Taylor Conzelman is the creator of Back Room Vintage, a vintage store with incredible pieces you need to see to believe. “It kind of runs in the family” Taylor explains to me as I take a look through her extraordinary showroom. “My younger sister owns a vintage clothing store as well, and she’s got some amazing pieces that are from the early 20th century, we’re both very interested in fashion, just different eras, I’m more into collecting 1980s-Y2K items, but it’s great that both of us do this for a living, we push each other and motivate one another,” she explains while wearing some badass Fendi pants and an Alexander McQueen-esque sweater.
Taylor’s personal style and aesthetic has gained her success in sourcing some truly unbelievable pieces-she’s got in a safe a one-of-a-kind Gianni Versace diamond cross necklace, but also working with popular shows on Netflix. LAFM had the chance to sit down with Taylor Conzelman and learn all about Back Room Vintage, and how someone so young (Taylor’s only 31!) has amassed a collection that would make Wasteland look like a Goodwill. Check it out below!
LAFM: Taylor, you’re a tried and true vintage fashionista with your burgeoning vintage clothing company, Back Room Vintage. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we wanna hear your story! Tell us how it all began!
Taylor Conzelman: I’m from Birmingham, Alabama, and I’ve been going to thrift stores since I was really young. When I went to college in Arizona, I was working at a call-center and not making a lot, so was still thrifting because I couldn’t afford anything else. The thrift stores in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale are amazing, so I would go out thrifting, then model the clothes and put them on Ebay, and make money off of it.
Long story short, after I graduated in Phoenix I had the itch to move here, and started out by doing modeling and fit modeling, and quit doing vintage for a couple of years all together. I befriended these girls who were fashion bloggers-about 5 of us total, and we decided to start ‘Back-Bite’ in 2012 right when Instagram was getting really popular. That business grew really rapidly with all of our social media posts, it basically exploded over night. I was 25 at the time and we were all really young and the business evolved into biker-motorcycle heavy, which wasn’t really my aesthetic.
I started collecting designer vintage and just hoarding really special pieces for myself and that’s what I realized I really loved doing, so I left Back Bite almost 3 years ago and started my own vintage store, Back Room Vintage. I didn’t have a strong instagram following, so began selling at flea markets and the Rose Bowl, and got the opportunity to move into an apartment with a spare bedroom, and could afford to not have a roommate, so converted the spare bedroom into my showroom!
I have clients come to see pieces they’ve seen on Instagram or on my website, or know me and are familiar with styles I’ve had in the past, and want to see the latest pieces I’ve gotten in. It’s really been a great journey as now I’ve been lucky enough to have some of my pieces purchased as costumes for shows on Netflix.
LAFM: Amazing! We love hearing about #BossBabes living out their passion. What would you say is your personal style and aesthetic when it comes to how you dress, to the types of styles you collect?
Taylor Conzelman: How I dress myself is a really more minimal approach, I like really nice basics and crazy statement coats-like the 90’s Vintage Dior Logo Puffer Coat hanging in my closet (and also pictured above!). Personally, I also love really cool vintage sets-like a vintage Escada suit I have, a Chanel tweed romper, and some vintage 1970s Celine pieces with a matching headscarves I also have found and are selling on Back Room.
LAFM: What’s your price range?
Taylor Conzelman: I have everything from really inexpensive items starting at $30, to almost $1300 for a really rare mink coat. I really have a wide range, I collect everything from antique and Edwardian pieces from the 1910s to pieces from the Y2Ks.
LAFM: What’s your favorite piece that you have for sale?
Taylor Conzelman: This pink acetate Dior blazer is one of my favorite pieces right now, as well as two vintage lace Dior corsets. I really have an eclectic mix of a bunch of different pieces, designers, styles, and designers styles from the 1980s to early 2000s.
You’d be surprised, pieces that tend to sell really well are some of my most colorful, loudest knitwear pieces, like the Coogi sweaters I have! I’m also a huge collector of Missoni, Versace, and I even have the original Alaïa dress Cher wore in the movie Clueless!
LAFM: How do you find your amazing pieces?
Taylor Conzelman: I’m very very lucky that people reach out to me to do buys. I had a woman recently who reached out to let me know her mother had just passed and if I was interested in some of her pieces, which happened to be some incredible vintage Dior items.
I have a couple of places I can’t name that I do go thrifting at regularly, but I really have to feel it and be in the right mood, in the right energy space to go vintage shopping and thrifting. I’m currently obsessed with Abraham Hicks’ ‘In the Vortex’ Podcast that talks all about being aligned with energy. So for me when I’m thrifting, if I go to one store and am not in the right mood and don’t find anything and am irritated, I’m going to go home and not try to find pieces for the rest of the day. Recently I went to a store in my neighborhood and walked out with 13 different designer items-some Prada pieces, a Versace belt, a Louis Vuitton wallet, a Chanel bag, so I think it’s really all about working with your energy. I think with thrifting there’s a real repetitive nature to it, you have to be willing to search through store after store and walk away with nothing, to go to the same places over and over day after day. You also have to be willing to look past something that isn’t perfect.
I never discredit pieces just because they’re not perfect and have a flaw. I alter pieces through my tailor to make them a little bit more modern and form-fitting, sometimes I get items hemmed to be mini skirts or shorter dresses as well. If I see a stunning piece with some sort of tear or something, I’ll work with my tailor to remake it to create something amazing!
LAFM: We love it! And lastly Taylor, what’s your goal for Back Room Vintage, where do you see the company in the next few years?
Taylor Conzelman: My whole style is really 80s and 90s designer pieces, mostly in bags, accessories, jackets and statement pieces, so I’m working on expanding and really focusing on that era and styles from then. My website has just re-launched as well, so I’m excited to show my collections and sell through that platform as well as Etsy and Instagram.
We’re all about the sustainability of vintage as well as finding incredible pieces from the past and reworking them to fit into our modern life, so you know we love Back Room Vintage and all the über cool styles Taylor Conzelman has! To view more of these looks and shop #tilyoudrop, be sure to check out her website and instagram!