Island Stylin’

Blonde & Blue Boutique: A Melting Pot of Vintage Treasures

By SANDRA WEYANT | Jul 03, 2019

Tuckerton — We’ve all heard the saying “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” For Alexandra Conn, owner of Blonde and Blue Boutique, this motto is the essence of her vintage pop-up shop.

Conn, who graduated with a degree in interior design from Philadelphia University, discovered her love of interior decorating as a young girl while watching “Trading Spaces” with her mom. She credits her vast knowledge of the industry to her college internship at ReMod Gallery, a mid-century modern furniture gallery located in Old City, Philadelphia.

“They really opened the door and introduced me to all the great furniture designers. They taught me everything that I know, and it was a catalyst for my business,” she said.

At the age of 22, she did just that: founded Blonde and Blue Boutique, after several years of doing ground-up construction post-college. However, she admits that choosing the name of her store was not an easy decision whatsoever. Conn started her LLC under her government name until she invented the perfect title. One day, while running errands, it finally came to her.

“I was in the DMV, and the woman was asking me questions and she asked me my hair color and eye color and I replied, ‘blonde and blue,’ and it just resonated with me,” she said. “I was looking for a big enough name that would act as an umbrella because, back then, I knew this business would go further than vintage home decor and interior decorating. I wanted it to represent me, and I thought blonde and blue was cute and very me, so that’s where I landed.”

Conn’s merchandising process is simple: She buys what she likes, and there are “doodads” for everyone. At Blonde and Blue Boutique, you’ll find a variety of different trinkets and unique home decor plus a wide assortment of furniture, such as vintage curios, wicker sets, and mid-century modern accessories and accent pieces.

“At first, I started buying and selling home decor and it was all very organic. If I needed new dining tables, I bought them and sold my personal ones, but then everything ended up snowballing, and I recognized that there were always people who needed different things,” Conn said.

When buying antique items, Conn explained, the thrill of the hunt is what makes it so much fun. She never knows what items she will come across next. One of her biggest purchases to date is a vintage camper from the 1960s that she bought on Craigslist. Initially, she thought she would flip it to make a profit, but she just couldn’t part with it.

“It was just too cool to sell. I thought if I wasn’t going to sell this camper that I needed to do a photoshoot around it, and that’s when my first-ever stylized ‘Indian Summer’ shoot happened two years ago. I wanted to make it something special, and I hired a photographer and hair and makeup artists,” she said.

With this initial photoshoot, Conn quickly learned she loves creating stylized photoshoots with full sets, specific themes, costumes and props – and she enjoys modeling and immersing herself into the theme. To celebrate the success of her business and how far she has come, she will re-create her epic Indian Summer photoshoot in August.

With Conn’s experience and creative eye, Blonde and Blue is much more than a furniture and antiques store. She now offers creative direction, event styling and small business branding. Customers can even rent furniture and props for any event: birthday parties, engagement parties, weddings and more.

“It’s kind of like all of my passions combined into one ... building a space, which is where the interior design comes into play. I’m creating a feng shui and a space that people are enjoying, but I have freedom with it because I don’t have a client. It’s not as cookie-cutter or traditional. I can be zany and have crazy props,” she said. “Then there’s obviously the vintage side of it. I still have the thrill of the hunt and finding certain props for certain shoots. I call my business the melting pot of creative juices, and out comes this beautiful situation that I’m in.”

For inspiration, Conn looks to her surroundings and people she may encounter on a daily basis. She even keeps track of her ideas in a list on her phone that she refers back to each week.

“I get inspired very easily. I think when you look at it in terms of waiting for a big idea to come and hit you on the head, it’s not even like that at all. I will literally be walking down the street and someone will be wearing a crazy shirt and I’ll just think to myself, I love that color palette. It could be a billboard on a highway, and I stop and snap a picture,” she said.

As a business owner, Conn enjoys the freedom to schedule her own hours, instead of abiding to strict office hours. She takes rest days wherever appropriate and “busts her ass” on other days.

“I listen to my body, and I have a good flow now; it all works out. I love being able to work my job into my life, and there really is no separation. Some people wouldn’t understand it, but I like it that way. I don’t have set hours, but I work almost every single day,” Conn said. “I live my life on the painfully optimistic side, and I try not to have any doubts about anything.”

Even though being her own boss can be challenging at times, Conn has a lot of support from fellow creatives: artists, creative directors, business owners and the like.

“I moved here from the Cherry Hill area three years ago, and I don’t ever want to leave. Being swept up in the creative undercurrent here has been so important to me. I love being a part of the community,” she said.

Check out Blonde and Blue Boutique on most weekends (weather-permitting) at the Tuckerton Seaport from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit blondeandblueboutique.com for a schedule of upcoming events.

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