Diana Byrd and Elena Gallegos of Meshugga Chic
Diana Byrd and Elena Gallegos may look like typical college students, but last year the girls founded Meshugga Chic, an online vintage-clothing retailer. And over the past few months, Byrd and Gallegos have branched out, bringing their company to street-vending festivals such as SN&R’s own Third Saturday event. Pulling clothes from all eras and even reconstructing a few, Byrd and Gallegos have sold pieces to customers around the world via their Web site, www.meshuggachic.com. Hopeful and spunky, these girls are driven to help Sacramento, and the whole world, embrace the Meshugga life.
So what should we all be looking for this fall season?
Gallegos: We have a lot of long, high-waisted skirts. Very broomstick, flowing skirts that are pleated.
Byrd: We have a lot of hot leather jackets, too, and I cannot wait to sell them. They’re so cute. We found this leather one, and it’s kind of like an ’80s jacket. It’s almost like a bomber, but it’s not. It’s so adorable, and I can’t wait to sell it.
Did you guys just wake up and decided to own a vintage store?
Gallegos: Yeah, pretty much.
Byrd: It’s like, we wanted to do something we both loved to do. We both love fashion; it’s our common interest.
Gallegos: We wanted to start out our own business because we really wanted to work for ourselves.
Byrd: And I thought, “Oh my god, why don’t we start vintage?” So we had to think of a name, and it was kind of hard because we wanted to find something that was different, catchy and something people liked. And we were just looking up definitions and synonyms for crazy, and we found meshugga. And it’s kind of, like, a cute word. And together it means “crazy fashion,” which is what Meshugga Chic is all about.
Why do you think people are so into vintage?
Gallegos: I believe it’s something you can’t find in the stores. Each piece is so unique and you may not be able to find it anywhere else.
Byrd: And plus it’s recycled, you know? It’s eco-friendly to wear vintage.
Where do you guys shop for pieces?
Byrd: We have a couple buyers that help us get vintage clothing. We also go to [Los Angeles and San Francisco] and look for really cool vintage stuff.
Gallegos: One time we went to five different cities in the Bay Area all in one day. We went Oakland, San Jose, Hayward, San Francisco and Berkeley all in one trip, just looking.
Do you tend to pull from a specific era?
Gallegos: ’80s is really big right now, but we do mix it up.
Is there a decade you prefer?
Gallegos: I kind of like the ’70s.
Byrd: I think ’80s is fun. To me, ’80s is what Meshugga reminds me of in a way. I mean, that’s not what Meshugga is all about, but it definitely reminds me because the ’80s is so colorful and so out there. So I love the ’80s, personally.
What has your experience with vending been like?
Gallegos: I was really hot [at the first Third Saturday]! It was fun, though. We really love meeting the people downtown [at 10th and K streets] or from other areas and just networking with them.
Byrd: And we always get a lot of good feedback. So it’s good when we go out.
How do you balance it all with school?
Byrd: It’s kind of hard. That’s why we’re actually trying to find a team of people to help us. Because, you know, we have to do the descriptions by ourselves, the photographs, plan all the shoots and find the models. There’s so much that goes into Meshugga, so right now we’re trying to find a team of people to help us do it.
Are you going to open a physical store?
Byrd: You know, people always ask us that. I think being an online store is the best thing because you can cater to everyone all around the world instead of Sacramento. So I think we’ll just become a big online store in the future.
I never asked about your prices.
Byrd: It’s so hard, because some of our friends—I don’t even know if we should go by them—say our prices our high. But then when we sell at events, some people say, “Oh my god, your prices are so low!”
Gallegos: We had a woman who was just shocked that we sell the quality that we’re selling for so low.
Byrd: We want to be affordable, but not too cheapy for what we have.
In your wildest dreams, where would you take Meshugga?
Byrd: I actually want to move to Italy, and I want Elena to come with me. I think we could do it, and it would be cool to bring crazy fashion to Italy because they’re so different. They’re so clean, so it would be fun to bring it over there and really just all over the world. So we’ll see how that goes.