I ♥ Ay Que Vintage!

4:00 AM

Many of White Purls' photos feature Ay Que Vintage clothing and accessories.   With Small Business Saturday coming up, I thought it appropriate to properly introduce to you this very loved, very unique little shop in Downtown Long Beach.  (Make sure you support your local small businesses!  "Shop Small" will be held nationwide on Saturday, November 28th.  )

... Meet Lizette Suarez, the owner of Ay Que Vintage!

Liz and Ay Que Vintage

- interview transcript -

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DECADE?  It's really hard to say.  I really like the 60's mid-century for the furniture and then I also really like the 20's era.  I really like the head pieces drapy dresses and most importantly the colors.  Neutrals: beige, tan, blues, greys. I love denim, but that's where it comes in 30s and 40s denim.
  2. WHAT'S THE FIRST PIECE OF CLOTHING YOU REMEMBER FALLING IN LOVE WITH?  Oh my god!  This is a long time ago... let me think.  I remember when I was in middle school.  I'm from Torrence. That area is a really old town and it used to have vintage stores and old theaters.  There was a store down there that was called Ultra Betty.  When I went there it was owned by a mom and daughter.  They had 40's and 50's party dresses and I remember when I walked in I was overwhelmed.  Oh my god I wanted to wear them all! They were all lacy and sweet heart style dresses.  Very formal.  Very frilly like for prom.  I remember wanting to wear these every day. I don't remember an exact piece, there were so many.
  3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF CLOTHING TODAY?  Its funny because usually my favorite pieces that I own are things that I dont wear because so I love them so much.  You just love them so much, you dont want to wear them. I have this 40's dress and it used to be alot longer but obviously I'm short and I had to cut it.  It's a plaid little dress.  Very neutral and burned orange plaid and its embroidered. and when i bought it it was stained all over. And it has collared detail embroidered.  When I bought it is was all stained and gross. It has holes in it everywhere  Its one of those where I want to wear I I want it but I don’t wanna wear it.  I have a 30s guys  bowling shirt, I wear from time to time. very ripped up has holes everywhere and it says bob on it.  What I love about it is that it’s color, a mustard color you know usually the bowling shirts are cheesy.  This one is just plain. It has a bowling theme on the back and bob stiched in and its not over the top.  I also don’t wear it but I love it.  I have 60s knit dress, its I think it was homemade it has mini mod looking style but very aline straight. The funny thing is that its crochet.  Its kinda thick but kinda thin.  It the top it is tigther I love it is a mint blue but again I don’t wear.  Its in my closet I probably that 6 years wore it 3 times.  Its part of my collection.  Now I wear a lot more modern stuff but I stull like to keep thing but I still like these things.  I still have pillbox hats that you wear like for the wedding.
  4. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING AY QUE VINTAGE?  5 years going on 6 now. 
  5. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT OWNING AND RUNNING A SHOP?   I can say its kind of like where you can express yourself of what you like, it's your say, your eye.  You know so it's for you to show, this is my eye, I hope you like it.  It's like you get to express yourself more versus having to work for somebody even if that’s a job you chose.  You are still not doing your idea. And could be working really hard for something you don’t believe in.  I can do as I please.
  6. WHAT DO YOU LIKE LEAST?  You’re living day by day.  You know, the struggle, whether its financial or you know, being able to find what people are looking for, pleasing while keeping your eye, your personal style.
  7. WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN'T A VINTAGE SHOP OWNER?  Still to this day, my passion and career has been fashion. it will always be in the arts. I went to school for fashion design. I'm looking into being a personal stylist.  I have friends, strangers, and customers tell me I have a good eye for putting stuff together for people.
  8. THE RETAIL BUSINESS IS TOUGH, ESPECIALLY IN LONG BEACH. HOW AND WHY HAVE YOU SUCCEEDED WHERE SO MANY OTHERS HAVE FAILED? Its hard to say because I really don’t know.  I can't really tell you.  I guess what I can say is our price point. It's way more affordable to our market audience.  Customers don’t like to dig.  The store is not crammed.  People get frustrated...  Quality is better than quantity.  We don’t have that much but we have something for everybody, that’s what keeps people coming back.  I think that’s what kept us around and the fact that we change our product often,  people everytime they come there is something new.  One thing that people hate is like oh I came here oh this is still here! They want to see something new.  We are constantly changing whether it's our inventory and or our layout.  It kinda draws people in so I think its what's been helping. And also the fact that a lot of our stuff is vintage but we try to find the modern look to it so it kinda still meets with trends today.  Oh I wanna wear that and it's vintage, it gives an extra special touch.  It's original and you won't find someone else wearing the same shirt
