Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where to Find Vintage Goodies?

Yesterday I talked about the numerous ways that dealers and collectors find their cool vintage items. Today we are going to talk about why they are so important and how to maximize the use of these various places.

Finding and locating thrift shops, resale shops, consignment shops, and re-use centers are all pretty much the same way. You can simply open the yellow pages in your phone book and make a detailed list of locations. You can also compare them too the online yellow pages and possibly read some reviews on potential shops.

 One way I like to find newer shops is thru Craigslist. I go to the for sale section and search thru the main header "for sale". I enter various words like, Thrift shop, resale shop, thrift store, etc. I click on all the items that come up and see how many different shops I can locate. I write down the name and address of each individual store and try to read thru the list as to not write down duplicates. There are also a few websites such as:,,, and various other websites.

Later this week we will discuss how to group all of these shops by favorites, locations and give them ratings based on your needs.

Estate Sales can be tricky! I recommend going to several different sales by several different companies. Find a company or two you feel is the most fair in price, practices, etc. Then become a regular with that company. Introduce yourself to the cashier or various persons working the estate sale. Make sure to let them know you love their company and you will be back. Be friendly and be fair! Don't haggle unless it's within reason. When they know your face and smile then you can mention that your searching for specifics. Once an estate sale company knows you and how you shop they are more likely to help you. I practice this and now I am very fortunate to have worked my way into estate sales before they are even opened to the public. I very much enjoy the private shopping experience. Networking and building relationships are important with estate sale companies.

Craigslist is basically a virtual garage sale. I recommend searching for your favorites in various departments not just the one category you believe it should be located. Try misspelling the words, try looking in the garage sale sections for your key words. If someone has something similar to what you are looking for email them and ask if they by chance have what it is your looking for. Always use the Items Wanted section and post what it is you want. Be both direct and vague. Many times people have what you want but; they don't realize it. Example: Mention you are looking for clothes your grandma used to wear and also work in the term Vintage. Not everyone knows what the term vintage actually means. Most commonly elderly persons and men.

 It has happened numerous times for me. Someone will contact me about hats and purses to find they have dresses and shoes too! Someone will say, "I have all these old clothes but; I dont know how old they are". I usually commend that I am happy to come thier way and teach them about what it is they have. Once I have educated them on exactly what they have I am always happy to make a cash offer. Yes, sometimes it is junk but; never turn down a lead! You never know who they know and what they make choose to call you back for. Also, make sure to reach out to areas surrounding yours. Don't stick to one area if your not having luck. You will sometimes have to travel a bit to get what you want!

Flea Markets, Garage and Yard sales all pretty much work the same. They are individuals selling their items. You have a lot of room for negotiation. Remind them you are paying cash and ask them what their rock bottom get it out the door price is? If it's not a price you can live with give them your number and email address and tell them if they reconsider to please call you. Many times that night the thought of cash in their hands will change their mind. You would be surprised how many return calls I get with this practice. I suggest having some business cards made up even if they just have your name and number only on it. You don't want to be short on time when you find something you love and want to make an offer for them to consider.

Antique Malls are good too. I know many people consider them to be expensive and retail price but; not always! I have seen so many booths that have the desperate feel to them. They will mark prices at a third of everyone else because they really need the cash. These booths are great to find low priced items valued much higher. Many times you would have booths that the owners don't know what it is they have and sell low to push it out the door. Look low! Many people do not and so many countless times I have found my greatest items low because they were dropped or simply never paid attention too.

Thrifty Nickel, Penny Saver and Craiglist or great for not only finding things in current listings but; to place your own listings. Write out an ad for what you are looking for and pop in your email address. Ask for specifics, generals, photos, etc. Ask them to please email you with what they have and that you have transportation to come to them paying cash! I get countless emails myself with people clearing out and looking to sell quick.

Flippers are awesome too! If you know anyone in real estate that buys and resells homes talk to them! I have had a few flippers tell me how an investment property they had was filled with junk and needed it removed. Offer to do this for free if you can keep whats inside! One time I had a flipper contact me where the basement was loaded with about 2,000 garments all kept in proper storage and he sold it to me for $400 if I cleaned up the debris when I left. It literally took me about 20 minutes of sweeping and $400 for thousands of dollars in merchandise for the trade.

