Rachael Nachtwey

My day job is multi-faceted!

I’m the founder of evolvestyles.com. This is a Madison-based boutique that carries vintage and recycled fashion for women.

I originally started the boutique because so many people told me they liked my style and wanted help finding clothing that suited them. I focused on recycled, thrift store clothing both because it allowed me to keep my prices low and because I feel strongly about reducing consumption and curtailing the impact we have on our environment.

I recognize that it can take quite a bit of time to find treasures in thrift and resale stores—time that many busy women don’t have. It’s something that I love to do and evolvestyles.com was born.

Often when people shop with me it becomes an event among friends—it’s a really nice chance to slow down and spend an afternoon together while they “dress up” and support each other. I encourage anyone who’s interested to model for the site, and want women of every size, shape and ability to feel welcome to do that. I’ve also participated in the Fashion Show for All Abilities and it was a very powerful and emotional experience.

During the school year I’m a part-time special education aide with the Madison Metropolitan School District. And in my spare time I host a radio show on WSUM, 91.7, called “The Mix Tape.” My radio name is DJ Nightway, which is the English translation of my German last name.

My most memorable caffeine was with my host family in Madrid. I decided that I wanted to learn Spanish and that to speed the learning curve I should move to Spain. It was a huge culture shock: I’d never been in such a big city and I’d never been overseas. I was 26—so not exactly a kid!—but I certainly felt like one.

The host family set me up in an apartment that they owned. It was very simple, but I actually reveled in its simplicity. My host mother taught me how to make espresso in a traditional stovetop pot, which was quite different from any way that I’d ever made coffee. It got me drinking espresso.

My current caffeine of choice is a “stain my teeth” dark roast. It takes a lot of coffee to make the kind of coffee I like.

My favorite place for caffeine is the EVP on East Wash. It’s my old neighborhood and there’s something about the vibe—there are a lot of regulars and you feel like the people behind the counter know all their customers.

 The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with are my grandparents.

I didn’t get to know my grandmother all that well since she died when I was just a kid but I remember her being a fun-loving, yet very soothing person to be around. She had a reputation for making wicked strong coffee and to this day when someone in my family makes strong coffee they call it “Grandma Gertie coffee.”

Her husband, my grandfather, died many years after she did. The autumn of her death he wrote a memoir that he had printed up into a tiny book for each of his grandchildren. It told about the summer of 1923 when he and his buddies piled into a Model T and spent six months traveling to and from California. He was 21 and filled with wanderlust. He played the banjo and worked in a logging camp where he met people from all countries and ethnicities. During this time he also learned how to gamble and play cards—probably to have enough money to get home again.

Other than this adventure, he had a very simple life as a farmer. I’ve always loved that little book and whenever I have my own wanderlust—which I’ve gotten to indulge by living in New York City and Berlin—I feel connected to him. I wish I could sit with him and hear more of his stories.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  Imagine if we all had true respect toward one another, our earth and all the creatures on it. Think of all the problems that have been caused by a lack of respect and what a good place we’d be in if we had true respect for all entities. We need to realize that the earth’s resources are limited and that animals aren’t just here to feed us. If we could be gentle with one another, that would go a long way.