“Our pure intention was to bring color to D.C. – that was the initial vision behind Annie Creamcheese,” says founder Garrett Bauman. To say they accomplished this mission would be an understatement. With a name inspired by the psychedelic sounds of Frank Zappa, it would be hard to imagine a luxury vintage boutique more inspired by Hollywood glamour, rock of ages, and identifiable decades than Annie Creamcheese. We talked to Garrett about everything from his mother’s fabulous evening gowns to making luxury vintage more accessible and expanding the brand to Las Vegas.
1.) Annie Creamcheese is a pioneer in the vintage fashion scene in the DC. How did you stay ahead of the competition?
We offered a very unique product in a very unique atmosphere. When I first opened, wood floors and track lighting were a main theme [in retail settings]; I wanted to bring color to Washington and have a warmer, more appealing setting. We never really thought about competition, we just did our own thing.
2.) What are you top tips for consumers when buying vintage?
Biggest tip would be to always keep your eye on larger sizes. If you see a piece that may be larger than your size, buy it! You can have it tailored to fit like a glove and have this unique one of a kind piece. Victoria Beckham came in to our Vegas store and bought a lot of things that she loved but needed to tailor. Another tip would be to keep an eye out for condition and shop with your current wardrobe in mind. Mix current and old; like a vintage Versace piece with Forever21 jewelry
3.) Now that you are in Las Vegas, do you see a difference in the type of merchandise people are buying on the West are buying vs. the East coast?
No doubt about it. People at the palazzo [a resort hotel] are looking for something extravagant to wear for a night out, whereas in D.C., people are looking for something for an event like a wedding.
4.) Your website says initial inspiration came from watching the 2001 Oscar’s. What about that specific event ignited your idea to open Annie Creamcheese? Why Vintage?
Everybody on the red carpet that year was wearing vintage. Most of it was from the ‘70’s and late ‘60’s, the same era my parents were in the casino industry, where you had to be dressed up all the time. My mom would need a different gown every evening. I’m looking at these stars thinking to myself ‘mom had that dress and that one’. Familiarity with the style was a big motivating factor. There were a few exclusive stores that sold high-end, red carpet worthy vintage. I took the exclusivity of the merchandise and combined it with accessibility. It gave everybody a chance to come in and look at these beautiful museum pieces while shopping the more reasonable items as well.
5.) How did Annie Creamcheese’s start in Las Vegas come to be?
We were working out a deal in New York and a gentleman walked in and said his Daughter went to George Washington University and loved Annie Creamcheese. He was working on a new project in Vegas and I went out and met with him. I had to make a decision between The Vegas Strip and New York. Vegas was on fire at the time and it was something I couldn’t turn down. It’s always nice hear you’re someone’s favorite store.
6.) How did the store get its name?
There was a very funky Las Vegas boutique my mom used to shop at in the 70's called Suzy Creamcheese. It was named after the Frank Zappa fictional character and song. The store was even mentioned in the movie Casino, and I remember always seeing someone famous hanging out there as it was a haven for the star set e.g., Cher, Elvis, Diana Ross, Stevie Nicks, Barbara Mandrel and my mother. She would shop for the world’s most fabulous dresses and accessories while sipping cocktails. Little did I know I would have a store in the same town with almost the same name and just as much fan fare and celebrity status 3 decades later.
7.) With a multitude of opportunities opening up, where do you see the future of Annie Creamcheese going? What was your initial hope for the store in comparison to your hopes and plans today?
Everyone copies vintage now a-days. Little things like pockets in dresses from the 1930’s catered to or owl necklaces from the ‘70’s are now sold at Forever21. I try to stick to a high quality product. I’m currently innovating new concepts like merging online shopping [such as working with SNOBSWAP] and in-store sales and reworking vintage fashion.
Shop luxury vintage fashion pieces from Annie Creamcheese on SNOBSWAP today!