Unorthodox Vintage is a newly opened thrift store in downtown Raleigh featuring one-of-a-kind pieces and quality streetwear. Co-owners Julian Jacobs and Alexandria Taylor opened the store together in June after supporting each other by operating their own vintage shops.
“We’re an unorthodox couple, but it works,” Taylor said. “It’s something you wouldn’t expect, but once you figure it out, it makes so much sense.”
After a year of friendship, Jacobs and Taylor discovered the space that would later become Unorthodox Vintage. They decided to become partners and create a boutique that embraces self-expression and bold fashion choices.
“We balance each other out,” Taylor said. “[Jacobs] love marketing and administration and I love aesthetics and looks. We both have our strengths and we don’t step on each other’s toes, so it’s a perfect business marriage.
Jacobs and Taylor share a love for fashion and second-hand shopping at thrift stores, vintage stores and markets.
“I cared about fashion, but I didn’t really have enough money to buy what I wanted,” Jacobs said. “When I started thrift shopping, I realized I could buy fun pieces or sell things so I could buy fun clothes.”
Co-owners advise students who want to start their own business to pay attention to a specific audience and to remember that you don’t have to follow all the advice others give you.
“A lot of people will tell you how to handle things, but remember it’s your business,” Jacobs said. “Know what advice to follow and what advice not to follow. It is not their business that is at stake; this is yours.”
They also urge everyone to use fashion as an outlet to be independent and confident.
“Take the thing in the store that scares you,” Taylor said. “If there’s something you think you can’t do, buy it. It will be a challenge, but you will surprise yourself.
Taylor said the store caters to a younger audience who wants to stand out and have clothes that grab attention and have style.
“I’ve never been the person who wears what everyone else wears, so when I tried to follow trends, I realized my clientele wanted something different,” Taylor said. “I started shopping for what I would wear and what I would have in my closet.”
In the coming weeks, Unorthodox Vintage will be participating in a new pop-up market, The Burrow. The market will mirror a more intimate version of the State Farmers Market, with multiple vendors and a variety of items to purchase.
“We want it to be like the farmers’ market, but if someone lives downtown, they don’t have to drive to the farmers’ market,” Jacobs said.
The co-owners also hope to reach local schools and educate young audiences about second-hand shopping and what sustainability looks like with fashion.
“Teaching sustainability and recirculation in clothing is extremely important,” Taylor said. “Our generation is the one that cares, so it’s important to be able to use that knowledge to build a sustainable business.”
Unorthodox Vintage’s ultimate goal is to bring distinctive pieces to Raleigh so that artists and fashion enthusiasts can flourish and young audiences can find their individuality through fashion.
“I don’t see much [people] like us, so we want to share this activity with the community,” Taylor said. “I feel like this can be the start of a breakthrough and helping students be sustainable and express themselves through clothing.”