If you're a Richmond resident or play frequent tourist in the city, you've probably visited Blue Bones Vintage. Nestled on the corner of Broad and Monroe, the shop operates in conjunction with Steady Sounds, a used record store. Offering a wide variety of clothing, accessories, shoes, and charm, it's a city favorite and the best place to find one-of-a-kind pieces.
The mastermind behind the vintage splendor and coolness of Blue Bones is co-owner Lauren Healy. In addition to running the shop, she's a freelance prop and wardrobe stylist. She's lent her services to video production companies, commercials, magazine spreads, fashion shoots, and more.
I recently had the honor of asking Lauren a litany of questions, which she was kind enough to answer. Find out more about the vintage guru below!
Tell us a little bit about your background. I grew up in Alexandria, VA, and went to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. In 1998, I moved to Richmond to study fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
How did you get into this industry? After graduating from VCU, I moved to New York City. I interned and subsequently worked for Anna Sui, my favorite designer at the time. After being there for a couple years and getting the full NYC fashion experience, I moved back to Richmond. I then worked at Saks Fifth Avenue for several years and became the fashion editor for Belle Magazine, a monthly publication through Style Weekly. This led to other styling, wardrobe, and prop jobs for magazines and commercials.
Tell us about the evolution of Blue Bones and the partnership with Steady Sounds. Blue Bones Vintage has been a side hustle for a long time. I provided vintage for Need Supply's website about 6-7 years ago and coordinated pop-up markets for years. Those factors, in addition to constantly collecting vintage pieces, made the store inevitable. When I met Jeremy Flora, (it was love at first vintage jacket: the two business partners are also husband and wife) it was just the natural progression for us to grow from pop-ups to the Broad Street storefront. I've known Marty, the owner of Steady Sounds, forever. We became friends when I attended VCU. I would ask him for record recommendations when he worked at Plan 9 (music shop in Carytown). Blue Bones found our way to Steady Sounds a couple of years ago when I dropped off a pop-up market flyer and Marty asked if we could collaborate. We just celebrated our two-year anniversary at the Broad Street location!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work? When it comes to commercial work, it's having a solution for any given issue at hand. I love thinking on my feet and solving problems. It's important to keep the ball rolling and ensure everything runs in a timely fashion. Plus, keeping props interesting and stylish makes the work more fun for me. As for Blue Bones, just being part of Broad Street and creating a closet for the community to shop in is beyond rewarding. It was scary to take the risk of opening, but it has been so rewarding. Now I crave the collaborations, photo shoots, and branding that keep evolving.
What's the most challenging aspect of your job? For freelance and commercial work, it's having different bosses for different projects. It takes some juggling and finessing to know how to produce what each specific client is looking for. The biggest challenge is that this is a complete lifestyle for me. It actually is less of a challenge and more of a balancing act in a lot of ways. Everything I do usually revolves around Blue Bones or a freelance project. It's hard for me to turn it off. I do everything from hunt down products and prep items for the floor to bookkeeping, stamping sales tags, and cleaning and organizing the store, so it can feel like my job is never done.
What's the biggest misconception people have about your career? That it just seems fun. It is fun, but there's also a lot of hustle, dedication, and hard work that goes on behind the scenes. You have to be a real passionate weirdo to love vintage and props this much--it's a lifestyle choice more than anything else!
What advice would you give someone pursuing a styling career? Do what you love. Research, study, and intern for someone who works in your area of interest. Learn from people in your preferred industry. Show up, shut up, and be nice.
What are your future plans? Right now, I'm just excited for the fall/winter season! And, of course, continuing the hunt for the best vintage as well as being part of Broad Street. I would also love to have a shop in each state!
Top photo by Ashly Paraham. All other photos from Lauren Healy/Blue Bones.