Meet Laura Lanz-Frolio: Entrepreneur and Vintage Maven

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The recent popularity of food trucks and their curated menus has transformed the way many city folk purchase their meals. Laura Lanz-Frolio has taken up this model and applied it to her love of fashion and vintage clothing. If you can purchase gourmet dumplings from a truck, why not a pair of vintage shoes?  Lanz-Frolio's collection of vintage pieces, La Poubelle Vintage, was transformed from an online Etsy shop into a one-of-a-kind mobile vintage store, housed in her renovated 1968 Shasta trailer. Now Laura sells treasures from her truck, specializing in clothes and accessories from the 1930's up to the 1980's.

The La Poubelle Vintage mobile shop can be found in and around New York City, and frequenting markets like Hester Street Fair and Long Island City Flea. Don't live near New York? Her Etsy shop is still up and running with amazing pieces to choose from! Track Laura and La Poubelle Vintage through her Instagram and Twitter.

We loved to hear how Laura started her own business by following her passion and what inspires her work.

What is it about vintage clothing that you love?

I love that vintage clothing is like wearing a little piece of history. I love imagining who wore a dress before I found it or finding little traces of a past life, like ticket stubs in evening purses or old coins in a jacket pocket. I also love how cyclical fashion is. It still amazes me to find a dress from the '50s that would look right on trend on the racks of Anthropologie or Free People.

Who are some of your style icons?

I really like Anjelica Huston, I think she's a super unique beauty and I especially loved the way she styled herself in the '70s. I also love Jean Shrimpton, she just looked effortless and chic in everything she wore! As for modern day icons, I love the stylist Natalie Joos, she styles things in a really unique way and is quite playful in her outfit choices.

How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I definitely first became interested in vintage when I was a teenager growing up in Maine. I was always into fashion and wearing unique pieces, so I started going to the local thrift stores and vintage shops for special finds.

I'm a fairly independent and strong-willed person, and making decisions for myself was really important to me. After I realized that, starting my own business just seemed like the right thing to do. It has not been easy at all, but nothing compares to the feeling of working hard for a business that you created yourself, and watching it grow and evolve. Plus, I love having the freedom to make my own schedule, work my own hours, and be creative.

I used Kickstarter to fund the launch of the mobile shop. As a startup, I likely would have had trouble getting approved for business loans but with Kickstarter, I was able to tap into resources like family, friends, and past customers for help in starting this project.

What is your advice to shoppers who are new to vintage?

Always try everything on! Vintage sizing and cuts are often different than modern ones, so even if something looks too big or too small, give it a whirl. You'd be surprised at what looks good! Also, adjust your expectations. Vintage pieces are often not in absolutely perfect condition so you may have to deal with a mark here or there, but that's what makes them special and gives them character!

Photo by Janelle Jones.