Auctions and Storage Unit Sales/Auctions are the same. You view the contents and start with bidding. These are fun and you can get some great goodies. However; it has been my experience to be more difficult to actually win and come out ahead. I know that Storage Wars glorifies this as the hot new way to make fast cash but; in my experience it is not! More times than not there is someone at the auction that wants to win just for the sake of winning. Also, there is a practice at making new bidders pay high prices to cause you to run out of money so the regulars can swoop in and grab the rest at a lower cost. This really takes alot of cash and a good poker face to earn your way in this "club".  I am not saying don't give it a shot but; it is tough!

There is still so much to learn about this industry so stay tuned! So much more info to come!

Photos Courtesy of: 1. 2. genrecookshop 3. 4. 5. antiquesmallofstclair 6. 7. 8.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thrift Shops, Resale Shops & Such!

Each week I come across so many new people looking to get into thrift shopping and reselling their finds. It's not uncommon since EBay has pretty much put this practice on the map. It has also become a popular trend even more so the past couple of years with the worsening of our economy. It's a great way to help out at home and make some extra cash. I have noticed over the years that shops have become filled with just as many resellers as regular shoppers. This industry has truly become competitive in the past five years now.

When you are looking for items to wear, collect and sell there are so many options. Most people tend to go to the local Salvation Army and/or Goodwill and call it a day. People such as myself in this business tend to be tight lipped about anywhere else they may shop. There are actually not only thrift shops but; many other places to look.

Typically most anything past a thrift shop is considered a secret in this business. Even the favorite thrift shops are considered a secret. It is customary even with a fellow reseller to NOT ask where they found their goodies. It's simply NOT done. With so many new television shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Storage Wars (all of which I watch regularly) and countless others. The secrets have become exposed little by little. Yes, there remains some important secrets but; we will get to those thru out the next couple of weeks.

I am going to give you a run down of the type of places collectors and resellers frequent. I know some close personal business friends that will be upset with me. I find the information personally to not be as top secret as it used. Especially with all the shows that have recently developed.
  • Thrift Shops
  • Resale Shops
  • Consignment Shops
  • Re-use Centers
  • Estate Sales
  • Craigslist
  • EBay
  • Auctions
  • Storage Unit Sales/Auctions
  • Antique Malls
  • Flea Markets
  • Garage & Yard Sales
  • Thrifty Nickel
  • Penny Saver
  • Flippers (homes)
Now many of you are thinking that isn't anything I didn't consider or know already. Tomorrow we are going to talk about why all of these are important and how to utilize each one of these differently. How to really find what you are looking for successfully in each different type of shop. Secrets people such as myself use to evaluate and network the top places within our circle. We will discuss the importance of networking and being a friendly community member within your favorite shops.

If you have some type of places to add to our list please feel free to comment! The photos in this article are from an adorable shop in Colorado.  The website is and the business is a Boutique and Tea Room! I wish I lived closer as I would probably visit everyday personally.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This Week! Thrift Shopping Articles!

This week I am writing a serious of articles about Why, How, Where and Tips to shopping in Thrift Shops and Resale Stores. Things that each shopper should and must know about second hand shopping.

Ever have problems shopping with friends? Looking for the same items as your best pal? Learn tips to make it a more fun and friendly experience.

Learn how to track and map out your strategy both with locations and within a shop itself.

Learn about etiquette and how to become a good citizen of the shops' community.  Why and how this will help you in future shopping trips.

I will also include a final article about how to truly be successful on EBay thru thrift shopping, garage sales, and estate sales.

Years of time I have invested and the best of what I have learned thru my own personal experience and success. It's definitely a must read for regular second hand shoppers!

Photos courtesy of: 1. 2. 3.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rosie The Riveter Dies at 86

Geraldine Boyle aka Rosie The Riveter passed away at age 86 on December 26, 2010.

