The brains and beauty behind Ponyboy Vintage Clothing is Serene. The woman, not the adjective. As an independent business owner and a mum with two young sons on the Autism spectrum, Serene could call her life many things before likening it to the feeling of serenity, but she loves being busy. Being busy is having people in your life to love, and a goal with the tenacity to achieve it.
Serene is a down to earth gal with a love for making honest connections with real people, and an incredible history of work. She has been a band promoter and music festival director, and even a professional jazz singer, which went comfortably hand in hand with her love of 1940s music and fashion. She has always been into vintage everything, especially vintage clothes, and she now funnels this passion into providing vintage-inspired fashion for women.
Serene first thought of creating Ponyboy after having her first son. She had the dream of creating a shopping experience that was personalised and intimate: to create an atmosphere akin to trying on clothes at a friend’s house over a glass of wine (or three) and rocking out to excellent records. If you’re already a Ponyboy customer, you’ll know she nailed it.
As Serene puts it, chain stores have moved a long way from providing a specialised shopping experience: “I remember my grandmother telling me about stores like David Jones in the 1950s, where you would make an appointment for them to show you their collections. It was a very positive experience, where the customer was made to feel not only special, but also important. Nowadays, shop clerks won’t be honest about how things look on you. It’s all about sales right then and there, not about making people feel happy and listened to.”
Her particular motive for starting a business that catered towards women is rooted in her deep respect for women. Being one herself, Serene is conscious of the fact that women have to work very hard against society and the media pushing them away from what they deserve. So often, women are pitted even against each other in the race to succeed and when measuring their own beauty, which is a tendency Serene is determined to lead away from, starting with embracing her own curves.
Nothing is more important to her than creating a safe space for women—her customers and friends—to be themselves, and feel comfortable in the knowledge that they don’t need to conform to a particular size, stereotype or style. The highlight of a day in the life of Serene is when her customers walk away from her shop feeling better than when they walked in, smiling and feeling beautiful with their new piece of Ponyboy love.
The name itself, Ponyboy, comes from the 14 year old character, Ponyboy Curtis, in the book The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton (1967) and the later movie (1983). Ponyboy was a sensitive, educated guy, unlike the greasers of his neighbourhood gang. Having lost his parents in a motor vehicle accident, he was surrounded by violence and hardship. Serene resonated with the character, feeling like an outsider herself, particularly one determined to strive for better things.
Part of what makes Ponyboy customers feel so safe and understood is Serene’s unwavering honesty. She will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what she thinks you need, and you’ll know it’s because she knows what she’s talking about, and she isn’t going to let you leave feeling as if you bought something you’re not absolutely happy with. Serene has a great eye for colour and style, with a knack for matching a lady with her perfect dress. With so many different styles to choose from, if there’s one dress that isn’t quite right for you, she’ll be able to pick what’s not working, and find the dress that is.
If you’d like to have a taste of the Ponyboy experience, go to the online shop and look around, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram, and join the community. We’d love to have you.
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