Get To Know Nashville: Rachel & Katie Dodson of Love and Flak

We recently did a Fashion Friday - How to Wear It post with The Lookbook on Love and Flak's Bullet Necklace.  These necklaces ooze cool and you just can't help but think about the history behind them.  Honestly, they're badass and a great gift to give or receive this holiday (hint hint).  Rachel & Katie Dodson are the fab women behind Love and Flak.  They took some time out from working on their new line to answer a few questions for us for this month's Get to Know.
Your style in five words or less: Defiant, Vintage, Romantic, Militant, Bam!

You can never have too many: Books. Reading is escapism. Escape to revisit pleasant experiences and places; Escape to find solace and affirmation; Escape in order to explore new worlds and ways of being. Books can spark creativity and give an interesting perspective to the way we approach our work and life. It's a vacation from the regular rattle and hum of the brain.
You couldn't live without: Hands down: COFFEE

The Moment Love and Flak was born: It's unbelievable what people lose. Our good friend - an avid relic hunter - let us rummage through some of his rare vintage finds. Through the use of a metal detector, he has unearthed a variety of historical artifacts such as bullets, coins, medals, tags and other unimaginable Civil War era relics. We were immediately drawn to the stories behind each piece - a Civil War Saddle Shield, a World War II bullet, even a 19th century pocket watch. Inspired by the variety of colors, patterns, textures, and shapes, we began transforming our favorites in to unreproducible necklaces.
Best Holiday Memory: This year, we pooled our Christmas money and splurged on a Mediterranean cruise; just the two of us. We hit Greece, Israel, Egypt and Italy on a 15-day jaunt. We had an unforgettable trip exploring ancient Athens, the Great Pyramids of Cairo, the religious epicenter Jerusalem and the 'Eternal City' Rome. We felt like two girls on an ah-mazing race around the world.  It was a very Merry Christmas, two months early.
Favorite Designers: Marc Jacobs, Nicholas K, Jason Wu, Charlotte Ronson, Lanvin - designer: Alber Elbaz, YSL - designer: Stefano Pilati

Favorite Hangouts: Coffee: Frothy Monkey; Food: Urban Flatts - Turkey Pear and Brie - To die; Fashion: Gas Lamp - Hate to even spread the word about this amaze little secret; Music: 12th and Porter

Top Three Desert Island CDs: This is a toughy. Prob would change if you asked us next week....however, this week we pick: 3. The Dead Weather - Horehound, 2. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

Inspirations: Alison Mosshart (do you know how hard this girl rocks?), Faith, Humor, Black and White photography, Rock and Punk culture, Ancient history, Each other, Street Fashion, Rad Music, Traveling

Love & Flak Philosophy: "There are no rules....Anything Goes"

Badass, right?  In Nashville, you can find the Love and Flak collection at H. Audrey in the Hill Center and Muse Boutique on West End.  If you're out of state and would like more information, email us and we'll put you in touch with Rachel and Katie.

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutique - MADE

If you're on my holiday gift list this year, chances are good you'll be receiving a gift from East Nashville's newest boutique, MADE.  This shop is truly a Stella dream.  It's super affordable and stuffed to the ceiling with tons of goodies made by local crafters, artists and some of our favorite designers like Amanda Valentine, Shea Steele and Shannon Lea. Our photog, Jessica McIntosh, said it best, MADE is like a real-life local Etsy.

Ashley Sheehan, owner of MADE, stocks the store with an assortment of art, housewares and jewelry, some of which is made by her, as well as a well-edited collection of vintage apparel for men and women.  She can even paint a portrait of your favorite pet in a suite.  This is one very busy lady!  Ashley graciously took some time out of her afternoon to tell us more about MADE.

What is your concept for MADE? I want Made to be a very accessible shop for both the customers, the crafters and artists. A laid back spot where you can find one of a kind gifts that were made right here in the ‘hood.

Describe the vibe of the store in five words or less. Quaint, cute and charming.

If MADE had a mascot who or what would it be? It would have to be a fawn, sweet and a bit mysterious. Deer have always inspired me.
Some of your own handiwork can be found around the store.  What goodies in the shop are 'made' by you? I have been embroidering a lot lately so the men's ties, the colorful embroidered necklaces, the pillows, the collage art, including animals in suits, along with other random pieces throughout the shop.

