On a fateful day in 2003, Regina Evans started Regina’s Door, a customer-service-oriented vintage boutique she ran out of her Australia home; this fall, the business will be moving into a more permanent home on 17th Street in Oakland.

Regina’s Door is modeled after a Paris salon in an “I Love Lucy” episode, where the store contains a rack or two of upscale vintage clothing, but the majority of the shopping happens in a sit-down appointment with a sales representative.

With a time frame spanning the Victorian Era to the 1980s, the merchandise at Regina’s Door will be primarily focused on day dresses, evening dresses, ball gowns and pieces available to rent for costuming purposes. Evans envisions a space where customers can come in, have some coffee and cake, chat with her and “feel inspired.”

Evans said she wants the new shop to be more personal than an everyday shopping experience, and hopes to conduct appointment-only visits to gauge what her customers’ tastes, interests and lives are centered around.

“We want to be loved and we want people to be interested in our spirits and hearts and the things that make us tick and breathe,” Evans said. “If you tap into that, it’s like gold, and I think you can do it in retail.

Regina’s Door also recently partnered with Love Never Fails, a local faith-based nonprofit organization devoted to removing and rehabilitating youth involved in sex trafficking and raising awareness for prevention efforts.

In addition to mentoring and hiring the rehabilitated youth to work in the store, the partnership also features four learning modules all Love Never Fails youth will have access to. The modules will be centered around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), fashion and design, theater and entrepreneurship.

“I want to provide them with different avenues that inspire them to achieve the things that are within them and to really reach,” Evans said. “I want to send them to places that allow them to see different things than what they can see right now.”

Evans joined Love Never Fails in 2007 and became a sex trafficking abolitionist. The youth Evans hires from Love Never Fails will be involved in all day-to-day operations of the store, decorating the interior and selecting garments from clothing drives to sell. Essentially, Regina’s Door is the picture frame, and what the youth create within its confines is the photograph, Evans said.

“Intrinsically, you have these things in you that need to be borne out,” Evans said. “Basically, the store is all about customer service and beautiful clothes and inspiring people, but it’s also about helping the community.”

A self-described “journeyer” and “cliff-jumper,” Evans also has her hands in several other pots. In addition to being a sex-trafficking abolitionist and a socially just business owner, she is also active in the theater community as a performing artist and playwright. Her most notable play, 52 Letters, will be staged in a fundraising performance for Regina’s Door on August 23 at The Flight Deck in Oakland.

Ultimately, Evans hopes Regina’s Door will be a powerful space for those she mentors and her customers to achieve their dreams. Her main goal is to continue fusing her passion for performance and commitment to abolishing sex trafficking with the ongoing success of her store.

About The Author

Natalie Meier is currently writing about issues in public health, tech and small business innovation as a freelance contributor for Oakland Local. Meier is a senior at Mills College studying English and Journalism and is also cross-registered at UC Berkeley. She currently interns for ABC7 News in San Francisco and has written for The Daily Californian, Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), StuVoice, and KALW.

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