The Oxford English Dictionary defines “perfect” as “In a state of complete excellence; free from any imperfection or defect of quality; that cannot be improved upon; flawless, faultless. Also occas.: nearly approaching such a state.”
Perfect – no. I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. But the beautiful thing about human beings is they can get better. More than that – they strive to improve. Every day. Every minute. Every year and month and lifetime. We move forward in pursuit of the best version of ourselves. We’re different than other species.
We want to do better.
More than two years ago, I had a perfect dream: to launch a perfect online vintage clothing boutique. I had illusions of perfection: “flawless,” “faultless,” “free from any imperfection.” I would have stunning photos. A well thought-out marketing strategy. A list of beautiful models who would pose for me. A bevy of luscious backdrops. The perfect plan.
“Free from defect” is a scary idea. I found myself paralyzed by the thought of anything less than perfect. I dallied. I stopped. I fell into a rut – or perhaps – a ravine.
And then in a feverish September week of near-pneumonia, I found myself cooped up in the house, with just the dog and seven long days of home alone ahead of me.
Inexplicably, I sprung into action. Photos. Etsy banners. A flurry of copywriting. Social media accounts were created. Prices were determined. Suddenly nearly 100 items were for sale on Bodega Vintage Goods, including gorgeous buttery leather Frye boots, vintage cowboy and cowgirl boots, hand-embroidered Latin American huipils, seventies knit ponchos, moccasins, lovely vintage dresses, and … more.
Perfect – no. I had pored over pristine, eloquent shops like Dear Golden – had lusted over their crisp photography and neutral, understated backgrounds. My hundred-year-old brick wall sometimes clashes with the print on a dress. My cream Frye cowboy boots have scuffs. The cedar fence looks crooked behind the dress form. It’s no Dear Golden. But it’s a hell of a start.
Needless to say, my chances of selling a single treasure increased exponentially. Five sales in 10 days. A Facebook and Instagram following. And pure potential, spreading before me in glorious ripples.
Bodega Vintage Goods as it is now is not free from imperfection or defect of quality. It can certainly be improved upon. It is not faultless. And yet, perhaps this is what I love about it.
Bodega Vintage is a testament to all things vintage. Vintage is by definition imperfect. Vintage items have weathered decades of dust, neglect, and dark closets. They have been loved and cared for and stroked by many hands – the makers, the wearers, the gifters, the treasure-seekers. These items carry with them the intrinsic character of the people who loved them – who coveted them – who put them on their Christmas lists and unwrapped tissue paper to find what they had most hoped for.
There are sometimes snags and stains and pulls to be lovingly mended. There are reassuring creases in cowboy boots and comfy worn spots on denim. And all of these things are the richer for the experience – for their imperfections. Their flaws make them, somehow, more perfect.
So here’s to a week home alone, sick, with the dog, left to my own devices, with a 1907 garage-turned-studio, a DSLR camera, and a whole workshop full of vintage clothes and shoes.
Here’s to accepting less than perfect.
Saying yes to the adventure.
And chasing dreams.