Thursday, February 10, 2011

Beta interview (+ Beta Accessories giveaway!)

I'm super duper excited to bring the very first interview feature here on Much Love (hopefully the first of many)! You might not know Beta, but chances are you've seen her online vintage stores, particularly Beta Boutique and Beta Accessories, as regular Much Love sponsors. You've seen the buttons on my side bar, you've entered the past giveaways... so let's take a few minutes to get to know the fascinating Latvian lady behind these fabulous shops, shall we?
Hi Beta! How has your week been?
Hello Anna! This has been very intense week so far, with pretty contrasting impressions. It was filled with lots of sewing, Classical Hollywood cinema watching with my beloved one, dinner party at friends, terrible movie seen in cinema (Little Fockers, please never spend your time on it!) and being at my mom's new place a couple of times - which equals new vintage clothing to my wardrobe. And of course, never ending work with updating my 3 vintage shops.

What made you want to open your vintage stores (Beta Boutique, Beta Accessories, and Beta Por Homme)?
I have always been very interested in all things antique and vintage. Three years ago I was explaining to my mom that all that "old" clothing I have is called " vintage". Here in this part of the globe, "Vintage Culture" was very unpopular back then because as a former part of Soviet Union, everything that represents realms of previous decades have negative connotations. So I was very excited to find out that there are many people around the globe who have an appreciation for vintage. As I had a pretty massive collection of vintage clothing, I worked with my mom and we started to list those items on Etsy. After a while we started to look for new items to add to our collection so it started to expand pretty noticeable. Currently we have 800 + vintage items in our collection.

Wow, you have SO many amazing vintage items in your stores! Where do you find them?
Oh, my mom and I go on field trips. We travel all around the country where mom has her acquaintances who put aside all the vintage clothing they've come across for her.

What is the best feedback a customer has given you?
I am always happiest when people order items from our shops for their wedding. That is the best feedback I could imagine. Also we have several costumers who come back on a regular basis, we know their exact sizing and can suggest which items would fit best. Repeated customers is something that gives the best feedback to our work, that gives us a feeling that following our best intentions and principles of humanity -  not business shark handbook - was the best choice.

You offer handmade items in your stores too. How did this begin? Is this something you'd like to do more of in the future?
I always loved to make my own designs. Currently I am pretty obsessed with making bloomers as two of them are never the same. I use exclusively vintage fabrics to make them, so they are in a very limited amount (fabrics come in fat quarters which does not allow me to make more than 2 out of one piece) and I never feel bored of the process. Currently, I am working on my handmade lingery line and will be listing samples of it in Beta Boutique in the next couple of weeks. There will be much lace, very feminine and romantic designs, in shades of navy, noir, cream and blush pink.

Is your own wardrobe filled with vintage treasures too? How would you describe your personal style?
My wardrobe consists of 99% vintage, handmade and second hand. I deeply appreciate good tailoring, timeless designs, feminine silhouettes and good detailing. I have a pretty big collection of vintage dresses and blouses as these are my favorite kind of garments, usually I mix them with contemporary cardigans or skinny pants which I buy from second hand stores.

What is your favorite fashion decade and why?
There are features I love from basically every decade. 30s with its incredible detailing and fabrics, 40s with its delicate silhouettes, 50s with its full skirts, 60s with its mod designs, 70s with its brave prints, 80s with its colors. I have a deep appreciation for vintage and love pieces from various decades if they fit my personal style and look great on figure. Contrary to fashion nowadays, vintage pieces were made to last for years, not one season... and that is that I love the most.

What are your top 5 movies?
Ladri di biciclette, dir. Vittorio de Sica, Italy, 1948
Risso Amaro, dir. Giuseppe de Santis, Italy, 1949
Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!
, dir. Eldar Ryazanov, USSR, 1975
Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot, dir. Jacques Tati, France, 1953
Le charme discret de la burgeoisie
, dir. Luis Bunuel, France, 1972

I could name many, many more...

What do you love the most about living in Riga, Latvia?
Actually I don't exactly live in Riga, but Baldone -small town 30 km away from capital. There is beautiful nature, the nicest people and great artsy events to attend. In Latvia you can find many impressions of Russia and its culture which makes it more dynamic and contrasting, there are also many great crafts-woman like my friend Marta and overall living here is a pleasant experience. But at least several times a year I get  a bit claustrophobic by living in such a small country and try to get away to London, Berlin or somewhere else for a weekend at least.

Describe your perfect weekend.
Skiing or skating with my friends, going to mom's to pick up some new vintage pieces and meeting her dog, lying in bed and watching old movies with my bf, preparing and eating lots of tasty foods. A party on a Saturday wouldn't hurt either.

Thank you so much Beta!!

Now... giveaway time! You can win any scarf from Beta Accessories worth upto $25. To win, leave a comment telling us which Beta Accessories scarf you'd want. For an additional entry, leave another comment if you follow Beta on twitter.

Open to everyone worldwide, and ends Thursday, 17 February 2010. Good luck!!