Boss B*tch Highlight: Retrodeo La
As a female owned brand, I love to shine a light on other women who are on their grind. It’s important that us women support one another in a world that just wants to see us fail! You all know by now, my brand Elite Urbanite is all about being “eclectic and culturally aware”. This means being in tune with many different trends while being a bit quirky or “different”. With no shame of course! This doesn’t just stop with music, fashion, or television, it applies to decor aesthetic as well!
A few months back I posted the before and afters of my apartment here, but I’m always looking for new design inspiration on Instagram. In my search I came across an awesome page called @retrodeo.la! Retrodeo LA is a Los Angeles based vintage furniture company owned by the lovely Emily Rose Watkins. She has a fantastic eye for style that is rare to come by, and I’m completely obsessed! Her most recent project was helping Big Mouth writer and instagram comedian Jordan Firstman achieve the Barbarella inspired bachelor pad of his dreams (here)! I was in awe when I browsed through all the unique pieces. I immediately wanted to do my whole apartment over! As someone who wants a Studio 54 themed wedding, Emily’s style totally fits my vibe, so naturally I reached out to ask her a few questions about her super groovy company Retrodeo LA, check it out below!
Q: What event sparked your interest in starting your own brand?
A: I considered starting this brand when I moved into my first apartment in LA. It was the first time I had a space to call my own, and get creative with all the wild decor ideas I’d had floating around in my head. I started sourcing things from all over the place, and couldn’t stop! I’d get so inspired by all the vintage finds, I’d want to change my decor each week. As I started to swap things out, I began to sell things on, which later turned into ‘I just wanna find this cool stuff for everyone’. I’ve always been drawn to colors, and somewhat ‘loud’ styles, so starting a vintage homeware brand that reflects my personal style seemed like a match made in heaven.
Q: Who or what do you draw inspiration from when it comes to you & your brands aesthetic? (Any specific movies, tv shows, celebrities, etc.)
A: I draw a lot of inspiration from music, film and fashion. I originally moved from London where I worked predominantly in fashion and sang in clubs and bars in the evening. Fashion inspires my use of color a lot. I even sometimes drape clothes over items of furniture to check which colors work in my interior. Working in music, I’d always admired the style of Kurt Cobain, Elton John, Freddy Mercury, not just for the music, but they all have that eccentric ‘I’ll wear what I like’ approach which accentuates their artistry. I originally moved to LA to pursue acting, so film and being on set has been a huge inspiration! My last shoot was set in the 1950s, and the set designers did a phenomenal job. I’ve since sold some items to film sets, one of which is an upcoming Will Ferrel film. I wasn’t allowed to know deets, but I’m hoping I see Ron Burgandy using my side table for his glass of scotch so I can say I’ve made it. I’d love to involve myself more on film projects. I’m so busy looking at set design in film, I miss half the plot line. ‘Scarface’ brings huge inspiration. From the 80s Miami Vice feel, to Michelle Pfeiffer’s wardrobe. ‘The Shining’ is also phenomenal, especially that hotel carpet and pea green bathroom. A more recent watch was ‘The Queen’s Gambit’. The set and costume design in that whole series is unreal.
Q: Do you have any pieces or projects that you’re especially proud of?
A: I get especially enthusiastic when I find lip sofas or palm tree lamps! I feature these heavily on my page so I try to stay consistent. They are just so unique and fun. Who wouldn’t want to sit on a giant mouth or have a palm tree in their living room with glowing coconuts?
Q: What is some advice you’d give to other female business/brand owners who are just starting out?
A: To trust your own creative style, if you have a vision, use it. Don’t let instagram create illusions! Running a business, in my personal experience, is sometimes difficult and very chaotic. It’s the behind the scenes that we don’t see enough, which isn’t so glamorous. And be patient. ‘Growing’ your brand and learning along the way is the fun part.
Q: Lastly, knowing what you know now, what’s the best advice you would give your 13 year old self?
A: You’re gonna be filling peoples homes with cool vintage furniture one day, and you’re gonna love it, so quit worrying about what you’re doing with your life.
See what I mean! Look how cool she is?! I can’t wait until I get my own home so I can work with Emily to create the Studio 54 pad of MY dreams. Now that you know more about the woman behind the business, check out her page @retrodeo.la and get inspired!