Summer Hightower cried when she heard that Veda Lux had been voted Best Vintage Boutique by Inlander readers. For someone who started her South Perry district business six years ago with barely $12 in her pocket, this year's honor was huge.
"We're here to branch everything out of the norm in this town," Hightower says. "We bring fun and life to shopping. Here, people get an option."
Two years ago, the business expanded by 63 percent, and this year Hightower hired her first employee to help run the shop. She also recently launched an online store and plans to begin consigning in the spring. She says that none of it has come easily. Even on the days her shop is closed (Sunday and Monday), she's designing jewelry in her workshop.
"I don't ever go out," she admits.
Hightower's jewelry is all handmade, consisting of vintage beads and materials. She says she doesn't look at magazines or trends, she just creates what she wants to wear. Many of her earrings aren't level, or exactly matching.
"Symmetry is not necessary," Hightower says. "I figure, if a woman's boobs aren't symmetrical, why should her jewelry be?"
When asked to describe Spokane's fashion sense, she responds pointedly: "What fashion?" Standing in her eclectic 15-by-15 foot shop (which she refers to as a dollhouse) last week, Hightower wears a blue vintage dress with a pink lace overcoat, paired with 25-year-old Dr. Martens lace-ups. The 37-year-old has always done her own thing, and she says she's so grateful to have customers who seem to understand her vision.
Just back from a Vegas shopping spree for the store — she shops all over the country — Hightower says she'll go anywhere to find her goods. Prices at the shop range from $10 to $200.
Surprisingly, she says that her customers are fairly diverse.
"I hate to say this, but we really do have something for everybody," Hightower says. "No, you don't come here for basics, but what you will find is completely original, one-of-a kind pieces."
2nd PLACE: Fringe & Fray; 3rd PLACE: Finders Keepers