An adorable cottage with a bright orange door on a tree covered street in Plaza Midwood is the humble abode of a renaissance woman and her rock star husband. Surrounded by antiques, collectibles (including a bamboo bicycle), multiple four legged friends and a whole room for a closet, Elle Palmer leads a very unconventional life. Originally from Charlotte, Mich. (a small town pronounced Char-lot), the eclectic blue-eyed redhead found her way to a very different city by the same name. Since living in North Carolina, she has become the front woman of three unique businesses — a professional dog walker, owner and operator of the Urban Gypsy traveling trunk show (a fun shopping adventure with vintage, designer and recycled finds from dresses and denim to handmade jewelry, hats and shoes) and the program leader of 3 Weeks to Wellness (a 21-day group cleanse that transforms body, mind and spirit).
Creative Loafing: What inspired Urban Gypsy?
Elle Palmer: I've always been addicted and obsessed with clothes. I remember when I was little trying to bug my older cousins for all their hand-me-downs and going to yard sales to get clothes. I love finding treasures. I'm a seeker ... I actually got invited to a trunk show in Concord and I went and said "I could totally do this!" So, I was kind of justifying my addiction — to be able to still go thrifting and to estate sales but then when something isn't my size I can still get it which is always fantastic. Before I was like "Oh my gosh! These boots ... but they're a size seven!" and I'd have to put them back. Now I get to buy them anyway.
How would you describe your personal style?
I don't know if I have an exact term but I was thinking about "Hippy Glam" the other day and thought that was kind of fun. I like to throw in a vintage piece and mix it up with a current, modern piece and blend them. But I can mix it up. I'm not predictable ... or I would hope I'm not.
Where do you like to go to shop?
I usually just tell people I get my things from gypsies. That it's just gifted to me by gypsies. [laughs] But really it's just any kind of thrift. My stuff isn't all vintage. It's maybe 20 percent vintage. My friends just give me stuff. And, then I get calls all the time. I have people call me up and say, "I have this coat that my mother had ... do you want it?"
What are your other passions or hobbies?
I love animals. I love to travel anywhere and everywhere. As long as it's something new. I'm obsessed with obscure documentaries. I'm also kind of obsessed with Veganism and helping people. People call me the connector ... If you have something you're looking for, I want to guide you to it ... I love what I'm doing right now. I'm so blessed because I get to have groups of twenty people when I lead a cleanse and I take away all their junk ... it's like junk food rehab ... a lot of them are just eating the standard American diet and by the end of it their energy is back, they get their numbers back and their cholesterol is back to normal and they get off their medications, they're breathing again... it's so rewarding.
Who is your style icon or hero?
Honestly, I'd say my stylist friend Dean Pardue. He's been the most influential person in my life as far as as style. I've never been one of those people to subscribe to Cosmo. I mean if I'm at the dentist or something, I'm going to look at People Magazine ... who doesn't? But, I don't look at them and come home an try to emulate anyone. He's kind of more of my style hero than icon just because what he has taught me ... He pushed me to be a little bit more daring.
The next Urban Gypsy traveling trunk show happens Aug. 18 and 19. Visit http://www.urbangypsytrunkshow.com for more information.