As a self-proclaimed vintage huntress who prefers to wear clothes older than herself, I’m a huge fan of “shopping small” (it kinds of comes with the vintage territory). So, it’s no surprise I’m a frequent visitor of Etsy, which is a veritable treasure trove of vintage and handmade goodies that I would like to find their way into my home and into my closet. Like pronto.
I was beyond excited when Etsy contacted me and wanted to collaborate on this post and offer one lucky reader the chance to win a $100AUD Etsy gift card! It was the perfect opportunity to get out the message of the importance of shopping small, because if there’s one thing Etsy celebrates, it’s small businesses. They are my go-to site for finding vintage, unique gifts, vintage, handmade jewelry…did I mention vintage?? If you haven’t visited the site before, Etsy offers almost 1.6 million entrepreneurs and artisans a marketplace to sell their wares worldwide. As someone who has moved overseas more times than I care to admit, it’s amazing to be able to take my favorite vintage sellers with me wherever I go.
My very first Etsy purchases was back in 2010 – I was trying to find a unique gift to give each of my eight bridesmaids. I discovered Will Oaks Studio on Etsy, run by the lovely Karen – an artisanal jewelry maker whose pieces were inspired by nature. I fell in love with this pearl and Czech crystal leaf necklace that would offset my deep teal bridesmaids dresses perfectly. After a few back and forth emails about minor modifications, Karen painstakingly made 9 necklaces for me by hand. Just like that, another devout Etsy-an was born.
Those of us who are always on the vintage hunt know there are a lot of aspects that make finding the Holy Grail thrilling: amazing construction, heart-stoppingly gorgeous details, and the fact that you get to hold (and wear) a on-of-a-kind piece of history that comes complete with its own decadent stories (we hope). But, for me, there are other very important reasons to buy vintage – in addition to being kinder to the environment, you’re fighting the good fight against “fast fashion” and supporting small businesses along the way.
So what does it mean to “shop small”? It’s basically a phrase that describes making an effort to support small, independently-owned businesses. Small businesses struggle to compete with big box retailers who can often often offer items (everything from garments to appliances) at very low prices. However, it’s important to educate yourself and understand the pipeline – those low prices are often the result or poor quality or, unfortunately, unethical work practices and underpaid workers somewhere down the line.
In addition to well-known shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, a new movement started at the end of November called ‘Small Business Saturday’ to encourage entrepreneurs to work with other small businesses, and consumers to support small businesses in their communities. Although Christmas is a critical time for any retail company’s survival, supporting small businesses is more of a lifestyle for me.
Making decisions about where my dollars go can have a very large impact. Believe it or not, I learned that two-thirds of net new jobs in this country are created by small business. Small firms are also responsible for over half of the national GDP in the US (There’s nothing small about that!). And in such a challenging economic environment, to stay current and thriving, it’s often the independent business owners that are constantly innovating, pushing the boundaries, and engaging in the creative process. It also feels good to support entrepreneurs who are following their dreams. As commerce tends to be in constant flux – with pop ups, sky-high rents and some of my favorite shops closing or downsizing – the support is needed more than ever.
Really, it’s all about the people behind the vintage. The ones who are constantly sourcing new pieces that make our knees weak and our closets quiver. And that’s the most important thing to me – that shopping small actually has a face. Unlike larger impersonal retail companies, one of my favorite aspects of frequenting these Etsy shops is that I’ve actually made some lifelong friends in these vintage sellers.
This past year on the blog, I’ve been turning the Spotlight On a number of my tried and true Etsy retailers. I think it’s important to create a network of sellers that you know you can trust – and support small businesses along the way! Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite purchases over the years from my favorite sellers – with a little montage of the beauties they currently have for sale:
One of my daily go-to’s is to pop in and e-visit Sonja, owner and curator of Capsule Vintage. She is based out of San Francisco, CA, veritable mecca of vintage gems, with her lovely hubby and adorable pug. Her Etsy shop is home to some of the most swoon-worthy vintage clothing I’ve ever clapped eyes on and the pieces I’ve bought from her over the years are always instant favorites.
