A Wild Poppy

BUSINESS GALS --- interview with ADORED VINTAGE

Taylor KittoComment

I can honestly say that Adored Vintage is one of my favorite vintage shops. Rodellee has such a keen eye for beauty, detail and curating vintage to feel fresh and modern. Whenever I need to be inspired, aesthically or business wise, I head on over to her Instagram or site. Her ideas are always fresh and her brand is always evolving. You can tell she puts her heart and soul into her business and everything she creates is wonderful. So.... enough talk! Let's hear what Rodellee has to say!

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When did you first get into vintage clothing? 

I’ve been a fan of vintage since I was a child without realizing I was into vintage. It’s mostly because of my Mother. She sewed many of my clothes (and her own) and unbeknownst to me, most of these clothes were based on vintage patterns from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

What is your average working day like? 

Depending on what’s on the schedule I can get started at 6 AM or 11 AM. I try not to make my days too monotonous and try to take time a couple days a week to honor some leisure quiet time which involves reading (usually history related) and a cup of good coffee. On a regular work day I’m in the office by 8AM, check my emails, check for orders, and write down a list of things I want to accomplish that day. Then I just work down the list and put on music usually 70s folk rock, show tunes, or classical.

What do you look for when you are sourcing items for your shop? 

My eyes are always drawn to my favorite colors which are usually neutrals and pale shades of pink and peach. I also always have my eyes open for lace, florals, and pretty feminine lines that are classic and timeless.

What is your favorite vintage find to date? 

Oh there are so many! Some vintage finds are my favorite because of its provenance or my made up story behind it. Others are my favorite because they’re the most wearable and I wear my vintage down to the threads! I have a vintage pale pink 1970s maxi skirt that has a 30s bias cut that I wear at least a couple dozen times a year. 

What are the top three things someone should consider before starting up a business? 

Ask yourself why you want to start a business. Then consider all the pros and cons for the business. Like really think about the pros and cons. I’ve received several emails from women that have decided to quit running their vintage shops because they didn’t realize how much work it involved. You have to really love what it is you do or want to do so during those times you’re “running the business” you’re just as passionate about your chosen vocation. Once you’ve got your pros and cons panned out, then ask yourself how will you get it all going.

How do you deal with difficult customers? 

I’m a very small business and have one part time assistant so I want to make sure customer service is personal and professional. I don’t know what is going on with the other person’s life so I try never to assume anything about a situation and just face things as they come. Luckily I’ve had very, very few difficult customers!

How do you promote your business and what do you think gets the best response? 

Quite accidentally Instagram has become the most responsive promotional tool I use. I like to share what is inspiring me, things of beauty, and behind the scenes of running an online vintage shop (although, let’s be honest, it’s edited for Instagram! You won’t see the piles of mess in my stock room!) I love that I can have a conversation and easily connect with girls that like the same things I  like.

Being your own boss is great, but it can be difficult to stay motivated at times (at least for me!) How do you get out of these ruts? 

I know the feeling oh too well! There are some weeks where I work 8-10PM (or later) because I’m in the zone. Then I burn out. Which is why I start taking those mornings where I allow myself to have a nice long breakfast, make a cup of coffee, catch up on reading, tend to my plants… it is so important to do things for yourself separate from your work!

The best part about running your own business is...

visualizing an idea and then making it happen and the creative journey of that process!  

The most challenging part is..... 

visualizing an idea and then realizing it’s just not going to happen in the time or way I want it to. But then you just try something else.

What is the next step for your business?

Oh goodness! I am going to be very transparent and honest that I’m not really clear on what that is yet! Other than I want to keep doing what I do but in a slightly different way and I want to expand from just selling vintage. Oh, and open up a brick + mortar shop. So, I kind of know what the next steps are, but it’s more a question about which patch do I take my first steps in to get there because currently there are a few different paths to choose, but the final destination is pretty much the same.

WEBSITE | SHOP | INSTAGRAM 

notes on || THRIFTING

Taylor KittoComment

EMBRACE THE GRUNGE Try to find the grungiest thrift shop around, because chances are they will be less picked over with better prices. When well-established thrift stores catch on to what vintage items are worth, they price them accordingly. Sometimes it's worth the money, but it's also great getting a deal and finding real treasures. My favorite thrift store in town is the Goodwill Bins, which is a warehouse filled to the brim with carts of clothing and pallets of shoes and accessories. I've found some amazing things there because it's not very picked over and you really have to dig to find the treasures. Tip: take a shower after a visit, wear gloves, jeans and a tee. No joke. Eek. 

JUST BECAUSE IT'S VINTAGE DOESN'T MEAN IT'S GOOD Don't buy something just because it's vintage. Sure, it is exciting coming across a funky dress from the 1960s or a set of dishes from the 1970s, but if you don't love it or need it don't buy it. I've made this mistake far too much during my years of thrifting. 

BE REALISTIC "I kinda like that dress, but the length is off so I'll just hem it!" is a common phrase that I used to say all the time. The reality is a huge pile of "to mend" clothing that just takes up space. I can definitely sew a bit, but I am no seamstress. So if you are like me, just pass on the item. 

MAKE PILES IN STORE When you come across something that catches your eye, pick it up! Chances are there is a person in the store with similar style that might snatch it just as you put it down, leaving you with a "shoot! how did I let that one go!?" feeling. You can go through your basket later and narrow out which items you want to purchase. 

