Check out our interview with Bessi Bruns of On the Prowl Vintage, one of the vendors appearing at Second Sunday on Main in July!

Want to join our fantastic vendors at the July 8th Second Sunday event? There’s still time to register!


Bessi Bruns is the owner of On the Prowl Vintage, a Cincinnati-based vintage shop that sells clothes and accessories from the 50s all the way through the 90s. Bessi is passionate about history, vintage fashion, and pop culture and her passion shines through in every handpicked piece of clothing in her shop.

When did you start your company and where is it based?

Bessi: I started On Prowl Vintage in 2006 after I found one of the most unique things I had yet to find – a pair of vintage Taxi Shoes. Not my size, and not wanting to let them slip by, my boyfriend and I decided to try to sell them on the internet. So, I learned eBay. Since I had done all the legwork of learning, I thought now is a good chance to sell the vintage clothing in my closet I was no longer wearing. (I had been actively collecting since high school) It took off right away, and an online store was born. I was sending my vintage clothing to all over the world: Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, etc, etc.  In 2009, after some serious health issues, I needed something a little bit less fast paced – so I found a new internet home on Etsy.

My vintage is sourced from all over my travels, but I take my product shots in my home studio, on the Westside of Cincinnati. All of my models call Cincinnati home too!

What inspires you?

The way the sunlight hits at different parts of the day, shadows, shapes found in nature, music, hard workers, migrating birds, patterns, quotes, historic houses, old illustrations. These things inspire me in life and on a personal level.   When it comes to design, my biggest inspirations are colors and the way they play amongst each other. When styling and picking out clothing for Prowl, color is the number one driving force behind each outfit.

What is your favorite part about Second Sunday?

My favorite part of second Sunday is the reputation it has for bringing a diverse number of people together. Just this past week, I was in Montgomery to pick up a festival tent that I found on Craigslist. The man that was selling it was also a vendor at open-air markets and asked if we did Second Sundays.  He was in his 40’s with teenage daughters and sold dog scarves.  The two of us would never have all that much in common but we were able to talk about Second Sunday.  Point being, it is a place for all ages, all neighborhoods, and any type of person – to sell and to shop. It is, at its core, community driven.

Fill in the blank: The best part about my city/neighborhood is _________.

Its perfect size.

What are your favorite local spots to shop, eat, or visit?
Being that everyday my boyfriend and I are on hunt for vintage, we are continuously in a different part of the city.   If we can find a ma and pa diner, we will always go there. When we can’t, our favorites are Potbelly or any Mexican Restaurant. And if we’re in the Northside area you can bet your bottom dollar that we’re at Melt.  And I have to go to Thelma’s Diner (on the Westside) at least once a week or my taste buds go on strike.

I also love love love Cincinnati history, so of course I love the Cincinnati History Museum.

What do you want people to take away from  On the Prowl Vintage?

The other day I had to run an errand at the mall. I stopped in a few ladies apparel shops on the way and I was shocked at the amount of vintage reproduction. While, yes the clothes were cute, they lacked something. They didn’t have that history, the individuality, that one of a kind feeling you get with vintage.  They just weren’t … special. I can go on and on about the benefits of buying vintage, but for me it has always been that specialness factor vintage holds, and I truly believe that when you are wearing something unique and special – you come off as unique and special.

What advice would you offer to aspiring indie business owners?

Network with people like you. Then Network with people not like you. Learn to be able to take constructive criticism. Surround yourself with people who can stay positive in stressful situations. And always stay true to yourself and to your business.

You can find On the Prowl Vintage at Second Sunday on Main on July 8th,  or find the shop via, on Twitter @ontheprowl, and on Facebook.