In a small corner filled with bright colors in Webster's Bookstore and Cafe lies Tigers Eye Vintage Clothing Store.
The vintage shop was created by owner Jenn Dashem, a 1988 Penn State alumna who graduated with a degree in integrative arts and who is a lover of unique clothing.
It was a mutual agreement between Dashem and the owner of Webster’s that Tigers Eye would be housed in the store.
“It just seemed like it would be the perfect complement to the books and the records and the cafe — and the whole vibe of Webster’s,” Dashem said.
Dashem said she “lives for” out of the ordinary clothing items — pieces that don’t fit a typical “cookie cutter” look.
Although Tigers Eye is a part of Webster’s, it is essentially a one-woman show, according to Dashem.
Dashem runs the vintage store and travels each week to find items to add to the collection.
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“It's a lot of work — I have a system worked out where a couple days a week I will go out and source things,” Dashem said. “I’ll drive out to Pittsburgh, Philly or Baltimore — [those cities have] more estate sales or house clearing… And then I’m here the rest of the time.”
Dashem said each of her items are well-curated and specifically selected.
“A lot of times, I have people in mind [when picking out items],” Dashem said. “It's kinda like a personal shopping experience.”
Casey Wawrzyniak came across Tigers Eye in fall 2019 when she went to meet up with a friend for coffee at Webster’s.
It was love at first sight — Wawrzyniak said she started going every other week.
Wawrzyniak said the vintage store never disappoints, and she said there is always something crazy to buy.
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“[Tigers Eye has] the best selection of vintage denim ever. It is so well-priced, too,” Wawrzyniak (senior-information sciences and technology) said. “I rarely leave there without buying rings or jewelry too.”
Emma Simpson said she especially enjoys finding leather pieces and the jewelry Dashem picks out.
“I like how it is pretty small, and every time you go there, you can find pretty edgy or vintage items,” Simpson (sophomore-media studies) said.
Many customers have a favorite piece they've purchased. For Wawrzyniak, it is a pair of jeans from the ‘80s.
“They are like a zebra-type pattern — they are really funky,” Wawrzyniak said. “I also have this purple coat from there that's kinda sick.”
Maia Kaczynski found the store this school year and has “spent so many hours [there] since.”
“[My favorite is] this really cool flannel I got last semester,” Kaczynski (freshman-biology) said. “I like the fact that it's almost a maze and you can just get lost when looking at stuff.”
Having customers find their favorite pieces is why Dashem loves what she does so much, and she said it inspires her.
“That's what I live for,” she said.
Dashem said in the future, she hopes to expand online and sell more pieces through social media or Etsy.
“I just love how electric [Tigers Eye] is,” Wawrzyniak said. “You never know what you're going to find or what Jenn picked out or how colorful it is.”