America Jane Vintage, located in downtown Conway, is a brick and mortar shop full of vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and home goods.
“We got the LLC in 2012, but I sold online from 2009. So I’ve been doing this, like so many, from my garage at first,” said Tina Falkner, the owner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on most businesses, but local businesses have been hit the hardest.
America Jane experienced a hit, and Falkner says she owes it all to the customers.
“I have been amazed at how we’ve been sustained by our customers,” said Falkner. “I know it could have been so much worse, but we’re in a good place.”
Though her shop specializes in vintage clothing, the first thing Falkner sold was an American Girl Doll.
“I found it, and I thought, ‘You know, I think they’re kind of a big deal.’ I researched it, and I decided to do it. So I got the bug for selling, and it just helps if you play to what you know,” Falkner said. “I knew vintage clothes and accessories.”
Falkner has always been a thrifter.
“Momma would take me thrifting before thrifting was cool. You kind of had to be really discreet about going to thrift stores,” Falkner said. “You didn’t brag about it; you didn’t tell anyone ‘I got this at a thrift store!’ It had a stigma then.”
Falkner said her mother would point out treasures or name brands when they would go thrifting together.
Shopping and going through her mother’s closet, which had clothes from the 60s helped Falkner “create a radar for vintage clothes.”
Falkner is always on the lookout for new things to bring into America Jane.
“Wherever I go, I’m always looking,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where I go, I have my radar out and I’m looking for something that’s 20 years or older and thinking whether it would fit where our customers like it.”
There have also been some surprises when trying to fill up the shop.
“One thing that we’ve found since we have a brick and mortar is that folks reach out to us and initiate with us now,” she said. “I didn’t know it would happen like that, and that’s been a wonderful surprise.”
America Jane Vintage expanded in November 2020.
“We invited 20 local creatives to join us. We sell their created things as well as our vintage because found and created go so well together,” Falkner said.
Every local creative is located in Central Arkansas, and the majority of them are from Conway. Falkner says it’s a small way she’s trying to reduce our footprint.
“To support local, to buy local, to buy vintage, these are all good things. We’re just trying to change habits.”
For those who are new to thrifting, Falkner has several tips.
“With vintage, the sizing is not the same as modern sizing. Know your measurements.”
Once measurements are known, she says it’s important to shop above and below your size at first. Vintage clothing will hit in different spots when on, so you need to get a feel for what fits correctly.
Perhaps Falkner’s most important tip is to follow your gut.
“If something speaks to you, don’t let the fact that you don’t have a place to wear it stop you from getting it,” she said. “Because you can wear it in your house, you can wear it to Kroger, and if it gives you this burst and some joy, especially right now, wear it.”
America Jane Vintage often has sales through its Instagram page, americajanevintage. They also sell through their website.
Starting Saturday, Feb. 6, their sale season begins.