With its rich history of antique shows and garage sales, Fort Wayne has long had an appreciation for vintage and secondhand goods.
In the age of social media and growing awareness of the environmental costs of fast fashion
, secondhand shopping for clothes and home decor is becoming part of mainstream culture. This is giving rise to a new wave of vintage shop owners who sell on platforms like Instagram and at pop-up events.
Considering Fort Wayne’s wealth of secondhand shops and thrift stores, it’s no surprise the Summit City is a hotbed of vintage finds and vendors.
One local thrifter, shop owner, and vintage addict, Sachiko
Janek, 35, of Kendallville is bringing many fellow vendors together through her recurring Holiday Hootenanny events at Wunderkammer Company contemporary art center
Janek is the Founder and Operator of Sachi Sometimes (@sachi.sometimes)
, and through her passion for attending vintage markets across the U.S., she’s concocted her own events at Wunderkammer, transforming the space into an “Ultra Lounge” designed to bring together an inclusive mix of “vintage, handmade art, music, food & bevies, community, and friends.”
This spring’s event takes place the week before Mother’s Day on May 1, and is aptly titled, “Holiday Hootenanny Chapter Two: Dear Mama.”
Input Fort Wayne sat down with Sachiko Janek to learn more about the upcoming Holiday Hootenanny and Fort Wayne’s vintage scene.
Portrait of Sachiko Janek, the creator behind Sachi Sometimes.
IFW: Give us the details for your upcoming event, the Holiday Hootenanny.
This Spring’s Hoot will take place May 1 from noon to 6 p.m. at Wunderkammer Company located at 3402 Fairfield Ave. It features more than 40 vendors, and the line-up is packed with vintage vendors, local makers, and food & beverage vendors from both Fort Wayne and out of town.
People showed up early for the first Hootenanny last December, and the parking lot filled up quickly! I suggest carpooling with a buddy or biking to this event if possible. This Hoot is a rain-or-shine shindig. We are packing the place with indoor & outdoor fun, and our outdoor vendors will be ready for anything under their tents. If by chance we get some sprinkles, come anyway! This is a great opportunity to shop small, and support local. The event is free to attend, and open to all ages.
IFW: What tips do you have for someone attending their first Hootenanny or just getting into vintage shopping?
Bring a friend! Tell everyone you know, and have them do the same. The Holiday this Hootenanny is focusing on is Mother’s Day, (Dear Mama) so I’m hoping it becomes a destination for the whole family, as a way to treat all the mamas out there to a good time. Bring them to the event, or surprise them the following weekend with a super fresh gift you bought from a local, small business! They will be tickled with joy!
Most vendors accept multiple forms of payment, but cash is always king. Make a day of it! Be sure to swing by all the booths, and chat with the vendors; don’t be shy. Come hungry, and be ready to shake your booty. The event is all about community, so join in, and vibe out. Don’t be afraid to be your authentic self, we vintage vendors & makers are all weirdos, in the best way, so you have nothing to be scared of around us.
People looking through vintage finds at the Holiday Hootenanny in 2021.
IFW: Who are some of the vintage vendors guests can expect to find at the upcoming Holiday Hootenanny in May?
There will be 22 vintage vendors at the market; that alone excites me! We have such an eclectic line up, packed with so many different styles and setups. There will be everything from “goddess vintage” to “street style” clothing options, and multiple home decor vendors. I am especially excited to have a couple shops that specialize in size-inclusive vintage clothing. Finding vintage threads that accommodate for curvy booties and cushy bellies is so difficult. I’ve seen folks attend markets who simply don’t have anything for them. That is bogus, and I believe we need to start making a collective change to improve this. I’m thankful for my girls at Joom Vintage
, from Columbus, OH and Thicc Mama Thrifts
, from Warsaw, IN for being leaders in this realm. They not only provide an inclusive range of fits, but their finds are so fresh and stylish as well!
Many vintage markets are heavily weighted with clothing vendors. For this Hoot, I wanted to try and even that out with more home decor vendors. I’m excited that we have quite a few folks, with incredible eyes for vintage in the home, vending with us this Spring. Jeremiah Miser, from Fort Wayne, IN will be back with us and bringing a selection of MCM furniture, collectibles, and art. Collected by Co
, Colby Vintage
, kdscoolstuff (all from Fort Wayne), and Painted Horse Vintage, from Defiance, OH will also have a great selection of vintage goods for the home.
IFW: Beyond vintage items, what else will the Holiday Hootenanny entail?
