Retailer Interviews

How A Vintage Shop Owner Gets it Done!

Cheryl Lemus is the owner of The Quirky Haven, located in North Aurora, Illinois. Cheryl is passionate about vintage pieces, clothing, wholesale, and making a positive impact! We had a pleasure getting to know a little bit more about her and her shop!

Hi Cheryl, could you tell us a bit more about being the vintage shop owner of The Quirky Haven? What inspired it?

Sure! I started my business 4 years ago, but I was working in Academia beforehand. I have a Phd in American History. I was teaching for a few years, but I knew I wanted to make a career change. I realized if I was going to do it, I needed to do it now. I decided to go for it!

I initially wanted to do interior design, but I transitioned into retail. I used to have a brick and mortar, but it didn’t work out. Soon after, I found a small booth in a vintage market. I knew this would be a great way to stay in the game and figure out how to grow my business again.

I stayed there until COVID hit. We were closed through the pandemic and when we re-opened, things were going well. I initially transitioned into just selling vintage, so I wasn’t doing much wholesale. Eventually, I pivoted and began to purchase more wholesale with Abound!

In July of 2020 I got a text from someone saying they were interested in working with me. They were opening a new business in North Aurora. I wasn’t interested at first, but I decided to go anyway. They convinced me in 5 minutes! It was this amazing 20,000 square foot space and their vision was to offer something a little more elevated than the usual antique malls. They wanted a place where people could come buy all things handmade and vintage, so I quickly signed a lease with them and the rest is history!

Within that time frame, I also transitioned back into buying wholesale. I’d say that I mostly sell wholesale now. But it’s doing really well! I sell clothing, home decor, some vintage items, and furniture now.

Cheryl Lemus The Quirky Haven vintage shop owner

What would you say is your goal for the next 5-10 years as a vintage shop owner?

Over the next 5-10 years as a vintage shop owner, I find myself wanting to impact and target people within the Gen X generation. I hope to provide this fun atmosphere that provides a quirky aspect to your house.

I currently have shoppers ranging from the ages of 55-65, so I really want to keep my generation in mind. (In terms of how they want to style their home or dress.) I’m hoping to keep a vibrant lifestyle full of color and funkiness. I’m not necessarily mid century modern or farmhouse, so my style definitely ranges.

For the next 5-10 years, I’d love to picture what women my age want to look like. Especially because the way women are aging is ever changing. The age of 50 from my mother’s generation doesn’t look anything like my generation at 50, or even millennials now getting to that age.

I think I want to address that life is not dull or slow as you get older, as well as incorporating pieces that reflect the vibrancy in your life. For example, I recently sold a cabinet over the past weekend that was such a unique piece. I immediately knew that my generation would appreciate it. When people get older, you’re always trying to be different in any way you possibly can.

What are your favorite products?

Some of my favorite products are definitely the clothing! I buy a lot of it through Abound as well. I’m actually a huge fan of cards and card stocks. I really want to figure out how to incorporate more of that into my booth. I love the gift aspect of cards and knowing that cards are something people choose for someone else because it makes them laugh and feel appreciated.

Cheryl Lemus The Quirky Haven vintage shop owner

What would you want to see more of on our platform?

I really wish clothing wholesalers were more transparent about plus size clothing. In that some brands only offer a style or two in plus size clothing. It would be nice to have more options of plus size clothing available.

Having inclusivity of the style and sizes would be great. JADE BY JANE and DAVI & DANI are great examples of brands that offer multiple options! I really appreciate their inclusivity. It would also be great to see more home goods wholesalers who are substantially home goods. Such as shelves, mirrors, and clocks. Things like that!

Cheryl Lemus The Quirky Haven vintage shop owner

What has been your favorite part of working with Abound?

Your customer service! What I can say about Abound, is that I know if I send an email I will get a response within the hour. I know that you really care about the people that are buying from your site. I rave about your customer service to people all the time! You guys make it so easy to work with and that’s the best thing about you guys!