For Sale at Capsule Vintage
La Belle Vintage
The incomparable proprietress behind La Belle Vintage is the lovely Sasha, who somehow manages to find the most ethereal, dreamy dresses in perfect condition. She is a fellow vintage-lover, so you just know it brings her a lot of joy to help these one-of-a-kind items find their way to their rightful owner. There have been a few incredible pieces from this shop that have found their way into into my vintage-loving arms, that’s for sure….
For Sale at La Belle Vintage
Hollie Point Vintage
Next in line is an amazing shop owned and run by Jennifer Brook Binns, ever-fabulous proprietress of Hollie Point Vintage, who hails from Kansas MO. Believe it or not, Hollie Point was one of the first vintage shops my Etsy-virgin self stumbled upon way back when. As is the case with most firsts, this shop holds a special place in my heart. Since that fumbling first time, my vintage collection from Hollie Point has been slowly swelling to impressive proportions.
For Sale at Hollie Point Vintage
Greater Goods Vintage
I am forever inspired by Mikala, the founder and owner of GreaterGoodsVintage. We met through Instagram and I instantly fell in love with her tenacity, vintage selection and, most importantly, the mission behind her vintage shop, which is to use her store as a platform to raise money and awareness for charities around the globe.
For Sale at Greater Goods Vintage
Oh Henry Vintage
Oh Henry was one of the first vintage stores I discovered when we moved to Perth back in 2011. Since then, I’ve gotten to know the owner Jasmine (Jas) really well – she has a real passion for what she does and loves to help vintage find its way home. Oh Henry Vintage specializes in garments from the 20’s through the early 90’s and has an incredible homey feel to her shop – I’ve even popped by to model a garment or two…
For Sale at Oh Henry Vintage
Word from the Bird
Bek, owner of the drool-worthy Word From the Bird, is based out of Ballarat, VIC, Australia. WFTB is a vintage & pre-loved clothing boutique – specialising in original 50’s dresses. As proclaimed by Bek herself, she is a member of op shoppers anonymous without the abstinence. My kind of gal!
For Sale at Word from the Bird
This is just a snapshot of the amazing shops I’ve discovered on Etsy. There are so many I hope to feature here on the blog soon, including Jumblelaya Vintage, Butch Wax Vintage, Nicole Elaine Vintage, When Decades Collide, Kitty Girl Vintage, and many, many others.
Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this crazy vintage passion of mine has been the sense of community it inspires. Let’s face it, vintage-lovers are all around cool people. Passionate, eclectic, expressive. Past the point of apologizing for themselves and just going for it and embracing the things that make them happy. We play dress up every day. We are literally the happiest people in the world.
Speaking of happy, this past week I hit 10K followers on Instagram! In addition to being incredibly humbled that so many people want to follow along with my vintage shenanigans, I couldn’t imagine a better time to partner with Etsy and celebrate the vintage that got me here and the importance of shopping small. And it’s no fun to celebrate alone, so we’re offering 1 lucky reader the chance to win $100 AUD gift card to Etsy! Perhaps to add to your vintage collection or help you get your first stunning piece (all addictions start somewhere).
To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below – be sure to be following both Etsy (@Etsy) and The Dressed Aesthetic (@dressedapp) on Instagram. You get one free entry per day and can also have additional entries by subscribing to my newsletter and following us on our various social media pages. The contest will run for 1 week and will end at midnight on Friday 6th May 2016 AWST. The winner will receive $100.00 AUD gift card to use with participating sellers through Etsy.
Good luck – and if you need any help figuring out where to spend it, you know who to ask!
***POST UPDATE: Giveaway has now CLOSED. Thank you to all entrants – winner has been announced here!***
This post was sponsored by Etsy. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I do not support any business I honestly don’t believe in and love.