Las Vegan Emily Driscoll co-owns Solde Vintage, a new online store selling curated housewares and adorable antiques. With the help of her business partner and friend Brandon Folmar, Driscoll has quickly put her local business on the map, growing a devoted fanbase. In addition to being a young business owner, the 25-year-old is a mom, a law student at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law and an engaged political activist. We caught up with Driscoll to chat about launching Solde Vintage, what she likes doing when she isn’t scouring thrift stores for treasures and more.
How did Solde Vintage come to be? I’ve always had a lot of fun with collecting vintage items and decorating my house. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do it alone, so I asked my friend Brandon if he would be interested, because I really admire his taste in interior design and vintage. It happened pretty quickly after that. We just started buying and posting things before we really knew what people wanted.
Once we tested the waters, we realized people don’t buy furniture a lot—it’s expensive and takes up room. We noticed our trinkets and bric-a-brac sold better, so we started focusing on that—vases and dining sets, little catch-all trays and vanity boxes, things that are practical and cute that people can use.
Was it something you came up with during the pandemic, or have you always want to run your own store? It kind came out of wanting to make money during the pandemic while still do something that I enjoy. I lost my job last March, so I was getting restless with not having a sense of independence in the way I make money.
How long have you been into vintage? Since I was a kid. My mom collects antiques, and I remember going to garage sales with her. She has a big collection of crystal and a lot of family heirlooms. I personally started buying my own vintage stuff in middle school.
How do you find items to sell in your shop?Trial and error. We buy stuff that we would want in our own houses. And we started listening to what our customers were saying. A lot of them said, “Can you look out for a particular item?” We try to curate based on what our customers ask us and tell us what they’re buying.
Right now, “lovecore” is popular—anything with hearts or cupid or angels, or anything that’s baroque. We like to look for those things a lot. Personally, I love the ’80s and postmodern, anything brass—like your grandma’s house but a little bit sexier. I think it’s a good overlap.
What’s a favorite item you’ve found? One of the cooler things was a side table with a magazine rack underneath and a smoked glass top. It was so cute. I posted it for super cheap, and it sold within a minute. Something I love about our store is that we take pieces that look ordinary on the shelf and make them look really special.
That’s true, the images of your products are so beautiful. How do you photograph them? That’s probably the most labor-intensive part of our process. Once or twice a week we get together and clean everything, taking stickers and tags off. We almost always take pictures in natural light. We just look at a particular piece and try to think of the best way to emphasize its unique features, and photograph it accordingly. Glass pieces look really good in the sun. When you can get the shadow of colored glass on the pavement, it looks really pretty. Brandon takes most of the photos, and he does an amazing job.
What are some of your favorite online shops for knickknacks? Resident Objects and Shopgirl LA. They do a lot of postmodern lacquer pieces, which I really love. Those are harder to find in Vegas; they come up more in Southern California. Astro’s Place is another store in LA that focuses on postmodern pieces. I really wish we could sell more postmodern pieces, but in Vegas, midcentury to ’70s really rolls supreme.
What advice would you give people considering starting an Instagram business? I think the most important things are branding and how you take your pictures. The aesthetic of a store can be so much more valuable than anything you have in it. Also, just staying consistent on social media—it helps boost you on the algorithm.
What interested you about going to law school? I was working in the service industry, and it was really difficult [doing that as] a single mom. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my daughter, and the money in the service industry is really inconsistent.
You volunteered as a legal observer during the Black Lives Matter protests. Would you consider yourself an activist? I don’t like to use that word because there are people who do a lot more work than me, but I am involved politically.
Did your politics motivate you to study law? It really didn’t occur to me until a year into law school how important law is in upholding systems of oppression, and what a big responsibility it is to be an attorney or even a law student. I’ve always been politically inclined and civically engaged, but I really found my niche once I realized the overlap between law and social justice. It seems silly that I didn’t realize it before law school, but I don’t know that the law is the problem—it upholds the entire structure we want to fight against.
Is law school as tough as everyone makes it out to be? Yeah. I didn’t really believe people before I went into law school, and then I got there and it’s worse than you could imagine. The way it’s structured is a total hazing process.
What is your area of focus? Right now I’m kind of focused on civil rights and criminal defense. I’m looking at being a public defender.
Shop Solde Vintage on Instagram at @soldevintage.