Rachael Poklitar believes in quality over quantity – especially when it comes to her wardrobe.
Rachael is the owner of Nettie + Min, an online vintage clothing shop named in homage to her grandma and baba – ladies who came from a time when the number of outfits hanging in their closets was much fewer than what you’d find in women's closets today.
Nettie + Min’s philosophy is that less is more. Women should love their wardrobes because they have clothes with character, garments that actually mean something to them – a feeling that can’t be replaced with the latest trend flitting through the mall.
“Your wardrobe can be ginormous, and you can still have nothing to wear,” Rachael says.
“It’s important to actually put some thought into what you’re buying.”
The kind of quality Rachael is looking for doesn’t come from high-priced or designer items. It comes from taking time to assess what she really needs or will use.
“I started thrifting when I was in high school,” Rachael says.
“It’s more interesting. I love the style of vintage, and I think the fact it’s lasted this long says something about the quality of things made back then.”
Though she’s always had an interest in mixing old with new in her wardrobe, Rachael’s buying habits took a pivotal turn after she completed a ten-month challenge to not buy anything new. She relied solely on thrift stores and second-hand items.
“It made me realize I don’t want to shop at the big chain stores you find in the mall," she says.
"When you walk into most stores it’s such a barrage of trendy things – there’s so much to look at, it’s overwhelming. You can walk out with ten things but when you go home you don’t actually care about any of those items – you just have ten more things hanging in your closet."
“Now, when I go into those shops, I’m disgusted. It’s just a warehouse filled with stuff made for a dime a dozen. There’s so much, it grosses me out."
Mixing thrift into her wardrobe and being more thoughtful about purchases doesn’t mean Rachael doesn't still enjoy buying new items. She promotes buying local, knowing the face of the person you’re buying from, and slowing down the buying process as a whole.
“I think people should care more about the person behind the product, not just because so much clothing is made in sweatshops – though you should care about that too – but also to know that a person is benefitting from your purchase. It’s going back to someone you know. You can see their face, it’s not some corporation.”
This buyer-seller connection is part of the reason why Rachael would eventually like to move off the web and focus on a brick-and-mortar shop here in Winnipeg.
“I think people like going to stores to actually try things on and talk to people, rather than that purchase just being a click.”
Rachael currently houses her products in a studio space at Frame Arts Warehouse. Though it doesn’t lend itself easily to foot traffic, occasionally her and other local vintage sellers, The Vintage Saint and Third Sister Vintage, will host sales at the space. She’s also considering taking part in First Fridays, a monthly event where artists in the Exchange District open up their studios to the public
“I think things are starting to shift. A lot more people are getting into thrifting. I'm often asked where I find my items, but not everyone wants to go through the effort of looking, so I’m finding it, cleaning it and displaying it for them.”
Rachael thinks the effort is well worth it when the clothes she finds get passed on to someone new, even if it requires some patience.
“If I find something really cool, I want someone to have it and love it. I recently sold a sweater that had been in the shop for three years. It’s a bit strange that it’s gone, that someone finally acknowledged a shirt I really loved. It makes me happy.”
“It means more, I think, finding things that have already been owned and have some history to them, I think that’s what it’s all about. I just want people to love what they own again.”