Roxy calls it a “quarter-life crisis.” That moment most 20-something’s have when they take a step back and ask, “How did I get here, and where am I going?” Last year, Karolyn and Roxy both asked themselves those questions. Though in separate parts of the country, they returned to Northwest Arkansas around the same time and found encouragement in each other as cousins and best friends. Roxy found work at a frame shop, and Karolyn in customer service at an insurance agency.
Without much cash, the young women enjoyed spending time browsing thrift and antique stores together. They looked for pieces made before the 1990’s and always found eclectic items, some from the 1940's. Soon they had more clothing than either of them needed. Karolyn begins,
“We were shopping together one day when Roxy met me in Joplin after my class. We weren’t really thinking seriously about it, but one of us said, ‘you know if we really wanted to we could…”
“…sell this stuff,’ because we were just finding really good things that we knew there was a market where people would be willing to pay more for them. That initial idea turned into us actually moving forward with making it a reality,”
Roxy finishes. They call their store “Shop Interlude,” a reference to the in-between period in their lives that led them to begin this project.
By selling vintage clothing, the pair combats fast fashion. Fast fashion is the cycle of cheap, low quality clothing produced to copy runway trends. These clothes soon go out of style or wear out and are then discarded. Shop Interlude offers an alternative to the waste caused by “throw away fashion,” as Roxy calls it. It also allows the young women a space to “have a creative outlet,” says Karolyn. She continues,
“It’s been fun having something that bonds us even more, something that brings us together and that we can enjoy during this period in our lives. I like having our separate visions of how the shot will look or the style we want to have, but merging them together.”
“I really enjoy being able to find things and having a vision for them that other people might not be able to see right away. They’re very easily overlooked items, but I like having a vision for how they can be made really cool, and trendy, and current. Repurposing something, giving something new life, means it will be more original because it isn’t from a big chain fashion company.”
Roxy and Karolyn agree that they would not have been able to create Shop Interlude had they not both returned to NWA. Karolyn credits the support that they have already received from the community. She is glad to take advantage of the resources in this expanding area that has retained its “spirit of tight-knit support.” Roxy is excited to take part in that growth of NWA’s culture. She says,
“I like the fact that there is this emerging scene of creative people here that hasn’t really been tapped into yet, and we’re kind of on the forefront of that. I really like the idea of being able to get in at the ground level and make a name for ourselves, and being a part of helping to create the creative community.”
You can browse Karolyn and Roxy’s collection of vintage clothing at etsy.com/shop/ShopInterlude, and find them on Instagram @shop_interlude.