Photos by Jordan McMills

Peek inside the Social Graces Vintage shopette

In the small, shaded courtyard shared by the bookworms of Red Stick Reads and the metalsmiths of Mimosa Handcrafted Jewelry, a small white “shopette” serves as the momentary headquarters of Social Graces Vintage, a miniature boutique of curated home goods, books, and other curiosities from bygone decades. Started by owner Jordan McMills during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shop—once relegated only to online sales via Instagram, McMills’ website, and pop-ups at places like Light House Coffee and the Electric Depot—exists now as a quaint, sunny room welcoming visitors until the end of April.

Although originally set to pursue a career in law, McMills has always maintained a creative streak. “I did grow up here in the Baton Rouge area, in the Old Goodwood area,” she says. “And once I was done with undergrad in Mississippi, I moved back here to go to law school. But it was my undergraduate degree in English literature that really allowed me to do a lot of cool, creative things,” she shares.

During lockdown, McMills began sharing her vintage finds—then just a hobby—on social media, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. She eventually started selling items and soon gained a substantial following. “I gravitate towards items that make an environment feel warm and inviting,” she says. “I like gold and brassy tones, more warm colors as opposed to cool ones.”

One thing that sets Social Graces Vintage apart, though, is its range of prices. “One reason I started doing this is because I would go into vintage stores and not be able to afford one thing,” says McMills. “So I wanted to make sure that the people who came in could spend $10 on a vintage postcard if they wanted, or if someone wanted to spend more than $100 on glassware for a special occasion, they could do that, too. I wanted the availability of the items and the cost to suit all kinds of people and occasions.”

Visitors to Social Graces Vintage can expect to find a diverse selection of vintage items, including high-end dinnerware, unique glasses, and antique paper items like books and postcards. McMills also has a passion for locally inspired items, as seen in the shopette’s stock of vintage maps of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and even a vintage book on the Louisiana folk hero Evangeline. “I’m not going to put anything in here that I don’t personally like,” she says.

But the store is not just a place to buy vintage items; it’s also a source of inspiration for interior design enthusiasts.

“People may not know what to do with something like my vintage matchboxes, so by putting them in frames, I like to show people the different ways you can utilize vintage items in decor. I like to get people excited,” says McMills.

Although waiting to see what the future of the store will be after April is over (the shopette’s purpose at present is to welcome a different brand every few months), McMills looks forward to whatever the future may bring.

“Having a brick-and-mortar has been a dream of mine, and so I’d love to continue popping up and see what happens,” she says.

Social Graces Vintage will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring various other local makers. For more information, or to see what you can find at the shop between the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, follow along @social_graces_vintage