Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rocket Rebellion

Posted By on March 24, 2011, 10:30 AM

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As the craft scene continues to rise on a local level, one of the strangest businesses rising with them are trinket shops. Filled to the brim with fashionable wears and other artistic and nostalgic goods, these small businesses have been popping up in odd locations (most in old-downtown settings) and promoting items you just can't find in a regular store setting. Not to mention the fact that they're appearing in some interesting cities you wouldn't expect to find them in.

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--- For this interview we traveled all the way down to Spanish Fork to check out Rocket Rebellion. Known to most via word-of-mouth and flyers throughout several counties, the family-run retro styled boutique got its starts roughly three years ago selling mostly vintage clothing. Over time they've branched out their supply of smaller goods and knickknacks to become a must-visit stop in Utah County. I got a chance to chat with the main gal gal behind it all, NaTasha Ahlin, about the shop and its short history, plus thoughts on local art and crafts. Along with a couple dozen photos of the shop for you to check out here.

NaTasha Ahlin
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http://rocketrebellion.blogspot.com

Gavin: Hey NaTasha! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.

NaTasha: The store was opened by my three sisters and I, and our mom. We have always enjoyed all things vintage and thought we could tie this in with our love of fashion. My name is NaTasha, the oldest of the four sisters, and a mother of three. When I am not at the shop or playing mom I enjoy attending photo shoots with my make-up artist fiancé as well as attending car shows and enjoying Utah Craft Brews. Nikki our number one sales girl, enjoys doing in-store displays, dressing up customers, and spending time with her son Mack. If she is not at a Utah Jazz game, she is watching one. Erika our little traveler is the graphic designer of the company. She has created our logo and designs our advertisements. She is the original face of Rocket Rebellion, and is enjoying being a student at the University of Utah. Neena, the baby of the family, is a sophomore at Payson High. She is currently apprenticing and learning what it takes to run a business. Our Mom, Tresa, is an active member of the community. Always volunteering and trying to better things around town. She is the creative force and financial backer. She has extensive experience in displays and window dressing, and enjoys being a grandma of four.
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Gavin: How did you first take an interest in apparel and fashion?

NaTasha: My sisters and I were born a fashion statement. Growing up, my mom loved to put us in matching outfits, from hair bows to shoes and socks. She would love if we all dressed the same today. Once a year we all wear matching outfits for her on the 4th of July.

Gavin: Did you seek out any education in those areas, or are you more self-taught?

NaTasha: No school or training. We were born fashionistas. Our family has owned and run a business for over twenty years. Sometimes the best training is formal training.
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Gavin: How did the idea for Rocket Rebellion come about? And what made you guys decide to keep it in Spanish Fork rather than go to Provo or SLC?

NaTasha: We decided we needed something vintage inspired in the area. My mom had just purchased a building that fit our needs, and we wanted to add something unique and fun to happy valley. Longing for the glamour era of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, we are hoping to bring back the nostalgic “date night” when women dressed like ladies.

Gavin: Was the original intention to make it a family-run business, or was that something you simply decided on along the line?

NaTasha: The idea was based around the idea of the family starting a business where we all had something to offer.
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Gavin: What was it like for all of you getting set up and planning out how the shop would look?

NaTasha: Many late nights of brainstorming, arguing, and laughs, led to the great ideas that brought our shop together.

Gavin: Rocket Rebellion opened up in October of 2008. What were the first few months like, and what was the overall opinion from the city?

NaTasha: Up until recently we had little interest and zero community support. Our best costumers traveled from Salt Lake on a destination stop. Things are finally picking up due to increased media advertising and word of mouth.
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Gavin: What's the process like for you in deciding what kind of clothing and other materials that go up on the racks?

NaTasha: We want to stay true to our original idea of bringing back glamour. We look for unique clothing, shoes, and accessories, to make any lady a knockout. We also keep gentlemen in mind with cool shirts, jackets, belts, hair products, and the most perfect stick on mustache to complete the look.

Gavin: I understand a few family members have departed since opening and you've taken on most of the responsibilities. How was it for you to step into that role?

NaTasha: Our little sister Erika is attending college at the U. And is busy perusing her new career in communications, and plans to work at the shop soon.
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Gavin: At what point did you decide to move the store from being just clothing and accessories, and incorporate material like trinkets, crafts and collectables?

NaTasha: We have always carried oddities and curiosities, like vintage candy, pin up décor, retro bar collectibles, kitchen ware, aprons, dishes, novelties, and much more.

Gavin: Who are some of the local crafters and designers you've brought in, and how do you determine who to display locally from month to month?

NaTasha: When we find something unique for vintage inspired we seek out those artists. We are always looking to seek out local talent.
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Gavin: You've been in business for about 2 %uFFFD years now, are there any plans to expand or change things up or will you stick to things as they are for now?

NaTasha: We would like to expand in the sense of travel. Attending car shows, concerts, and rockabilly events. We also plan on hosting pin up girl contests, concerts, and bazaars.

Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on our fashion scene, both good and bad?

NaTasha: It’s so exciting to see our new customers stepping away from the grunge look and wanting to stand out in a crowd. For too long we have turned casual Fridays into an everyday event. Choosing the easy approach and wearing a plethora of sweats, workout wear, pajama pants, flip flops, crocs, and slippers. Hopefully this trend is reaching an end.
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Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

NaTasha: Our location is holding us back .We are hoping our area will continue to catch on and think outside of the box.

Gavin: Do you have any favorite shops you like to work with or shop from?

NaTasha: We have a lot of friends in the Salt Lake community. Some of our favorites are; Abode, Hip and Humble, and the Frosty Darling. All of which are owned by hard working women like ourselves.
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Gavin: What's your take on the local art and craft scenes here and the impact they're having on the community?

NaTasha: We are very excited to see new artists with original ideas. It truly showcases what a unique state Utah is.

Gavin: Business wise, how has it been for you surviving as a locally-owned business in this economy? And what advice can you give others looking to start up here in Utah?

NaTasha: It’s been a struggle. We really hope people begin to realize that shopping local not only helps entrepreneurs, but also benefits local communities. It has been said, “businesses cannot thrive without community, and community cannot thrive without business,” this stands true.
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Gavin: Do you have any advice for people looking to start up their own business?

NaTasha: Make sure you have adequate financial backing. It’s more of a struggle than people may think.

Gavin: What can we expect from both yourself and Rocket Rebellion over the rest of the year?

NaTasha: We are going to host more in-store events. We will be having a shop local party, pin up photo shoot (with local make-up artists, photographers, and hairstylists). My mom is currently on a downtown committee that is striving to promote local business and make main street shopper friendly.
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Gavin: Is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?

NaTasha: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog. Mention this interview and receive 20% off your purchase. Hope to dress you up soon!


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