Big apple


Francesca Martinez is the proprietor of Bad Apple Vntg. 1001 S. Virginia St., 800-1069, a vintage clothing boutique she started in May, 2015. For more information, visit

Are you from here?

No. I moved here three years ago from Los Angeles. And before that, Vegas, and before that, LA again.

How’d you end up here?

So, Kristin [Rodriguez], best friend, went to [the University of Nevada, Reno] right after high school, and I went to LA. And I would just keep visiting because I was losing my mind. And the community here was just really cool. It was easy to talk to people versus there, where I never saw anyone again, and it was hard to connect with people when I did have that time to talk to someone, so it was pretty refreshing. … Everyone is really supportive.

What were you doing in LA?

I went to college there at FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, to be a buyer. What was I doing down there? Just little retail jobs here and there, because no one was taking me seriously even after I graduated, because I was 19 or 20, when I graduated, and there’s such a competitive market down there, because the fashion industry is really condensed down there, so finding a job was impossible, and when I did, it was too much. … I worked at the flagship store of Forever 21, the one that all the West Coast shops model their stores after, and then I was a head buyer at a buying office.

So, you came to Reno, and what did you feel was missing?

When I kept visiting, I had the idea that this would be a great spot to open a store because I wanted a spot where I could also be a lot more creative, because being a buyer, you just do a lot more bookkeeping, and looking at trends, and number crunching. … But having a store, I can do windows and stuff, and I think screenprinting is really fun, and textile printing is really cool, too. I felt like it was a good outlet for me to do whatever I wanted creatively, as well as make my own money by doing something I love. … I hand pick all the vintage things that are in here. … So it’s curated. And then I have a lot of pins and patches by local artists—well, some are local artists and some are independent people that are young and doing this new medium of art that’s easier for people to purchase and also show off their art.

What do you look for in vintage clothes? What’s the aesthetic?

So, trends kind of repeat themselves from different decades. So trends come back. So right now everyone is in the ’90s mode, even though it’s really the ’70s. So, new stores, corporate stores, are making repeats of things from the ’70s and ’90s, and you can get the same pieces from a vintage store that have a little more value—the production is better quality, and it’s more original.

Anything else?

I started it with my own money—which is my favorite thing to tell people to really get up on that high horse—because no one takes you seriously at a bank when you’re 21.

Where’d you get the start-up funds?

I worked. A lot. At the Melting Pot [World Emporium]. I was doing overtime constantly, and moved up really quickly, and saved all of it, and just budgeted. … I don’t want people to think, “Oh, she’s just the privileged kid”—no, no, no. I cried a lot and worked really hard.