A Peek Inside Spitfire Girl’s Magic!

Spitfire Girl owner and founder Kristin Schroder answers questions about just what makes SFG so great! Check it out below:
sfg interior 2 1024x677 A Peek Inside Spitfire Girls Magic! How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
Spitfire Girl was born 15 years ago. I started the company in my
garage with our trademark box cards. Fifteen years later Spitfire Girl is
a fast growing incredible beast of a company. Our goods are shipped
to stores across the world on a daily basis. We have two fabulous retail
stores in Los Angeles and a thriving online presence.

Why did you choose this location to open your business?
We chose Los Feliz because it is a eclectic, funky, family oriented
neighborhood. It has a great flow of people from all over Los Angeles
and surrounding cities. We have a clientele of famous actors too, which
make working the store always exciting! Our Melrose location is quite
different. It is our newest store only being open for ten months. I
chose Melrose for it’s iconic history. This was the place you took
everyone in the 80’s and 90’s when they came to visit LA. The street
fell off the radar during the recession and I am super excited to be a
part of bringing this famous boulevard back. It is an exciting
neighborhood, you never know who is going to walk through the door.
My favorite was Gavin, from Bush and his entire brood of kids running
through the store. It is by far my favorite store at the moment.
Because of the location and large layout, I was really able to spread
out and have fun merchandising.

How would you describe your store’s style/aesthetic?
Quirky but sheik at the same time, vintage, eclectic, handmade, and
visually entertaining. Spitfire Girl is filled with unusual and natural
curiosities that are always changing. We travel a lot in search of
oddities and antiques in addition to handmade artist goods. What
makes our stores different from other stores is a creative mind, an
artist is doing the curating. My buying style is not traditional by any
means.

 Where did you get your name from and what other names did you
consider?
There could never be any other name for my business. The name
Spitfire Girl came to me so easily. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I would
almost say it was a premonition. Anyone that knows me gets it, I am a
determined, strong willed, crazy creative lady. I love to gamble in the
sense I will walk straight into the fire every time without a thought.
It’s more exciting!
 
What types of items are your best sellers? (i.e. brands, specific
pieces, etc.)
Our Brand Spitfire Girl is by far the best seller. After SFG wares it’s oddities I
source from all over the world. A long time favorite for our customers is
handmade naked people from Guatemala, they are tiny hand sewn dolls,
with all their bits in tact, very strange little things, but people love them.

What item do you have in the store now that you would want to
have in your home?   
I love our handmade Turkish towels. They are so luxurious and functional at the same time.

What have you been inspired by lately? (colors, styles, themes,
locations, etc.)
I just got back from Paris and was able to get my hands antique
etchings from the 1800’s from the Paris flea market. I can’t wait to
use them in collages for a new SFG pillow line.

Is there something you thought would sell really well but didn’t?
Not really, I get super excited about the vintage and antique items we place in
the store thinking they are going to sell fast, but they take the longest.
I guess it takes a specific person to fall in love with each one of these pieces.

Where do you mainly source your items from?
All SFG wares are
made in the USA. Other goods are from all over the globe.

What was the first big lesson you learned from opening your store?
How to manage employees and recognize their strengths and direct them in
a way that compliments the company.

What would your one piece of advice you would give to small
businesses?
Never give up! Take it one day at a time and one foot in front of the other.
My Father always says, “ If it was easy anyone would do it”

What stores do you shop at?
Antique malls and swap meets, I’m a bit of a scavenger.

Do you have any plans to expand your inventory?
Always, every day we receive new inventory!

What trends, if any, are you tired of? 
Laser cut jewelry is definitely tired.

sfg interior 11 1017x1024 A Peek Inside Spitfire Girls Magic!

Unicorns!

unicorn banner large Unicorns!

Here at Spitfire Girl, we love unicorns. Not only are they magical, they represent courage, grandeur, wisdom, and nobility—all of the traits of a badass Spitfire Girl.

The history of the unicorn is also super interesting to us. According to legend, only a virgin can catch a unicorn. The original engraving pictured above is from the 15th century and shows the “capture” of the unicorn. And by golly did she capture a good one! It has the same face as Spitfire Girl’s new unicorn enamel pin.

The common depiction of the dreamy, white unicorn as we typically know it developed from narwals being hunted and having their tusks sold as magical unicorn horns. It was believed their horn had the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. Wow!

narwhal life magazine illustration large Unicorns!

But with most symbols and badass creatures, the unicorn also has a dark side. The mythology of a dark, menacing unicorn developed from tales associated with the dangerous and mean-spirited wooly rhino.

