Hello everyone! My name is Caroline and I am the owner of Viola Lee Vintage, a vintage
clothing and embroidering company. I started my journey of owning my own business around a year ago and I am so incredibly happy that I did. I never dreamed that I would be where I am today, but it has been an amazing experience!
I have always been interested in fashion and a sustainable lifestyle, but I definitely started out on a different path – I have a Pharm.D. and worked as a Pharmacy Manager for several years before venturing down this road. I didn’t enjoy my career at all, nor did I agree with how the industry was perceived and how much waste was created every day. I once got in trouble with my bosses because I was trying to create a recycling program for medication bottles and they said it was too much of an eyesore. So, I quit my job and decided to do something for myself Instead!
Working at a few jobs before starting this business, I tried to see how I could make a difference in the world and promote sustainable living. I worked at a clothing store and loved the whole process, but once I realized the true cost of fast fashion, I knew I had to do something different. Not only is the fashion industry one of the most polluting in the world, it is also estimated that the average American throws away 80 pounds of clothing a year! That’s just insane! Only about 15% of this waste actually gets donated or recycled, so I knew there was a lot of room for Change.
I started collecting vintage items (which I’ve always thought was the coolest of styles) that were at the end of the donating/thrift store line and their next destination was the landfill. I found items that I thought were funky & unique (but were trash to someone else!) and have been able to save over 1500 pounds of clothing from the landfill so far. A few months ago, during the quarantine, I even started embroidering vintage items to give a new them a new look and life. How I ended up as a business owner still baffles me, but if you have an idea and really want to make a difference in the world, you CAN! Just believe in yourself, follow your passions and your dreams will come to life. In the words of Greta Thunberg, "no one is too small to make a difference!".
Go check out all her cute vintage finds on Instagram @violaleevintage!