Most of us have a motto we live by. “Live each day to the fullest,” “Live fast, die young,” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” For Tammy Pope, she not only lives by a motto, she named her vintage business after the words she lives by.
Tammy Pope is the lovely owner of Live True Vintage in East Nashville, Tenn. Tammy had her grand opening of her eclectic business just a little over a year ago on May 18, 2013. The road to getting the place business-ready was not easy. If you look up the definition of “blood, sweat and tears,” I’m pretty sure you’d see a picture of Tammy pouring herself into whipping the building into shape. While most people would have given up on a run-down building, Tammy did not and the fruits of her labors show when you walk into the store today. Tammy has the whole store displayed in such a charming and appealing way. She definitely gets a A++ in decorating.
When asked to describe her shop, the first word she said was “fun.” She went on to explain that when girls come into groups to try stuff on together, even if they do not purchase anything, they say they have fun. This is the biggest compliment to her. She also says she gets to listen to The Cramps instead of local radio station Jack FM, which she was subjected to when she worked for the United States Postal Service. I have to admit, being a music lover myself, it is nice when you can listen to what you want while you work.
She opened the business out of necessity. “First I started doing Ebay and Etsy. It was going good and I would set up a flea markets,” explained Tammy. She would also commission pieces and paint furniture. She kept accumulating items and first bought a little vintage bus and showcased at car shows. When it started to look like she might have to get a storage unit to store all the vintage treasures she was finding, she started looking for a residential business. After looking for a long time she found the building she currently occupies.
She described her experience with opening up her business as, “Super satisfying….any progress is your own.” There was no electricity during the first three months and she started having other problems with the building. She stated it’s, “been like a fun roller-coaster.” And how she elaborated on that was the feeling you get when the roller-coaster is about to crest at the top of the hill and the feeling as you’re plummeting down (she also did an amazing demonstration of being on a roller-coaster). Even though it’s a wild ride, when the roller-coaster stops, you’re wanting to go again.
Coming up with the business name didn’t prove to be a cake walk as one would think. When she started to create her online stores on Ebay and Etsy, she used the search tool to ensure there wasn’t another name out there. Every name kept coming up taken. Out of a fit of frustration, she threw her head and fists to the desk to at least take a moment to breath. That’s when she looked at her hands and decided to type in the words that are tattooed at the tops of her fingers. She entered the words, “Live True”, and BAM! the name wasn’t taken and the answer had truly been right at her fingertips the whole time. “Live True is my business motto. I’m not apologizing for anything,” stated Tammy. I’d say one can’t argue with that because these two words have a big meaning and is a phrase everyone can understand.
I asked her if she had any favorite items she enjoyed selling. “I like t-shirts because they’re always so funny.” She had a Dolly Parton t-shirt that sold in one day. She also likes country and western concert tour shirts, especially from the 70s and 80s. “It makes people so happy to find these t-shirts.” She likes to see people’s faces light up when they discover a t-shirt from their favorite band, musician or tour. As someone that still owns some of my band t-shirts from back in the day, I can see why people get so happy when they find their favorite. Her favorite part about owning Live True Vintage is seeing everybody and when her friends come to visit. She also enjoys the shows that are showcased at the shop. There is a space in the shop that bands and musicians can set up and play a show.
To close out the interview, I asked Tammy for some closing remarks or what I like to call, “Famous Last Words.” She said this, “Support small businesses. If you can’t come in, you can share a status [on Facebook].” She also pointed out that other small businesses help each other out and support each other. Live True Vintage is a charming little shop that not only delivers a great message with it’s name, it also delivers the best vintage products in town.