The unicorn also has frenemies. In Babylonian folklore from 3500 BC, the lion and the unicorn hate each other. However, the unicorn and lion seem to have reconciled, as they make an appearance together on today’s British coat of arms. The unicorn as a symbol of goodness and honor, and the lion as a symbol of courage and strength. Aww, BFFs.

Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom large Unicorns!

It’s no surprise that the unicorn’s grace, combined with its wild side, makes it a favorite for us at Spitfire Girl.

Check out the magicool unicorn items we have available in the shop.

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Screen shot 2015 08 03 at 1.11.46 PM compact Unicorns!BNDG 1748  57902.1426536547.380.380 compact Unicorns!44902 unicorn garden trinket plate 90c845db e2b6 4bb2 bfc2 9a82671a56f5 compact Unicorns!Unicorn Rainbow 1831bb6e e80f 4b0c 82af 91f92bf5731f compact Unicorns!IMG 1051 compact Unicorns!

INFL 2364 compact Unicorns!

 

 


Meet Kristin and Jason of Spitfire Girl

KristinJason large Meet Kristin and Jason of Spitfire Girl

Kristin Schroder is the original Spitfire Girl, a Texas craft genius who through her keen eye, careful curating, and unstoppable drive to create, has successfully launched the Spitfire Girl brand.

For Kristin, creativity has always been paramount in her life. Even with two small children there was never a choice when it came to making art – it was a part of her daily ritual. As she puts it now, “Wake up, make art!”

Around that same time, Kristin sent out birthday invitations for one of her daughters in the form of a funky little box with a note and a lizard toy inside. The children and parents were so tickled by the little box cards that Kristin knew she had to run with the idea.

With her background in design and experience in the fine arts world, Kristin turned to the gift market with her box cards and thus Spitfire Girl was born. Spitfire Girl grew rapidly but truly hit it’s stride when Kristin met her now husband Jason, seven years ago.

Kristin’s design aesthetic and eye for trends, and Jason’s illustrative prowess, from his background as a tattoo artist, made for a winning combination. Within two weeks of meeting each other they came up with the “cheeky fortune cookie line,” which was immediately picked up by retailers across the US.

With two beautiful retail stores in Los Angeles and a burgeoning online business. Kristin and Jason continue to create fun new products, setting new trends, and growing the Spitfire Girl Brand.

In LA? Visit Spitfire Girl’s store locations:
1939 1/2 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
7401 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Kristin large Meet Kristin and Jason of Spitfire Girl

Animal Icon: Leather Rhino

Not so long ago, a customer came into Spitfire Girl on Hillhurst and was gushing over some of the Jonathan Adler items. We got to talking and he ended up telling me about Adler’s leather animal designs that he did in the same style as the famous Edie Sedgwick picture (below).

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Edie's ultra-famous arabesque on a rhino!

After snooping around on the world wide web, I found the original– In the 60′s, British leather-goods company, Omersa & Co. made some super-fun and chic leather animals, which could be used as footstools or room decoration. They became famous by being pictured with icons like Sharon Tate and Edie Sedgwick.

Sharon Tate 190x300 Animal Icon: Leather Rhino

sharon tate on the Omersa rhino

Omersa & Company leather animals were sold in stores like Abercrombie and Fitch in NYC back in the day. Here are some pics of old and new/Adler and Omersa leather animals:

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Jonathan Adler's take on Omersa&Co's Design

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Omersa English Country Horse

Screen shot 2012 01 20 at 1.48.59 PM 300x289 Animal Icon: Leather Rhino

Adler's Elephant

2393fd78dffe9279d5c934e44f380d14 300x219 Animal Icon: Leather Rhino

Camel from Omersa & Co's Middle East Collection

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Omersa even makes a seal!

I think these animals are amazing and rad! I’m so glad the Jonathan Adler is re-doing them! Click here for Adler’s animals.

Though these leather animals are fantastic, they are also a little pricey. So if you’re looking for the same mod-animal vibe in home-ware be sure to come in and check out the store and some of the Jonathan Adler and IMM Living items we carry!

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It's a Spitfire Store Menagerie!

Peace,

Chels

Robert Cornelius The First Light Picture Ever Taken

ExplorePAHistory a0a7w1 a 3491 Robert Cornelius The First Light Picture Ever Taken

1839

This is one of the earliest known photographs of a human. A self portrait taken in 1839, it shows a young Robert Cornelius (1809-1893) standing outside his family’s lamp-making shop in Philadelphia.

Cornelius was an American of Dutch descent whose knowledge of metallurgical chemistry was to help in perfecting the process of silver-plating, then employed in the production of daguerreotypes.

