"Vintage" and "repurposed" are the buzzwords of the day. Mix in "indie," "creative," "DIY" and "local," and you have the recipe for Zip-Dang, an eclectic new shop on Monroe Street across the street from Michael's Frozen Custard.
Owner Natalie Bass opened this "handmade menagerie and vintage boutique" in mid-June, with husband Mike Bass. Both have backgrounds in graphic art and design, and their artistic bent shines throughout the cozy shop, as does their sense of playfulness.
Zip-Dang is full of surprises. You'll find paint-by-numbers paintings next to salvaged steel end tables, kitschy plaster dogs next to recycled dog collars called Hipster Hounds ("perfect for the eco-conscious, fashion-forward tail-wagger"). A line of way-cool dinnerware by Foldedpigs is made from restaurant-quality dishware blanks; fired-on decals include a skull-and-crossbones, the bones replaced with crossed fork and spoon ($15-$40).
One wall features Orangyporangy skirts, Natalie's signature line made from colorful fabrics, both new and vintage. Picture '40s and '50s tablecloths, with roosters, bright red roses or big block prints (starting at $55). If Orangyporangy sounds familiar, Natalie has been selling her wares at the Dane County Farmers' Market for five years.
Mike's photos adorn the walls - close-ups of old gas pumps, crumbling storefronts, signs - and he has a wonderful line of notebooks in various sizes made from Bingo and Monopoly cards ($6).
A large metal armoire contains vintage men's shirts (I was particularly taken with the red cowboy shirt with snaps) as well as a display of marvelous '50s eyeglass frames for that hipster look (old stock but never used, $75-$85).
Asked to pick her favorite item, Natalie hesitates, then points to the large, ice-blue velvet Victorian-style couch that dominates the front of the shop. She likes it so much, in fact, that she hasn't managed to put a price tag on it yet.
Zip-Dang will hold a street bazaar 10 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday, part of the Monroe Street Festival. So grab a frozen custard at Michael's for sustenance, cross the street and gawk.
2606 Monroe St.
Wed.-Fri. noon-7, Sat. noon-5, closed Sun.-Tues.