Meet Lexi Oliveri, the face and heart of Antoinette Brooklyn.
It all started from a pair of cat tights. I got a call from her almost 2 years ago saying “My neighborhood store who carries your socks is closing down, and I really need those ‘neko’ tights!” I instantly felt the vibrant energy from her tone, which to this day, I believe is the reason why her shop attracts so many customers from around the globe. From our conversation, I could tell she is not only passionate about her shop, but cares about the entire small business community in Brooklyn (she did not want to purchase from us if it meant competition.)
The rest is history. Since then, she has invited us to host events at her shop, connected us to sock lovers across the East Coast and welcomed us to New York with all the help she could offer. We also share a passion for saving animals!
Lexi and her shop are constantly evolving. What started out as her mother’s timeless vintage collection now offers over 15 local Brooklyn designers, some even designed exclusively for Antoinette Brooklyn. I’m excited to join her on this life journey. She is a constant reminder that true happiness comes from helping others, whether it’s finding the perfect outfit for the customer or a safe home for rescued animals.
November 5, 2015
1. Where did you grow up and how did it shape who you are today?
I grew up on an old farm seven miles from the beach in Central NJ. I was raised by two native New Yorkers (Mom was from the Bronx & Dad was from Brooklyn.) Although my Mom was a “stay at home mom” by the time I was walking I remember she was always fashionable & knew how to put an outfit together. My Dad owned his own car business & always worked incredibly hard & instilled that work ethic in me since I was old enough to understand that if you work really hard anything is possible.
2. You have not only created a well-curated boutique that attracts people from all over the world, but a place where creatives come together. How did Antoinette Vintage all begin?
It’s kind of a long story but I’ll try to make it short. It all started because of my Mom. Antoinette, the namesake of the shop kept reminding me through grade school, high school & even college that she was saving all of her clothes in hopes I would open a store one day. I had been working for Gap Inc. for over 5 years in product development & hit a creative roadblock one day so I surfed the internet & found a retail space for rent (which at the time was reasonable in the neighborhood) so I went to meet the landlord & the following day after convincing myself it felt right I put a deposit down & as they say, the rest is history.
3. What motivates you to get up every morning? (besides coffee!)
That’s an easy question because I’m not one of those individuals that can sit still too long. Even when I’m tired or sick I’m still writing down ideas I have for the business or scheduling the next shop event.
4. What advice would you give to someone who is currently trying to open a boutique?
I tell everyone the same answer when asked this question, be paranoid. I think the feeling of paranoia is how I opened Antoinette. You can’t let yourself feel comfortable EVER. Always, always, always take a chance.
5. What do you mean by “paranoid”? Could you elaborate?
Sure no problem & glad you asked…what I meant by being paranoid is taking a leap of faith, believing in yourself but also believing that even if you fail you can never be upset with yourself because you took the chance & tried. Also, I have those days when I worry about the business but it always works out. You just can’t be too comfortable because life isn’t easy (it’s always good but never easy) & so is running your own business but that’s the cool part, it’s yours.
6. Could you tell us about today’s photoshoot location and why it holds a special place in your heart?
The location was inside & outside of the shop which is where my heart is everyday. I tell everyone Grand St. is where the magic happens in Williamsburg.
7. If you weren’t an owner of a boutique in Williamsburg, what would you be doing?
Well, I’m an adjunct professor at FIT so probably would go full time or go back to working for the Gap Inc. since I was told when I resigned that I always have a job there. But also I’m involved in rescuing animals so my heart would probably want me to open an animal sanctuary upstate somewhere.
8. If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh my, Black of course!
9. What does “Live Your Color” mean to you?
The first thing that comes to mind is the color of my skin, heart & soul. My skin is a mix of my caucasian Mom & my biological asian Dad. My heart is kind of like a rainbow, but sometimes when I’m feeling sad it turns grey but never black. And my soul, is the color of kindness (not sure exactly what color that is but if I had to pick maybe aquamarine blue.)
Thank you Lexi!
You can shop her look on her online shop or at her Brick & Mortar location 119 Grand Street Brooklyn, NY.