is a special kind of place you don’t just find everyday. Unless you live in the North Bay area.
Fortunately for myself, this is the situation I find myself in. So, whenever I need a new pair pants for work, a new blouse just because, an unsuspecting little gift for anyone for any little reason, or just to see a beautiful smile to make my day a little better…..I go see Maureen at Reenie Bird’s next to Honeymoon on Bodega. A place where all things are considered, and nothing is placed without purpose and style. Maureen Fitzgerald is the owner of this place I am telling you about. This vivacious, clever artist hails from Chicago by way of Peoria, Illinois. She took the first step to get her start in the industry by going to the Art Institutes for Fashion in Chicago. After that it was design, develop, sales and products. For nearly 20 years of working for others, she developed the hands on knowledge needed to create her own dream. . .
In search of a place to be inspired and appreciated, Moe (as her friends call her) and her partner Tim (also an artist, musician to be articulate) and a kitty named Gribelles, headed out west about 5 years ago this coming April. They drove a moving truck, towing their Chevy Cavalier through sunshine, rain and snow, mountains, desert…about 2100 miles till they reached a small town in Sonoma called Sebastopol.
After a few years of avidly working at a local art supply store and vintage “treasure hunting” and collecting in her free time… she one day realized that she was where she needed to be and had everything she needed to make her dream come true. Instagram had provided her an outlet for her passion to sell vintage and different finds she has a seemingly magnetic pull to, but something needed to happen. She saw a for lease sign in a space downtown Sebastopol close to her work, and within a month Reenie Bird’s Clothing, Alterations and Gifts opened on Bodega Avenue along famous stretch of the 116 through Sonoma, Napa and Bodega Bay that close by intersects with the Bohemian Highway.
Not only did she achieve this massive feat ( in a month!), but she also completely revitalized a building and the overall mood off Main St. Knowing lots of artists, having worked at the art store in town, Moe had no question about finding someone who would be a perfect candidate to paint a mural on the building where Reenie’s would come to be. Victoria Wagner, is the local artist responsible for the beautiful, bright mural you see in the styled photos.
Maureens style is vintage, chic, sweet, alternative and classic at the same time. She is always finding new things, from old times, from far off places and really aims to please. Prints and patterns, off the path of changing trends. Walking around her store is a nostalgia experience, that’s never quite the same. Things are always changing and rearranging, everytime I stop in there is something new. Something special.
This was in August of 2015, and Reenie’s is still open for business.
Its definitely worth making a trip through the beautiful surrounding scenery in the North Bay Area.
From San Fransisco, its just at an hour drive time.
Model: Molly Feller | Styled by : Maureen and myself | Photography : myself / styled Polaroids by Maureen | Mural : Victoria Wagner
I stopped by this past weekend to ask Ms. Fitzgerald a few questions. . .
Me: What made you decide want to open your own business?
Maureen: I didn’t like working for other people, I was done with it. I’ve got skills that need to be utilized!
Me: Do you think that what you have created is a product of yourself and being where you are, or do you think you could have created this anywhere?
Maureen: You know, I think about that sometimes. I think, you know what took me so long to do this? Relatively speaking it was kinda easy, you know? Just filling out a few forms. . . I really just bought anything that I liked so, that was no sweat. And I think, could I have done this in Chicago? I sort of think that I filled a specific niche, whether it be just in Sebastopol giving the Sebasotoplian people what they want or, maybe I just fit in more here than I ever did in Chicago.
Me: One more thing here. I guess, you’ve been in the fashion industry your whole life. Do you see this as a culmination of all the things you’ve learned over the years?
Maureen: Definitely. If I hadn’t learned how to sew i couldn’t do the alterations. And i think too doing fits of garments and things like that in my professional career I can tell people my honest feedback with conviction written al over my face. you know i know what I”m talking about, I know the words they want to hear. I do have a big sales background too, I think that plays a big part. Being a good sales person and know exactly what it is that you’re talking about, as far as the fit of a garment goes . . .
Me: Yea because, you can relate more when you actually have the experience; you have the textile and developing experience . . .
Maureen: And I know what the textiles are, and I can see if something is wrong in a garment that someone might not have seen before. My eye just goes directly to whats wrong. I have the upper hand I think, because of my life long experience. Am I answering your questions?!
Me: Yes with ease! Thank you so much for talking with me today, I really appreciate it!
Maureen: Of course, thank you!
I think from all this you can see how Maureen’s experience, passion and knowledge has all aligned in the most fruitful of ways. For the benefit of all our fashion needs!
Reenie Bird’s Treasures is open Sun-Sat 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
| Please call ahead for alterations! |
Also check out her instagram @reeniebirdstreasures for more ideas of what she’s got in store!
Maureen Fitzgerald | Owner and Seamstress
oh, and have a great week!