Owner: Susan Lemmon
Opening Day: May 5, 2012
How long have you been in business? I’ve been in retail since 1991. I had a store in San Francisco, then Berkeley. For the past 10 years, I’ve been [in Oakland].
What do you sell? We will continue to carry vintage women’s clothing — mostly dresses, skirts and blouses — here in Alameda.
A lot of the pants from the '50s look cool in the pictures but the fit is kind of funky. They are high-waisted and accentuate the hips more than clothing does now. Even though they like to look at it, women don’t really want to buy it.
We will occasionally do some contemporary resale, especially when it’s a designer that I really love. I can’t pass it up if it’s really beautiful.
Vintage clothing and jewelry is what I really, really love.
How old does clothing have to be before it’s considered vintage? It’s hard to get clothes from the 1940s that are in good shape, but the styles are fantastic if you can get them. The 1950s are actually my favorite. After the war, designers started adding more fabric and doing more exciting things. I like certain 1960s styles and the occasional 1970s style. But no 1980s or 1990s.
It’s interesting how styles have changed over the years. Now, so many of the '50s and '60s fashions are back in style.
Everything here is one of a kind. Occasionally, you can get what is called “dead stock,” which is clothing that has never been worn so they still have the original tags on them. But that’s very rare.
Do you have a favorite accessory or must-have piece of jewelry? Not really. But our jewelry is true period pieces. The colors and materials are so superior in quality to what you can find now.
A lot of the jewelry was made here in the U.S. as well as Germany and Japan. The glass was made in Czechoslovakia, then shipped to places like Providence, Rhode Island, which was the capital of costume jewelry making.
I’ve been collecting vintage jewelry since the 1980s but I also make my own line of vintage jewelry, called Vintage Bohemian Jewelry. I’ll buy the old beads and re-make the pieces. My favorite is Miriam Haskell. She was an American jewelry designer who worked in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. I love her stuff. I’m a little bit obsessed. She’s one of the people who started making costume jewelry that looked like beautiful European jewelry at a fraction of the cost.
How did you choose Alameda? I loved my landlord but the rent was getting too much. I was looking for a while and couldn’t find anything. One of my employees who lives here in Alameda kept telling me that I had to move here. Then I came to Alameda to do a vintage show, looked around Park Street and totally fell in love with it. There are restaurants and family activities — there’s so much going on. I love it!
Juniper Tree Vintage is located at 1320 Park St. 510-865-1577. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. 7 days a week.