What does a day in the life of Melissa look like?
Usually starts with a bagel, ends with a grilled cheese. (Can’t help it with those carbs)
On a creatively satisfying day – I’m crafting ideas, making moodboards, sourcing props, building sets, shooting ideas, or editing photos.
On a fun day, I’m having a boozy picnic at echo park lake with champagne and a hot dog, fawning over pups, going to a museum and seeing a movie at the theater with a gal pal.
On a normal day, I’m hustling between a day job and my creative pursuits, eating too much sweets, and rewatching the It’s Always Sunny Bloopers to keep my spirits high.
I’m obsessed with your creative work! Where do you draw inspiration from and where do you see your design work taking you?
Thank you! I currently draw the most inspiration from the nagging thoughts that weigh on my brain — thoughts like “Being an adult really sucks” or “Why am I comparing myself to other creatives so harshly?” or “How come I have no self control when presented with donuts or Mac & Cheese?”
& then I translate those thoughts into colorful sets and photos!
I’ve also been recently going down the rabbit hole of the Vimeo Staff picks and searching for inspiring video projects that excite my brain. Then I research the crew behind them to see their portfolios and read how they got started — i.e. THIS dark, sexy french music video magic or THIS charming portrait of my homegirl Elle Fanning
One thing I love about getting to know you over the last couple of years is seeing how hard you push yourself. Do you have any advice for people who want to pursue something totally amazingly creative outside of their day job?
First of all, that means so much!
It’s honestly tough and comes with some sacrifice, but I really don’t mind the long hours, the sore limbs, the dwindling bank account. I need those things in my life to feel alive and useful.
My #1 piece of advice and probably the most important thing I felt I’ve learned in these last 3 years of creating work on my own, (despite what sometimes seemed like an impossible schedule): No one cares if you finish. And that’s actually a good thing. It forces you to become truly self motivated and disciplined, but gives you the freedom and flexibility to experiment and challenge yourself without the pressure.
Let me explain…
When you don’t have a boss or a teacher or a parent checking in on you along the way to see if you’ve emailed the crew, balanced the budget, bought all the costumes, added a 2nd coat of paint to the props, secured a shooting location, made sure there were snacks on hand to keep everyone’s spirits high, taught yourself photoshop to edit the photo, posted to social media // your portfolio website and officially completed the project – you realize that technically if you didn’t finish, no one would be upset or disappointed — except for you.
On the other hand, BECAUSE there’s no one to check in with and I’m hustling to fund all of these projects on my own, I’m not obligated to please anyone but myself. I don’t have to sacrifice any ideas to fit into someone else’s vision and get to create work for my portfolio that is a true and accurate representation of my brain. How exciting is that! I feel extremely grateful to be in this stage of my creative career and to be able to feel the joy and accomplishments of my own efforts.
So basically, not having anyone there to see you to the finish line is both the best and hardest thing to come to terms with and I think is prob the #1 reason a lot of people get easily discouraged or intimidated. To be a successful creative person you really need to view it as running your own small business. You alone have to set deadlines, be smart about budget, be friendly to the other people in your life that could technically become your “co-workers” or collaborators, etc., You just need to take the plunge and finish the idea, no matter what- even if it’s not perfect. And don’t be motivated solely by a paycheck or some social media attention, but because it’s your duty to give life to the unique ideas trapped inside your individual brain.
What’s the best thing you ever thrifted?
One of my all time favorite things I ever thrifted was THIS bedazzled pink dolly parton-esque shirt
Or Perhaps THIS 1960’s Christian Dior Turban hat with a big bow!
But Probably THIS geometric GEM of a dress from my fav 😉
Name one fun fact about yourself
In my youth, I looked exactly like a mix between Punky Brewster & Scout Finch. Pretty great combo if you ask me….not so much into the aesthetic of self cut bangs, and a constantly dirty face, but i’ve definitely still retained the spunk, colorful ensembles and childlike curiosity of the two 🙂
Where are you from?
Alexandria, Virginia the suburbs of Washington DC.
What inspires you? Mother Nature, bright Colors, psychedelic patterns, Alexander McQueen, textures, Biba, disco and Stevie Nicks.
What’s your favorite decade? The 60’s. The fashion, rockstars & nightlife. I feel like my soul belongs in that time.
What’s your favorite place to vintage shop? I love great deals so I frequent the local thrift/ charity shops often. And I love online shopping of course instagram/ shopwhurl!
What’s the best thing you’ve ever thrifted?
I have thrifted some stellar pieces but I think my Chanel bucket bag is number one. It currently sits pretty in my closet. I paid $8 bucks for it at Unique about 10 years ago!
Name one fun fact about yourself? I’m a mom of a beautiful 4 year old boy as well as being a Shop owner.
