I just realized yesterday with a bit of a shock that 2012 marks 20 years in the vintage and antique clothing business for us.
In 1992, we started with a 10" X 14" booth at the Art Deco Show in Indianapolis. We were not terribly sure of ourselves, but we made our booth rent back during set up, so that was a great reassurance. Later, we added the Elgin shows, then did vintage shows in Connecticut, Williamsburg, and Manhattan, plus main line antique shows in Ann Arbor and Louisville.
Then, like so many, we headed over to eBay in 1998. And then to our own website in 2005. And added etsy in 2009.
So after 20 years - have I learned anything?
The landscape has changed a great deal. Items that were once super hot are no more. Fads come and often mercifully go faster. Items that were thought 'rare' turned out not to be once the internet disseminated the contents of closets and cedar chests across our computer screens. Our customers that were once primarily from the north eastern US are now global. Everyone in the Vintage Fashion Business is so much more marketing savvy than they once were. Not just the sellers, but the buyers, too. It's all moved much Higher End and 20th century designer labels have become the standard. The internet seller can't rely on the old 'buyer beware' - ethical descriptions and depictions are critical. Condition is still important, almost crucial. Sizes have gotten larger here in the US - women and men are both taller and bigger than they were even 20 years ago.
Brick and mortar shop still live on, thankfully, and great clothes are still great clothes. The days of antique pieces coming up in thrifts are pretty much over, but the whole range of shopping from estate and garage sale to thrifts and nice shops is still out there, and despite the conventional wisdom that the internet would close them all, I have seen a number of new vintage clothing shops open in this area and stay open.
There still great finds out there waiting. I feel the need to go shopping creeping over me.............
A few of the beautiful things we acquired very early on, and then took forever to let go of:
1880s wine silk faille and brocade bustle dress
dated 1908 wedding set
1920s green silk chiffon beaded coat and dress
1880s green silk ottoman bustle dress with brocade panels