“A lot of the stuff I sell is more casual,” Rachael Poklitar tells me over coffee at The Good Will Social Club. It’s a freezing cold evening and traffic is slipping and sliding all over Portage Avenue. “I personally don’t dress super fancy. I just kind of mish and mash what I like. So I take that approach with the shop, too. Wearing vintage in a modern way.”
The shop Poklitar is referring to is Nettie + Min, a vintage clothing shop she owns and operates, selling everything from sandals, to skirts, to coats. N+M started as an Etsy shop in August, which grew out of her previous online venture Ladylikeness. After a brief hiatus to travel through Europe, Poklitar made the decision to start fresh. N+M has now expanded into a pop-up shop at Flash Boutique (438 Graham Avenue), with plans to create a standalone physical shop. The shop’s unique name comes from Poklitar’s grandmothers.
“Even though they were around, I didn’t know them that well,” the 26-year-old says of her grandma Min and baba Nettie. “They’re both old fashioned female names, and I do vintage clothes for women. So I just wanted to commemorate them. I think, even though they’re just regular moms, they raised my parents in a weird sort of time, being housewives and all that. They did so much for their families and sacrificed a lot. This seemed like a good way to honour them.”
N+M’s beginnings as an Etsy shop has led to work with the Winnipeg Etsy Street Team, a collective that promotes and organizes sales for local sellers. Poklitar’s expansion into a pop-up location is a first step towards creating a physical store, an endeavor that’s already in the works, planned for 2015.
“The whole point of me wanting to open a brick and mortar shop is that I like talking to people,” Poklitar says. “I think it’s more personal than buying online. Even I don’t shop online much. Going into stores and trying things on it’s my favourite. It’ll be there for those people who, like me, don’t trust the Internet and want an experience shopping.”
N+M’s ethos is a practical approach to vintage clothing. On her Etsy, Poklitar describes the collection she curates and restores as clothing “for women who work, women who ride their bikes, women who don’t always have time or money for dry-cleaning, and women who are sick of shoddy garments from Forever 21… for women who like to have fun when they dress and who don’t mind when people look (politely).”
Poklitar expands on that ethos in person.
“It’s for people who realize that dressing completely in vintage, very old or high end stuff, just isn’t possible for everyone,” she says. “Not every job or commute accommodates that. It’s not practical. So it’s taking the style and quality of vintage, but bringing it into a more modern usage. I call it ‘vintage for the modern lady.’
She laughs at that last part. “Or whatever,” she repeats. “The ‘or whatever’ is very important. You can quote me on that.”
Follow Neitte + Min at facebook.com/nettieandmin and @nettieandmin on Instagram. Visit the temporary pop-up shop at 438 Graham Avenue throughout December.