There are some fabulous gift items in the store.  What are some of your favorites? I love the candles from Alchemy of Sol, the handmade shirts by Shannon Lea’s People Like Art, Amanda Valentine's altered vintage dresses, the feather hair flair by Emily of Craftville, the totes and prints from Pine Street Makery, wow I just keep going…

Is everything in the store sourced from Tennessee? 95% of all the creations are made right here in TN.
What are five of your favorite places in Nashville? Southern Thrift, Gas Lamp, Silly Goose, Ugly Mugs, and Pre to Post Modern.

What inspires you? Grey Gardens (the documentary), anything from the 60’s, people doing good for others (a trait I have watched my parents carry out through the years), outsider art, vintage children’s books, great magazines like Lula,my favorite bands like Belle and Sebastian and the Magnetic Fields, my friends and sisters, the little things in life like a great laugh with great friends…

Visit MADE this Saturday, December 4 on the East Nashville Holiday Vintage Boutique Crawl.  Select items will be 20% off.  Make sure you receive Stella in your Inbox.  We have a coupon this month good for 20% off your purchase of $20 or more.


717 Porter (Portland & Eastland in East Nashville)
Wed-Fri, Sun 11 am - 5 pm
Sat 11 am - 6 pm

For more photos from our MADE shoot, visit the Stella Facebook page. Photos by Jessica Rai Photography.

Warning: Mimosas Followed by Shopping May Lead to the UAL Impulse Purchase

Impulse purchase is defined as a spur of the moment unplanned decision to buy, made just before a purchase.  Research findings suggest that emotions and feelings play a decisive role in purchasing, triggered by seeing the product or upon exposure to a well crafted promotional message.  (Thank you  Consider me guilty as charged.  Our September Stella Spotlight Store, UAL, definitely lends itself to the impulse purchase and I have fallen prey too many times to count.  After posting our spotlight blog, I felt I needed to come clean about my most recent UAL impulse purchase.

That Sunday morning started innocently enough.  Brunch with my friend at Jackson's followed by a shopping trip to UAL.  I think this was her first trip to UAL which was exciting since I love taking new people there, and I was looking for a dress for my cousin's wedding.  We left Jackson's early enough that UAL wasn't open yet, so we decided to have a drink at Bricktop's before the shopping extravaganza began.  I tell you all of this, because I know that second mimosa made it that much easier for me to plop down my credit card for this dress... 

Yes, that is a train!

This Ivan Grundahl dress was hanging in the very back of a rack toward the front of the store.  It was the ruching at the side that caught my eye.  It was my size.  I had to try it on.

OF COURSE, it fit perfectly.  Everything about it was perfect.  There was discussion of different ways to wear it, dressing it down by cutting off the train and then some debate on whether I should really buy it.  Who was I kidding...I knew the second I zipped that zipper I was never cutting off that train and this dress was coming home with me.

Here's a look at the back of the dress...

And one more photo of the front.  Since the top doesn't have much structure, there's a million ways to wear it.  See how versatile it is? ;)

I have zero idea where I am going to wear this dress, which I now refer to as "my gown."  This wasn't exactly going to work for my cousin's wedding, but I just couldn't say no.  Are you ready for the price tag?

Designer: Ivan Grundahl 
Regular Price $850
UAL Price $159.99

$160?!  SOLD.  Even though I don't have one bit of buyer's remorse for this purchase, I know the mimosas made me do it.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  


Get to Know Nashville: Carmen Jaudon of Closet Case Vintage

Welcome to our new monthly series highlighting some of our favorite designers, shop owners, vintage dealers and basically anyone we meet along the way who we think you need to know too. This month, we're staying in Nashville and featuring Closet Case Vintage owner, wardrobe stylist and friend of Stella Shops, Carmen Jaudon.

Your First Fashion Memory: The time I conned my grandmother into buying me a Little Mermaid bikini for my birthday. My mother was not pleased with such a risque bathing suit for a 4 year-old. Nowadays, I couldn't agree more!
Your Style in Five Words or Less: Empty bank account 1950's luxe.
You Can Never Have Too Many: Unspeakables. Slips, panties, pantyhose, bras...
Your Most Fabulous Fashion Moment: Being featured in the style section of Rolling Stone Magazine.

You Couldn’t Live Without: Cotton sundresses from the 50's or the 70's. I live in them.

The Vintage Piece that Started Your Collection: A 1970's cream sweater. I was 8 and in love with the 70's... I still have the sweater!

