We love our Offbeat Home & Life sponsors, and we love learning about how they became our sponsors. So here’s Rebekka Adams, of Bloomers and Frocks, with the story on how she’s living her dream of being a vintage clothing shop owner.
I am an Offbeat Bride graduate, religiously read Offbeat Home, and I run a small Etsy shop featuring vintage clothes. My shop caters mainly to women, but it concentrates on all ages and body types. As a curvy woman myself, I actively seek out plus size vintage clothing (which is hard to come by).
I have always had some form of vintage in my life…
Growing up, I spent summers with my grandparents selling wares at the Trufant flea market in small-town Michigan. My grandpa was a fix-it man who sold refurbished TVs, radios, and spare parts. My grandma sold vintage costume jewelry in the booth next to his. I looked up to both of my grandparents for running their own business and their ability to turn something old and broken into something functional and beautiful.
In addition to working with my grandparents, my mother instilled the values of recycling in me from an early age.
Due to financial necessity and a desire to be unique, I was an avid thrifter all through my teens and twenties. I love the hunt for something discarded and giving it new life.
All of these experiences have led me to opening my Etsy shop selling women’s vintage clothing and accessories.
Running an Etsy shop is challenging. I am the sole employee. I am the CEO, secretary, customer service, marketing, along with numerous other roles…
Finding, sourcing, and caring for vintage clothes
Everyone always asks where to find such wonderful clothes. Of course it is a trade secret that isn’t too difficult to figure out… Some people can find vintage treasures while thrifting, but I am in Austin, where thrift stores are extremely picked over by college students and trend-setters. So I wake up early many mornings to source vintage clothing — driving several hours to hit up antiques shows, estate sales, and other private collections just to find the best vintage available in Texas.
On days when I am not sourcing vintage, I am cleaning, mending, and photographing the items that I find. Most vintage cannot be washed in a machine and only some can be dry cleaned. That means a whole lot of hand-washing. This is a whole lot of patience. Many items need several baths and concentrated spot removals before being brought back to life.
Running an online business
In order to sell online, I had to become an expert in many things I didn’t previously know too much about. Photography for example: you can just snap a photo right? Oh no, I had to learn lighting, how to properly use a DSLR, how to use LightRoom and Photoshop, etc. There is so much to know and I am constantly learning. I can sure tell a difference in my photos as I grow the business.
In addition to cleaning, mending, and photographing, I spend lots of time doing research, blogging about all things vintage, writing clothing descriptions, and I am constantly on social media. If only I knew what I would be doing now, I probably would have skipped grad school and those absurd student loans.
Shopping with Bloomers and Frocks:
Vintage is one way to express your individuality, and I think it is more important to find a modern fit for vintage in your life than to be historically accurate. If you are a beginner to shopping for vintage, I have put together a handy resource guide on how to measure your body.
I stock Bloomers and Frocks with all sorts of clothing and accessories from different eras and styles. There are different strokes for different folks — and I aspire to stock the shop so that everyone can find something that fits their individual style. As a curvy woman myself, I also seek out clothing in a range of sizes. The shop is arranged by size to help you out.
Offbeat Home readers can take 20% off their entire purchase until March 31 with the coupon code OFFBEAT2014.
Sure, anyone can find vintage and do what I do. But what I do takes lots of time. How nice is it when you are looking for vintage clothing in your size to know that you don’t have to put countless hours of work into finding a particular garment only to know that it needs to be cleaned and stitched? You can just hop online and find exactly what you are looking for. This is the part of the job I love the most: being able to bring other people joy with a special garment, while knowing that I am preserving a bit of history and giving that item a new home.
Thanks to Rebekka for not only helping to support Offbeat Home & Life, but also giving all of us an awesome insight into Etsy shop ownership!