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Front Row with Carley Adonis of Barley's Bloset

Front Row with Carley Adonis of Barley's Bloset

Nestled on Collingwood Road in Observatory (Cape Town) lies Barley's Bloset, the one-year old vintage thrift & antiques shop founded and curated by self-professed shopaholic, Carley Adonis. Initially a passion project spawned from "the closet of a shopaholic"Barley's Bloset has managed to quickly emerged as (not only) a fully-fledged retail store but also as a beacon of hope for the local Gen z vintage clothing and antiques scene.

I first found out about Barley's Bloset through social media a few months ago because of their eye-catching new logo which was fluttering about on various mutuals' Instagram stories. Two interconnected "B"s in the silhouette of a butterfly contrasted by strips of pastel pink and orange–a logo refresh which perfectly encapsulates the meaning and identity of Carley's entrepreneurial pursuit. Described by Carley herself during our virtual exchange as being: "Very inspired by colour and eras past. The concept of having the two B's be a butterflysignifying our growth, a metamorphosis."

Quintessential items include various strains of denim including brands like Levis, Hugo Boss & Lee. Skirts and shirts, Corduroys and cardigans, matched with an assortment of vintage jackets, and more–everything bursting with colour. Antiques with a unique twist & appeal–characterised by quirky silhouettes or emblazoned with funky prints. Their product drops range from curated in-house catalogue photoshoots to innovative Gen z TikTok marketing methods, signifying how the Barley Bloset team continue to find authentic ways in which to communicate the sustainable message of their brand.

So take an FRM detour with us and enjoy this ensuing interview with Carleywhich allows us to take a peak into the world of Barley's Bloset, transforming the life of a shopaholic into a sustainable business, establishing her BB team, thoughts on conscious shopping, and more!

Would you mind introducing yourself and including a short description of what you do?

CA: My name is Carley Adonis and I would consider myself a creative entrepreneur. For as long as I can rememberI have always had a deep love for fashion and the art of getting dressed. I have always seen clothing as a form of self-expression and I embody that in my daily life. I like to think that I'm an artist & clothing is my medium. My mom always had a love of antiquing and she exposed me to the world of pre-loved treasures. Since then I have been an avid thrifter.

Could you tell me a bit more about Barley's Bloset? From the ideation behind the name to what the brand identity of the store represents to you?

CA: Barley's Bloset started from the closet of a shopaholic. I have always loved shoppinga little too much. I remember coming home with black bags filled with thrifted clothes in high school & having to hide them at friends' homes because at this pointmy dad had had it with me and my shopping habits. So to get the stock back home, I would have to trickle it in slowly, garment by garment lol. At the time I had no intentions of reselling. I just couldn't leave the store without the gems I fell in love with. Once I left university I needed a source of income and during this period I was clearing out my closet and thoughtwhy not sell these items? I chose Instagram as my platform at the time and I made a page initially. I wanted the page to be called 'Carley's Closet', as it was a cleansing of Carley's closet, but unfortunately that handle was already taken. At the time my nickname was 'Barley' and that's how we landed on 'Barley's Bloset', which was available. I never intended for Barley's to turn into what it hadhad I known, I would have put more thought into the name lol but here we are and it has stuck. Everyone thinks I'm a blood lol, but nojust an entrepreneur halted by the restrictions of Instagram and their handle policies. I was tempted to change the name during our rebrand but everyone I told absolutely refused to let me change the name. So here we are, Barley's Bloset forever!

To me, Barley's Bloset is a way to connect with my community and be a part of their journey of self-expression. I love that I am able to play a role in someone's closetthat truly brings me joy. I see Barley's Bloset as an outlet for self-expression.

What were you most inspired by when it comes to the creative direction, curatorial vibe & design process for your Barley's Bloset store? I've really been enjoying your new logo and branding.

CA: I am very inspired by colour and eras past. I have adored fashion from previous eras and have such a love for quality unique clothing. Barley's Bloset is rooted in sustainability and quality. Through my curation of the garments in the store, I tend to gravitate towards statement piecespieces that tell a story. Clothing has always allowed me to tell my story. Seeing that our store turned one this year and the business will be turning three this year, I thought it was time for a refreshas I created our original logo on Canva in probably ten minutes three years ago. This time around, I wanted to be intentional about it and that's when I teamed up with Chulu, my graphic designer. I expressed my desire for a fresh, colourful, playful vibe and through our collaboration she executed my vision perfectly. I am very pleased with the results and love the concept of having the two B's be a butterflysignifying our growth, a metamorphosis.

I see Barley's Bloset celebrated its first birthday last month! Congratulations. How has the experience of running a functional vintage store within the heartbeat of Cape Town been?

CA: I am very proud to have turned one, Barley's Bloset is my pride and joy and I am so thankful for all the support from our community and that they allow me to pursue my dreams. Running a business is not easy, there are many challengesparticularly in retail. I have been blessed with an incredible mentor, Sarah, she is the owner of Better Half, a thrift store in Observatory, just around the corner from mine. She has taught me so much about running a sustainable business and I will always be grateful for her guidance.

How do you divide up responsibilities within your organisation? I'm sure you've got a small team of some sorts?

CA: My teamalso known as the Barley's Bloset Babesconsists of three incredibly talented women in their own right. They are all freelance creatives in Cape Town, highly skilled individuals and it has taken me some time to find the perfect team, so I am so grateful that they award me with their time and energy. All three are fashion school graduates. Two of them are stylists and one of them is a MUA. They alternate shifts as they continue to pursue their respective careers. Empowering my team is very important to me and allowing them to reach their full potentialregardless of whether or not that has anything to do with Barley's Blosetis really important to me. I want the absolute best for them and their careers and I am so thankful for the working relationship, or rather family we have fostered. Everyone helps out where they can and they still have the flexibility to focus on their respective priorities. I do most of the operational responsibilities of the business and they assist me with creative concepts and the daily functioning of the store. I am nothing without my team and I am so lucky to have such a powerhouse of creatives passionate about fashion.

What is the definition of "conscious shopping" according to you? And why do you feel it's important that the consumers of today shop consciously?

CA: Conscious shopping to me is intentional shopping. I want my customers to be mindful of their selection and mindful of their responsibility as a conscious consumer. The fashion industry plays a big role in the current climate crisis and it is important to shop responsibly. To be mindful of one's consumption and to support businesses that embody that. There are many pioneers in the fashion industry forging new sustainable methods to consume and appreciate clothing and I think shopping secondhand aids in that process of mindful consumption. Secondhand shopping highlights the importance of honouring and cherishing one's clothes for lifetimes to come. To take care, to mend, to re-wear, to upcycleto be creative with one's sustainable efforts. I personally believe that we have produced enough clothes to last us lifetimes to come and take pride in wearing only secondhand or locally-made clothing.

What else do you have in store (excuse the pun) for Barley's Bloset & more in 2024?

CA: I think what's next for Barley's Bloset is its website, it has been in the works for quite some time and you can expect it to go live very soon! I hope to continue to create an environment where my community engages with and feels inspired by and to continue my efforts to provide conscious shopping to all.


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