A rustic house filled with vintage clothing and props that are used to help frame and focus memories and keepsakes through photography is located at the corner of Highway 48 and Highway 49 in Charlotte.
Malissa Lambert officially opened the shop in July 2020.
“I’ve been selling vintage clothing since December 2019,” said Lambert. “In January 2020 we shut down, cleaned it out and started setting up partitioned walls for building out sets for the photo studio. We were going to open in April but Covid hit and shut us all down. After we opened, it far exceeded my expectations for the first six months in a rural area. We get a lot of transient traffic from the highway, and we get a lot of repeat locals. In fact just recently we had someone come in who has been in with different family members several times.”
She said people of all ages want the photos.
“I’ve had photo shoots for babies as young as four months old to people in their 80s,” said Lambert.
Lambert, 42, said that ever since she was a teenager, she’s sold vintage clothing.
“The front of the store is costuming for photo shoots,” she said. “In a couple weeks it will be all retail vintage clothing sales. Costuming has been shifted to the back areas of the store space. The venue will offer old time photos as well as vintage retail sale items. On sunny days we’ll have a popup tent outdoors for vintage clothing and antiques. We’ll also offer folk art made out of vintage materials.”
She said that one customer traveled from Memphis for the Father Christmas photo experience last year.
“We had a vintage sleigh, with Father Christmas and not Santa,” she said.
“Pets can be a part of vintage photos. For Father Christmas vintage shoots we have had pet days. Nothing is off the table for me. If somebody makes a recommendation, as long as it’s legal, that will make my photos different from the last ones I did, I’m all game. I am in the business of creating happy memories. After shoots I am literally in tears now sometimes. The most recent took place with five sisters in here that turned into pinup girls in the kitchen. They all had a blast.”
Lambert said she has worked at fairs and festivals to sell clothing and costumes and can do quick photo ops with a mini set and costumes.
“All but five percent of items are true vintage and not costumes,” Lambert said. “I’m working on getting people trained to help with doing more. We could build another set for parties in another building. We could build out a small set off site but would need at least two weeks to get it done.”
William Wakeman who played Father Christmas for holiday photos stopped by during a recent interview.
“There’s an atmosphere here that makes you feel at home,” he said. “It’s a good vibe. I really enjoyed it. I did a lot of research on Father Christmas back to the 1600s.”
Sweet Charlotte photography is located at 3601 Highway 48 North.
Lambert, who lives in Cumberland Furnace, said that customers can make an appointment by calling (615) 887-1849. Her regular business hours are Thursday-Sunday from noon-5:30 p.m. with more information available online at Rusticrags.com, on Facebook.com and Instagram.com/rusticrags.