We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaleigh Bergstrom and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaleigh, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I wouldn’t ever consider myself a risk taker, I’m a routine loving home-body. But starting this business has been the biggest risk I’ve likely ever taken. It was terrifying. I previously co-owned a wholesale apparel showroom for 9 years, so I’ve always been in the clothing business. In 2018, I simultaneously started Cycle Etc. as a side hustle to fill that deep need for a creative outlet. But, when we unexpectedly closed our wholesale business, I was immediately thrust into building what was a side-hustle into a full time job. And it was scary! I had to figure out how to take this small online Etsy shop and turn it into a successful business model. How do I grow? What other outlets of profit can I find? Those unknown questions (and unknown paychecks) were terrifying but also drove me to work that much harder! It’s been an amazing journey, one that is still growing and changing, but I’m so glad I was forced to take that initial risky step.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started Cycle Etc. Vintage with the intention of integrating casual, wearable vintage clothing into everyday modern closets, to do my part in minimizing waste produced by the fashion industry, and to help support a sustainable future. I wanted to make vintage more accessible and easier for people to naturally incorporate into their wardrobe. Therefore, my focus was on quality casual basics. I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl, so that’s where I started. I didn’t source it unless I would personally wear it. Part of it was intentional, but part of it was fear that if an item didn’t sell, it could just remain in my own closet! But that fear has since melted away, and it has kind of become my niche. I became a vendor at Flea Style and have sourced quality casual basics for them for over a year now! My collections grew to incorporate more workwear and utility fashions, vintage military products, and motorcycle jackets, etc. But it also grew to incorporate antiques when I opened my booth at Lula B’s, which now includes what I like to call ‘modern rustic industrial’ furniture and home goods in addition to a rotating collection of complementing vintage clothing (obviously!). Antiques include everything from primitives, to industrial pieces, and MCM furniture with simple clean lines, stoneware, contemporary barware, ceramics, etc. I’ve learned a lot from my fellow vendors at Lula B’s and am grateful for the success the exposure there has given me. I even connected with my most recent supporter via Lula B’s; the owner of Koneko Studio stumbled upon my booth and reached out to see if I would be interested in sourcing clothing and home goods for her boutique, Hey Koneko! I am beyond thankful for all of the growth and success this crazy year, even in the midst of a pandemic, has brought me. And, am fortunate to be able to source product for three amazing local businesses, who have the same commitments to create a more sustainable future by providing vintage to our great city of Dallas! It’s been a hectic year of juggling, but I’m looking forward to more growth in the coming new year. My goal is to expand into other antique malls and vintage stores, as well as add boutique clients to my catalogue of retailers. Cheers to more growth in 2021!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
BREAKFAST my favorite morning stop is Fiction Coffee for a Chai Latte or Jaram Donuts for a cronut. LUNCH would be at any of my Deep Ellum favorites: Ruins Revolver Braindead Cane Rosso SHOPPING the best in town: Curiosities Dolly Python Benny Jack Antiques Mantiques DINNER Sasa Sushi… no question!! DRINKS Bryan Street Tavern for that casual, home town local bar and some darts and pool!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a shout out to all the staff and vendors at Lula B’s – Design District! I was so lucky to open a booth there in February of 2020 and have already learned so much from them and my experiences there. Getting to work with the staff and engage with customers has changed the way that I think about sourcing and curating my products, gives me feedback and insight into the trends of shoppers, but most importantly gives me a much needed connection to other like-minded career creatives! A huge thanks to them and all my new co-workers!
Brian Walker: @_brianwalker