The Best Advice You Could Give Someone New to Vintage Collecting: Keep an open mind!

Thanks Carmen!

Visit Carmen at Closet Case Vintage inside Katy K's (2407 12th Ave South) in Nashville and make sure you check out the Closet Case Etsy shop.  You can also find Closet Case pieces at Pre to Post Modern (2110 Eighth Ave South).

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutiques – Gin-O Boutique

This month Mizzie and I headed to Franklin for our June Spotlight Store.  Up and down Main Street, you'll find all types of boutiques that literally run the gamut from hiking and camping gear to high-end fashion.  On the fashion end of that spectrum, you'll find Gin-O Boutique.  A sunny, white-walled, inviting space on 4th Ave. with everything you need to look your fashionable best without breaking your budget.  We spoke to owner, Ginger Wilder about her summer faves and here's what she had to tell us...

How has Gin-O evolved since you first opened?

We originally saw the need for a specific type of clothing boutique in downtown Franklin, one with a fun, upbeat atmosphere.  Given the economy over the past couple of years, we have tried to stay focused on the price conscious consumer and adapt our price points without sacrificing quality and style.

What is one of the best perks about owning a boutique?
The best perk is having a first hand look at each aspect of the business, from buying, researching current trends, interacting with our customers and of course the cute clothes!

Describe Gin-O style in ten words or less.

Upbeat, fun, flirty, stylish, trendy, chic!

What's your favorite item (or items) in the store right now?

I'm in love with the light, flowy summer dresses that are coming in.  They are perfect paired with a summer tan.  Another favorite of mine are the new Genetic skinny jeans.  The denim is incredibly soft...I could sleep in them.  Oh, and of course, I cannot forget Hanky Pankys.  We have a lot of fun, bright colors in stock right now.

What essentials should every girl have in her closet for summer?

Summer dresses and tops covered in neutral colors.  Although I am a huge fan of color in the summer, neutral tones are in this season.  I often catch myself pairing my white jeans with soft grey or peach tops.  It just feels fresh and it is a nice change for the summer months.

Also, dresses are perfect to beat the summer heat.  They are easy to throw on and go.  You can still look great and stylish even when it is sizzling outside.

Which denim brands would you say are your favorite and the best quality for the price?
!IT Jeans.  The quality of denim is amazing for the price you pay.  We carry several styles to fit different body types.  Our customers are always surprised when they look at the price tag.  The fit is awesome.  Styles that are huge for the summer are the Capris, and of course, DIVA.  She's our staple style.

If I wanted to 'splurge,' my favorite brand would be our new line, Genetic denim.  It's amazing how soft the denim is.  They also fit like a glove.  I've hardly been able to take mine off.

What are five of your favorite places in Franklin or Nashville?
PM (sushi pizza)
Downtown Franklin (of course)
Percy Warner Park
Maryland Farms YMCA
My back patio

What inspires you?
My customers!  I enjoy getting to know my customers and their shopping needs.  To see them walk in and love the merchandise makes me excited to keep buying exactly what they want.  It feels great to help them put outfits together that makes them feel good about themselves.

Visit Ginger this month at Gin-O!  And head over to our Facebook page to see some of Gin-O's cute accessories and more store photos.

118 4th Ave. South
Franklin, TN 

Stella Spotlight: Nashville Boutiques – Clothing Exchange


If you've ever sipped your coffee at Fido and wondered what the line across the street was all about, we're here to tell you, it's for the Clothing Xchange.  That line means there's a buying and trading frenzy going on inside, which means soon there will be more fabulous items filling those racks just begging to come home with you.  You should probably head over there right now...well, after you finish reading this blog, of course.  
Clothing Xchange has quickly become a Stella fave (and one of Google's Favorite places too!).  There is an awesome vintage selection here, and the best assortment in the city of independent apparel and accessories labels, some of which are Nashville based.

We sat down with retail maven, Marcia Masulla, to get the low down on what makes the Clothing Xchange tick.  Here's what was fit for print. ;)

How has the Clothing Xchange evolved since it’s inception? 

