D.C.'s Coolest Vintage Pros On Style, Shopping, & Small Biz

UPDATE:
We're in the mood for some serious vintage shopping this weekend, so we dug into the archives to revisit the ladies behind our favorite D.C. spot. This story was originally published on October 12.
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When you think "local girls gone big-time," the names Cathy Chung and Katerina Herodotou should be at the top of your list. The owners of 14th Street vintage emporium Treasury started out hosting pop-up shops in the District before anyone had even heard of a pop-up shop, and after they moved into their light-filled bricks-and-mortar space, they started collaborating on jewelry lines, dreaming up in-house clothing collections, and generally carrying some of the coolest, most eclectic vintage in town.
This past summer, the ladies took over Meeps, the Adams Morgan vintage mecca, and revamped the store from top to bottom (which means the adult video room is long gone). The transformation created an open, breezy, inviting space, filled with the carefully edited vintage treasures we've come to expect, but now with a community event component added on — think live music, magazine parties, and other sweet shindigs. And in the midst of all that empire-building, Cathy and Katerina sat down with us for a two-on-one, dishing about shopping, personal style, and what entrepreneurial gals can glean from their experience. Click through for the full report.
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Tell us about the new Meeps — what made you decide to buy it? What's your vision for it?
Katerina: "Meeps has been a part of our lives in D.C. for quite some time and the lives of fashionable peeps in the area for the past 20 years. We wanted to make sure to keep that vision going, while infusing it with a sense of new purpose: to become a social, artistic gathering place for movers and shakers in D.C., while continuing to offer the best in affordably priced vintage."

Cathy: "When I moved into the city 11 years ago, I thought [Meeps] was the coolest place ever. I used to spend hours picking out outfits I'd wear to the Black Cat. There's a special place in people's hearts for Meeps, and it is important to us to keep it around for another 20 years."

Tell us a bit about the journey from pop-up shops to a two-store operation.
Katerina: "Long and hard! We gained a wealth of knowledge about the D.C. scene through pop-ups, and having a small, successful shop in a burgeoning shopping corridor has taught us a lot about operating a business. Throughout it all, we've stayed true to our aesthetic vision, and we couldn't have done it without this tight-knit supportive community."

On Cathy, left: Vintage Neiman Marcus blouse, vintage skirt, American Apparel tights, suede booties. On Katerina, right: Bennetton tank, Lauren Manoogian necklace, vintage maxi-skirt, Robert Clergerie platforms.
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What's your favorite piece in your closet right now?
"A tie between my vintage Mickey Mouse rain poncho and a lovely printed '40s sheer silk dress I picked up while vintage shopping in San Francisco."

What was your most recent purchase?
"Vintage YSL chocolate suede wedges."

What's your number-one trick for incorporating vintage pieces into a modern, contemporary wardrobe?
"Don't go vintage all the way in one outfit — start with accessories. Most contemporary pieces are based on vintage styles of yore anyway, so look for things that fit your aesthetic and align with what you are already into."
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What's your favorite piece in your closet right now?
"A '90s navy ribbon-knit sweater, which has a perfect drape and is great for layering, and the antique crop top collection from my Aunt Marcy."

What was your most recent purchase?
"I went a little crazy for A Détacher this summer — the label is the perfect blend of past and future, and I really like pairing the pieces with vintage."

What's your number-one trick for incorporating vintage pieces into a modern, contemporary wardrobe?
"Don't overdo it. One outstanding top or bottom or piece of jewelry paired with contemporary pieces is so easy to do, and will make enough of a splash to make you braver the next time around. It's all about accenting versus costuming."

Lithics seahorse necklace and bracelet.
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Give us a quick, dream-day shopping itinerary. Space and time don't matter!
"My favorite shopping experiences usually have to do with the company I'm with and how tasty the food options are nearby. I love shopping with Cathy, because we pick out stuff for each other, though I usually get hungry before she does.

I'd love to check out some new spots, like textile markets in East Africa or antique shops in Buenos Aires, but for now, I will stick with what I know. New York's East Village has an abundance of vegan desserts and expertly curated vintage shops right up my alley, plus some new gallery-like spaces extending to the edges of Chinatown, NoLita, and Soho. I would love to be able to go to Merci in Paris at any time, and the Krystalgade blocks of Copenhagen for the excellent European vintage and Henrik Vibskov, Wood Wood, and antique bookstores."

