If you are racist, sexist or homophobic, Old Made Good is not for you.
Ashley Sheehan, Nashville businesswoman, is not the owner of your average vintage store. She’s the first to admit it. She even advertises it to customers before they walk in the door.
Laid back in a brown wool swivel chair, arms bunched inside of her flared coveralls, Sheehan keeps her wide, icy blue eyes locked in the distance through her choppy bangs as she takes herself back to where her journey began.
In 2010, Sheehan had no idea that a car accident would change her life. After sustaining injuries that would leave her bed ridden for six months, she began contemplating her future. A social work student at the time, Sheehan didn’t want to do something, as she put it, that her heart wasn’t in.
After finally recovering, Sheehan opened her first shop, selling her own handmade art and jewelry. Within six months, her business was flourishing. Soon after, she outgrew her first store, moving to a 1,200-square-foot facility.
It wasn’t long before she once again, outgrew her second store and moved into what would become the first of many vintage stores in the historic Gallatin Pike area.
For Sheehan, being a staple was always the goal.
“I always start to wonder if we are becoming irrelevant because of all the new stores that come across this area; and then I remember that we were the first of so many vintage stores that eventually settled here, and our customers are loyal to that.”
You might be wondering what makes this store so unique; what keeps the customers coming back?
Perhaps it’s the naughty needlepoints or vintage service badges. Or maybe it’s the hand-crafted jewelry and vintage records.
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the notebooks made especially for a list of all the people you want to punch in the face.
The interior doesn’t hurt either. Adorned with cozy sofas and dimly lit chandeliers, all available for purchase of course, Old Made Good has the charm of home.
Well, minus the glitter floors of course.
Where do these unique products come from? The answer is simple; they come from everywhere.
“I want things that are unique, that you can’t find anywhere else. My favorite thing is when I get to hear someone smile or laugh because of something I picked out.”
While some items are from local vendors, Sheehan said that she likes to bring in products from all around the country. They may not be local to Nashville, but they are local to somewhere, and that’s the feeling she is going for.
Sheehan also sells a lot of her own designs, including handmade jewelry, needlepoints and refurbished furniture.
“This store is me. I’ve poured everything I have into it, my heart and soul,” said Sheehan.
“When people come in, it’s like they are looking into my brain, but that also means that I have to try really hard to not take it personal if someone doesn’t like something.”
With constantly changing products, that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
“The stuff you find in there, you would never find that anywhere else,” said Molly Cotter, a regular customer at Old Made Good. “But that’s what I love about it. It’s unique, and you can tell that’s what they are going for. The store has such a care-free attitude and that’s half of the fun of going in, even if you don’t buy anything.”
Unlike other stores, Old Made Good adds new products daily, keeping customers coming back to see what might be next.
“This store has a smart ass nature,” said Sheehan.
“After my accident, I realized that I just had to be me, and my products reflect that. If I wouldn’t buy it myself, I don’t sell it.”
While you can find rave reviews of the store and its products online and featured in magazines, Sheehan chooses not to read them.
“It’s not for everyone, but the beautiful thing is I don’t even have to deal with it. My customers are loyal; they stick up for me.”
Sheehan makes it a goal to appeal to customers of all ages.
“I had an elderly woman come in the other day and buy the notebook for the list of people you want to punch in the face, and all I could think was that her nursing home better watch out,” laughed Sheehan.
Old Made Good has gained enough momentum that it is now known across the country.
“I’m from New Jersey originally, but I had read about it online. It was one of the first places I visited when I came to Nashville,” said Cotter.
“There is always something new to see, It’s never the same stuff. I love that it’s funny yet that it has a sense of beauty. It just makes you feel good.”
While Sheehan now runs a nationally known business featured in places such as Elle and Lucky magazine, her personal journey was struggling.
After her car accident, Sheehan became dependent on prescription pain pills.
Her success came while she was still using, but after making the move to the final location, she decided to get help.
The store was too dependent on her for her to be dependent on drugs.
“I always pretended I was sober. I pretended like I didn’t have a problem. But I knew I had too much to lose and that I had to get help,” said Sheehan.
Through her struggles, Sheehan has reached out through social media to her customers, sharing her story in hopes of encouraging others.
“Everything happens for a reason. I knew this had to be worth something, and I had to make it positive. It means so much to me when I have someone come in the store to tell me I’m the reason they decided to get help.”
And Sheehan does help.
“She takes a chance with people. I had problems too, but we got through them together, and now we are both very open about it because we know staying silent doesn’t help anything,” said Old Made Good employee Cait Brady.
Sheehan is not your average businesswoman. In fact, she scoffs at the idea.
“I still feel like I’m playing. I still feel like at anytime someone is going to tell me I have to stop. I don’t feel like an adult. “
“At the end of the day, I took a leap of faith,” she said. “I’ve been so blessed to be able to do what I do and help people along the way. I can’t imagine doing anything else, I could do this forever.”