Discover the Story of Sobo: A Vintage Resale Store Fueling the Tulsa Community
Independently, Taylor, Isaac, and The Sobo have existed in Tulsa for what is now the bottom half of a decade. But just two years ago, the unit became what we now know and love when the couple purchased Sobo from the previous owner. Taylor was working in the store at the time and had been given creative freedom to merge her visual arts and photography skills with the merchandise and marketing of the store. “It was such a good outlet for me to explore, that I never had before; it changed my whole perspective on what I wanted to do," says Taylor.
Both Isaac and Taylor come from an innate interest in fashion and made their way to the vintage resale space after paying their dues to the fast fashion world. A brief stint with influencer status gave Isaac the opportunity to grow weary of quality deficits in most new clothes, “seeing the hardware on the things that people would send -the quality was not it. It was definitely exciting to get into vintage,” says Isaac.
Taylor’s resume also boasts a repurposed denim collection that she designed and made after growing her couturier skills through an internship with Tallgrass Tailor. “I learned a lot about how vintage clothes are made," she says.
By the time Sobo was up for sale, Taylor and Isaac were already running most of the show - “We were kinda shifting the culture..had a lot of hands in it, and were passionate about it,” says Isaac.
“We had a huge $5 sale…the pile was probably the width of that wall and almost as tall as me”, says Taylor - “When we revamped and restarted, the hype was good.”
The couple admits that the first year had a learning curve and that many things were trial and error. Now, in their second year of business, “We have our systems down…business is in order and we can get back to the creativity. Sobo is an energy. The whole store is an energy”, says Isaac.
It's an investment that the two have made—not just in a business to generate income, but in an energy and a goal—that Sobo can be a place of expansion for people, to step out of their comfort zone, into something that they may be unsure about. “We can gas them up," says Isaac.
“Honesty too; we’ve been good about not just telling people things look good to make a sale. We want people to love their experience, want to come back, love the item they got, and remember their time here…quality over quantity”, says Taylor - “We want it to be different from most retail models. A lot of people tell us, ‘this store would do so great in a different city’ - but we want Tulsa to have a place like this.”
You know that feeling of seeing a city for the first time—the ‘ahh, I could live here’ moment? It’s lust, twitterpation - the romance of possibility. Sobo gives this to out-of-town admirers and, more importantly, to the people of Tulsa. It's a culture-defining establishment that fuels the community.
“Sobo’s great, she does good for us,” says Isaac. “We tell her we love her every day, says Taylor.
Its no surprise that in the hands of two individuals with such immaculate taste, that Sobo would flourish and drive the quality of Tulsa arts and culture forward. And that is their vision - to facilitate a creative space for talent in Tulsa to be cultivated, showcased, and enjoyed. “It took us a minute to embrace that it is our creative platform,” says Taylor.
Though tending to the energy and intention of their space is a top priority, so is curation of the collection. The racks are meant to be shopable, but also tell a story - “There are great staples in here, great pairing items, quality things that are going to last forever, but also fun clothes too”, says Taylor. “Come buy something that’s unique, that’s different, that will last you forever - because it’s already lasted for the last 50 years,” says Isaac.
Sustainability is also an important value for the team, personally and professionally. Their low-waste practice and reuse of items spans from creatively made tables for merchandise, drinking coffee from reused food jars, and of course wearing and selling pre-worn clothing. “I don’t think we need to discard clothes just because they are worn. If anything, that gives them more love and quality,” says Taylor.
“We have items that have some rips, tears, and small stains - they don’t make a big difference in whether people will like it or not because they understand what it is. Like a lot of old pieces, you find a shirt from the 70’s, there might be something wrong with it - but it's still going to be cooler than any shirt you’d find today,” says Isaac.
You can keep up with available pieces and happenings @_thesobo_ on Instagram + stop in the shop for the full Sobo experience.