Vintage dress, headband, necklace, and Bakelite bracelets; Slow and Steady Wins the Race wedges.
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Give us a quick, dream-day shopping itinerary. Space and time don't matter!
"My heart beats quickest when I am in antique shops, so I'd say traveling up the coast in Maine, stopping in every antique shop along the way, breathing in salty air, eating my weight in fried clams and wild blueberries picked off the fields. Then, crossing the border into Montreal and enjoying the friperies, the cool boutiques, and more eating."

Vintage dress, necklace, and ring; Vylet Collections bracelet; Robert Clergerie wedges.
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D.C. has a bounty of vintage boutiques these days, and Treasury has managed to stay unique. What do you both bring to the table in terms of what you sell and your aesthetic?
Katerina: "Our aesthetic is clearly defined and unique, and it's based purely on what we love. We handpick each item in the store and appreciate its cultural value. We're rooted in natural fabrics, exquisite drape, and utilitarianism — but we're romantics at heart."

What has been the biggest challenge of being young, female entrepreneurs?
Katerina: "Being young and female! Sometimes, people don't take us seriously as business owners, but overall, we're determined enough that it's not a problem. The obstacles we've run into have centered around the fact that we started out doing this part-time, and it was hard to keep all the balls in the air. But now, it's blossomed into a beautiful full-time venture."

On Cathy, left: Vintage print dress and metal belt, A Détacher sandals. On Katerina, right: Vintage Lanvin top, Lithics necklace, vintage Armani palazzo pants, vintage Bally chelsea boots.
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Where do you get your style inspiration?
"Even though this sounds cheesy, Cathy is my main style inspiration — no wonder we own several of the same pieces. We always find ourselves vibing on the same things at the same time. The rest of my close girlfriends top the list; I feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many stylish ladies. Also, my mom is a major style inspiration, and I often find myself wearing things I remember she wore in my childhood, though I usually have to find them on my own. (She didn't keep much from back in the day.) Finally, my boyfriend's keen eye for color and pattern are a constant inspiration, and he challenges me to think about style in a more playful way."
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Where do you get your style inspiration?
"From Katerina. From art. From nature. This combination is complicated, always changing, and never boring."

Any favorite fashion icons or role models?
"All of them. I find any person with fashion sass inspiring."

A celeb closet you'd love to raid? (Living or dead!)
"Once again, all of them."
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Any favorite fashion icons or role models?
"Stevie Nicks."

A celeb closet you'd love to raid? (Living or dead!)
"Stevie Nicks."

Vivienne Tam dress, Lauren Manoogian bracelets, Melissa Campana heels.
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How has the response been so far to the new Meeps?
Katerina: "The response from the neighborhood has been so encouraging! People stop in after work for a browse, or to chat on the weekends on their way to run errands, and we are so happy that even through the changes, people still consider Meeps their neighborhood spot."

What's on the agenda for the winter for Meeps, in terms of events?
"We've got a lot planned! Though we debuted it earlier this month, next week is our Cosmic Costume Room launch party, with a Día de los Muertos theme, food from Mama Chuy and Nothing-in-the-House, and the Vitamin C DJs. We're also partnering up with local jazz non-profit Capitol Bop for a jazz show on October 20, where people will have a chance to bop and shop with a special discount on Halloween costumes and enjoy fine jazz. Last, we've got some holiday plans in the works and a special event with a D.C. cultural icon (and hero of mine) in December."

What are your favorite pieces at Meeps right now?
Katerina: "I love the D.C.-centric deadstock '70s tees we got from a local hippie silkscreener, and the '60s hospital gowns in the Cosmic Costume Room — a lot of Halloween possibilities with those!"
Cathy: "All of our '80s and '90s avant-garde pieces with details like open backs, asymmetry, bat wings, sloped shoulders, high waists. I'm on a real kimono kick lately, despite my instinct to reject it because of my Asian-ness. It's a cool alternative to the cardigan/shawl."
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It's an old cliché, but what do you know now that you wish you'd known when you were first getting started?
Katerina: "To trust our dreams and not give in to fear. Plus, it would be great to know how to build and fix things on our own, but we're still learning all that."

Cathy: "Find a great accountant."

Vintage Helene Zubeldia dress, Erin Considine and Lithics necklaces, vintage Mexican brooch worn as a hair pin, MM6 boots.
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