Can it be true? We, The Vault Collective, opened the doors of our very first vintage group boutique 5 years ago today! Check out the photo to the left, which shows our grand opening window display at the Rhode Island flagship in 2014.
We can't thank our hometown of Providence enough for the journey of the last five years. Seriously, RI, we owe all of it to you; for your choice to dress expressively, shop sustainably, & support our collection of hyper-local participating small businesses.
When it first opened, The Vault Collective was meant to be a mere 6 month popup experiment in downcity Providence. Our owner/founder Ruth had nurtured a fairly lucrative hobby of selling vintage clothing, starting with the advent of eBay in the 1990s (yes, when she was in highschool). She found later that she preferred to sell offline, and at the open markets she attended over the years she often chattered about an idea for a collective shop that would meet the needs of her vintage fashion colleagues and provide the public with a huge and highly-curated collection to peruse in real life.
In truth though, the Vault would never have been actualized if it weren't for Cornish Associates. Ruth's friend Chris Daltry of Rock & Roll Yard Sale fame mentioned her idea to Buff Chase of Cornish, who liked it enough to cold call Ruth with a chance to try it out for 6 months, fairly risk free. The offer came in one week after Ruth had left her 9-5 job to go to grad school at Yale, and found herself in need of a way to fund living expenses. The timing was perfect and the rest is history, but it is worth mentioning that The Vault is not the only thriving business on Westminster Street that Cornish has taken a wild chance on. Westminster wouldn't be the vibrant street it is today, without the practical encouragement offered to its creative young entrepreneurs.
Before those first few months as a popup were over, it was clear the Vault could and would verily outgrow its popup status. Ruth signed on for another six months, then with a long term lease she committed to supporting the vintage community in Providence (and beyond) indefinitely. She commuted to New Haven from Providence for the entirety of her degree and left with a Masters.
Now, 5 years later, The Vault is still going strong and has grown into a thriving female owned & operated enterprise, with two enormous boutiques in two states.The Vault's second store in Burlington Vermont opened in August of 2017 so The company as a whole has 25 booths to offer now, and our participants are hyper-local independant vintage entrepreneurs of all ethnicities and ages.
This week the Vault also hit another milestone, and inventoried its 100,000th vintage item. That is one colossal pile of beautiful, unique, historic clothing that our dealers have rescued from estate sales, so that you can afford to fill your stylish closets sustainably with pieces that will last a lifetime (since, you know, most of them already have lasted someone else's lifetime). Thank you for choosing us over the fast fashion industry's wasteful destruction, 100,000 times over. We & the environment are both grateful.
In summary, we have had a beautiful run so far and are full of gratitude to you, our customers. We are forever indebted to the whole roster of vintage dealers we have been blessed to work with through the years, and to our employees as well. A special thanks to Sydney Hunt our Operations Supervisor at the Rhode Island location, who has kept our Rhode Island store thriving right through the opening of our second store, and to Ruth's family for a lifetime of support (and forgiveness for her work schedule).
Please join us in the celebration of it all, Thursday September 26th 5-9pm RSVP on Facebook. We'll gift you 15% off storewide that night, DJ Lit Wellington will be spinning tunes, and we'll have a lovely spread of snacks/drinks...Including some birthday beers provided by our friends at Revival Brewing Company. Thank you, Revival! Thank you Providence!