[kuh • lahy • dohs] An online shop offering a curated mix of vintage & independent designs. May you look through & always find something beautiful!
Two years ago, I remember meeting Amanda Vega for the first time. We shared cheesecake amongst a group of girlfriends and even though this was a new meet, I had a really good feeling about her. Amanda modeled for our first lookbook. Among other pursuits, she is also an artist and musician performing locally in the DMV area with her talented husband, Posido. Amanda is also business owner and curator of the newly minted online shop, Kaleidos. We spent a bright morning together at the Artist's Lofts where we chatted about business, life, the fears and excitement of building new things, and a few fun rapid fire questions (playlist, skincare, recipes, etc). Enjoy the interview and I hope you grow encouraged in your own journey to pursue the best and most authentic version of yourself. From that, the well runs deep, rootedness grows, love flows, dreams may emerge, and others draw close.
Tell us about that “aha” moment for Kaleidos. What was the origin story?
At the end of 2012, I left my job as a visual merchandiser for H&M to pursue music full-time - something that I’ve felt calling and knocking on my heart since I was 15. In 2013, I decided to focus on songwriting - now that I had this time and space. I encountered a really serious bout of writer’s block. I tried to discipline myself through it. Whatever I could squeeze out of myself daily, I tried, but ultimately felt like my soul was dry and had nothing to say. My husband and I moved back to Virginia and moved in with my mom - financially it was difficult.
We had to simplify and scale back a lot and one of those areas was my closet. I had a lot of clothes but wasn’t wearing them so I thought I would start selling them. I discovered a whole community of shops on Instagram, instashops - where women sold their clothes. I began to get really serious about it and started getting creative about creating an instashop - it tapped into my experience as a visual merchandiser. I took a lot of time taking good pictures and styling the clothes for sale on sisters and friends. I started gaining more followers. It was fun and doing this tapped into a distant dream that I've always had of owning my own small boutique. While managing my instashop, I discovered many independent and emerging designers. After that point, I started concepting a real shop.
What is your dream for Kaleidos?
My ultimate dream is to successfully open up a brick and mortar. I want Kaleidos to be a shop that has a creative community behind it. For example, I would love to incorporate live music and do pop up events in the shop. I named the shop Kaleidos because inside of a kaleidoscope live these little variant objects, that when shining light on them creates this inspiring swirl of beauty. Life is far from being one-dimensional. We have complexities (stories, ideas, hopes, dreams, pains). It's the amalgamation of these fragments that make life so interesting and beautiful - and that is the heart behind the brand of Kaleidos.
What has surprised you about starting Kaleidos?
What has surprised me is that I could actually do it. It started as a hobby and it quickly snowballed into Kaleidos. I’m surprised that I have actually made this a legitimate business and attended my first trade show in New York talking to and selecting designers for the shop. I am actually doing this. There is a lot of fear coupled with a lot of excitement. When I feel those insecurities, I tell myself to keep going.
What is a “lesson learned” piece of advice that you would tell a budding business owner?
Work hard. Believe in yourself. Keep going. This is something that I tell myself all the time. You can do it. You ARE doing it. Just keep going. Specifically, I would say organization is important. There are a lot of roles and tasks that you have to juggle and balance. You get pulled in so many directions but in order to move forward, you need structure. Write down your objectives. Create a structure for yourself so you can move forward. I'm still learning to master this.
What’s on your playlist now?
I am pretty loyal to Kye Kye, Lykke Li, Banks, and Broods. I listen to a lot of woman-fronted bands that are more performance based and have a strong vibe and have an electric/synth sound. I went through a phase when all I listened to was Daughter. Lately though, I have been playing a lot of the "discover" section on Spotify. I love discovering new emerging talent. whether in music or fashion. It's definitely become a passion of mine. (My newest discovery is Norway artist, AURORA.)
What creative do you absolutely love right now?
I am inspired by Madeleine Furlong of Wide Eyed Legless. I am inspired by her aesthetic, approach to life and minimalist fashion sense. She has a good way of exuding a lot of creativity in simplistic form. Also, I am super, super, SUPER late on the ManRepeller game, but I've only recently discovered the amazingness of Leandra Medine. This interview just made me love her so much.
What jewelry are you loving right now?
Right now, I’m wearing my Kicheko collaboration necklace and have been wearing it for a few days now. Love it. I love not caring too much about what I’m wearing. The necklace speaks for itself. It is my outfit. I wear clothes with it of course, but I can wear it with a t-shirt and jeans and pop it on. I’m also wearing Young Frankk rings, which I’m carrying in the shop. I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time.
What beauty product is a game-changer for you right now?
I’m into skincare products right now and recently discovered Herbivore Botanicals - a skincare line that uses natural ingredients. I’m using their black charcoal soap and toner and absolutely love it.
What recipe can you not get enough of?
It’s super simple but I roast a lot of veggies. The mix varies but it includes brussel sprouts. sweet potato, red potatoes, asparagus, onions, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower and sunflower oil with salt, pepper, garlic. Set the oven to 425 degrees for 25 minutes and you have a super healthy dish.
Who are your style mavens that inspire your own aesthetic?
It's a mix - Lykke Li, Alexa Chung, Leandra Medine, Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. You can get a visual aesthetic of my favorite lady muses here on my Pinterest. The core style that represents the Kaleidos girl is that they wear whatever they chose to wear effortlessly and with confidence.
If you weren’t doing Kaleidos, you would be…
Doing music. I haven’t given up my music. This new venture has definitely occupied me in my creative space but it all started because I wanted to do music and it’s still a big part of who I am.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the head and heart of Amanda. Her diverse background in visual merchandising, music and fashion set her up to uniquely curate an exciting new addition to the creative community. Follow @shopkaleidos on Instagram and visit her online shop. We have our eye on a few pieces ourselves and are excited to keep up as the shop rolls out new designers in the next weeks. Also, check out our collaboration necklace, the Nanga - a beautiful mix of natural and nylon rope cording designed to anchor any outfit and drawn together with gold-plated magnetic closures.