How This Former Model Turned Entrepreneur Started a Vintage Clothing Boutique at 50

After 30 years of working, many people would be looking forward to retirement. But with the launch of Indigo Style, a vintage fashion boutique located in Brooklyn, New York, Sheryl Roberts proves it’s never too late to push the reset button on your life.

Roberts started her career as a fashion model gracing covers and editorial spreads of major magazines such as Ebony, Essence, and Heart & Soul. During her 30-year career, she also worked on advertising campaigns for Mizani, Clairol, L’oreal, Target, Black Opal Cosmetics and almost 200 national commercials and short films. “Personally, I am most proud of being a mother, said Roberts. However, professionally, I am very proud of the body of work I have attained during my 30-year career. Mizani was my first major campaign and it paid triple what the normal pay to models of color was at that time.”

She spoke with Black Enterprise about shifting careers.

What are the first three things you did to learn about opening and managing a boutique?

Actually, I got a call from the lead woman who was opening the space and she asked me if I was interested in coming into a space because she kept hearing about IndigoStyle Vintage. But the store opening was in 3 weeks. So I had to go to Camba  Start Small and Think Big and have them help me do my LLC, business paperwork, build out my section of the store, plus shop for added inventory all in 3 weeks! I learned you just have to go for it and seize the moment sometimes. There is no perfect time to start. I also learned not to let negative self-talk distract me from my goal. And lastly, I learned to use all resources at my disposal, including friends, Google, nonprofit organizations such as SBA, SCORE, etc., and also be confident in my brand and what it brings uniquely to the table.

What makes IndigoStyle unique?

IndigoStyle Vintage is one of the few vintage shops that offers expertly curated modern vintage, designer resale and indie designers/makers in sizes 0-20+ at an attainable price point while also offering styling of all the merchandise. We take great care in sourcing vendors/makers of color and incubating burgeoning entrepreneurs who want to eventually expand their brands. You will leave feeling confident, beautiful, and know you have a go-to statement piece to enhance your wardrobe and make you look good.

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During a time, when online shopping is on the rise, why did you decide to open a brick-and-mortar store? 

I opened a brick-and-mortar store because vintage clothing is different from mass-produced fast fashion. Vintage clothing is all about the fit, quality, and details of the garment. It’s usually best seen in person and tried on because it is a one-of-a-kind piece. Also, I felt there was a need for it in my area because people are finally becoming more aware of sustainable and eco-friendly fashion. Millennials are taking the lead in the movement to lessen the footprint of cluttering our planet with cheap throwaway goods and celebrities have taken away the stigma of wearing “old clothing.” Vintage is now hip and trendy and Bed-Stuy is the best place to be in the best borough of Brooklyn! However, an e-commerce shop is coming to the www.indigostylevintage.com website in mid-September.

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What skills from your former career as a fashion model and actress apply to your daily tasks of running boutique?

My years of modeling allow me to know what will look good and flatter the body. I love to develop a rapport with my customers. I can look at someone and generally tell their size and style within the first few minutes of meeting them. I also help them get through the “layers underneath” and connect on a deeper level to find out what insecurities they have about their bodies.

What are a few “fashion rules” more women should break?

The biggest fashion rule women should delete from their minds is age-appropriate dressing. Age is a number. You should strive to wear what fits and flatters your body. It is definitely important to evolve in age and expand your style as you grow as a person. We should not be dressing like we did in college at 40. But if you want to wear cut off shorts then do it at any age but adjust “how” you wear them. I also wear white all year around. Again, it isn’t what you wear but how you wear it. And lastly, I think the biggest misconception women have is that they have to fit into a box or look a certain way to fit in. Why fit in? Stand out! The key to looking fabulous in any outfit is confidence

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