I’m so excited to introduce you to this beautiful soul. I met Kristi through the Bozeman Flea. Her brand, Windy Peak Vintage, specializes in unique vintage clothing & handcrafted goods — thoughtfully curated and ethically gathered with recycled, vintage, and directly sourced items. I instantly fell in love with her style and kindhearted spirit. It was a great pleasure to spend time with her in her home — a little slice of windy heaven in the high desert grasslands near Livingston, Montana. Every corner of her home had a story to tell and you could feel the essence of her family like a warm hug.
1. What are your richest style memories?
When I was a little girl I took the opportunity to cut all of my hair off when a babysitter fell asleep one afternoon. Every day after that I chose to wear my mom’s turtlenecks on my head and pretend it was long hair. Each morning I would pick out a new color or pattern of turtleneck to decorate my short hair. Some days it was bright red and other days it was a colorful plaid. This seemed to be the start of my self-expression through dress. In my high school days, I rebelled against our conservative community by chopping my hair short (again), wearing tie dye and painting Picasso’s peace dove on my cap for graduation. In college, I dyed my hair black, pierced my nose, went vegan and stopped wearing leather. Over time I have simplified my dress. I carry those past style moments close to my heart and bring them out through other forms of self-expression and design.
2. Who inspires you the most these days and how does that inform your dress?
I think I will be forever inspired by the artists and musicians of the 1960s / 70s psychedelic folk rock era. I look to Emmy Lou Harris for her elegant and subtle western fashion and to Joni Mitchel for her natural and earthy style. Like these two women, I find my current style to be subtle, organic, and balanced. I dress up my vintage denim with turquoise and brass and typically never leave home without my cowboy hat.
3. What inspired you to start Windy Peak and what did you discover about yourself and your community through the process?
I was inspired to Start Windy Peak Vintage when chatting over afternoon beers with a good pal at the Old Saloon. We talked about creating a shop that could contribute to fashion in a
sustainable way while incorporating our Montana folk/western aesthetic. Because of some big bumps in the road and unexpected life events for my friend I endeavored on my own but keep
her in mind in all that I do. With the support of our small community and other creatives I’ve met along the way my shop has grown from a tiny Etsy shop into a successful online business, lifestyle blog and now a brick and mortar shop in Livingston.
4. What three items do you cherish the most and why?
1) My cowboy hat, found at a thrift store by my dad whom I get a lot of my ‘thrifting’ skills from. It’s the only hat I have ever found that fits my head like a glove and can resist the intense Montana winds.
2) An antique turquoise and silver squash blossom necklace that was gifted to my mom who then passed it down to me.
3) The kimono dress that I wore moments (and for the next few days) after Leon was born. It’s been hanging in my closet unworn ever since but it brings me back to the most
magical time of my life every time I get a glimpse of it. I’m not big on keepsakes but I’ll keep this one around forever.
5. What does your spiritual or contemplative life look like? And how does that inform your work, personal life and style?
I found spirituality in planting seeds for our garden in the early Spring, picking huckleberries in the late Summer and collecting firewood in the Fall. I find that I am most connected to my spiritual self when I am most connected to nature. I try to translate this feeling into the curation of my shop. I do this by trying to seek out natural fibers in textiles, photographing in our natural environment, and sharing a bit of our slow Montana lifestyle throughout. I incorporate my spirituality into my personal life by encouraging slow living and sharing the joys of nature with my son. In doing so my outer style is relaxed and practical. I never want to be afraid of getting my clothes a little dirty.
6. How has motherhood affected your inner life and expression of self?
My priorities shifted when I became a mother. Little things that once concerned me seem trivial now. Being honest with myself and others seems more important than ever and something I want to teach to my son. I don’t feel as inclined to express myself through how I look, but rather in what I do and how I interact with my community.
7. What is your relationship to shopping?
In our modern times, the temptation to get things NOW is always there…to hop online and order something to have delivered to your door the next day. I find it way more rewarding to patiently seek out styles through ‘thrifting’. The other day my husband and I were talking about how we needed a gooseneck kettle for our morning coffee but didn’t want to buy one online. Sure enough, we found one at a local thrift store that very weekend. We always end up finding what we want if we just wait for it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love shopping, but now that I own a shop I feel more inclined than ever to rebel against fast fashion. I mostly always buy my clothes second hand or get my staples from an independent designer.
8. What are some of the struggles as well as joys of being an entrepreneur?
I often struggle with finding a balance between work and my personal / spiritual life. It is far too easy for me to pull out my computer and start working after hours when I should be focusing on my family and home life. This has gotten a lot easier since I moved my business away from home, but the temptation is always there. I do love being my own boss and having my own schedule. I love bringing my baby to work even if it means getting nothing done. I love providing a space for art, craft, and vintage for our loving community.