Julia Bennati has been running her vintage shop for over a decade now, and shows no signs of slowing. 12 years of being a business owner in her hometown of Westerville have taught her a lot. With her shop dog, Boston Terrier Henry, and an array of mid-century finds, Bennati enjoys her uptown niche. (614) caught up with Bennati and chatted about her role as a vintage finder and business owner. She gives us a peek into her brand, and some of her favorite finds.
(614): What can one find at A Gal Named Cinda Lou?
Bennati: We sell a mixture of vintage. We have home decor, records, clothing, and jewelry, plus, handmade and novelty items. We specialize in items from the mid-century era. I personally love all the colorful patterns and prints from the 60s and 70s.
What’s your vintage holy grail?
A Holy Grail I am always looking for and have yet to find is a vintage Blythe doll in the wild. I don’t collect a lot of toys but do like weird dolls. Blythe dolls came out in the 1970s. They have a large head and a skinny body. They have a pull string on the back of their heads you can pull to change the color of the doll’s eyes! They weren’t super popular so the vintage dolls are rare. You can easily find new Blythe dolls but I am in search for a vintage one of course.
When did you develop your passion for collecting?
I’ve been collecting vintage since I was a teenager. I even had a “hope chest” with items I saved for my future house! I got my everyday dining plates when I was 16 years old. I still use them every day. My mom and I loved to go to antique malls and vintage shops growing up. She collected antiques but I liked the newer vintage things that weren’t as commonly found in these place yet […] stuff from the 60s and 70s. My older brother decorated in the mid century style so I guess I’ll say he was a big influence in me getting into vintage myself.
You have a pretty big vinyl section, too…
My dad influenced me with his record collecting. I grew up around a huge collection of music. Saw and smelled a lot of strange things in record stores growing up. Family vacations were often centered around finding records. Our basement was our own personal record store. I would learn about different music by pulling out records and if I thought the cover looked cool I’d try it out. It’s so fun to have a shop that includes a mini record store inside because I see kids with their parents looking through the records and it brings back fun memories.
What does your house look like? Is it a treasure trove?
I would say 80% of my house is decorated in vintage. Don’t be afraid to try something different. Buying vintage doesn’t have to be expensive and that makes it easy to try things. I’ve helped my friend decorate her nursery with a mix of vintage and new. My most recent project was decorating the apartment above our shop. We now rent it out as an Airbnb. My dad always says that I keep all the good stuff for myself […] although there are times items will come live at my house for a while then end up in the shop. I like to change things around. Collecting good merchandise is always a good start to opening a vintage shop. A lot of people that sell vintage start out as collectors. I think it’s because we are treasure hunters and eventually want to share our finds with others.
Any tips for hunting?
Not all vintage is created equal! Make sure to invest in vintage that is unique. If there are fewer of something, all the better! To say that there is value in all vintage would be a lie…. There are things that just aren’t worth the space in our shop. Not to say someone wouldn’t want them in the world. Unfortunately some vintage items don’t fit into our modern lives […] like sets of fancy china that serve 12.
Why did you choose Westerville as your HQ?
I grew up in Westerville so we decided it was a good place to start. Uptown Westerville especially has a special place in my heart. It’s got that old-fashioned, small-town vibe. My mom and I started the business together. My dad also plays a huge role in the business. We work well together. I live a half a mile away from my work! I can walk when I want to. You can’t beat that.
Stop at 20 N State St. in Westerville for your antiquing fix. See cindaloushop.com for hours.