What happens when a store resells quality vintage and thrift clothing that's selected and repurposed by the discerning editorial eye of a former Victoria's Secret visual merchandise stylist? Royal Factory.
Vintage and thrift stores are curious things. Shopping at them is beloved, even favored by some. Purchases are hard-won prizes. So what happens when a store resells quality vintage and thrift clothing that's selected and repurposed by the discerning editorial eye of a former Victoria's Secret visual merchandise stylist?
Owner Felicia Jimenez stocked her new store with vintage and thrift clothing that she has collected for years. Most of the clothes are reconstructions or have some new design element added onto them. There are also designer finds - from Givenchy, Sonia Rykiel and Yves Saint Laurent - that "I just can't touch," Jimenez said. The options are curated at a boutique-worthy standard.
"I love fashion, always have," Jimenez said. "I always kind of did my own thing. Growing up no one really understood my style or why I did it. You know, a fur collar with pink hair. Some people would dig it. If people love it, they really love it."
Her unique sense of style is one of the highlights of Royal Factory. She combines her taste with her skills in visual merchandising to put together sequins, bright colors, plaid, rope and lace in way that makes shoppers think, "Wow, that totally makes sense."
"It has a very L.A. vibe," she said of Royal Factory's styling.
And a Grand Rapids, Michigan, sensibility, considering Jimenez's Wolverine-state sister, Melissa Castillo, is one of the artists who restructures and designs the clothes for the store.
Jimenez's husband, Andre Bitmayl, contributed his artistic talents to the store, too. He made the cabinetry and light fixtures throughout. That's their 9-month-old daughter, LizaMae, scooting around the store.
Along with the repurposed items, the store also sells new products. See You Monday shirts and tanks with metallic detailing stand out, and Columbus designer (and former "Project Runway" contestant) Terri Stevens will soon sell her clothes at the store.
There are plenty of guys' accoutrements. Leather jackets (a burnt orange style was selling for $65) and blazers with painted details hang out by a mail-slot cabinet of designer ties.
In the back of the store are hand-designed baby dresses and onesies, and decorative oddities such as old dentures, glass medicine bottles and aged but darling toys selected by Bitmayl.
Tops range between $16 and $100. Jewelry starts at $5. Guys' pants prices vary in the double digits. A handbag painted by a local artist costs $76.
The fashion accessory curiosities in the center island of the store - such as a pair of $18 sunglasses that have Michael Jackson on the frame - will delight as well.
Photos by Jodi Miller