ROARIN’ THREADS: The Vintage Wonderland of RetrosaurusRex
online store stocked with unique items aims to open real-world space in Menomonie
If you haven’t heard of Menomonie’s RetrosaurusRex Vintage, you might have seen some of its pieces on the big screen. The locally owned online and soon-to-open physical store with a catchy name has quite the tale.
Sara Sorenson, the stylish red-haired creator and sole entrepreneur behind RetrosaurusRex Vintage, has a keen eye for all things rad and vintage, hence the creation of the online store in 2013. With a true love for the treasure hunt of antiquing and thrift shopping, Sorenson specializes primarily in clothing from the 1930s through ’80s, also picking up pieces from even earlier and through the 2000s. However, Marvel Studios seems to have an appreciation for her older ware.
“We’ve had some pretty cool sales to movie and television series and theaters,” Sorenson said. “Most notably, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (and) Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War.”
Also having sold items used on the TV show Mad Men, at the London Royal Opera House and Williamstown Theater in Massachusetts, among others, Sorenson primarily sells through popular resell app Poshmark (@retrosaurusrex), though she began on Etsy, and has most recently been accepted by Thrilling, an exclusive resell platform for hand-selected sellers that’s been highlighted by Vogue and Refinery29, among others.
With more than 600 individual listings on her Poshmark platform, you’d think a good chunk of RetrosaurusRex inventory would be up for sale. Well, you’d be thinking wrong.
“Honestly, what I really like is when the stuff finds a new home, that’s the coolest thing.” –Sara Sorenson, RetrosaurusRex Vintage
With a plethora of items ranging from Gunne Sax dresses, ’80s Metallica posters, vintage Bongo and Gitano denim, shoes, jewelry, knickknacks, and so much more, RetrosaurusRex Vintage is a curated, fantastical playground for all vintage lovers.
Though she’s made thousands of sales, most of Sorenson’s items have yet to even be tagged or taken out of her home and into the building she hopes to open up as a physical shopping space. With hundreds of items already organized onto racks lining the intricately designed walls of the soon-to-be store, there is still much to be done.
But vintage selling requires a heck of a lot of research, and that often means extra time and care placed into mending items, too.
“It takes me a lot to give up on an item, so if it’s got stains or anything wrong with it, I’ve taught myself over the years how to mend it,” Sorenson explained. “I’m not a master seamstress or anything, but with YouTube, I’ve taught myself to mend or hem, and I have an army of cleaning agents to help get those 50-year-old stains.”
Though there is money to be made in curating and reselling sought-after pieces, Sorenson most enjoys the life she is able to fold back into each piece.
“Honestly, what I really like is when the stuff finds a new home, that’s the coolest thing,” she explained. “A lady got married overseas in a vintage dress she bought from me, and it’s like, the person who donated that had no idea what other life this dress was going to have.”
Though business is booming, Sorenson has had to take steps back due to her health. (A rare neurological diagnosis impacts her day-to-day life and movement.) Her true goal with RetrosaurusRex Vintage is to solidify its family roots and pass it on to her children. Having her two sons and a partner currently learning the ropes of the biz, Sorenson’s hobby and love of vintage curation will hopefully become a family business.
“I’m hoping to start (organizing) but it takes a lot out of me. It’s got to come to the point right now, though, where my boys are going to get (RetrosaurusRex) either way,” she said. “Whether they continue to make it a family business is up to them, but the more that I get organized, the more of a base they’ll have.”
What her twenty-something sons once only thought of as ‘mom’s little hobby,’ Sorenson said, has the means to turn into much more for the family.
Though the brick-and-mortar store was supposed to open in June, there is much organization inside the space to occur before it can, Sorenson said. When it does open sometime this fall or winter, hopefully, it will be a by-appointment shop where people can take their time looking through the specially curated treasure chest of items, finding joy in the obvious care Sorenson has taken with each piece.
Until then, keep up with Sara and see some of the RetrosaurusRex pieces online through her Poshmark.
Oh, and the awesome name? As they say, some people have their best ideas in the shower, which Sorenson can attest to. “I was just in the shower and thought, ‘RetrosaurusRex? That’s it.’ I think it represents me kind of, the quirkiness, and it’s something memorable.”