Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thrift Jobs: Sammy Davis' Vintage Clothing Dream Job


Today I present the first article of my new series, Thrift Jobs: Where I interview clever entrepreneurs who have made thrifting into a career. Whether it's full or part-time, I want to share their inspiring stories. Today I've interviewed Sammy of Sammy Davis Vintage. She's turned her passion for vintage clothing into a full-time career and online empire!

1. Can you please tell us about yourself Sammy?


I’m Sammy Davis: Stylist, writer and web series host on vintage fashion & thrift store shopping.

In April of 2009, I founded Sammy Davis Vintage to make vintage fashion more accessible to the contemporary woman of New York City. Through pop up sales, trunk shows and appearances at flea markets like Brooklyn’s own Brooklyn Flea and Artists & Fleas in Williamsburg, I established myself as a vintage curator with an eye for the thriftiest vintage finds that stood the test of time – and today’s trends.

2. How long have you been thrifting?

Since I was about 16 -- having that license and a part time job offered the freedom to discover my local salvation army!

3. When did you start your website, and what is it all about? was launched July 2009 as a blog to promote Sammy Davis Vintage the retail business. I was selling vintage at flea markets, through pop up shops and apartment trunk shows and the blog was a promotional vehicle for that.
Now the blog exists as the who, what, where, when and how of vintage and healthy fashion ie sourcing secondhand style. I am a budding expert on vintage and I blog to share my knowledge with my audience, and to do it in a way which is inspiring and entertaining.

4. How did you make evangelizing about the second-hand lifestyle your full time job?
(I am jealous, so very jealous! Remember, I'm still a cubicle-dwelling writer by day!

I am actually an ex corporate girl, having worked as a web assistant for an array of digital properties with Hearst digital media in NYC. I decided to leave my position to pursue the unknown excitement of setting out on my own to "make vintage accessible to the contemporary woman" and have had many experiences and challenges along the way which have both taught me valuable life lessons and also steered me toward the right path.

Sammy is so cute!

5. What has been your biggest challenge in setting up your vintage clothing shop?

I work as a manager of a vintage boutique in NYCs trendy lower east side neighborhood, and like any store owner knows the weather and the season affect retail. Sometimes rainy days mean zero sales or a change in humidity during September means those vintage Norwegian sweaters sit collecting dust. So you have to strategize how you will sell and reach out to your market to overcome those dry spells - we like to host shopping parties and do press outreach continually to keep the buzz hot!

6. How about some tips for those of us that dream of setting up shop like you?

I've never founded my own boutique but it has always been a dream to help others pursue that passion. I honestly think that having the right amount of capital to start is very important - you won't be turning a profit right away! Being a fashion person is one thing, but you also need to have a love for doing the numbers. You see trends in numbers too, not just the clothes themselves!

7. What is the #1 thing that sets your heart aflame with passion for vintage clothing?

I love love love the stories behind vintage. Where you found it, or how it found you! Who owned it before? Where did they wear it? Vintage is it's owner personified! You feel a deeper connection to these pieces that otherwise should be sitting in a landfill, but you've breathed new life into them. 

8. Why do you feel a deeper connection with the pieces you find at the thrift store?
Its like adopting children ... I love each piece of my vintage collection like it was my own!

9. What's your favorite vintage clothing find? I'm going to be mean and limit you to just one!

Oh man, it has to be the time I thrifted an Hermes scarf by accident for only .50! I was in a salvation army about an hour away from where I grew up (love vintage road trips) and saw this gorgeous silk scarf with names of countries and jungle animals all over it. It was stunning! Well after purchasing it for .50 I put it in my collection and it was only when a friend pointed out the Hermes emblem that I knew! I about died!!

10. Can you share your top three thrifting tips?

1.The Mission: Need sweaters? Stick to sweaters!!! That way you won't overshop time & budget
2. Wear leggings, so you can try things on in the aisles
3. Find the sales. Salvation army's regularly have half off Wednesday, and others declare one tag color at 50% off for the day. Shop strategically!!!!!

So many of us are working hard to turn our passion for thrifting and vintage into a career. Success stories like Sammy's encourage us to work harder toward our goals. I have many more Thrift Job posts in the pipelines to inspire you! Leave your questions for the Thrift Pros in the comments and contact me if you'd like me to interview you for Thrift Jobs.

