Although Rockabilly-style clothes for women are known to
accentuate a woman's curves, My Baby Jo in Los Angeles also
carries pieces that are not as form filling, or revealing, which
gives Muslim women options to choose from.
(Photo credit: Sabrina Enayatulla)
When Darla Montoya's two-toned red and white 1961 Chrysler was hit on Interstate 405, the small settlement she was awarded didn't make up for the sentimental damage to the vintage car. Rather than heading to the mall (a place where you'd likely never see Montoya) and spending her settlement on a designer handbag (something you'd likely never see Montoya carrying) she decided to start her own business.
“All I was thinking, was 'how can I fix my car?'” Montoya says, sitting on what appears to be a booth pulled straight out of a 1940's diner in the middle of her Rockabilly-themed store, My Baby Jo, in Los Angeles.
What started out as a narrow, hallway-sized shop has now taken over the two businesses that previously flanked the 1940s and '50s themed clothing store. Although My Baby Jo is classified as vintage, everything in the store is new. The tiny tatters on the shoes, and the slightly worn look on some of the dresses and hats are pieces made with the intention to look that way. Montoya says she is aware that she has a very niche market, but likes it that way, and the specialty store attracts everyone from girls looking for a prom dress to celebrities and movie studios searching for a very specific look.
Montoya, a product of the 1980s, says that she never felt like she fit in during her high school years, and it wasn't until about 12 years ago when she took her first swing dancing class at The Derby, a club in Los Angeles, that she finally found the era she felt a part of.
“When I saw the people dancing I knew that's how it was supposed to be,” she said. “I loved the music, the clothes, everything about it.”
Montoya became a regular at The Derby, and started making and selling her own hair accessories online after frequent trips to the florist for fresh flowers became too expensive. In June 2002 Montoya created a physical presence for the online store, which she named after her mother, Betty Jo, who died when Montoya was 15.
“[My father] only ever called her 'My Baby Jo',” Montoya said. “So when I was started the business I wanted it to reflect what made me who I am today. And that was my parents.”
My Baby Jo is located at 10418 National Blvd. in Los Angeles. Store hours are Monday noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the store is closed on Sunday. Call 310-558-9244 for more information, or visit MyBabyJo.com.