Meet Scout Frank: Owner of Ransack, a western-inspired boutique that offers vintage, handcrafted, and sustainable goods. We went to see Scout in her shop and at her home to talk through how the shop came to be and what it means to her.

From epic finds, to growing through grief, to cultivating community, Scout has paved a way for herself and inspires many in the beach town of Oceanside, California—which happens to be our home as well.

Photography by Jack Antal.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into vintage clothing.
When I was younger, my mom would take us thrift shopping. She was all about being resourceful; not cheap but just putting money into things that she thought were important. So she chose to go thrift shopping and she would bring me and my brother along. It was in high school when I started going by myself and finding my own individual and unique style. I didn't really know what vintage was, but it was in high school that my grandma started working at an antique store.

I would go visit her at the antique shop. She worked in the quilting section of the antique shop, so I have a special love for quilts. She taught me about vintage clothing, and she would be able to tell me what she used to wear and what my mom used to wear. So, when we'd go through thrift shopping, she'd always pull pieces like those out and show me. And so that's what I started to really look for. That became a hobby and just something to, you know, spend my money and waste my time on haha.
I went to school for environmental science at UC Santa Cruz. I knew before I enrolled in college that I wanted to do something to help the environment. After school, I went travelling by myself to Southeast Asia and randomly ended up getting a general manager job in Bali for an environmentally conscious mosquito control company. I loved being in Bali but my boss was awful and it really put it in my head that I wanted to work for myself.

When I got home, I remembered when I was younger that I enjoyed going to thrift shops and recycling clothing. So I was like, I bet I could make some money doing that. I was pretty broke when I got home after living on Balinese wages, so I just started selling clothes and I had a nanny job on the side. I realized that I was really good at finding pieces that people liked and that people wanted. So I kept growing it from there.

And then my mom passed away, out of the blue. It was always our thing to go shopping together, whether that be at thrift shops or wherever. So when she passed away, I really needed something to focus on and take my mind away from all the grief I was in—I wanted something to do that I could feel close to her doing. And so that's when I decided that I wanted to open an actual brick and mortar store because that was our favorite thing to do together...apart from riding our horses, but obviously I wasn’t going to go make a career out of that haha. So I started saving money and saving clothes. At one point my entire garage was filled from floor to ceiling with stuff I was going to put in my store. I took out a loan and just put it all out there, and that's just how the store started. Did I know what the hell I was doing? No, not really. But I had a business plan and I'm kind of an overachiever, so I just figured it out along the way.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been so many times where I have no idea what I am doing, but I look back now and am like thank God I just kept trying. I have so many amazing customers now and the store is doing great and I feel like it is becoming a part of the Oceanside community. I’m really happy where we’re at right now.
What catches your eye when you are out finding new pieces for the shop?
In the beginning before I had the store and the customer base, it was just things that I liked, that I would wear, that I thought were unique, rare, or old. Sometimes, the older the better. But being in business for the past four years, I've learned what my customers like, what they gravitate towards, and what ends up selling. It's a good balance and it's been a learning experience to figure out what I should carry. I've bought some things thinking like this is fucking rad and then it sits in the shop for months on end. Then with some things, I'm iffy when I'm buying it, and then it sells the same day.

It's all about having that trained eye and in no way do I think I'm an expert whatsoever, but I'm learning every day. And I think I've gotten relatively good at it. Same with Sami; she has a really good eye. It's always a treasure hunt though and that’s the thing about vintage, it’s always so up in the air.
Have you ever been searching for a specific item for a long time and you finally found it?
I just had this happen to me haha. I collect creepy dolls and there's this doll that I've been looking for for a long time. It's called the Buddy Lee Doll and it's an old Lee Jean advertising doll. And they're really, really rare and especially the composition ones. You can buy them for a lot of money online, but it's always more fun when you find it, like we say ‘in the wild’.

And so I was at this random little antique store in the middle of Iowa and I was just walking around not really finding anything, but then my eye catches the face of the doll and I just knew, that's a Lee doll haha. It was sixty dollars and half off, so it was thirty bucks. And so that moment is just like hallelujah haha and I'm not going to try and sell that thing, that's just for me.