Clothing Xchange has undergone many updates since owner Kelly Paul purchased the business a few years ago. The original name of the business was Planet Xchange when it was purchased at it's Cool Springs location. Although the business was thriving, Kelly envisioned a more creative atmosphere that featured premium recycled apparel and accessories, unique vintage assortments, and supported emerging independent designers. The first major change was a move to the bustling, yet down to earth, Hillsboro Village neighborhood with other like-minded businesses in 2007. Next, she brought on motivated staff that included a retail specialist, Marcia Masulla, to complete her vision. Store renovations, new branding, logos, and an aggressive advertising campaign that focused on their Eco-friendly brand were put into place.

What item or items in the store are “must-haves” for winter? 

We are really thrilled with our current inventory that includes a little something for just about everyone.
Here are some picks that we think are just snazzy...
Men's vintage Western shirts - They usually don't last very long when they hit the racks priced between $14 - 24. You don't have to just be a Nashvillian to appreciate these...besides who knows what country crooner was the previous owner.
Kensie Girl booties - They are literally the most comfortable and sassy little boots a gal could own. Did we mention that they retail for a wallet-friendly $50?

Bitchcraft - We have to restock frequently on this locally designed collection of hair pins, clips, headbands, and necklaces. These fun pieces feature various materials and fabrics such as feathers, laces, pearls and are another budget friendly option to stay chic. $12 - $18 


What are some looks you and the staff love right now? 

The staff and clientele are a melting pot of various looks and lifestyles.

Jeffrey is flaunting his au natural Rock and Roll style but with an intellectual twist.
We suspect that the muscles may be implants however.
Dustin tweaks his questionable stache' while in deep thoughts about how much he loves his vintage faux fur coat. He is also wondering if Jeffrey's biceps are implants or if he is just happy to see Dustin...

What is Chico’s favorite item?

Chico has indiscriminating taste and is just smitten over the introduction of Pet apparel, accessories, and gift items that we introduced around five months ago. He became BFF's with Kristin of Lucky Pup Boutique and was able to negotiate us offering huge savings on her remaining items. Chico is naturally the top sales person in our "Dog City" section located near the register area.

What are you looking for in the vintage clothing you carry? 

We take pride in offering a distinct and well-priced vintage section that has grown substantially in the last six months. We now offer a dedicated shopping area for our clients who are interested in our vintage offerings. We accept items from many genres but have a strong affection for the 1950's, 1960's and the wacky and slightly tacky 80's of course. 

Are there any tips you can give readers regarding how they can get the most (cash or trade) for the items they bring in? 

As you can imagine, we are very busy with the Buying/Trading aspect of business. With the economic climate in the last few years, consumers are now seeking cash payouts at an all time high. Clothing Xchange advises that customers check our website daily for Buying/Trading updates that communicate what types of items we are in need of and our buying practices for that day. We have literally had lines nearly every morning for the last year with consumers seeking our cash payouts. All of the recycled and vintage items you are interested in selling/trading must be clean, in good condition, and stylish.

If there was a soundtrack for the store, what are some of the songs that would be on it? 

We sometimes have to arm-wrestle when we decide whose iPod gets the most playtime, because the staff's taste is all over the board. It only makes sense that many musicians are or have been employees or business associates!
We like to make them blush by rocking out to their very own tunes:
Name five of your favorite places in Nashville.
Clothing Xchange is a huge supporter of all independent businesses and we try to support them in any way that we can. Here is just a sample of some of our favorite places! 
Belcourt Theatre - Our neighbor, our friend. Independent film, music, and theatre. Nuff said.
Patterson House - Great vibe, great food and cocktails
Centennial Park - The Parthenon! Chico also digs the walking trails and all of the events that occur here that include Movies In the Park.
The Green Wagon - We take every possible step to go Green here at the shop and we love this general store.
Ryman - Music makes the world go round and this is the place to experience it. 

What is your message to your customers? 

We genuinely appreciate every person who walks into the shop and want to offer the best in Vintage, Recycled, and New merchandise. We also support the Nashville fashion scene and feature independent designers and artists. Our Buy/Sell business makes up a major part of the nuts and bolts of our store and we look forward to receiving the best in your closet! Stop by, you may be surprised by what you may find. 

What inspires you?
All creativity.....and Chico of course.

Marcia and her little man, Chico

Special Deal for Stella Readers!!
Mention Stella or Stella Shops at the Clothing Xchange during the month of January and receive 25% off your purchase.  Woo hoo!
1817 21st Ave. South in Hillsboro Village
Open Monday through Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Get in the loop on selling and trading and all the fun happenings at the Clothing Xchange.  Follow them on Twitter at @ClothingXchange and become a fan on Facebook.