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Meet Gail Higgins and Jasja Boelhouwer of The Girl Can’t Help It in North Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gail Higgins and Jasja Boelhouwer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Gail and Jasja. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The Girl Can’t Help It started in London in 1988. After years of collecting and wearing vintage in NYC turned in to a business, 40 boxes were shipped over for my first store selling high end ladies and men’s clothes, accessories and collectables from the 1930s-1960s. In 1994, my husband to be joined me taking charge of the menswear and barware.

After many years of successful trading in London where our customers were designers, stylists, actors, models, and the film and theatre industry; we decided to move the business to sunnier climes.

Our shop in North Park opened in 2012 in North Park where we have built up a new customer base of devoted vintage aficionados and neighborhood style seekers. Our selling platforms have been extended to online sales on Etsy and Instagram.

We are now the go to shop if you are looking for anything from a classic vintage ballgown to a collectable punk t-shirt. Known for the quality and condition of our stock, our pieces are treasures that will last a lifetime.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A major recession in London in the 1990s was a huge setback and the shop had to be closed. Starting again in Camden Market and working our way back up to winning Best Vintage Store in London was due to perseverance and passion for our business.

And, making a move from a successful location in London to the unknown streets of San Diego was definitely a challenge. We knew we wanted to be located in the up and coming neighborhood of North Park and finding the right shopfront was not easy. After a year of searching, we lucked out with our spot at 3806 Grim Ave. We have watched that neighborhood grow in to a thriving hub of independent stores.

The Girl Can’t Help It – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We specialize in high quality vintage clothes from the 1930s-1970s. The ladies and men’s pieces are all handpicked for their quality, uniqueness and wearability.

You will find a large selection of cocktail dresses, ballgowns, suits, swimwear, separates,& lingerie and all the accessories to go with them for the ladies.

For the men, there are suits, jackets, workwear, western wear, Hawaiian shirts and militaria. Cocktail and barware are included for the whole spectrum of a vintage lifestyle.

We have added a line of reproduction 1950s dresses for those hard to find sizes. And a vintage inspired t-shirt line.

Our selection is true vintage and there is no need to scroll through racks of second hand clothes from the last decade to find the one vintage piece.

We pride ourselves on the carefully curated pieces that have taken years of experience and constant searching to build up. Having an eye for picking comes with a love of the product and years of research.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Having watched so many vintage shops open and close, I think the proudest moment is being a well-known store that has never compromised on its selection and quality and is still trading after over 25 years. We are so lucky to make a living doing something we love.

And we did have the privilege of selling one of Marilyn Monroe’s private dresses to a collector in the UK.

Contact Info:

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1 Comment

  1. Bob Appleby

    July 14, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Are you the Gail Higgins who many years ago worked at Gimbels in NYC. If so my name is Bob Appleby and I worked there too. We became good friends.

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