Do you have any all-time favorite finds that come to mind?
It's always in the most obscure places that you find the best things. I was in this little thrift shop on some dirt road in the middle of Arizona, it didn't even come up on Google maps. The sweetest man owned the shop and so I go in and I get to talking with him. I told him I'm looking for old clothes, and he's like, “I've got a pile”. He brings me to the back of the store and lets me look through it, and I find this 1940s chore coat in there and it fits me like a glove. So that's another thing I can't sell that I'm hoarding haha. That was a great one.

Another time, I was with a friend of mine who also sells vintage. We were in Arizona again and we were at this abandoned house. No one is there, there's no neighboring houses around, the roof is falling in... clearly no one had been there for a long time. We went in there and we were looking. There's piles of clothes on the floor, just stuff from the nineties, nothing crazy. And then we look in the closet and see a plastic garment bag hanging pristinely in the closet and inside it was a Levi's type two denim jacket. And those go for upwards of like $1,500. So that was another cool one we found.
Outside of the clothes themselves, what keeps you inspired?
I think a lot about the connection I had with my mom and doing this with her. Creating something that I think would make her proud of like where I am today—that keeps me motivated. It's not always easy. I have customers screaming at me some days, but I just think of those memories I had with her. Another different aspect is the environmental idea of it all. We're reusing and recycling clothing, so all these pieces aren't just going to a landfill. That's a big reason why I started it as well is because the fashion industry in general creates so much waste. Also, the people who make the clothes are just taken advantage of. If we don't have to make as much clothing, if we can just wear what we have, that's obviously going to be better for the environment and for the people making them.

“I think a lot about the connection I had with my mom and doing this with her. Creating something that I think would make her proud of like where I am today—that keeps me motivated.”
Ransack is clearly inspired by the west. Where did that come from?
Well I grew up on a ranch. We had an avocado ranch in Goleta up in the hills there and we had a few horses, 12 goats, and 60 chickens at one point—we had a lot of animals. My neighbors had a 60-horse ranch, like a boarding facility, and it was very much living in the west. So, while growing up on the ranch, I was wearing cowboy boots, jeans, t-shirts, and denim jackets all the time. And then I started out riding western and then got into hunter/jumper and show jumping. So yeah, that's where that spirit of the west comes from.
What role does community play within your work at Ransack?
The vintage community is one thing, but the local Oceanside community is another. I think a lot of people here in Oceanside understand vintage and a lot of people in places elsewhere don't get why you would want to pay fifty dollars for a dead person's t-shirt that has holes in it. And I understand that's kind of weird, but we have a lot of people here in the community that understand that and are really excited about it and get the vision. It's always nice when we can bring that together at our markets and showcase that to the rest of the community.

But yeah, the vintage community...I wouldn't be here without them. Because if I was the only person doing this, I don't think anyone would really understand or get it. They're my customers as well as I am theirs, so we're all supporting one another.
I was initially a little nervous about opening the shop in Oceanside because I'm not from Oceanside and to an extent, it's a bit of a ‘locals only’ vibe as is in really any small beach town. My grandparents have lived here my whole life, so I've been growing up coming here and I've lived here for the past eight years now. But everyone has been really welcoming and really kind and I think that they can see that I'm genuine and I'm not trying to take advantage of the community, but rather trying to build it up and bring people together. Especially young creatives, and women in particular. For example, offering local artists room to sell pieces in my store is one way that I'm trying to grow the community and strengthen the economy of it as well.
What is the ideal day through the eyes of Scout Frank?
Probably waking up around 7. Usually I am woken up by Clementine (my dog) sticking her tongue in my mouth haha. But then making coffee, I have to get my coffee in first. Then going out to sit on my porch to watch the dogs for a few hours. If my truck wants to start, I’ll jump in my truck and drive down to the shop, usually be there for a few hours, say hi to Sammy who’s my employee but also one of my best friends, see a lot of friends come in—people who used to be just customers but are now friends.

Usually I have Clementine with me as well, so after that I will go get a bite to eat... Anitas is a favorite. After that, Clemmy and I will go on a walk then come home, say hi to my fiancé Freddie, maybe Freddie and I will jump in the truck and head down to turnarounds to have a beer in the back of the truck with the dog(s). And then come home, make a nice dinner (usually Freddie is the one to cook, he’s a good cook). And then yeah just hang out with my little fur family and Freddie.
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