Shop Talk: Whitney Schaefer of Orange and Blue Co.


Opened last June in Milwaukee’s Brewers Hill neighborhood, Orange and Blue Co. boasts a carefully curated collection of both vintage and modern goods sourced from local artisans as well as makers across the world. Owner Whitney Schaefer says she loves working with makers, especially women and mothers, who put their heart and soul into their work. Here she talks about her interest in vintage goods, her most popular items and more.

What drew you to vintage items?
I’ve always loved old things — since I was young. I would go antiquing or thrifting when I was young, which is funny because I don’t think I got that from my parents or anything. I was just into it. And I always loved the things that were from my family. I liked the story (behind items). I liked the idea that someone had this piece and it had another life.

How did you come up with the name for the shop?
I knew I needed to pick something that people would remember. … (And) I’m an art kid, so I’m drawn to complementary colors and the idea that they complement each other. But really, I had a favorite blue bowl that has since gone to the heavens, but I loved it. And I loved the way oranges looked in it, and I always had clementines or tangerines or oranges in the blue bowl (so) one day I was like, um, “Orange and Blue Company.”

What are some of your more popular items?
Currently I have a designer from Atlanta — she’s called Machete, and she uses imported plastic and makes earrings. They are really, really cute, but they are all different versions of tortoiseshell and they really range in size. Most of them are hoops, but I’ve had different shaped hoops, different widths, and things like that, and people are crazy (for them). … That and I have a candle company from California called P.F. Candle Co. Specifically there’s a scent of candle called the teakwood and tobacco candle that’s by far my best-seller, and then their incense people love.

What are some of your favorite Milwaukee shops?
I have a lot of favorite places in Milwaukee. For shops, for curated goodness, perfect stuff you did not know you needed, Specter over on Fifth and National. Right across the street there’s a shop called Form Fine Goods — completely different but equally as beautiful. … If I’m looking for really good vintage for my son or myself, there’s a (vintage) shop in Bay View called Alive and Fine. I also really like to go to (what) was Antiques on Second but is Antiques on Pierce now. It’s a warehouse of antique vendors.

What are some of your favorite Milwaukee restaurants?
We just went to Snack Boys for the first time. (Wow,) was that good. Snack Boys is awesome. For going out, we usually go to Odd Duck or Goodkind, places like that. I love to go to Kickapoo (Coffee). … Centro (Cafe), that’s one of my favorite restaurants, for sure. We go to Lakefront Brewery a lot because it’s so close (and) it’s so good. ... One of the places I don’t think is getting enough recognition is a restaurant in Walker’s Point called Camino. They’re so good. Every time those burger write-ups come out I’m like, “Why isn’t he on there?”

Visit Orange and Blue Co.:
1809 N. Hubbard St.,

Lauren Landa, jewelry-maker, Milwaukee;
sterling silver
and turquoise
Rose and Fitzgerald, Uganda; Ankole
serving spoons
Directive Made, Milwaukee; handmade,
locally sourced
leather pouch
Lizzie Fortunato, New York City, Capri
handmade brass and fine