Queer WOC & Black Owned Vintage Shop, Neon Cactus, inside Fergusons Downtown

Nestled in the heart of Fremont East in Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find Fergusons Downtown, a city block #rootedin community that celebrates local music, art, and creators. From the shops of local makers to restaurants and enchanting green space, Fergusons is a place where the community can connect, shop, eat, drink, stay, work, gather and explore.

Fergusons is lined with unique and independent local shops, including Neon Cactus, a body-positive and all-inclusive vintage shop offering the highest quality vintage goods as well as handmade stained-glass jewelry. Owned and operated by married beauties, Alicia Avery and Negar Hosseini-Nasab, Neon Cactus’ product line is bold, colorful and meant to make a statement.

Inside the vibrant shop, you’ll find an eclectic mix of vintage clothing, accessories, cassettes and records, playboys (yes, playboys!) and more.

We had the pleasure of interviewing the visionaries behind the brand where we learned more about their background as artists, business owners, and beautiful humans.

Tell us about your background and the road that led you to creating Neon Cactus.

Neon Cactus Vintage was a passion project that was born out of necessity. As a homeless teen, I relied on thrifting to supply myself with affordable clothing and goods. Later, I was able to go to UNLV where I received my bachelors in Art History. It was through my interests in history, being born and raised in Las Vegas, and my passion for sustainable fashion that grew into Neon Cactus Vintage.

Is it safe to say you are both artists first? How did you learn the technique of stained glass art?

Yes, we are both artists at heart! I began with a background in painting and Alicia began learning the art of stained glass from her mother when she was just seven years old.

Your shop at Fergusons Downtown in downtown Las Vegas is wonderfully vibrant and full of personality. What were your goals when designing the space?

Thank you! Alicia and I have put a lot of thought and love into our little shop. We have both been able to leave little bits of ourselves throughout the space. Alicia has made both the signs we have had for the shop, the original felt sign outside of our window that we used for pop-ups, and the beautiful stained glass sign we have on our wall. My mark was the ceiling mural.

Our goal was to create a vibrant and colorful space that was welcoming. We wanted people to feel an outpour of happiness from all of the colors and patterns inside!

Negar, Neon Cactus

Can you share with us the process you go through in finding the perfect vintage items to sell?

I like to select vibrant and colorful statement pieces for the shop! I make sure to take time to source out sizes that are inclusive and in great condition.

What would you say is the main appeal of vintage clothing? How does it compare with ‘fast fashion’ brands?

The detriments of fast fashion as far as unsafe labor and the massive waste/pollution created from it definitely factor into our appreciation for vintage. Vintage items are often made to last and come with a lot of history! The best part of finding a vintage piece is connecting it with its future life and watching the its story continue.

What is your favorite fashion decade and do you have a particular fashion icon from that period you admire most?

It just depends! I really love groovy 60’s and 70’s fashion, but I think I’ll always be a 90’s kid at heart. I don’t have a specific fashion icon, but I do love to look at vintage photos and magazines for fashion inspiration.

Tell us about your beautiful love story and your experience in building a business with your wife by your side.

Alicia and I met 7 years ago in Las Vegas! It has been an equally beautiful and challenging experience building this business together. We each are passionate about community and creating a safe space where all feel welcome. It has been wonderful meeting so many people that connect with us through nostalgic memories they see in our shop.

I read that one in four LGBTQ+ people reported experiencing employment discrimination in the last five years, while 27 states have no LGBTQ+ Non-Discrimination Protections. As a queer-owned business, what changes do you believe should be made to ensure businesses maintain queer sensibility and inclusive values?

Being a queer Black and WOC owned shop doesn’t always result in the best interactions, we have experienced our share of discrimination and insensitivity. We hope that through being out and open to our community, people will grow and change with time. This is one of the reasons we don’t gender our clothing! Spreading awareness that clothing doesn’t have gender isn’t a concept that everyone is familiar with. It’s greatly important to hold businesses and individuals accountable. We are very vocal about our views and protecting the most vulnerable individuals in our community. We would love to see protections put into place everywhere for LGBTQIA2S+ folks.

Seeing people support our little shop shows us that they want us to exist and be a part of their community is something we are really grateful for.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and artists?

Start before you’re ready!

What is your ultimate goal for Neon Cactus?

To continue to create a safe and inclusive space for our community, where people can come in and be authentically themselves.

A question we ask all of our interviewees – what is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?

I think Raw Femme strives to connect communities and share stories of unique individuals!

You can visit Negar and Alicia Wednesday – Sunday from 11-5pm inside Fergusons Downtown, or shop for goodies online at their website. Follow and support!

Instagram: @neoncactusvintage
Website: www.neoncactusvintage.com

Instagram: @fergusonsdowntown
Website: www.fergusonsdowntown.com

Instagram: @rawfemme
Website: www.rawfemme.com