The past few months we’ve had the pleasure of working with Rhode Island local, Jo, from the vintage boutique August & Rudy. Jo contacted us a few months ago and we were over-the-moon excited to collaborate with such a sweet and talented lady!
More recently, one Sunday morning I had the pleasure of shooting her in downtown Providence. Sundays can be pretty quiet downtown and it felt so perfect to have the city to ourselves. I really loved getting to know her and hearing her perspective on business, fashion, and film. Jo is so hard working, unassuming and inspiring; we love supporting people like her!
Ladies and gentlemen…. Jo Donofrio.
where are you from and where do you live now?
“I am from Connecticut and live in northwestern Rhode Island.”
describe Providence in a few words.
“Small, quaint, original.”
when do you feel the most creative?
“I feel the most creative when I converse with others about ideas or listen to others stories. It’s inspiring to listen to the personal journey of individuals and invigorates me to keep creating and leading my passions in life.”
what is one thing you can’t leave your house without?
“I wish I could say something more interesting but simply…… water.”
when do you feel your best?
“I feel my best when I’m doing things that feed my mind and spirit. Running, being by the ocean, enjoying moments of solitude, and spending a day with friends and family all nurture that.”
what inspired you to have an online boutique?
“I always enjoyed the process of styling and curating, and shared a deep love for clothing and items from the past. I also felt very encouraged by the creative Etsy community which led me to feel it was very possible for a single individual like myself to start an online shop from the ground up. That D.I.Y sensibility was very exciting to me.”
what is the meaning behind the name: August & Rudy?
“The name originates from two family members that I wanted to honor and remember. It can be very easy to forget what is no longer in the present moment. I wanted to be reminded of their spirit and essence in a similar way I am trying to remind my viewers of these beautiful items from the past not to be forgotten.”
how would you describe your fashion style?
“I would describe my style as relaxed and eclectic. While I have a great vision for fashion outside of my own wardrobe, I generally tend to be pretty laid back with what I wear and enjoy being comfortable. I also like mixing an array of different styles and incorporating vintage and modern pieces together whenever I can.”
when did you realize you loved fashion?
“I think every kid plays dress up when they’re young, but that fun only grew larger into my teens when I began thrifting on a weekly basis, sticking my nose into fashion mags, sketching looks, and styling whenever I could. Clothing is a creation in itself, but the precious act of putting pieces together is another sense of creating.”
what would you say is the best business advice you’ve received?
“I think the importance of marketing has been the best advice received. It is incredibly important to keep putting yourself out there to get your work known to others. Networking is also huge!”
what have you learned from having a business?
“I have learned that it takes time; nothing happens overnight. Being your own boss sounds like a wonderful idea in theory, but it really demands that you are self-disciplined, determined, and follow through.”
what would you say is your big vision for August & Rudy?
“I have to be sensible in my vision as I have embarked on another passion in my life and one that I hope will take precedence one day. While I’ve always dreamed of opening a brick-and-mortar shop, where my passion for curating could really come alive, I know I have to be realistic about what I really want for my future. I created my shop so I could be self-dependent and make my work something I loved. My only hope is to be able to continue expanding the shop and supporting myself through this business while I also pursue my other love; film making.”
if you could drop everything and do ONE thing– what would you do??
“I would make films and act.”
besides thrifting and finding such beautiful items, what else do you enjoy on your time off?
“I love going to the movies, being at the beach, hiking, yoga and spending time with loved ones.”
what is the best place you’ve ever traveled to?“I’ve traveled to many places, Spain, France, Canada and all over the U.S. but I find that it’s not these places alone that could answer that question; it’s the experiences I had when I visited them. While every place has it’s own sort of beauty, I have a very special place in my heart for Newport, Rhode Island that whenever I am there, it feels like home. While it seems so simplistic since it’s local to us, I have never felt so at peace in any other place I’ve been to, thus far.”
who or what inspires you?
“I am constantly inspired by others. My family, friends, boyfriend, teachers, and even strangers that I see creating a life of artistic fulfillment for themselves. To plug some fangirlism, I am also inspired by the fashion extraordinaire Tavi Gevinson, who has accomplished so much, in so little time. And I wouldn’t be a film enthusiast if I didn’t say I am incredibly influenced by movies and the directors that created them; Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Derek Cianfrance, and more. I don’t think I could create what I do if I wasn’t moved by films, music, art, and the spirit of others.”
any words of advice would you give to our readers wanting to start an online boutique or wanting to venture to flea markets?
“My advice would be, come up with a business plan first and foremost. Ask yourself, what is your aspiration in starting an online shop. Be very clear about what you want, that will help determine the choices you make along the way. If you are interested in just shopping, research flea markets in your area, get up early, grab some coffee and have fun! The best part about flea market shopping is being open to the experience because you never know what you may find.”
where can our readers purchase your vintage finds & follow you on social media?!
You can check out my Etsy shop: August & Rudy (here).
And follow me on instagram @AugustandRudy (here)!
Jo is a kind soul with a keen eye for style, has one heck of a business sense, and not to mention she’s gorgeous! Check out her shop and support Providence locals, like her!
// all photography and editing by: Olivia //