Good Style Shop: Vintage Treasures and Artsy Vibes
For lovers of all things retro, the good times of yesteryear really never ended and at the aptly titled Good Style Shop, where vintage clothing and records take center stage, this certainly holds true. But that’s not all this chic boutique is about. With regular music performances, art displays and a wide selection of clothing from different eras, the shop is an enduring centerpiece on the music, style and arts scene of Madison.
Originally opened in 2009 by local pop-duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis of the band Peaking Lights, Good Style Shop began as a space for local and touring experimental music. But thanks to Dunis’ knack for for spotting great vintage finds, the space quickly developed into a clothing and records specialty store.
Good Style Shop’s trendy, unique atmosphere not only attracts dedicated customers, it also caught the attention of Peter Benck who began working for the store in March 2009. And though it only started as a part-time gig, Benck eventually found an entrepreneurial venture when he assumed ownership of the store this February.
Under his leadership, Benck and his team, including a fashion blogger, seamstress, vintage expert and many other coworkers and friends, plan to preserve the store’s reputation as a cultural touchstone while creating new plans for the store’s continued success.
We sat down with Benck to catch up on the latest styles in vintage clothing and learn more about his plans to keep the good times rollin’.
You hadn’t had any entrepreneurial experience, but jumped into ownership of Good Style Shop. How did you make that step?
When I graduated college and words like global recession and worst job market ever kept raining on [me] and I said, ‘Be damned I think I can do my own thing and do just fine.’ You just have to be daring enough to do it… so I said, ‘I’ve got hardly the means but I’ll make the means to make sure this place doesn’t close down because where else can you see a bunch of table top noise, find a decent pair of shoes… and see outsider art on the walls all at the same time? There’s just no place like that.
How do you go about collecting vintage pieces?
We go about 50 to 100 miles [away to find our inventory]. We have run ads in the paper seeking things. We also get in contact with estate sales. Once you get in your rhythm looking for it, you can find it quite easily. If we see something fitting and on trend that was made a long time ago and is in decent shape, we’ll take it back [to the store].
What is popular for vintage styles right now?
Florals have been around for a couple of years now, and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Longer hemlines are here to stay, too. Sheer is popular. Anytime we find something sheer we usually sell it right away. Lace, too. Nudes are always pretty popular.
Studs are coming back in a really different way. You won’t see many of those in the store right now because we can’t keep them in stock. But statement pieces in general [are popular]. And that’s what’s great about this entire statement piece of a business. I think people are ready to exert and assert and be weird again, which is awesome. Which means Madison is becoming more confident.
You plan to make some changes in your store soon. What can we expect to see?
This place can use some sprucing up in a couple of ways. We have brought in more busts and mannequins than the previous owners…[so] people can really see how the pieces work together and imagine themselves in them. [Clothes] come to life after you take them off a hanger. That’s the approach—we want to make it more shop-able, more clean, a little more streamlined, but not too commercial. We definitely want to make it more of a lovable place. [For clothing,] we are bringing in more handmade items. We want to make sure we have local artists and wearable crafts on display here, too.
With all these changes, what do you see for the future of Good Style Shop?
The future of this place will have a lot more culture to it… we have a lot of great customers as is. If we can get them to tell their friends and if that can keep happening through duplicity, then it will be perfect. It’s a natural thing, we are an organic place, a word-of-mouth type of place and that only gets better with time.
Good Style Shop is located at 402 E. Washington Ave.; (608) 441-1323 or goodstyleshop.com