members and friends.” – Amy O’Connor, Harmony Vintage
The name “Harmony Vintage” ties the clothing together with O’Connor’s life as a musician. She was a part of the band Mages, and still writes and plays music with her good friend Matthew Mabis (of local band Pit Wagon). O’Connor thought the harmony she created with her music can also be found in the clothes she finds to resell.
O’Connor began displaying her items at Red’s Mercantile after a discussion with her friend, Becca Cooke, who owns the store. O’Connor, who works at Jamf, says she was between jobs and was wondering what to do next when Cooke told her she was looking for someone who wanted to focus on the vintage aspect of the store. O’Connor says the idea was right up her alley, and she began the process of bringing Harmony Vintage to life.
Cooke, a champion of female entrepreneurs, suggested O’Connor create her business at Red’s with the hope that she could someday open her own shop. And with the way Harmony Vintage is going at Red’s, O’Connor may be closer to having that shop she can call her own.
“Business is off to a great start!” O’Connor said. “I’m super fortunate to be housed in Red’s Mercantile, which has a dedicated customer base and a great pull of travelers and new guests.” O’Connor says in the future, if things go well at Red’s, she would love to have a small shop of her own, but she would like to be a section at Red’s for a year or so before she considers taking that step.
O’Connor is serious about the clothes she sells. She doesn’t want what is on display to be a part of a costume that could only be worn once. She hopes women will follow her lead and have the pieces they buy be a part of their everyday wardrobes. She wants customers to find a shirt on her sales rack that they can wear with a new pair of jeans or dress pants. She also makes the clothes accessible and sells them at a price that she would spend on them.
With the combined forces of Red’s Mercantile and Harmony Vintage, the store is definitely one to check out this spring and summer. O’Connor says the Eau Claire community has been incredibly supportive, and she’s looking forward to getting her newsletter into mailboxes next month. She also has a strong following on Instagram, and you can find her there at @harmonyvintage_ec. More information about Red’s Mercantile, 224 N. Dewey St., and its hours of operation can be found at RedsMercantile.com.