Why I opened my Etsy Vintage Store.
Contrary to what some of my readers think this is not me simply selling stuff that was in my closet. I’ve had this question a few times (hello Nancy!).
I opened my shop seven months ago with a mission to find the best vintage pieces specifically chosen for my Etsy vintage clothing store Vintage By Suzanne.
Yes, there are a few pieces from my own closet that wind up in the shop because my love has wained for them but overall 95% of the store is made up of pieces that I have lovingly curated by shopping thrift, estate sales and sometimes consignment stores looking for the perfect pieces to offer for sale in my little Etsy vintage clothing store.
I don’t buy anything that I wouldn’t wear myself.
I often choose to purchase items that fit me because I don’t want to wind up with a bunch of clothing I can’t wear should I be unable to sell it. That is my exit strategy should the store not succeed. I can probably wear 75% of the pieces in my shop. When I buy larger or smaller sizes it is because they are simply too good to leave behind.
Yes, I will often wear or model pieces from the shop on my blog because it helps me sell the piece and heck…that is an added bonus of having the shop! Plus I just like to show off the awesome pieces I discover.
When I refer to my collections that is an amalgamation of all the pieces I’ve assembled for the shop. When I refer to my own personal collection that is coming out of my closet. Sometimes the lines blur a bit, especially on pieces that I haven’t made up my mind on yet. The temptation to keep pieces I find is ongoing and very real but something I’m trying desperately to keep a handle on. The idea of the shop was to offer the items for sale, not to hoard them.
I opened the shop because I have a good eye for high quality quirky unusual items for the uncommon woman.
Promoting environmentally friendly choices when it comes to clothing is my mission. Showing people that there are other choices than fast fashion is important to me and the planet.
People often ask where I find such incredible pieces and much of it is due to tenacity. I will get up very early on the weekend, stand outside in the freezing cold for hours at estates sales and then fight tooth and nail (sometimes literally! read more here or here or here) for items for my shop. It isn’t for everyone. I also make repeated trips to local thrift stores and try to discover new thrift shops. You never know where your are going to find the best treasures.
It isn’t easy. It requires work, time and knowledge when trying to make the right choices. You need to know what people want to buy. I’m discovering that often it isn’t necessarily what I personally would like to wear.
Shopping thrift or estate sales requires imagination and the willingness to do some alternations or sewing.
It isn’t like going into a fast fashion shop where pieces are merchandised with the thought of filling your needs today and refilling your new needs tomorrow with a whole new line of products. Vintage shopping requires patience and creativity. Ninety-five percent of the population doesn’t have the time nor the patience to shop thrift so that is where I come in. Why not share my love of vintage and thrifted items with the world?
It seemed like a natural step for myself.
So to recap, no this is not me just doing an annual clean out of my closet and passing the pieces I no longer like off on you.
This is me making a concerted effort to do something good for the planet while enjoying myself and spreading the good word of secondhand shopping.
Toronto Vintage Clothing Show
As a vintage reseller I normally would have been selling at the Toronto Vintage Clothing Show this weekend however as my partner is still on the other side of the world I decided it would be too much to manage on my own.
Instead I’m going SHOPPING!
For a vintage lover I will be a kid in the candy store stuffing my face with all kinds of goodies.
You may recall the last show I wasn’t able to shop or look at many other vendors inventories because I was too busy selling my wares and learning.
On Saturday I will be meeting a couple of ladies from my Vintage Lovers Meet-up group and seeing what treasures we will discover. I have high expectations for this show because I have scored some of my very favourite pieces from these vintage sellers including this dress…
I’ll try to post on my Instagram so you can follow along.
Have a great weekend!
You have a real gift for finding fantastic things. I love most things in your Etsy shop!
jodie filogomo says
I think this is a fabulous way to go shopping, find treasures and then hopefully make a little money on the side!
Besides, the knowledge of good vintage clothing, you can also get the smells or stains out of them and make them look better (which a lot of people won’t take the time to do themselves!!)
And kudos to you for your tenacity!! I do love shopping at the consignment stores, but only when it’s not crowded!!
