Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lucille's offers vintage, handmade goods by Leah Hoenen

An eclectic collection of new, vintage, rediscovered and remade clothes, jewelry, décor and more sits tucked inside Lucille’s, a new shop along Route 302 in Westbrook.

With gray walls, a turquoise floor and throwback music playing in the background, Lucille’s reflects the fun and spunky creativity of owners Jess Gray and Caiti Enos.

The two met through mutual friends, and a couple of short months after that meeting, they had a business plan. Gray said, “It was, ‘I like vintage,’ ‘I like sewing,’ let’s do this.”

In late 2011, Gray and Enos developed the idea for a store specializing in vintage, handmade and retro goods. They’ve been selling items online since 2012 and opened their Westbrook store in April this year.
The name Lucille’s refers neither to B.B. King’s guitar nor Lucille Ball, said Gray. “The funny thing is the lack of a story. We had a hat – a literal hat – and drew the name out of it,” said Gray. Lucille was the second name. Mabel was first, but didn’t have the same pizzazz, Gray said.

Lucille’s offers a wide range of items – found, made over and handmade – for all sorts of tastes. From books and furniture to dishes, jewelry and clothes, Lucille’s contains a plethora of vintage finds of many eras, comfortably displayed in the store on Route 302.

Proprietors Gray and Enos make a creative, artistic and complementary pair. In addition to already-made items, Lucille’s offers custom sewing. With vintage clothing, it’s often difficult to find clothes that fit properly, said Gray, so she and Enos hope to have a line of custom clothing.

“If you see something you like and it doesn’t fit, I’m pretty good at copying it,” said Enos, who makes a variety of clothing, from simple skirts to a prom dress.

Enos is a talented seamstress, but her background is in archaeology. She has dug all across New England. “I guess that’s where I get my appreciation for older things,” she said. “For a long time, I’ve been digging.”
Gray chimed in, “Now, you do a different kind of digging.”

Gray said she held a series of office and food-service jobs before Lucille’s was born. “I was always incredibly bored with regular jobs. I started selling clothing on Etsy for a couple of years,” she said.

For Gray, thrifting is a long-established way of life. “I’ve been thrift shopping since before I could walk. My grandmother had an antique store,” she said. “I’ve always loved older things. I loved hunting for things.”
The thrill of the hunt – and the unexpected find – keeps this pair going.

Poring through flea markets, yard sales and estate auctions, Enos and Gray assemble a collection of vintage finds. And, they always ask if there’s more to see.

“We ask everyone if they have anything,” said Gray, recounting the story of a trip to Orono. The pair traveled there to pick up one item, and learned the seller had a basement full of clothes. “We spent a 14-hour day going through it,” Gray said.

Enos and Gray try to schedule their shopping trips together. “We have the best luck when we’re together,” Enos said.

“I made so many aprons,” said Enos. When they started out, the pair made many aprons and repurposed frames – used to hold writing boards. “I had a craft room. We sat in there and crafted and crafted and crafted,” Enos said.

In their early days, Enos and Gray sold their wares at a flea market in Brunswick and later at Portland’s Flea for All, where they still sell periodically.

Every Friday, Lucille’s offers 50 percent off clothing.

Keep up with Lucille’s and get a sneak preview of items in the store by visiting shoplucilles.blogspot.com.

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