How Rosewood's Ashley Carruthers Opened Up Shop in Richmond
Photo by Leney Breeden
Virginia is for vintage lovers thanks to a number of dedicated storeowners that hunt down the best of lived-in goods. Among the top of the heap is Rosewood Clothing Co. founder Ashley Carruthers, who got her start in the business selling pieces from her vintage collection on Etsy. Today, she uses her sharp eye and knack for picking out wearable clothing and accessories to stock her Richmond boutique with a great selection of new and vintage clothing, jewelry, home goods, and bath and beauty products. She also seeks out and supports local up-and-coming designers, so she was an obvious choice to curate some favorite products for our Virginia Gift Guide.
Here, Ashley chats with us about how she got into vintage and the Richmond retail scene.
Photo by Leney Breeden
Tell us about Rosewood Clothing Co., your new store in Richmond.
Rosewood is a small women’s boutique that specializes in new and found clothing, jewelry, home, bath, and beauty products. The shop caters to a creative, strong working woman who appreciates good lines, fine fabrics, and pops of detail. There is a lot of talent in this city, so we proudly carry a lot of locally made goods such as ceramics, leather goods, jewelry, and apothecary products. As a shop, our goals are to contribute to our community and provide a platform and encouragement for up-and-coming makers.
How did you come about opening Rosewood and why did you decide on Richmond, VA?
Rosewood started because I was offered a wonderful chance to be a part of collaboration store called Addison Handmade and Vintage. There were six of us involved. We each had a portion of the store dedicated to our individual shops and also worked together to make the store cohesive. It was a great learning experience to see how people shopped and understand how to help them find something for themselves or someone else. Eventually, some of the original collaborators started to split off to work on other projects, so when I left this past fall, I began to try and figure out how to do it on my own.
The area where Rosewood is located used to be a fantastic shopping district, but the depression hit it hard and a lot of stores were forced to close. When I mentioned to some fellow business owners on Broad Street that I was interested in the area, I got nothing but support and encouragement. I am where I am now because of beautiful stores like Verdalina, Quirk, Steady Sounds, and Blue Bones, and restaurants like Comfort and Saison for pioneering the area back to its roots. I’m proud to be a part of the growing community here and looking forward to seeing it excel.
Photo courtesy of Rosewood Clothing Co.
What’s your background, and how did you become interested in retail and vintage?
I’m originally from Charlottesville, VA with parents hailing from New York and Peru. I grew up with a lot of great South American culture and colors, hard-working parents, and a creative influence from my elders. My grandmother used to work in secondhand store and always shared fun, beautiful, and practical vintage pieces with me.
When I decided to move to Richmond with a shopping problem and a mountain of college debt, I found shopping secondhand fulfilled my cravings while forcing me to get creative and pay attention to little details. I had a massive collection of pieces that I held on to, even if they didn’t fit, and I had plans to alter (which I somehow never got around to doing). I had a friend who also collected, so we decided to join forces to start an Etsy store that was a combination of our vintage collections. We had lots of success and had a hoot doing photo shoots—we even got friends involved to model for us (with a little liquid encouragement, of course). When she took up a teaching job, I decided to keep it going and focus more on clothing that would work for everyday.
As the online store got a little more attention, I was asked to participate in a few pop-up markets and got a rush out of sharing some of my favorite things with friends and strangers. Inspiring people to dress this way makes me so happy because I’m providing a service that’s not only helping people but also has a green mission.
What upcoming projects are you excited about?
The store is pretty small but there’s a lofted area that I like to extend to folks who are interested in pop-ups and workshops. There are a lot of artisans and vintage collectors in Richmond, so I’m excited for a few collaborations we have coming up in the next few months. The area I’m located in has a ton of beautiful galleries that open their doors on the first Friday of every month. Those monthly events draw a lot of people, and I usually take the opportunity to host a pop-up and invite artists, designers, or makers to showcase their goods!