What's your Dream Thrift Job? Let's Discuss!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unstyled Life: Organic Vintage Vignettes in my Living Room


I love a series on lifestyle blog Pancakes and French Fries called Unstyled Life where Jules shares candid scenes that came together organically in her home. I noticed the same thing happening in my house this week the flurry of activity related to the B&M and sweet gatherings with friends.

I like the way my unstyled life is coming together these days. Just like my home in these photos, my life is a hectic, colorful, and eclectic. Yet even if it's a little overwhelming, it all comes together as a harmonious whole. I'm grateful for all the changes and just keep rolling with the punches!

How are your reselling and creative efforts going?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maiden Voyage Clothing Giveaway: Choose Your T-Shirt!


I'm always thrifting for vintage nautical bits, I'm a complete sucker for it. That's why I was so excited when Maiden Voyage Clothing Co. approached me to sponsor Thrift Core and offer a T-Shirt Giveaway! Just follow the simple rules below and you can win your choice of any of the resplendent t-shirts offered by Maiden Voyage.

I love the brand's masculine vintage look and dedication to quality. Here's their story:

The term "maiden voyage" conjures up images of massive floating zeppelins, prop driven planes and towering ships embarking on their initial journeys. With these vessels came adventurers and their desires to discover the unknown.

Their expeditions were retold in countless enchanting tales. More often than not, recounts of these stories became embellished, adding to their mystery and intrigue.

It is this mixture of truth and falsity from which we pull our inspiration. And where we begin to blur the line even further, creating surreal imagery that carries its own mysterious narration and goods that evoke those same haunting feelings.

How to Win a Maiden Voyage T-Shirt:

Maiden Voyage Clothing Co. is offering one contest winner a t-shirt f their choice (Browse the site to choose one.) Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.

For Additional Entries (leave a separate post for each action):

  • Follow Maiden Voyage Clothing Co. Twitter
  • Follow Maiden Voyage Clothing Co. on Facebook
  • Follow Thrift Core (Blog)
  • Follow Thrift Core on Facebook
  • Follow Thrift Core on Twitter
  • Stumble this blog post
  • Tweet about this Giveaway

Winning Announcement: The contest winner will be announced Tuesday October 4, 2011 here on Thrift Core. Check out the Thumbtack Press Facebook and look for the winner's announcement if you entered last week's giveaway. Shop the Maiden Voyage shop if you're a fellow sucker for masculine vintage style goods

Disclosure + Sponsor Thrift Core: Maiden Voyage Clothing Co. is a Thrift Core Sponsor. I still have sponsor openings for October, so contact me if you'd like to sponsor Thrift Core. Remember, now's the time to think about Christmas shoppers! 
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thrift Haul: Playful Finds From the Flea Market


I get these two questions frequently: What's your thrifting method? and What are your favorite Jacksonville Thrift Haunts? Lately I've been hitting up the flea markets on Sunday mornings and afternoons, but I don't have a thrifting method. I thrift organically.

Sometimes I grab victims friends and attack the numerous thrifts on Beach Blvd, sometimes I haunt local yard sales. I only have time to thrift on the weekends and I can never make it to estate sales. My dumpster diving exploits are to a minimum due to lack of time and space. Although I do keep an eagle-like thrifter's eye on the curbsides for treasure at all times...

I'm working with friends to curate an Brick & Mortar shop, so my organic hunts will change. I'll need to check Craigslist and ads for vintage, and attend auctions to get the best deals. But for now, keeping it simple, staying positive on the hunt, and following my instincts and my heart while I'm out "on the field" works for now. How do you hunt? And...

What did you find on the hunt this weekend?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lara Croft's Haggling Hints: Flea Market Scores on a Dime


This weekend's flea market hunting outfit was inspired by Tomb Raider's luscious Lara Croft, she's a professional badass and the ultimate antique hunter! It's like the costume was good luck, I scored a huge haul and kept finding Lara Croft-like accessories!

Summoning a Lara Croft approach, I haggled and came home with a great haul of vintage goodies for the best prices. Actually, I always do, silly "costume" or not. Here are my top Haggling Hints that will help you get the Lowest Prices at the Flea Market, too!

