Happy Birthday to Us!
We turn 3 years old today! Ouna's Closet turning 3 is definitely a great milestone, we have met so many good people, dressed hundreds of fab guys and gals, and staked our claim as a fantastic vintage choice on the island. When we started three years ago, vintage in Puerto Rico was little to non-existent; people who knew and loved vintage did not have any options at all to find fantastic, ready to wear, covetable vintage. We exploded onto the scene and it's been nothing but up, up, up for us. From being featured in the New York Times' Style section to having regular fashion spots on our local channel WAPA TV 4 morning show Entre Nosotras, we are proud to be on the forefront of trendy vintage fashion in Puerto Rico.
Our original location got small for us really fast! We knew going in that 266 sq. feet would not be enough for all the awesome things we had planned, but we stuck it out there and developed a very loyal fanbase, and finally in october of last year we moved into our current 1,500+ sq. foot location on the second floor of Calico Court, in road #2, Guaynabo. This new location has our Miss Francis Atelier space integrated into the floor area, where Miss Francis makes all our vintage pieces more wearable by hemming, fixing sleeves and elastics, as well as attends to everyone that brings in their clothing to be fixed or altered. This is a great thing because here on the island alot of people don't think that the clothes they have can be fixed by alterations, which extends their life and is very earth-friendly too!!!
Aside from vintage we have also been a supportive platform for emerging and established independent designers from the island and all over the world to expose themselves to a wider audience and establish their brands. In 2009 when we started we were the only shop that accepted independent designers as "Colectivos", we have then inspired so many other shops to support independent design and now it is almost mainstream! It is so good to see how our innovation has inspired others to continue the good work we have started.
I am so proud of all the good work we have done for the community with Ouna's Closet: Our monthly Swap events for men and women have helped many charitable organizations like El Hogar Buen Pastor para personas sin Techo, who receive all the clothing, shoes, accessories and housewares left over from our event every month and distribute it to the community. Our Craft Parties are a fun way to connect with each other through fun activities, and being free for everyone it's not a bad way to spend a friday! We have alot of other new events planned to continue supporting local talented artists, like our Artsy Fartsy Art Nights, the first of which is in April and will feature the artwork of Yamel Figueroa.
We have also grown more conscious of our role of sustaining the earth, and have worked hard in that field by limiting our impact by recycling as much of the textiles we discard as we can through our Fábrica R3: Rags Recycled Responsibly line, which is new clothing Francis Rosario and I design and make here in the shop using available vintage textiles. We have awesome plans in that area as well: our Fábrica R3 line will be expanded to include more jewelry and accessories, and the fabric scraps leftover will be used in new, innovative ways to discard as little as we possibly can. Another part of our mission of sustaining our earth is to support causes that help the community as well as promoting recycling: De tu Closet a Mi Prom is a fantastic initiative here in Puerto Rico where gently used prom and party clothing, shoes, jewelry and handbags are donated to girls in poor areas of the island that cannot afford to buy them, but still deserve to be the Belles of the Prom. Our shop is a donation center for this initiative, you can bring in your items and the organizers pick it up every week.
I want to thank every single person I have met since I started this adventure three years ago. Every single one has taught me important lessons about life, business, ethics and staying true to my beliefs and goals. Some of them I have not seen again and most I see every week, some of them have become my best friends and alot have passed like ships in the night, but I am grateful for everything I have learned from each of them, these lessons have made me a better person and helped me grow and continue to develop my business. I also want to thank my family and close friends for all their support: I wouldn't have made it this far without them. And finally, my clients and fans: You guys are the ones that make this possible, that inspire me everyday with your smiles and joy to continue working hard to bring you the very best of vintage and contemporary design. You guys have always been the best, thank you for supporting Ouna's Closet, for your amazing photos showing me how you dress your souls with my pieces, and for letting me show you all your true selves and how to be as unique as you are.
I love you all!!!
PS: Maria, a spunky, lovely 9 year old girl that has become one of my favorite people, published THIS post on her blog about our birthday party. Her blog is incredibly well-written and funny <3