I just love this girl so much! Gina has been a serious Whurl supporter since almost day one. In fact, she was the 293rd person to register on Whurl (!) within the first weeks of launch. She’s even gone as far as traveling to Los Angeles from Michigan to sell at three separate pop-ups I’ve hosted! She rarely strays from her quintessential 80’s/90’s aesthetic that admittedly makes me squeal with glee when I see her new posts on Whurl. In fact, she just uploaded a ton of fanny packs, colorful blouses, bomber jackets, swimsuits and more! Be sure to check out her assortment on Whurl when you’re done reading through her interview!
Where are you from?
Michigan! I’m an all four seasons, midwestern gal.
What inspires you?
Anyone that creates something, whether it’s music, art, comedy, even business. If it didn’t exist in this world before you and now it exists because of you, that’s incredible.
What’s your favorite decade?
80s! I’m completely drawn to the bold, colorful, campiness of the decade. Also, I was born in 1980 so the decade carries major personal nostalgia for me.
What’s your favorite place to vintage shop?
Whurl! (haha just kidding, but not really though). While I love vintage shopping online nothing beats a giant outdoor flea market in the summer. It’s part treasure hunting, part people watching, and I can usually eat something from a truck. The perfect combo.
What’s the best thing you ever thrifted?
Any one of my many vintage denim jackets. Like children, I love them all equally.
Name one fun fact about yourself
In 1997, my best friend and I went to see Titanic at the movie theater over 5 times. Leo forever has a soft spot in my heart because of this (my heart goes on for you, Leo, there was room on that door for you!)
Vintage has clearly been a massive part of your identity for long time. What do you love most about vintage? Can you remember when you first fell in love with it?
As someone who has traveled all around the globe, which city has the best vintage shopping?
A little birdie told me you’re currently on a year long trip around the world with your husband, Eric. What sparked this exciting adventure? What are you most excited about?
I really appreciate how vocal you’ve been about rejecting our president and the patriarchy in general. What kind of advice can you give to female entrepreneurs in our current political climate?
*all photos by Emily Alben
I’m so excited to share a little interview with one of my favorite sellers on Whurl right now, Luxie Vintage! Aesthetically, Cory and I are extremely similar (like I thought that was me in her photo she sent me above, ha!) loving bright bold florals and 60’s collar details. But one thing I really adore about Cory’s shop is how she sells things from all decades for all types of people. She’s not just catering to her own tastes; you can tell she genuinely wants to find the perfect treasure for everyone out there! Check out some of her items on the Whurl app under “luxievintage” after you read through her interview below!
Where are you from? Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.
What inspires you? All of the powerful women in my life! They are lawyers, teachers, dancers, musicians, non-profit workers, fellow vintage sellers, welders, scientists, writers, fashionistas, store owners, photographers and on and on. I feel lucky as hell to be surrounded by such greatness. Sometimes I get to collaborate with them or just tag along while they’re working. Watching those babes in their element inspires me and motivates me to keep doing what I’m doing.
What’s your favorite decade? 1940s. The 60s are a close second place.
What’s your favorite place to vintage shop? Online! I rarely have time to do any personal shopping IRL 😦
What’s the best thing you ever thrifted? A super rare 1970s Los Angeles tattoo parlor shirt. It’s a bittersweet story but one of the most memorable, therefore I consider it one of the best things I ever thrifted. It was in 2012 when I had a brick & mortar vintage shop in Tempe, Arizona. I found the shirt at a thrift store for five dollars. I thought it was a 70s bowling league shirt, tagged it as so and sold it at my shop for $35. The person who bought the shirt off of me immediately told me they were almost positive that it was actually an extremely collectible shirt. That person was correct and ended up selling it on eBay for $1,200.00. At the time, it hurt to watch the auction creep up, but looking back, it taught me and important lesson: if you made a profit, be happy for the sale regardless of what the next person sells it for. That’s just the way of this sort of business. After selling vintage for twelve years, it’s something that I still have to remind myself. Ultimately, I made the profit I wanted off of the shirt. I should be happy for that, not resentful because the next person sold it for more. Ok, that sale still burns a little 🙂
Name one fun fact about yourself: I’m absolutely terrified of E.T. Not so fun of a fact for me, but it seems to be a super fun fact for everyone who knows me.
Photo tip day! I’ve been wanting to make this post for awhile and finally partnered up with my talented illustrator pal Louise Androlia to help cute it up.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense to some and a complete surprise to others, and that’s okay! It’s important to me to remember that Whurl sellers range from first timers to decades-old vintage stores. I gathered these tips from a combination of my own experience and analysis of the sales report, meaning the majority of items that sold have these things in common. In my opinion, photo and price are the top reasons items sell. It isn’t necessarily the item since an item that appeals to me might not even appeal to you. But how do I know if something appeals to me if I can barely tell what it is from its photo? Make sense? Here are my tips:
1.Be sure to show the entire item in one photo (don’t cut off the bottom of a dress)
2. Always use natural light or profesh lighting! Dim lighting is a huge no-no
3. Solid backgrounds work best to not distract from the item!
4. Make sure your photos are always in focus.
5. Show as many angles as you can of the item (the more photos you
add, the better!)