Dominique Maciejka remembers going to thrift and antique shops with her mother at the young age of 12. It was then that she was first introduced to vintage clothing and it became a side passion- a passion that she never thought would turn into a career. Now, 18 years later, Maciejka owns the Paper Doll Vintage Boutique.
“Owning a business has definitely been an adventure, said Maciejka. “It’s had its ups and downs but the ups have outweighed the downs.”
Paper Doll Vintage Boutique opened on May 19, 2012 and since then has been voted Long Island’s best vintage shop by the Long Island press in both 2013 and 2014.
The Vintage boutique carries clothes from early as the 1890s to as recent as the 1990s.
It gets its merchandize through auctions or wholesale exchanges. Maciejka doesn’t do personal buys anymore because it was starting to have a thrift store feel where people would negotiate deals with her over clothes during business hours and that’s not what she wanted.
“I really try to find things that are in the highest quality pieces in mint condition, with really unique designs, mostly things that are colored or patterned or that have something really special about them,” Maciejka said. “So it does get really tricky to find the right pieces.”
The boutique has been “successful” with finding “the right pieces,” according to Maciejka, because it has come across vintage designer pieces like Elsa Schiaparelli and Dior.
Paper Doll Vintage Boutique has even sold one bathing suite that now featured on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.
When it comes to what exactly vintage is, “insert quote here describes it as being this.”
And while the boutique does carry 90s crop tops and high-waisted jeans, it also has a strong focus on 40s and 50s pinup girls.
“I love this store,” Bonnie Eannone, a frequent shopper of the boutique and Oakdale resident said. “I have bought this little jacket from the 50s with a little mink collar, lamb wool and it has these beautiful vintage buttons. I wear it all the time and people always ask me where I got it.”
For Meciejka her favorite thing about working in the boutique is interacting with people and seeing how they feel after a positive shopping experience.
Besides that Mecijka said that she has enjoyed the connections and opportunities she has had.
“We have a lot of other designers or people in the fashion industry come in here and look for inspiration or their future collections, for editorials or things like that,” said Maciejka .”To have the recognition from well know designers or editors of magazines and blogs… has been really rewarding and I hope to work with those designers, editors on a more professional level outside of the store.”
Michael Kors, the Baroness of the Baroness latex fashion, and Nasty Gal founder, Sophia Amoruso, have visited the store.
Meciejka has never thought about doing fashion design or being in the fashion industry until now. She went to the School of the Art Institue of Chicago, where she created her own program and graduate with Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture and Art History in 2006.
However, after graduating and figuring out what her next steps in life would be, Meciejka went back to school to take business classes. It would be in 2007 that she started planning to open her own business. Then, after much research, she “pulled the trigger” and opened her shop in Sayville, N.Y on May 19, 2012.
“Sayville is a great town that has antique stores and clothing stores and we fit right in between there,” Maciejka said. “There are a lot of mom and pop shops and small unique business so I thought it would be a great place where we could fit in.”
The history extends beyond the clothes though. Sayville itself is rich with history. At one point it was the center to World War I, Germany radio towers that were partially at fault for the sinking of the Lusitania and also the a hub of bootlegging during the 1920 prohibition.
The storefront in which the boutique now sits, is rumored to have been connected to the restaurant next-door, Café Joel, through underground tunnels used during the prohibition period, according to Meciejka.
“I have spent a lot of late nights here and never seen any ghosts,” said Maciejka.
Now the Paper Doll Vintage Boutique is gearing up for the Miracle on Main Street event on Nov. 29, 2014 in Sayville.