Ever since she was a little girl, Beth Giles has had a passion for taking something old and worn out and turning it into something useful and beautiful. This childhood talent grew…into a full-fledged business.
Salvage Life is a vintage clothing and jewelry store that Beth launched in 2006 as an online shop. Her business grew rapidly. In 2010, celebrity singer Taylor Swift wore a Salvage Life dress during her “Fearless” tour, and pictures started popping up of Taylor Swift and other celebrities wearing Redesigned vintage jewelry sold in Beth’s shop. Giles opened her shop as a physical location in Long Beach in 2013.
Beth attends Grace Long Beach, a Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach, Calif. (Lou Huesmann, senior pastor), with her husband and two daughters. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Long Beach, double-majoring in clothing & textiles and fashion merchandising. After completing a senior project that used her gifts to raise money for Ugandan orphans, Beth worked jobs in sales and marketing at a contemporary clothing showroom in Los Angeles, and designed window displays for a Long Beach boutique.
She started to brainstorm ways to meld her passion for fashion, vintage and reworked clothing and jewelry, and sustainable business practices. This sparked her idea for Salvage Life.
“Salvage Life was born out of a love for all things vintage met with a disgust for the disposable society we live in and an eye for seeing the potential in things,” explains Giles in her shop bio.
“Our desire is to discourage wastefulness and promote sustainable buying practices without missing out on the beautiful things our world has to offer. We believe that given a little faith and creativity, everything has the opportunity for a new life.”
A unique melding of Beth’s passions – sustainable business and vintage fashion – Salvage Life allowed her to “engage in the market economy with a creative vision,” as Christianity Today noted in their 2012 story about Salvage Life.
“Salvage Life has two meanings,” explains Beth. “The first is that I ‘Live the Salvage Life’ by attempting to use as many old things as possible to fulfill new purposes. Secondly, I ‘Salvage the Life’ left in an item and allow it to live again. The key to living the Salvage Life is to not see something for what it is, but what it could be.”
Today, Salvage Life is still going strong with the online shop and Long Beach location. It features (charming items new and old.) Check out Beth’s online shop at salvagelife.com.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.