Have fun shopping, Suzanne!!
ps…if you want to see that blogger’s video again, it’s on my comments again! I totally thought of you when I saw her video on her blog!!
suzanne carillo says
Did you think of me because of the placement of the video or because she is showing off a million things she just bought?
jodie filogomo says
Oh…that made me laugh Suzanne!! The video of course!! But maybe the other part is true too…?
Marilee Gramith says
Having recently purchased a vintage sweater from an Etsy shop I’m more aware of what a wonderful “fashion recycling” vehicle Etsy has become. It’s also a great place to find new, rare, unusual designs and original artisan creations. Window shopping there is quite an education!
It’s easy to appreciate the time and effort you put into making your Etsy shop and the items in it reflect your standards and values Suzanne. You SHOULD be having fun in pursuing your passion for vintage clothing and enriching the offerings of your shop at the same time!!
suzanne carillo says
Thanks Jude : )
🙂 Dear Suzanne,
I wish I would live close by and could try on some of your lovely dresses…
You have such wonderful things and wear them beautifully.
Have a lovely weekend.
Greetings from Vienna xo 🙂
Leslie Clingan says
Good gravy, woman. I love your style. Had stopped by a few times then life got in the way of my blog reading but I’m baaa-ack! Will be favoriting your Etsy store. Congrats on it!
Rachel G says
Finding great vintage pieces is not an easy task, so I think your goal of finding pieces and making it a bit easier for other women to be able to access gorgeous vintage dressed like these from the convenience of home is a pretty cool idea.
You’ve certainly got an eye for a good vintage piece, Suzanne. Those first four floral dresses, for instance, are all so swoon-worthy. I really love your style, and you are posing like a pro, too! xxx
I know from direct experience that you have good taste, so much so that you could be a personal shopper. In fact, I’d hire you to be mine if we lived in the same country. Customers of your Etsy store are lucky recipients of that taste. (Sadly, I’m too large for almost everything.)
suzanne carillo says
I’m pretty darn sure this would fit you maybe paired with one of your darker wigs : ) It is an XXL I think.
It would be so awesome in a high tea photoshoot.
You need to give me your exact measurements lady.
That floral maxi is fabulous! It drives me mad when women tell me that they can’t get great dresses in larger sizes – that is a prime example. Everything I’ve fallen in love with this weekend has been far too big – it’s so unfair!!
The reason I started selling vintage was because I was 15 and after 4 years of collecting could no longer get into my bedroom. Selling it enabled me to open a savings account and eventually afford to be independent at the age of 18, moving out and getting a place of my own. Vintage set me free!
Like you, I’ve got a magpie eye and can’t bear to see beautiful things destined for landfill. A lot of stuff I buy I wouldn’t wear myself – vintage menswear, 1940s & 1950s gear or insane 1980s – but I can see someone else totally rocking it and I get a real kick out of finding the right person for something I own!
I used to only buy stuff I’d wear myself but soon realised that most people don’t (and have no desire) to dress like me so I have to shop for the other 95% of the vintage crowd although it’s a real thrill to find women who love psychedelia, maxis and catsuits as much as I do!
You’ve got a great eye and some fabulous stuff – keep up the good work! xxx
No Fear of Fashion says
You are so right. With your skilled eye for good stuff and with your ability to style, to combine, to sew… this shop, this selling is so you. Women need you to sort all this out for them. I think the white blouse with the red polka dots is divine. Especially with that red dress.
Fortunately for my wallet, your sides s and xs are too small for me haha.
Veronica Cooke says
Your hard work certainly pays off because you find some wonderful pieces, Suzanne. I do hope your shop is a success for you.
You have such a natural skill for finding the most beautiful vintage clothing. Each piece is like a work of art and I love seeing them all. I’m pretty sure nothing would fit me since I’m a solid modern size 8 with a very large bust. I’m so glad you have been able to combine this love and talent into a business!
You do, You have a great eye. I will look for some small things in the shop tonight. There is a lot of shopping near me too, but I cant be everywhere. Can I ? Can’t wait to shop a bit.