I’m so glad you asked this! The Hoot is a full market experience! I wanted to create an event that felt like a block party, full of friends and packed with things that made you want to stay. There will be food from some of my (and all of Fort Wayne’s) favorites, Bravas
and Shop Two Sixty
, spirits by The Charlie Horse
, a bar who specialized in handcrafted cocktails and supreme customer service, music from the raddest, most handsome DJs in town, MSG1 & DAP1, and coffee for those who want a non-alcoholic option from Joe Taylor Coffee Co
. There will be vintage vendors as well as talented makers, both local and out of town, selling everything from handmade planters and dried floral arrangements, to your next pair of perfectly worn jeans. To add an extra dash of sustainability, I have invited Dirt Wain to join in and spread the good word of composting. They are my idols.
I have also put together a special, personal addition to this Hootenanny in the form of “The Ultra Lounge.” ULV was the vintage handle I started out with, and have recently retired it to open up for a more inclusive business name (I make and sell artwork, as well). During the event, I wanted to officially say goodbye to the name that got me to this point. The stage at Wunderkammer will transform into the “Ultra Lounge,” and be filled with plush seating, high-top tables, colorful textiles, and some lifestyle vendors. Emily Croy will be gracing us with her skills in Thai Massage, and Kourtney Jones will be creating one-of-a-kind, personalized poetry for those who swing by to see them.
Sachiko Janek recently renamed her business, formerly known as Ultra Lounge, to "Sachi Sometimes".
IFW: Tell us more about you. How long have you been selling vintage clothing/working with vintage vendors, and how did you get into it?
I’ve always loved experimenting with my own personal style as far back as I can remember. When I was younger, I leaned fully into the “tomboy” aesthetic… jnco jeans, flannels shirts, and backward ball caps. I’m the youngest of four children, and I can remember fighting my older brother for this beat up, worn thin, stained Wimbledon t-shirt. It was so cool! I locked myself in my room for days and hid that shirt away for years so my siblings couldn’t get to it. We were ruthless.
If I were to pinpoint a specific item that ignited my passion for vintage, it would be that Wimbledon t-shirt. Soon after that, high school hit, and I started thrifting. Then, when I graduated from college, I began selling. I sold exclusively online for the first 10 years, and I didn’t begin selling at in-person events until a few years ago. In the beginning, my pop-up attendance was pretty sporadic, and it really wasn’t until last year that I truly fell in love with “market season.”
I attended an event in July last summer, called “Vintage in the Zoo” in Kalamazoo, MI, and had more fun selling and talking vintage than I had had doing anything else in a really long time. I loved sharing in the excitement of the shoppers when they found something they dug, and meeting all the other vendors who were just as into self-expression by way of vintage clothing, as I was.
“Old” clothing is just better. Period. The fabric is sturdier; the garments are more well made; the patterns and the styles are cooler, and it’s almost always one of a kind. I drove home after that first event and immediately signed up for every event they held that year. Shout out to Megan and Patrick of VITZ for organizing such an incredible event and for sparking my fire for pop-ups.
Sachiko Janek as a vendor at a vintage marker.
IFW: How long have you been living in Fort Wayne and hosting events here?
I was born in Fort Wayne and have only managed to escape once for a couple years off to Long Beach, CA. I’ve been co-curating art shows at Dash In and hosting Open Houses and Modeling Parties for the last four years, but it wasn’t until last December that I hosted my first big market.
The Holiday Hootenanny at Wunderkammer in 2021 was the first time I ever attempted to host anything at that scale. I don’t come from any kind of planning background (or even an organized one), and I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just tried to put something together that I thought was dope and would want to attend myself. My heart nearly exploded by the support and kindness I was shown by the community and vendors alike. It showed me that there was a need and want for this type of event here and I knew I wanted to do it again!
IFW: Nationally, vintage shopping and thrifting seems to be a growing movement for those seeking environmentally conscious, well-made, unique, and affordable goods. For those who are unfamiliar with this scene, how would you describe it?
It’s about damn time, am I right?! I’ve only been hanging in the vintage game for about 15 years, but even in that little time, things have changed so much. More and more people are seeing the destructiveness of fast fashion, and making ethical choices to distance themselves from that lifestyle. There are so many benefits to shopping secondhand, and people are getting hip to them. A whole movement is emerging, and voices are getting louder about the evil sides of fast fashion.
When more people speak out, information spreads, and knowledge is power baby. It’s hard to unlearn that Americans alone generate more than 16 million tons of textile waste a year! As a society, for those who are able, I believe we are moving towards a more sustainable way of life. People are trying to make a change. There have always been humans who have lived more sustainable lives, of course, but they are the minority. Buying secondhand is not only environmentally friendly, it’s frickin’ fun. From bargain deals at the thrift store, to the hunt,
to learning the background of where and who that find came from…it all has an aspect of fun.
