Etsy shop owner Kelly Jean used to drop thousands of dollars on clothing at Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, until one day when the former L.A. high school teacher implored her class to try to live one year without buying anything new.
“I began to shop at thrift stores and estate sales and I had a blast doing it,” says Kelly, whose Etsy shop CowgirlintheSun is a treasure trove of vintage cowgirl duds that pack a serious, stylish punch. From turquoise jewelry to dingo cowhide ankle boots to the cutest leather vests, her shop extols the desert’s decidedly chic side.
“Tucson is a veritable smorgasbord of thrift, buy, sell and trade avenues,” says Kelly, who credits her practiced eye to a past life in retail, including a Fourth Avenue boutique. “I used to want to work for Dior and I spent lots of time working retail. I have been told I have ‘the eye’ and I’m proud of that.”
“My shop is filled with things I love, and many items that take my breath away…I love when something sells because I feel that the buyer has a similar love of the history and culture of this place…my home…the desert.”
When she is ultimately able to make Etsy her full-time job, Kelly hopes to blend her love of teaching and entrepreneurship by helping young people learn to thrift and open their own stores. “I envision teaching teens the value of recycle and reuse as an environmental necessity, and also a viable way to make a living.”