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Meet Kristine Claghorn of Cabin Vintage in Highland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristine Claghorn.

Kristine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been in Los Angeles for almost nine years, ever since graduating from college. I grew up in a small town called Zionsville in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana and went to school in Bloomington (Indiana University).

My path started in high school when I went to my first vintage shop, Broadripple Vintage. I remember finding my first vintage piece, a 70’s cream crochet top, that I fell in love with immediately. After that first trip, I was addicted to finding unique vintage pieces for myself. It was the first time I had really been able to decide what my own personal style was going to look like! Before then, I just went to the mall and picked out things that everyone else at my school was wearing too. It was definitely lacking in the self-expression department.

Fast forward to college, where I got a job at a boutique called Cactus Flower in Bloomington. It was a dream job for me at the time. I got to work alongside some of my best friends, and we thrifted together all the time. The shop had both new and vintage clothing, but the vintage section was my favorite. I had the most fun finding unique pieces and seeing people come in and get excited about them. Right before I moved to LA at the end of my senior year, I went on a final buying trip for the shop. Since then, I’ve known that I’d return to vintage at some point in my life.

Since living in LA, I’ve spent most of my career life in the marketing field. I worked at an ad agency for a few years with clients like Disney and Diet Coke and then moved on to work at a startup that didn’t end up sticking around for too long. I was excited to move from the ad agency to a startup that cared about the issue of overconsumption, which is something I’m passionate about. It let you rent items instead of buying them (examples: camping gear, video game systems, cooking gear, cleaning tools, etc…)

In the past couple of years, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to learning and educating others about climate change and sustainability. It’s really important to me that we change our habits and vote with our dollar. The fashion industry is a huge polluter, both when it comes to waste and carbon emissions. Since leaving the startup, I’ve doubled down on my research; while also returning to my love of vintage clothing and home goods.

I for the most part, stopped buying brand new clothing in November of 2018 when I started to learn how bad the industry is on the environment. It’s been freeing! I highly recommend taking a break and seeing how it makes you feel. I started to focus on trying to 1. be happy with what I already have and 2. look for items secondhand/vintage if it was something I truly felt like I needed to have. When you take the time to think hard about what you’re purchasing and its impact on the environment and the people that make it, it’s truly life-changing.

I always knew I wanted to open up my own vintage shop and I finally took that leap once I left the startup job. I’ve been loving it ever since — especially because it connects so closely to my love of sustainability.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve always been creative and somewhat restless, so trying new things is just something I’ve done since I was young. With that comes a lot of failed attempts, but I think it’s better to try and fail than not try at all. It’s worth doing, even if it’s just for the creative outlet it gives.

Starting Cabin Vintage was a bit stressful, as I had not planned to leave my job at the time. I was used to having stable income and a 9-5, so it was a big change for me.

As many things do, it started out slow. It’s been fun to watch its growth and connect with new people. I’m excited to see where it goes from here! Maybe I’ll have a brick and mortar shop someday.

Please tell us about Cabin Vintage.
Cabin is a vintage shop that features clothing and home goods. I’m the only employee, so I do it all. I source, price, clean, photograph, market, list, ship, etc.… It’s a lot of work, but I find it rewarding.

As the person behind Cabin (via my personal Instagram @Claggie), I’m known for starting conversations around climate change and sustainability. I think knowing about the crisis we’re in and learning how to make small changes helps fuel the love of vintage + secondhand clothing. I’m proud to give items new life that may have ended up in the landfill. I also think it’s important to mend and tailor clothing. Just because something is damaged doesn’t mean that’s the end for that piece.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I’m still learning how to achieve work life balance with my own company, but I enjoy the work as well. For someone that is wanting to start a vintage shop, I recommend paying really close attention to what you’re buying. It’s easy to overlook small holes or rips when you get excited, but that will add to the amount of work and dollars you spend on a piece before you can sell it.

I’m also really bad at asking others for help, so that’s something I would have done differently earlier on. I have a wonderful support system and know plenty of women that have started their own businesses. I should have started more conversations.

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Check out the VoyageLA Podcast:
Episode 1 with Content Partner Lisa Taitelman, Founder of Hiking & Wellness company Find Your Trail.

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