  9. WHAT'S THE MAGIC FORMULA FOR SUCCESS?  I think for me like the main thing is like staying humble.  That’s like the one thing that I can say is the key to success.  Sticking to what you believe in but also staying loyal to your customers, to your vision.  That’s the best I can tell people.  Again stick to your guns.  You know staying true to yourself, you know whether it takes you a year or two as long as you keep going with what you want then you'll be successful.  If you believe in something then someone eventually will believe in it too.  Patience  is so hard for us.  The life that we live in.  People mix success with happiness.  It's better to be patient and be happy with what you are diong. 
  10. HOW HARD DO YOU PUSH YOURSELF? Work is always on your mind, your mind is always working.  Whether I'm doing something at home, pop-ups, creating or trying to do something different.  Networking...
  11. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?  It's not good to dwell on the past.  I mean regardless what you do in whatever career aspect you have you will come across things that are hard.  Life isn't easy. No matter what it’s a struggle.  It takes a while to do everything.  ...I don’t know maybe little things here and there.  But I don’t know. I don’t think I have regrets to the point I would have changed that you know.  One of the things I've been trying to do is selling online.
  12. WHAT IS MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR JOB?  Knowing what people want and knowing how to please people.  Everyone is different.  In terms of product, store hours.  Basically everything.  What I'm selling, store hours, meeting everybody's needs is the hardest thing I can say. Everybody has different needs, we are all humans, but I'm also human so I have my own needs too.  You try to please people but you need to please yourself too.
  13. WHAT ARE THIS FALL/WINTER MUST HAVE ITEM?  I've seen a lot of stuff like, you know obviously, like on blogs, fall fashion, high fashion, a lot of the stuff, minimal, boxy look.  It's hard to say because when it comes to vintage you can find this stuff but it's a lot newer.  Cute little sweaters with the embroidery in the front.  Ruffles in the front and stuff.  People go with whats in style but they still go with the old vintage. It's funny but everyone is not like that so I try to stick to what I want to buy but also what people want to buy. For me I stick to cable knit sweaters. It's what works for us whether, the thick ones you wear that girls wear cropped with high jeans, or boyfriend sweaters, the over-sized cardigans, the 80's 90's sweaters that you just want to throw on.  I love to buy textured stuff like sweaters and jackets.
  14. WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO LATELY?  Mymusic is all over the place.  One day im in this mood. Another day im in another. She laughs Its hilarious the how mynmusic selection is   one day ill be listerning to 6os northern sole.  Next day Ill be listenng to NWA and then I ll listen to James Brown it just goes all over the place.  Im a music fan.  Billy Holiday, Luois Armstrong. Then the next day, modern folky music. Old country music. 
  15. WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?  My heros, wow!  Like who do I look up to.  Its hard to say now, as you get older, I feel you don’t look up to anyone.  When you're young you adore people more.
  16. FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN TODAY?  “Stick to your guns” that’s my slogan!  I feel like you know women have dealt with so many things.  We've had it the hardest.  Luckily I run my own business so I don’t have to deal with that.  Women are still not treated the same.  Even dating wise, if a woman makes more than the man, the guy feels emasculated. Keep doing what your doing and try to make a place for yourself no matter whether it’s a stay at home mom or an executive woman.

♥ ♥ 

 Liz Suarez is the formidable owner of Ay Que Vintage
 Liz Suarez is the formidable owner of Ay Que Vintage
Ay Que Vintage is located in the heart of Downtown in the East Village District.
Ay Que Vintage is located in the heart of Downtown in the East Village District. 

Ay Que Vintage
105 Linden Ave, # A
Long Beach, California 90802

SAVE THE DATE : Make sure you stop by on November 28th, 2015 on "SHOP SMALL" Small Business Saturday!

♥ ♥ 

Acapulco Straw bag works well with the Brigitte Pillbox Hat
Ay Que Vintage sun dress and necklace

The Brigitte Pillbox Hat
Ay Que Vintage knitted top and earrings

Ay Que Vintage knitted top and belt

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