TULSA — Entering Vintage Vault is like taking a walk back in time.
Whether you're searching for a dress like one Goldie Hawn might have worn on “Laugh In,” a 1960s sofa that looks like it came off the set of “Mad Men,” a Lucite purse from the 1950s, a peplum jacket from the 1940s, or anything else of vintage yore, this Brookside shop has a bit of everything.
Recently opened, the nostalgic Brookside shop invites the shopper to poke around and stay awhile. Furniture and fashions dating from the 1930s through the 1980s decorate every nook and cranny.
Soon-to-wed owners Sheila Alley and Scott Nichols will host an open house starting 7:30 p.m. Friday, complete with a fashion show and art show featuring Nichols' own work. Weather permitting, they'll also project a silent movie onto the side of the building.
Opening the store was a natural for Alley, a native Tulsan, who defines herself as “eclectic” and previously owned a vintage clothing store.
She majored in musical theater at the University of Oklahoma, has appeared in 83 plays over the years and always has loved costumes. But it was her mother's love of antiques that really helped instill a love for vintage pieces.
“My mom was an antique dealer when I was a little girl, and so I just grew up around older things. I was always obsessed with the 1950s, and I would look for it constantly when we would go out looking for things for her antique booth,” she said.
The whimsical and colorful styles have always tugged at her heart. A pair of salt and pepper shakers were her first vintage collectible. Today she owns about 500 sets of salt and pepper shakers.
While she was in her 20s, Alley lost her eyesight off and on for four years due to retinopathy. She underwent 24 eye surgeries and eventually regained her sight and today has 20/40 vision with glasses.
“I think it was when I regained my sight again that I became so obsessed with vintage. I love colors and patterns, and just always having something really interesting to look at,” she said.
When she lost her vision, Alley made a living by singing commercial jingles and doing voice-overs. After she regained her eyesight, she started selling vintage clothing on eBay in the late 1990s, which she did for about 10 years.
She eventually opened Silver Screen Vintage, which sold vintage clothing exclusively, for about seven years before closing earlier this year.
Her newest store, Vintage Vault, opened Sept. 25 and is much bigger at 3,000 square feet versus 600 square feet for her previous shop. It also includes furniture in addition to men's, women's and children's fashions.
The shop is in a building that formerly housed a motorcycle parts store. Scott Nichols, who has a degree in fine art from the University of Tulsa, has quickly developed a penchant for anything vintage. When he's not helping Alley at the shop, he has a contracting business and renovates houses — mainly bathrooms, he said.
“I like the fact that we really share it together. We have such a passion between the two of us, and we've turned it into a business,” Nichols said.
The two will wed in December. Alley plans to use vintage enamel flower pins, like those that can be found in the shop, to create her bridal bouquet.
Together, the couple says they search nonstop and use their leisure time to hunt for shop treasures. But don't ask them where, because they won't tell. “It's an ancient Chinese secret, is what we tell everyone,” Alley said.
As for future, Alley says, “If we can just keep doing what we're doing, I think we'll be as happy as can be.”
My mom was an antique dealer when I was a little girl, and so I just grew up around older things. I was always obsessed with the 1950s, and I would look for it constantly when we would go out looking for things for her antique booth.”
Vintage Vault co-owner