We had the good fortune of connecting with Merina Michella and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Merina, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
The amount of time, care and attention to detail that it requires. Selling vintage isn’t merely finding the items then immediately slinging them… a good reseller puts in the time for each individual garment. From mending to stain removing, measuring, pricing, laundering and researching the item to its entirety… a lot goes in before buyers are able to feast their eyes on new finds. I might be one of the more neurotic resellers as I really revel in the joy of studying and researching vintage garments and getting to know rare brands from the past. The tiny differences due to stitch patterns, the tag nuances…that one thing that separates the garment from another like it. I once found a few United States Postal Service letter carrier uniform jackets from the 50s and 60s and I spent a whole day reading about the differences in the chest and arm patches and how they evolved every decade. One simple detail like word placement, color, size etc was the clear difference between one era of the uniform to the next. I totally enjoy geeking out about old labels that no longer are in production and learning the history of brands and certain style garments alike. I spend a lot of time getting to know each individual item ready to be resold and I don’t skimp the details.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art lies somewhere in between the tangible and the intangible. As a vintage seller I am not technically creating something out of nothing, yet I possess the eye and ability to source, transform and visually create eye-catching ensembles. I express myself creatively by sourcing items that have long been forgotten, give new life to them via styling, photographing collections for my online shop, create brand marketing + curate beautiful racks and displays of unique garments for in-person sales at flea markets, festivals, etc.

I am most proud of my ability to stick with it. I I started Vetiver & Vintage six years ago, have lived many different lives within those six years and very easily could have quit during dry seasons but the perseverance in the craft is everything. When other aspects of life take precedence, yet you still continue your craft, that really tells your audience/customers that you enjoy what you are doing and then in return they are able to build a relationship with you creating a sense of comradery and support. As an artist, we all have times in our life where it is more challenging to create and yet how human is that of us, and our customers can see and relate to that. They want to support you and see what great things you are creating no matter what season of life you are in.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’ve only lived in San Diego for 2 years now + a large portion was during pandemic time, so my exploration is ever evolving! Though I got a few favorites to show the homies. My most favorite place is probably Sunset Cliffs in OB. Amazing place for a walk, sunset picnic, watch the surf, swim, chill at the cove-y beaches. While we are in OB I would probably take her to the farmers market, The Template cafe, It’s Raw to grab the best poke ever, In Harmony herb shoppe, and Peoples food co-op. I would 100% take her to Kobey Swap Meet, Presidio park to hang out, the nude beach Blacks Beach and while we are in that neck of the woods explore the epic Ho Chi Minh Trail. I’d take her to my favorite Italian joint, Piacere Mio and The Rose natural wine bar both in South Park and then we’d go grab a drink at Kindred afterwards. We would definitely be doing some hiking while she was here so I’d show her my favorite trails, Mission Trails, Honey Springs Trail and Hollenbeck Canyon Trail. After all is said n done we’d grab some pizza to-go at Buena Forchetta and lounge on the beautiful grounds at Balboa Park enjoying the sunset while attending to whatever nightlife is going on afterwards.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would 100% not be the person I am today without my sisters! I grew up with 2 older sisters 10 and 12 years older than me…they were so cool in my eyes. They introduced me to so much from such a young age, I was heavily influenced by them. I’m pretty sure my favorite band in elementary school was Nine Inch Nails and I definitely painted my nails black and wore fishnet shirts for a period of my youth. My sisters were before the age of internet and cell phones lol so when they were teenagers, they would have photoshoots in our house for their own entertainment…fasten some drop cloths, setup some bright lights. They would get dressed up in all sorts of dramatic themed getups and also dress little ole me up to join them in their photo ops. Another huge influence from having cool older sisters was that I got all their hand-me-downs. This really enabled me to define my own unique style separate from my peers from a young age in addition to my sister Holly introducing me to the thrifting world later in my teens. All of my sisters early influencing really set me up for my current success in my work and I totally dedicate this shoutout to them!

Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/vetiverandvintage?ref=shop_sugg

Instagram: @vetiverandvintage

Other: depop @vetiverandvintage

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.