Bringing new life to something is powerful and rewarding. The time it takes to care for these forgotten pieces makes them more meaningful to us, and the more meaningful something is to a person, the longer it sticks around. The longer these garments stay with us, the less room there is for capitalism to creep into our closets.
IFW: Tell us about Fort Wayne’s own vintage scene. What makes being a vintage vendor or shopper here unique compared to other places?
Fort Wayne is a glutton for thrift stores. We are really lucky here. My fiance and I treat ourselves with small trips, as opposed to presents for birthdays and holidays, and hitting the thrift is always part of those trips. Some cities, even those that are bigger than Fort Wayne, may not have any thrift stores. I’m not sure why Fort Wayne is bursting with secondhand shops, but I’m pumped about it. The vintage community here is also growing, and most of the sellers are super friendly.
IFW: How would you describe your personal style, and who are some of your personal favorite vintage vendors to buy from?
My personal style… I feel like I am still trying to find it. I enjoy so many different aesthetics, and most of the time I’m mixing eras. I love the 70s and 90s. High-waisted britches until the day I die. I lean towards monochromatic outfits, grungy flannels, beat up crewnecks, platform shoes, and funky floral patterns.
I love so many different vintage shops; it’s hard to only name a few! Some of my favorite out-of-towners are: Old Gold Vintage Boutique based out of Long Beach, CA, Cackling Caps Collective from San Diego, CA, Noirohio Vintage from Ohio, and Poor Baby Fashion from Austin, TX. My local go-tos are Late Bloomer
, Jeremiah Miser
, and The Frugal Hanger
Portrait of Sachiko Janek, the creator behind Sachi Sometimes.
IFW: Last year, you hosted your first Holiday Hootenanny at Wunderkammer. What did this event entail, and how did you come up with the concept?
Last September I attended an art opening at Wunderkammer, and when I was there, I thought: This place would be the perfect location for a vintage market! I was just coming off the high of market season, and that was all I could think about. I briefly mentioned my idea to Dan Swartz, Founder and Curator of Wunderkammer Company, and before I knew it, we had an event on the books for three months in the future. I left, sat in my car thinking: What in the heck did I just do? I had no idea how to plan an event!
I began by taking elements of markets I had attended that summer, and adding in things that I wished would have been there. The whole process was so make-shift and built from basically zero tangible resources. I was/am a broke creative, trying to put an event together that was filled with other broke creatives. So, I contacted my friends in town who were doing cool things and invited them to be a part of it, and luckily they were into it! I’m so #blessed to be surrounded by humans who are supportive of my whacky, half-baked ideas.
I am not the first person to come up with this market idea. Not even close! In the past years, Fort Wayne has seen multiple art festivals, and even vintage events, but nothing that combined the two. I’d seen it before in other cities (shout out to VITZ again), and I wanted to bring those two worlds together in my own hometown. The Hootenanny is a combination of all the things I love: vintage, handmade art, music, food & bevies, community, and friends.
IFW: Your goal for the Holiday Hootenanny is to grow Fort Wayne’s creative community and connect local small businesses with close-by out-of-towners. Tell us more about this concept to increase connectivity and why you feel it’s important.
So many of these small businesses and shops are run by one person. One person doing EVERYTHING on their own. That’s tough, no matter who you are or how much time you have. It’s so helpful to have someone who can relate to your struggles, bounce ideas off of, get suggestions from, and just hold space for you when the fight gets overwhelming. We all need more homies who are going through what we are going through, who are passionate about the same things we are, and who want to make this world a more unique and more sustainable place to live. I believe the more connections we make amongst our fellow creatives, the more opportunities there will be for growth.
IFW: How would you describe the current state of Fort Wayne’s creative community, and what could take it to the next level?
I believe Fort Wayne has a very strong creative community. This city is packed with so much talent and ambition! It’s truly inspiring to see so many folks hustling hard to create unique small businesses, and showing support to their fellow entrepreneurs. I think one thing that could bump us creatives into next gear is more community-centered support. More accessible resources and studio space, more art-driven grants, and more projects focused on getting the word out.
I also think a lot of the time creatives hold their ideas very close to their chest and find it hard to share those ideas with others in fear that someone will steal them. I definitely understand why this happens, but I also feel like it holds us back as a whole. It makes the community more competitive than it has to be. We should be pushing each other to become better versions of our creative selves, not competing against one another. I think if we were all more willing to open up a bit, we would find that it is beneficial to our growth and not a hindrance. Fear holds people back, and the creative community is no stranger to that. I am no stranger to that. I have to tell myself often that no one is going to create something exactly the same way I do. Believe in yourself and your talents, and people will notice you. There is space for all of us.