BE AN INSPECTOR Inspect items closely before buying. If it smells like cigarettes, mold, or dust, has an assortment of questionable stains, or includes countless rips, it's probably best to pass on the item. 

THRIFT BUDDIES Make friends with the workers! This one is very important, because if you are avid thrifter like me, you see these people at least once a week. I've found that if I make some acquaintances with employees or fellow shoppers, they will come up to me and give me item they think I'd like or best case scenario; place items aside especially for you. 

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH NEW (err, OLD) Before you head out for a thrift shopping spree, gather a few things you no longer need and donate them to the store your headed to. It will give you an idea of what you really need and give you a bit more room in your closet for your new digs! 

DON'T GET DISCOURAGED Some days I come home with nothing, while other days are pure thrifting magic. I get discouraged when I find nothing for weeks straight, so I give it a rest for a week or so until new inventory comes in. 

LIMIT YO-SELF! It can be tempting to want to buy everything with a 1$ price tag, but limit yourself to buy only what is needed or has value. I like to set aside 20$ or so before I head out thrifting, unless of course a vintage bridal dress or 1950s shoes come my way. 

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF Truth is, if you head into a thrift store with a specific item in mind you usually won't find it. You will also miss out on other awesome goods because you're too focused on finding that item! I like to make a list on my phone of items I want to thrift in the future, and whenever I head out to thrift stores I use it as a reference. 

BUSINESS GALS --- interview with HOUSE WORKING

Taylor KittoComment
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As a vintage seller, I often wonder how other successful ladies run their business. Being your own boss can be amazing, as well as challenging, so having a support base is very important. I am so blessed to surround myself with successful, wonderful women who are passionate about the same things I am. "Business Gals" will be a bi-weekly feature and will include lots of awesome ladies, so stay tuned! First up will be the lovely Jessica, who is behind the lovely shop called Houseworking.

I found Jessica through Instagram and was completely in love with her aesthetic. She has a wonderful eye and seems to be very lucky when it comes to thrifting! Hope you enjoy the interview! 

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When did you first get into vintage goods?

I clearly remember my first vintage purchase: a deep red v-neck cashmere sweater that smelled like mothballs, purchased for maybe a quarter at my grandmother's church rummage sale. I was eleven, My So-Called Life was my favorite thing ever, and I desperately wanted to have big, grunge-y old man sweaters like Angela Chase.

What is your average working day like?

I do most of my picking on weekends, when I hit flea markets and estate sales. My fiance likes vintage too (mostly clothes and records for him), so we make dates out of it, going out for lunch or dinner in between stops.  During the week, I usually pack orders in the evenings so that I can start my day with a walk to the post office, which gets me out of bed and ready to work. I am very easily distracted, especially at home with music, my sleepy cat trying to snuggle me, sunshine coming through the window...but if I buckle down and start my work right away, I get in the zone and am a lot less tempted by those distractions. I usually make myself a Chemex full of coffee and get it all of the tedious photographing and listing done at once. 

What do you look for when you are sourcing items for your shop? 

My personal rule is to only buy items that I would have in my own home. More often than not, I will find something I love, keep it for a while, and then sell it when I'm ready to let it go. Integrity is important to me and I would never be comfortable trying to sell something I wouldn't personally own. Though my items aren't all from the same era or have the same style, I think having a genuine love for each item gives my shop an intimate feel -- like being in a friend's home where you just covet all over their beautiful things.

What is your favorite vintage find to date? 

What a tough question! I think right now my favorite find is a Hasko Mystic Board from 1940. It's a  wooden ouija board with amazing hand painted details. I had been eyeing it at a local antique shop for about a year and finally pulled the trigger on it recently -- it definitely wasn't an incredible deal, but it's something special.

How do you deal with difficult customers? 

As hard as it is sometimes, "kill 'em with kindness" really is the way to go. After you've done that, go home, drink a big glass of wine and know that you can't control what other people do. 

How do you promote your business and what do you think gets the best response? 

Etsy is so self-contained that I don't do very much outside of it to promote my shop; people find me quite easily just by searching for keywords or items. I'm also very into instagram. I usually do a post when I've added new items to my shop (but I'm careful not to over-post or spam people!)

Being your own boss is great, but it can be difficult to stay motivated at times (at least for me!) How do you get out of these ruts? 

My fiance runs a small record label, also from our home. He comes home from his 9-5 every day and spends hours into the night working on artwork, packing packages, and sending emails. His passion for what he does constantly impresses me and helps me stay motivated. When I'm feeling down or having a slow week sales-wise, I'll go through my shop feedback and read what people have said. Looking back at someone saying "hey, this is amazing, thanks so much!" is like a little pat on the back and makes me want to keep doing what I do.

The best part about running your own business is....

I'm admittedly a bit of a control freak so getting to do everything exactly how I want to is pretty darn satisfying.

The most challenging part is..... 

Running a vintage business from a 750sf apartment that I share with another person (and his business!). Oy.

What is the next step for your business? 

Opening a brick and mortar shop within the next couple of years. Vintage home goods, books, and records. I'm hugely inspired by General Store in SF & Venice, Book/Shop in Oakland, and Maven Collective in Portland. Those shops are so full of heart and soul, and it shows.