Photos: John Barkiple
Salt Valley Vintage
Stepping into Jane Stringham’s apartment—which doubles as her work space—is like stepping into an episode of Mad Men. She has an eye for aesthetics that are clean, effortless and simultaneously charming, rich and, dare I say, groovy. Case in point: Hanging on her wall is a 1960s floral dress in bright pink and electric blue. When asked about it, she says, “I consider dresses art.” Stringham’s personal style translates fluidly to her hobby and business of collecting vintage goods. “I feel like my customer is a lot like myself,” she says. “I pick what speaks to me.”
Salt Valley Vintage is an online shop in its third year of business that is ever growing, with customers across Utah, the U.S. and even internationally. On how her shop originated, Stringham says, “I started getting curious about unearthing treasures in thrift stores and estate sales and began amassing such a collection that I wondered if I should start selling.” Though her launch into entrepreneurship is fairly new, Stringham’s love for vintage began as a small girl playing in her grandmother’s collection of dress-ups and continued to grow and burgeon through the years.
“The act of wearing a vintage piece that was coming from an era when women didn’t have the same rights that we do now is a nice re-appropriation of that—as well as a powerful symbolic gesture,” says Stringham. “People always talk about how they love vintage because of the stories behind the pieces, but when you’re wearing vintage, you have a hand in that story, and you’re able to rewrite it.”
Perusing Salt Valley Vintage’s collection, you’ll find pieces that are quirky, classic and waiting to become part of your story. “Material is really important in looking at a vintage piece,” says Stringham. She searches for durability, cut and especially print—whether it be picnic baskets or zodiac signs. Without a doubt, each item on her shop is picked out with care—Stringham even includes handwritten postcards with some of her shipped pieces. Part of what makes vintage so rewarding and valuable for her is taking the time to find the best treasures.
On Aug. 7 and 8, check out Salt Valley’s assortment of dresses, shoes, bags and much more in the flesh at her Craft Lake City DIY Festival booth. If you get the itch for a fabulous new piece before then, follow @saltvalleyvintage on Instagram.
The 7th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival is right around the corner, Aug. 7 and 8 at the Gallivan Center. This year’s festival features over 250 artisans, craft foodies, vintage vendors and nonprofit organizations, as well as a replete offering of stage performers, buskers, DIY engineers, commercial food vendors and food trucks. Over the past seven years, Craft Lake City has celebrated DIY (do-it-yourself) culture of all forms, from artists and makers who call Utah home. This mission continually aligns with SLUG’s affinity for the vibrant local culture of Utah, and we’ve combed the lists of participants to highlight some amazing artisans, craft foodies, DIY engineers, performers and vintage vendors.