For this month’s Rivista, we caught up with one of New York’s coolest vintage store owners, Montana Sullivan, in her Brooklyn studio.
When she’s not modeling, in her studio, or dancing at Grateful Dead shows, she’s traveling around and sourcing some of the coolest vintage clothes we’ve seen for her store Besos Vintage.
Read the full interview below and be sure to follow her instagram @themontanaexperience.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
My name is Montana, I’m from a small beach town in MA and moved to NYC about a year and a half ago. I have a few jobs; vintage curating, modeling and social media work! Outside of work i’m probably spending time with friends, at a concert or picking through a thrift.
How/when did you get into selling vintage clothing?
I first got into vintage while I was in college because it was a sustainable/cheaper way to shop. After college I took a corporate job in the city that didn’t exactly pay well. In an effort to make some money to afford the train pass into the city; I shamelessly followed everyone I knew on my vintage instagram account and sold out of everything in the first week. I was shocked but I knew I was on to something and worked to grow my brand known as Besos Vintage. I really had no idea what I was doing I just knew I wanted to quit that cubicle job so badly. My dad says that job was the best thing that ever happened to me because it forced me to figure out a better way to engineer my life.
What does a typical day look like for you in the city?
I pretty much always start the day with a coffee and a bagel but that’s the only constant. Since I’m completely freelance I never know what my week is going to look like. Some days it’s modeling and some days it’s sourcing / processing inventory for my shop. After work I try to see friends most days of the week and lately i’ve been playing a lot of pool.
How would you describe your personal style?
I feel like my style is practical & a bit tomboy. I like well made garments and natural fibers that stand up over time. I hardly buy items that I can’t see myself wearing multiple times a week. I wear a lot of cut off shorts, vintage mini dresses, black mini skirts, t shirts and Levi’s. My closet it mainly vintage and handmade/reworked items because they often offer a sense of uniqueness/craftsmanship that you can’t find with newer items.
Where do you find inspiration?
Seeing people around the city, instagram, old movies & pinterest.
How has your vintage collection evolved since you started the business?
When I graduated college I could probably fit all my clothes into 2 boxes; now that’s certainly not the case! I have a large collection of crazy winter coats, wool sweaters and t shirts mainly. Every once in a while i’ll cull it down and sell in my shop when I feel like I no longer reach for the item. I really try to wear everything I own vs. keeping an archive of everything; I want the clothes to be worn and loved.
What kind of shoes do you wear and travel with?
My top 3 worn shoes are definitely my loafers, black converse & frye harness boots. I like comfort and simplicity when it comes to shoes on vacation or in my regular day to day.
Tell us about your most successful sourcing trip. Where did you travel and why was it the best?
I’d say my best sourcing trip was when I went out west with some girlfriends for about a month. I sourced in CA, AZ & NV and got some incredible inventory while also really traveling on my own for the first time with friends. It was such a memorable trip and it was pretty rad to see how I could mesh work and fun together.
What excites you the most about your work?
Being my own boss. I don’t like being told what to do and I have a hard time sitting still or doing the same thing for very long. Being freelance allows me to create my own path while having the freedom to change my trajectory whenever I please.