Right People at the Right Time – 25 Years of Selling Vintage Clothing

25 years selling vintage clothing! How did this happen? Wasn’t I just in college diving into barrels of “clothing by the pound” looking for padded shoulders and Hawaiian rayon shirts? I can still hear myself trying to convince a bystander “It’s not junk – it’s collectible!”

And now, I’ve seen, worn and sold hundreds of shirtwaist dresses and circle skirts and I get to play dress up as part of my job. It’s a good time to thank all of the vintage collectors and kind souls that I met along the way. They helped me develop skills and know-how that I needed to get through 25 years of selling vintage clothing at Hey Viv !

Here’s my “right people right time” list:

My Dad – Going to thrift stores with my dad while I was growing up made me groan and want to hide. Everyone knew him in the benefit shops and they often had a prized piece of clothing hidden behind the counter waiting just for him. He used to say things to me like “Look at that inside seam” and “They don’t make it this way anymore.” And “check the label it’s Harrington Tweed! “ My response was a lot of teenage eye rolling. Well, thanks to Dad I can now look at clothing inside and out and appreciate the details.

Dan – who helped me design my logo and set up my first marketing campaigns after listening to my tale of woe and complaints about a lack of customers. He told me that I had to “stop selling used clothing and start selling the vintage experience.”

Carol – a loyal friend who hung, steamed and folded mountains of vintage clothing that had been stored for years in bags. In 1986, I bought lots of stock and dithered about opening my store until she pointed out that no one else she knew had 76 black dresses so I’d better open my store. Thanks for the push Carol !

Barbara – a kind soul who sold her vintage collection to me when I was just starting out. That haul later became the basis for my business. Barbara remarked that she remembered what it felt like to open a business and she liked that her vintage clothing was helping someone else get a good start.

And there’s the untold number of customers who walked through my door and who generously shared their knowledge of vintage, helping me to learn dating, fabric and style. Online sellers and vintage forums are my support system now. When I need help with a technical question or encouragement to expand my business the right people are in chat rooms, blogs, and boards, sharing tips and funny stories. Thanks to everyone I’ve met along the way – I’m out of the “clothing by the pound” barrel and online to sell the best stuff !

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