This photograph was made so many years ago, and yet Robert Cornelius looks as any young man you might happen to pass on the streets today. This is what struck me. He is so handsome and it is hard for me to believe this picture was taken so long ago. I’ve seen so many men try to look as handsome as this fellow, on screen, on stage and definitely on the streets of Los Angeles.  He is truly striking and sexy.

This picture above was taken 1839, the date Cornelius and  Paul Beck Goddard , a chemist from the University of Pennsylvania introduced their invention to the Society. Cornelius took this picture ,but because it was off-center he had Goddard pose for another for presentation to America’s leading learned Society.

rc431 1 Robert Cornelius The First Light Picture Ever Taken

Lucy Inglis, -‘Cornelius isn’t some styled dandy approving every brushstroke of a portrait or a miniature: he’s just a bloke standing in the street trying out his new camera.’

Klaus Nomi 1944 – 1983

Nomi was known for his bizarrely visionary theatrical live performances, heavy make-up, unusual costumes, and a highly stylized signature hairdo which flaunted a receding hairline. His songs were equally unusual, ranging from synthesizer-laden interpretations of classical music opera to covers of 1960s pop standards. He is remembered in the US as one of  David Bowie’s backing singers during a 1979 performance on Saturday Night Live.

Nomi died in 1983 at the age of 39 as a result of complications from Aids.

World’s Champion Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man

We just got in some amazing paper weights. They feature a self portrait of Tattoo artist, Gus Wagner.

wag2 Worlds Champion Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man

Gus was quite the character, very unique and talented person.  Here is a look into his life and history.

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Gus Wagner 1872-1941

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Gus is standing

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With is wife, Maud

“World’s Champion Hand Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man,” was one of the most exuberant figures in the history of American popular culture. As tattooist and showman, he adorned thousands of customers and thrilled audiences from coast to coast in the early years of the 20th century.

Gus was born in Marietta, Ohio, a trading and boatbuilding town on the Ohio River. At age twelve he saw his first tattooed man, “Captain Costentenus the Greek Albanian,” in a traveling show. As a young man he hit the road as an itinerant salesman and laborer. In 1897 he boarded the cargo steamer Bellona at Newport News, Virginia, thus embarking on a four-year career as amerchant seaman.

Traveling around the world, Gus got to know many seaports: Vera Cruz, London, Capetown, Sydney, Auckland, Honolulu, New York, San Francisco, and others. He also discovered his true calling. Gus claimed that he learned to tattoo from tribesmen in Java and Borneo who showed him how to use traditional hand-made tools. By 1901, Gus reportedly had 264 tattoos of his own, allowing him to promote himself as “the most artistically marked up man in America.”

Back home, Gus embarked on a forty-year career as a traveling tattooist, tattooed man, and circus performer.

Wagner Banner Worlds Champion Tattoo Artist and Tattooed Man

Gus and Maude

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Gus at one of the Circus shows

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Gus Wagner's cart

He largely eschewed the new electric tattooing machines that transformed the art form after 1890, and remained faithful to his hand-held instruments. With other wandering artists, he carried tattooing inland from coastal ports, making it part of the culture of small-town America in the 20th century.

At some point late in life, Gus compiled a scrapbook of snapshots, trade cards, and other ephemera saved over the course of his career. Largely vanquished by movies, radio, and television, this world comes to life again in Gus’s photographs and souvenirs. In his later years Gus diversified his talents, showing and selling busts and totems he carved out of wood. He also became a gem collector, taxidermist, and exhibitor of rare animals, reptiles, and birds. He continued to work as a showman in circuses and Wild West shows. Gus died after being struck by lightning, in 1941. Wow what a way to go!

Brought to you by,

Spitfire Girl

My Two Favorite Men.

Of coarse this does not include my father. Pops will always be number one.

Through my life there has been these two characters who have influenced, entertained and awed me.
Lets start with Jack Nicholson. HELLOO! The Shining…who doesn’t=remember that one. I’m still scared from his performance in that film. There is something so wonderful and playful about his personality. I definitely need to have him over for dinner. Hmm what will I cook.
Ribs?

Here is some fun facts about Jack I bet you didn’t know….
Nicholson was brought up believing that his grandparents, John Joseph Nicholson (a department store window dresser ) and Ethel May Rhoads (a hairdresser, beautician and amateur artist ), were his parents. Nicholson only discovered that his “parents” were actually his grandparents and his sister was in fact his mother in 1974, after a journalist for Time magazine who was doing a feature on Nicholson informed him of the fact. By this time, both his mother and grandmother had died. Nicholson has stated he does not know who his father is, saying “Only Ethel and June knew and they never told anybody”, and has chosen not to have a DNA test or to pursue the matter.
Oh Jack.
last detail jack nicholson My Two Favorite Men.

To be continued…..