I have lived in the metro Detroit area for the past four years. I found out only a year or so ago that the Willow Run Plant in Ypsilanti was the plant that Geraldine worked. This is the same plant that she was scouted and became an amazing female icon. I lived only two blocks away from this plant and found myself wanting to learn more about this iconic figure. The two photos above are common scenes from my daily drive past the historic plant.

Some of you know that I play roller derby and many of the girls in this sport worship Rosie. Not only her look but; the power "Rosie" posessed. Her true strength both implied physically and displayed figuratively has meant alot to the women in my sport.  Aside from my personal life she had provided our country with such great service. There are so many reasons to thank Geraldine for being our Rosie. Take a minute and think about what she has meant to you.

We love you Geraldine! Thank you for providing women with so much to look up too and follow over the decades! We surely can do it! Best wishes to the Boyle Family.

1. 2. and 3. 4. 5. 6.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Long Story!

Hello Everyone!

I wanted to send a note about where I have been lately! I have relocated to the Sunshine State (Florida) from Michigan. I have been adjusting to being home with lots of family and getting my little man settled into his new school. Ofcourse it is also the holiday season so that doesnt allow alot of time either for writing. 

 I apologize to our readers for not having any new vintage related articles to read. I am now working hard on developing some good history and trendy fun blog posts to read. Thanks for following along while I transition back into my home state. I look forward to hearing from you and reading your comments. Stay tuned as we will have lots of great things to discuss!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Michelle Link

Friday, August 27, 2010

WWII Fashion

What can I say! The WWII Period fashion is truly amazing! I believe this time in fashion was for dreamers. With fabric shortages during the war you truly had to be imaginative and creative with what you had "laying around".

War broke out in Europe in 1939, the same year the first true artificial fiber, Nylon, was introduced at the World's Fair in New York. For the duration (1939-1945), fashion veered between exiting innovations and the shortages, price controls and rationing created by war.

Women's clothing went through the greatest changes in this era, both due to shortages, and due to large numbers of women engaging in work outside the home during the war. Bias cutting was promptly dropped as a waste of fabric, and "Make Do And Mend", wartime advice centered on sewing old clothes in to new ones.

 Men's suits were re-cut into women's suits, complete with the tailored details and shoulder padding previously found in the garments. Shoulder pads quickly became stylish in all women's garments, not only suits, and stayed in fashion until 1949.

Most governments issued either construction guidelines, or rationing to curtail fabric use, yet even in Europe men and women managed ways to stay fashionable during the conflict. "The Little Black Dress" was a popular method suggested by style magazines: Having a simple, short (knee length) black dress, which one varied each day and evening with sets of color-matched accessories.

 Fashion that was not rationed, like hats, and hairstyles, grew creatively elaborate. Women and girls were actively encouraged to wear pants, both for war work and warmth.

 Aloha Shirts for casual wear came to the mainland with servicemen returning from the Pacific theatre. Suit wearing increasingly was confined to work in offices, going to church, and formal occasions.

Could you only imagine the bartering between neighbors and strangers to get the items you needed? I am sure it was literally staring at the most dull boring fabrics and trying to make it FABULOUS! What a challenge for all the artists of this time!

Photos courtesy of: 1. 2. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Depression Era Fashion

The 1920s are a truly special time in fashion to me. If you will notice this is probably a more difficult time to find flawless pieces from the depression than earlier times such as Victorian and Civil War. Why? Because it's the Great Depression!

Not many people had money to buy fine garments. Most items were resewn and repaired and worn nearly everyday in some cases. If you think of wearing your favorite/best garment everyday after a harsh handwashing in a metal tub think of the condition it would be in a month later yet alone decades later!

The 1920s was the decade in which fashion entered the modern era. It was the decade in which women first liberated themselves from constricting fashions and began to wear more comfortable clothes (such as short skirts or pants). Men likewise abandoned overly formal clothes and began to wear sport clothes for the first time. The suits which men wear today are still based, for the most part, on those which were worn by men in the late 1920s.

The 1920s were characterized by two distinct periods of fashion. The early 1920s where nature and change progressed slowly as many were reluctant to adopt the new styles. From 1925, the styles that have been associated with the Roaring Twenties were passionately embraced by the public and would continue to characterize fashion until early in 1932.

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