We're a little embarrassed. When we see the words fox and house in the same sentence, we immediately think of the snarky TV dramedy House. But now, there's a Miami connection, and it has nothing to do with a sarcastic doctor who loves poppin' his pills.
My Fox House is a fashion website launched by South Florida native Tobi Salver. Inspired by her wickedly talented grandma (a Parsons alum who has a line at Henri Bendel), Salver hunts down the best in new and vintage threads and accessories and sells them online. She realized she had a knack for finding gems in thrift stores, antique markets, estate sales, so she put all of that to good use to help the fashionably challenged.
The graphic-designer-turned-fashion-stylist and web store entrepreneur recently told us about her inspirations, where she finds her best stuff, and how she plans to change Miami's fashion scene with glitzed-up tigers and rings that pack a mean punch. She's also giving away two pieces of jewelry to one lucky reader.
New Times: Where did you go to school? What made you want to get into running an online store?
Tobi Salver: I did two years of undergraduate study at the University of Central Florida. I also did a study abroad program called Semester at Sea, which took me around the world to places like Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Africa, Brazil, and Cuba. Then I transferred to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, where I got my degree in Graphic Design. I lived a few years in Los Angeles after graduating, where I really got into the art and fashion scenes. I worked on several film sets in the art and wardrobe department. I had to work miracles with low budgets, and it was then I realized I had a knack for finding the gems in thrift stores, antique markets, estate sales, etc.
How does your grandmother fit in to all of this?
My grandmother, Joanne Alterman, was one of few women who studied fashion at Parsons in New York, and she really has been the biggest influence on me. She taught me to paint at an early age, and always enjoyed dressing me up in her handmade clothing. She was a well-known fashion and interior designer in Miami Beach, with many famous clients. She also had a line that was carried at Henry Bendel's in New York. She still continues to influence me today, and gives me great advice on running my store.
Why did you choose fox for your store name?
Foxes are not pack animals and are opportunistic feeders, which translates into wanting my clothes to represent an individuality and uniqueness for the women who wear them. I want them to feel confident and ready to conquer the day. Typically considered shy creatures, they are mostly spotted only at night. Although they are stealth and elusive, they stand out because of their beautiful coats and markings. They are also one of only a few species of mammal predators. I want women who shop at Fox House to feel like when they put on an article of clothing that they buy from my store, they are ready to "go out there and get it!"
How do you select what makes it to your site?
When it comes to vintage, I love anything that stands out. I also focus on patterns, color, cut, and silhouette. But most importantly I go for the classic pieces -- those articles of clothing that were fabulous 40 years ago, and will continue to be so for another 40 years. When it comes to the new items, its not all about trends. I focus on pieces that turn heads, compliment figures, and make a woman feel comfortable and foxy.
Where do you get the new items from?
Some from wholesale warehouses here in Miami and some from online distributors. I am excited to add the labels MINKPINK, Insight, and Alternative Apparel to the store, too.
How about the vintage stuff?
The vintage pieces are more tough to come by. It takes hours of rummaging to find that one great piece. I do have an eye for great finds, and if I spend the rest of my life shopping for vintage clothing, I'll die a happy woman.
Are you going to expand the site at all? Open up a local storefront?
I am going to be adding hair accessories that I hand-make to the site. I hope to open up a storefront sometime next year. Miami seems to be growing everyday with people who have a unique style. And I feel there is a huge market to cater to!
What was most impressive to us were the two and three finger rings and the rhinestone encrusted animal rings and bangles. Where/by whom were those designed?
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They are imported from Asia. I couldn't tell you the designer, many of them come from different sources. But whoever designed them, kudos!
What's next for Fox House?
To win a tiger bangle and a four-finger ring, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email, and the name of your favorite Miami vintage store. The winner will be randomly selected on Monday, November 1. The winner must be able to pick up the loot at the Miami New Times office.