Dandelion, winner of Best Used Clothing Store, is a favorite of many, due to its vintage clothes and consistent dose of history. Sara Hudson, a University of Illinois graduate with degrees in advertising and business, opened the store after moving to San Fransisco after school. The shops in the Haight Ashbury district inspired her love for collecting and wearing vintage clothing, and she found that she was spending all her time in second-hand stores, looking for new pieces. AFter being told by a friend who saw how excited she was to “do what you love,” Sara moved back to Champaign and opened up Dandelion. , Sara was inspired by a friend and a trip to the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco.
Now, 23 years later, one of Sara’s favorite things about running Dandelion is still searching for new merchandise. “The thrill of the hunt is definitely fun” she says, “you never know what you’re going to find. One day it’s a pair of old equestrian boots, the next it’s a 1960s fringe suede jacket, or a 50’s polkadot dress.” Being able to find these clothes new homes and recycle also is rewarding for Sara, and good for our planet.
Some of Hudson’s customers have been coming into her store since they were teenagers, and now bring their kids in to shop for vintage clothing. Like all great shop owners, Hudson cares deeply about her relationship with the customers. “I enjoy helping each one find that special outfit, costume, gift, or unique item they’re looking for.”
Hudson discusses her favorite memory as being, “when Emmylou Harris came in saying she needed some jewelry for her performance at the Virginia Theater that evening. We had a blast picking and choosing some nice baubles and hair jewels together, laughing and joking while her band, bodyguard and little dog patiently waited for her”