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Orlando Vintage The Back Story, My first Blog Post

Posted by Lisa Smith on 16th Dec 2015

                                 Hello Friends, My name is Lisa Smith and I started Orlando Vintage in the Fall of 1995, I was thirty years old. I was born the youngest of six children, raised in the suburbs of Chicago by hard working parents who instilled in me a strong work ethic and independence.During my earlier years much of my play time was spent playing with neighborhood children. It was the 70's,an awesome time to grow up in middle class America! I roamed the back woods behind our house on my freedom rider, a single speed Schwinn .That is where I would ride trails, build forts ,collect snakes and explore. My other past time was planning talent shows, putting together carnivals and selling/trading my belongings.

                                 I had the entrepreneurial Spirit!I loved the whole process of organizing ,seeing opportunity and making things happen! I loved being in charge, The Boss in me was born!  The kids in the neighborhood didn't have money just to go out and buy new things and neither did I. So, selling my old toys and trading was a way to get New stuff. There were tons of bored kids and we needed something to do. That's where the talent shows and carnivals came in play. We would charge a nickel or dime and make just enough to buy an ice cream sandwich or a bag full of penny candy.Not to mention we didn't have cable TV and playing outside was the norm. By the age of fifteen I was working bussing tables in a local Irish Restaurant and answering phones in a Real Estate office.

                                    After High School Graduation I was headed towards college at SIU- Southern Illinois University.My college experience was way too much fun and I will save  those details for a later time . I will mention however that I did do the College Intern Program at Disney.I fell in love with Florida at this time,but didn't know that I would soon return a few years later to build my life.I graduated college in1987 with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a minor in Dance. After graduation I moved back home and started working in sales at a Chicago Suburb Radio Station WJTW. After about two years I had the opportunity to move to Florida and work at another radio station.I  was ready to spread my wings and fly! I eventually landed in Orlando working at WDIZ and after a seven year career in Radio Sales it all ended with a pink slip. I cried for one day and then immediately started working at an area consignment shop as a clerk.During this time I started to delve in Fashion and the ins and outs of operating a small business. While working in Radio I had the opportunity to work with all types of businesses both large and small. I always admired small business owners and how they wore so many hats. Owners drove the bus! They decided what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. Creative control was very enticing for me and having worked in the corporate market I discovered it was not my style , been there done that.During this time I started to address the resale landscape of Central Florida. In order to supplement my income I started to shop , seriously shop . At this time thrift store shopping wasn't main stream. You could still find 70's  clothing in thrift stores and estate sales were full of vintage clothes from the 40's,50's and 60's with few buyers.I haven't mentioned anything about my fashion sense. Growing up in a large family most of my clothes came from Sears. My mother worked there for twenty-seven years and got an employee discount! In my teens I poured over Glamour and Seventeen Magazines and copied the latest looks. I got notice and was voted The Funkiest Dresser by my follow class mates at Plainfield High.I also enjoy wearing my mother's old things. Especially her 50's Mexican tooled clutch bag and my grandmother's costume jewelry.In college I started to thrift and wear all thing vintage! I gravitated towards Vintage. My wardrobe was growing and growing ,dressing others and myself was something I loved and was good at!I could always style myself and I discovered I was great at styling others.I was told "You have a great eye".

                                 I hit a mother load at a Winter Park Estate Auction! It took several car loads to get everything home!I was successfully selling vintage in the store I worked at and other area stores.The time had come that I was seriously thinking of opening a shop, but I was scared and had only a couple hundred dollars. There were a couple of vintage shops and I approached one about sharing the space . So, that worked about two months and I was ready to go off on my own. My parents were less than thrilled that I was going into the Vintage Business. My father thought I was wasting a college degree! Regardless my parents loaned me two -thousand dollars and I was off looking for a space. I found my first space of five -hundred and forty square feet in College Park. It was 1995 and Orlando Vintage Clothing Company was born!