Kennedy Childers: Dogwood Vintage

Written by Sidney Young

Photography by Eleyah Slavens

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Kennedy Childers, a 20-something vintage store owner from Springfield, Missouri has all the grit. She grew up around second hand/thrift stores her whole life. Her parents taught her to be frugal and resourceful. Kennedy started selling thrifted clothing at the age of 15. Her passion for vintage clothing and style got her to the place she is now.

Kennedy had noticed that Springfield didn’t have many curated vintage shops. Wanting to provide locals with an affordable clothing option to buy vintage clothing, she took a leap of faith and decided to open her own shop named Dogwood. Being so fashion-forward but not being able to afford it, this was her opportunity to display her passion.

I personally reached out to Kennedy and asked her a few questions:

During this process, what was the most difficult thing you faced?

“The hardest thing was definitely fighting the voices in my head that were telling me I would fail. Another thing was trying to make time to focus on the shop when I was working full-time somewhere else. Once I was able to quit that job and give all my time and energy to Dogwood, I was happier and more driven to see it out to the end.”

What are your views on sustainability?

“I think living and shopping sustainably is more important than it’s ever been. With the state of our planet is in being conscious of where things are made or where they came from is imperative. We live in a society and grow up being taught that “new” is “better”. Sustainability is all putting the planet’s needs above the fact that everyone is telling you to buy new things. Specifically, shopping second-hand allows you to have a green wardrobe full of items that no one else has and you’re saving the planet. Looking good and feeling good about your purchase is pretty cool.”

What have you learned?

“Throughout this whole process I have learned that you always need to believe in yourself first. If you don’t believe that you will be successful, then who will? I’ve also learned so much about what it means to be a team player. I really enjoy working alone and having Dogwood has taught me that I can’t always do it alone and that it’s kay to want or need help.”

Where do you want to go from here?

“In the future I hope to see Dogwood with a real website and a bigger and better storefront. I also want to eventually be able to move away from Springfield and bring my shop with me. One day I hope to be working with bigger names in the vintage clothing business. If all my wildest dreams could come true, I would be in Seattle with my shop and fully supporting myself from the profits of the store. The future is very scary but incredibly exciting to think about.”

Being so young with an incredible amount of passion and drive, Kennedy is an inspiration to this community. Her views on sustainability and how she faced the challenges of becoming a business owner living in the Midwest shows the grit inside her to move forward. So let the others make their “ope” jokes. Us Midwesterners will get to where we’re going. Hard work means to play even harder, the simple life is happy life, and who doesn’t enjoy sunny and 60 degrees in the middle of February.

Sidney Young