Christine Robidoux – Modern Millie
In your words… Tell us about your organization, business, initiative.
Modern Millie opened in 2006 selling vintage and modern consignment. Through the years we have introduced new “vintage style” clothing to our sales floor and it has now become our main product. We can assist customers of all sizes to find the dresses and accessories that fit well and make them feel beautiful. Many of our new brands are made in the USA by designers that are doing what they love and producing well constructed and well fitting garments in beautiful cuts and prints. We have knit comfy dresses and very vintage looking party dresses. Pattern and print mixing is our favorite way to style. Most importantly we have always offered service with a smile.
Tell us a bit about you and why you do what you do? Share your passions for your business, initiative, organization.
When I was little my grandmother taught me how to sew. At a very young age with her nurturing I was very interested in fashion, I loved playing with her clothes and shoes. The fabrics I learned to sew on were vintage, even at that time. When I went to college I studied the history of costume and costume design. After college I spent many years in retail management. That coupled with my passion for fashion and education background prepared me for entrepreneurship. When I opened in 2006, I didn’t think much about it, I just did it because I felt I was groomed for it and it had been my plan for many years.
My grandmother had an amazing fashion sense, she always wanted to be a designer, its in my blood to be in this industry selling the clothing we sell. The vintage style / pinup fashion is different from main stream fashion. Even though what we are selling is not always authentic vintage, the options fit a modern body better than vintage. Once again clothing is designed with the experience of wearing it in mind at a reasonable price point. That is closer in concept the shopping done 60 years ago.
What role do you think your business plays in supporting a more creative community?
Salem has always welcomed us. We feel very fortunate about that. We have sold crazy 70’s dresses, 50’s cocktail dresses and modern graphic tees made in the USA to the same person. It is easy to fall into a rut with clothing, more so even in the winter. We offer some color, print and fashion inspiration on the street and in our windows. I can walk down the street and spot our clothing because they are often vibrant, joyful and worn by a person who is also those things. Years ago, when I first opened, a customer said she never wears dresses. She has become one of our most loyal patrons and friends and wears a dress almost everyday. We suggested things to her and she found her own place within what we do. If you can’t see the sunshine, be the sunshine.
A creative community is important for us to survive. If Salem was not focused on the arts and culture it would not attract the same people that also support our business.
What was the last book you read that made an impact on you?
Iris Apfel, Accidental Icon. I picked it up at PEM one day. She always gives me the boost that I may need to continue the search. I consider our inventory to be curated, like works of art. There is thought put into every piece and what purpose it serves. Iris just simply is that way, everyday, without skipping a beat.
What’s the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you our your business?
When my first child was born in 2013 I had to spend more time at home. A way to control the inventory and to participate in the stock being offered since I was unable to search for vintage or choose consignments was to be buying new items to sell. We had already been selling some new, but the volume of it had increased and was received well by our customers. Since then it has become bigger and bigger to now being 90% of the inventory.