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Hidden Gems: Meet Neisha & Gary Wallace of Evergreen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neisha & Gary Wallace.

Hi Neisha & Gary, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We are a husband and wife team living in the Southern California mountains. Gary has been in the vintage clothing industry for over20 years. Neisha has always worked in creative fields, from skincare as an aesthetician to fashion design in the Los Angeles women’s contemporary market. In 2011, we left our stable jobs and started our own company, Foundation Vintage, selling heritage and bohemian vintage & designing a line of hand-dyed, natural indigo clothing. We wanted to build a business based on ethics, respect and transparency alongside like-minded entrepreneurs/small business owners that are about community instead of competition. We started small at flea markets and pop-ups around Southern California and eventually started showing at higher-end markets (like A Current Affair) and opened a showroom by appointment DTLA while living in Mt. Washington on the eastside of LA. During the pandemic, after a deep dive into our life and a perspective change, we moved to Lake Arrowhead to put down roots and opened our brick and mortar store ‘evergreen’. Our store is a curation of things we love – vintage clothing, exceptional apothecary & handmade, small-batch, ethically sourced, sustainable goods. Located among the trees on the historic ‘Rim of the World’ highway 18 in Sky Forest, California. We have found a community of friends and fellow small business owners up here in the mountains with a very similar story and thriving off cross-promotion and support.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We had many, many struggles with the number one being finances. We started our business by funding ourselves with a small savings and for years lived with just getting by and loans from friends and family. We also made some mistakes along the way that I think a lot of small businesses’s one thing to work for a company with an accounting staff and quite another to do it yourself. We overcomplicated some things and undervalued others…it’s a constant learning curve. Opening our store Evergreen was actually a smoother transition and almost more sefindipous. Moving up to the mountains and finding a great space to work out of, we wanted to be part of the community and bring something special and unique to the area. We felt very supported and now that we’ve been open for our first year (in December) we couldn’t be more grateful for our friends and customers.

We’ve been impressed with Evergreen, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are passionate about bringing sustainable products and great vintage clothing into our store. After working in the fashion industry and witnessing all the waist and abusive business practices that can happen at some companies (we want to champion and acknowledge fashion companies that practice ethical and sustainable business) we make sure to look into all the new product we bring into the shop. We search for brands with a story and integrity behind their products. How/where it’s made and who is the maker. We also love talking vintage and sharing our knowledge of how clothing was made before “fast fashion”. Our business is a give and take…we learn from our friends and customers all the time, so for us it’s an ideal ever-growing and evolving career.

What are your plans for the future?
We want to grow with our mountain community as there are so many amazing people up here. Artists, entrepreneurs and dreamers. We hope to support and grow with the community and share in the special energy here in the mountains…It’s magical. We also hope to get back into traveling in the future and bringing little gems from all over back to the shop. Travel has always been our inspiration… we’re “pickers” at heart and love the hunt and finding “gold” and sharing it.

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