Inside This & That Vintage, a Cross River boutique from visual storyteller Nicole Mata
Nicole Mata's grandparent's attic was a treasure chest. Lined with garment bags and clothing racks, it was a place where, as a child, Mata would play with and style outfits. Her grandfather was a colonel in the military and he and her grandmother entertained often. That early experience inspired Mata, leading her on a path to open This & That Vintage, a new boutique in Cross River.
In the front window of Mata’s vintage boutique, you’ll find Libby, a mannequin whose colorful and boldly accessorized look reflects Mata’s strong sense of styling and visual merchandising. Libby is aptly named after the woman who sparked Mata’s interest in fashion in an attic all those years ago, her grandmother.
In 2020, Mata began selling vintage housewares on Instagram under the name This & That Vintage Decor. The products, which included colored vintage glass pieces and midcentury (Mata’s favorite era) barware, began to take off. Mata rapidly gained followers and continued sourcing estate sales and online auctions for unique items, growing the business through Instagram live sales. “When I started going to estate sales, I would find clothing and I was like – well, I can’t just leave that behind!” Mata said, and the business naturally expanded into women’s fashions.
As Mata amassed a collection of clothing and jewelry, she realized that her inventory would require more space, so she rented a small storage space at Yellow Monkey Village, a retail complex of women-owned businesses on Route 35 in Cross River. She began to shoot Instagram live sales at this location, but her customers craved more. “People would ask me, ‘What are your hours?’ but it was really just a workspace at that time.” Still, if her customers wanted to shop, Mata would open her doors. In 2022, she realized it was time to expand to a boutique location.
“I was a little scared because I’ve never had my own retail store,” Mata admits, “but I thought–now’s the time.” She reached out to Tia Cibani, a fashion designer and owner of the building in Yellow Monkey Village, to inquire about a location for her new boutique. Mata describes Yellow Monkey Village as a place with “really warm energy,” and was itching to be a part of the collective of creative women who occupy its walls. Cibani offered Mata a space that had formerly housed her own boutique, and Mata took the leap.
Mata has a rich background in fashion and styling. She has created window displays for national retailers including Crate & Barrel and Nordstrom. Locally, she works with restauranteurs in Mt. Kisco and Stamford, CT on their interior designs. "Visual merchandising is my sweet spot," Mata says. "I love creating the look; it's so much fun." Mata also has significant experience in event planning. Not shocking, as when you enter This & That Vintage you feel as though you're entering a carefully curated fashion experience.
At This & That, Mata has expanded her client base by collaborating with other vintage purveyors and hosting bi-monthly jewelry sales with a New Mexico-based vintage jewelry collector. When she posts a photo of her merchandise or hosts an Instagram live sale, she reaches customers all over the world. “I have clients I ship to Italy, Canada, and Japan,” Mata explains, “I am able to reach a broader audience.”
Mata says her customers love the sustainability and uniqueness of vintage pieces.“I think people are starving for something new and different. [We have] Target and all of these places, there’s a need for those obviously. Still, people are looking for more unique experiences and different things, something they’re not going to see everywhere.” Mata also offers “curated consignment;” she takes in pieces from individual sellers, and she’s very selective about her offering.
Mata feels it’s crucial to offer a wide breadth of prices. “I know how I like to shop,” she says, “and I want to go to a store and [for it to be] accessible. I don’t want someone to come in and say I could never step foot in there because everything is over $500.” This & That includes everything from $12 vintage t-shirts to $900 Gucci bags, and everything in between. “I look more for inexpensive but nice things so that everyone can enjoy vintage.”
Soon to come are private shopping nights with friends (complete with wine and cheese), and an online shop. Mata, in addition to occupying the titles of Visual Merchandiser, Interior Designer, and Vintage collector, is also a Web Designer.
On Friday, February 10, This & That Vintage will co-host an event with Yellow Studio. “Love Struck” is “an evening of celebrating love through music,” and will feature live music, wine, and food. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.