Flair & Funk

Betty V. Vintage is fashion forward with its own unique vibe

Betty V.’s zest for the world’s avant-garde artifacts is something of a lifelong obsession, going back to time spent at her grandmother’s Phillipsburg antique shop.

“It was always me and my sister hanging out there, trying on hats, messing around,” Betty says. “They closed it in the late '90s and all the stuff from the store went to her basement, so I’d go to her house and look through the basement and find all these cool things.”

Eventually Betty started collecting items to sell on eBay. “I sold things for a while, but I kind of lost patience with it,” she says. “I just kept collecting things. I always had the intention of opening a store of some kind, but I was always too busy working other jobs. Then with COVID, all of my hobbies went away, and I don’t like to sit around much. So I started a webpage, started selling things on Instagram and slowly built up a small following, built up even more clothes. I did that online for about a year. In June of 2021 we heard this space was for rent, so we came, looked around, and it’s got everything that we like.” Betty, along with her boyfriend and business partner Kai, are coming up on the one-year anniversary in the store front on East Main. “We just decided to jump in. Here we are, one year later, and it’s going pretty good so far.”

Walking down the steps from East Main Street and entering Betty V. Vintage is an experience in itself. One is immersed in an underground wonderland of curated curios, clothing of all shapes and sizes, all colors and fabrics, as well as enigmatic furniture, art, and home décor, all individually selected by Betty V. herself.

“I measure every single piece of clothing that’s in the store, price it, put a description on it, research to see if there’s anything special about the piece,” Betty says. “A lot of the stuff I collect are ‘statement pieces’: super fun, weird patterns, the more unique, the better.”

The store itself resembles another yet hand-picked piece of ephemera: the building dates from the 1890s with hardwood floors and most of the original fixtures. The space feels like a well-kept secret finally opened up for the world, very much like the hand-selected items that populate the store. “It’s super unique, it’s weird, which is everything that I look for in what I buy,” Betty says.

When they’re not holding down the store, Betty and Kai are roaming far and wide searching for castoff treasures.

“We travel a lot, and anywhere we go we check out yard sales and thrift stores, we find all types of stuff, talk to different people,” Betty says. “We’ve got a bunch of shirts that we picked up in Vegas in April from a bunch of guys who were greasers. I’m from Anaconda, so I’m always bouncing between there and Butte. Kai’s from Helena so we spend a bunch of time there. Really any reason to go shopping.”

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