NEWPORT — A new shop with a rocker vibe opened in the Deco District in Newport. Jovi Girl at 822 SW Lee St. is part thrift store and part boutique, as well as a remarkable collection of vintage ’80s clothing. Owner Michelle Elwood pointed out a Versace coat. There was a classic MTV T-shirt in mint condition on the wall for $20, and an assortment of vintage jeans.
“If you were a girl in the ’80s, you’ll see clothes you wore,” she said. “We try to add something for everyone, but the basic feel is obviously kind of rocker edge. That’s why Jovi Girl — Bon Jovi,” she explained, gesturing to what could almost be described as an altar honoring the rock star, Jon Bon Jovi. She’s also a big fan of Pink, she said.
Was she a groupie back in the day? “Oh, yes,” Elwood said. “I have original Bon Jovi T-shirts, original Van Halen T-shirts.” She qualified that she wasn’t back stage. “I was the one that would be waiting down by the bus.”
Elwood recalled a concert 15 years ago where she caught sight of her idol after the performance she attended with her daughter. “We went down by the buses. (Jon Bon Jovi) was coming in a van. I yelled his name, and he turned around and waved and said hi, and I was like — yeah.”
Her own personal style emulates the rocker. He likes scarves, she said. Elwood was wearing a jean jacket inspired by the rocker, his name on the back. She makes and sells the vintage jean jackets and, embellished with scarves, Bon Jovi coats.
In a business class where the instructor was talking about choosing what kind of business you want, Elwood recalled the instructor asking, “When were you the happiest?” and “What makes you happy.”
“For me, that is music,” she said. “I snuck out of my house at 14 to go to Mötley Crüe.” It didn’t turn out so well for her — her dad didn’t like it, she said. But she kept going to concerts.
Much of the clothing on the walls is from her own collection or clothes her daughters wore as teens. Britney Spears’ little plaid skirt from the, “Oops, I did it again” video was on the wall. Elwood said she had the white shirt, the whole outfit.
She wasn’t planning to open a clothing store. “My friend Linda, I detail her car, who has New for You, (a Newport consignment shop) had a storage unit and told me I should open a store,” Elwood explained.
With that inventory, her own collection and some of her daughters’ clothes from previous eras, Jovi Girl was created. It’s not just ’80s girls who will recognize clothes from their closet. “There’s something for everyone,” said Elwood.
Elwood was in the business class to learn how to improve her car detailing business when everything just came together, she related. While the pandemic makes opening a business a risky endeavor, she is hopeful and indicated a strong faith in God. “It all just came together,” she said.
In addition to regular hours, Jovi Girl offers private shopping appointments by calling 541-265-8753.