The Cat's Meow: Interview with Louise Cooper

The Cat's Meow Vintage Couture & Designer Wear is located at 180 Avenue Road in Toronto. The store sells vintage fashion and designer resale with a great selection of brands. Louise Cooper established the shop in 2006 and we were thrilled when she agreed to answer a few questions! You can view the website here.

Sarah Velasco: How did you get into this business? What is your schedule like? 
Louise Cooper: I went to Seneca College and took fashion merchandising and retail management. I loved the 'history of fashion' course, mainly fashion's social and economic ties. I had always worn vintage since high school, so I decided to work in vintage. I started up my business and took two years to accrue enough stock for a shop. I then opened my doors.
My schedule is very hectic, if I didn't love what I did then I would never work this hard. The first year I worked 365 days straight, most of them being 12 hours or more. I wear many hats and it's all consuming! I'm organized (almost OCD) and that takes alot of energy too.

Sarah Velasco: How do you choose the items you will buy? Is there sort of a mental check list you go through when choosing the products?
Louise Cooper: I choose what comes into the shop. I look for items that are classic and that don't scream 'vintage'. I buy what sells, which usually flows with current fashion trends. Items must be in excellent condition.

Sarah Velasco: How does vintage differ from present day clothes? (texture, size)
Louise Cooper: Vintage is special because of the quality, tailoring, colour combinations, fabrics and details that you just don't see today. Time is money with contemporary fashions, and unfortunately it shows.

Sarah Velasco: What must-have items do you recommend for right now, and what will you be looking for this fall?
Louise Cooper: I recommend ladies find something that fits their curves and that they feel good in. Classics never go out of style. "Wear the dress, don't let it wear you

Sarah Velasco: Does the name ‘The Cats Meow’ have any special significance to you? How did you decide on the name of the store?
Louise Cooper: 'The Cat's Meow' is an old flapper girl saying. Like the "bee's knees" it's cute and defines the best of the best. It's what I strive to give my customers every day. Top quality fashionable vintage that stands out.

Sarah Velasco: What types of brand names do you carry?
Louise Cooper: We carry contemporary luxury designers such as Chanel, Hermes, LV, Louboutin, Valli, etc.

Sarah Velasco: Any advice for someone wanting to get into this business?
Louise Cooper: My advice for someone wanting to get into vintage, or any business for that matter.... Be patient and be prepared for lots of blood, sweat and tears!