1. Have Change and Organize it Wisely

Bring plenty of cash because you never know if you'll have a block buster weekend, you could run out of funds before you know it! Keep ones and quarters accessible (perhaps in your pocket, front pocket of your purse, or in a fanny/side pack) and keep fives and bigger bills in your wallet or in another pocket. It's tricky to haggle when you pull out your cash and the vendor sees you have a wad of twenties!

2. Never Pay The Asking Price and Befriend Your Vendors...

 These two vendors are the SWEETEST! They had so much positive energy.

If you don't think the asking price is fair, don't pay it. Ask if they'll take a lower price. This is easier when you befriend your vendors. My favorite vendors give me free or discounted merchandise all the time, it's fun to give merchandise to people you make heart-to-heart connections with; I do it all the time!

3. ...Yet Don't Complain About the Price!

I don't like it when people complain about my "high prices" to me, you wouldn't like it if someone did that to you, so don't do it to the flea market vendors. You never know if what they're selling is a priceless family heirloom that's close to their hearts. There's no universal set of ethics for pricing and you don't have to pay their price. Just move on the next find. 

4. Don't Be THAT GUY....A Dick!

And remember, don't  be a dick! It's hard not to be a dick when you see a price you think is obscene at the flea market. Don't exclaim things like, "No way I'm paying $50 for that junk!" and be polite when your lower offer is refused. Walk out of earshot, THEN turn your friend and dish about the high prices, if you must ;)

5. SMILE! Have fun and make it a game

I love to laugh at the flea market. I also LOVE rabbits!

Haggling is fun. The vendors love the thrill of it as much as you do. Engage them, and have fun. When you're having fun you'll find the best vintage treasures and receive the best deals in return as a reward for your positive attitude. 

Now Get Thee to a Flea Market, Fellow Thrifty Tomb Raiders!
What are your favorite Flea Market Haggling Hints? Dish!

Also see: Top 5 Flea Market Shopping Tips for Florida and Beyond
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thrifting 101: An Oldie but a Goodie by Nya Wilson


A few months back I was contacted by university student Nya Wilson. She asked to interview me as an authority on the thrifting craze for her writing assignment and I was more than happy to oblige. Her target publication was Marie Claire, and her essay on thrifting is just excellent; very insightful! She's articulated the Thrift Core message better then even I could! Here's a peek:

Vanessa Alvarado, 24-year-old web marketer and copywriter, also uses the blogosphere to share her gently used admiration for thrifting. “More people are writing about [thrifting] online and sharing their tips, experiences, and finds. I help drag people into the thrifty lifestyle,” Vanessa says. Thrift Core—her niche blog—has about 20,000 local and international monthly page views all in the name of thrifting, creating and saving money.  
Thrift Core has created a network of DIY, home and garden, art and thrift communities, leaving a trail of creative small business news and secondhand wisdom throughout the web pages. The blog has also caught the attention of television network HGTV and host Cari of the television program, Cash & Cari. She says thrifters, vintage and kitsch lovers, junk hunters, artists and new believers alike have since been inspired.

[Oops, typo in the graphic and no time to fix it. Pretend it's correct for now...]

Thrifting is the fashion equivalent of a cheat sheet; you get to look like a million bucks without actually emptying your wallets. With the global financial crisis (GFC) marking the harshest economic times since the 1930s, more people are keen to learn more ways to save money. U.S. employment rates are at a stagnant 9.1 per cent across the nation, up from 13 per cent in 2009. 
Not to mention, the geopolitical unrest in the Middle East continues to affect local gas prices, again putting the pressure on wallets and expendable cash. The stock market teeters on the barrels of the crude oil as it increases as much as 8.6 percent a day. “People are thrifting and curbside hunting more, sometimes out of necessity,” Vanessa exclaims. “There have never been more shows dedicated to thrifting and reselling, and more people than ever are using thrifting as a way to earn more money by selling their finds.”

“I see no sign of this trend slowing down,” Vanessa adds enthusiastically.

Click here to download a .pdf of her entire essay. It's an excellent read with lots of feedback from passionate thrifters and stats to back-up the current thrifting trends. Thank you for reaching out to me, Nya!

What are your thoughts on the thrifting trend?
Do you like the new 2nd hand craze?
Let's discuss in the comments.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thumbtack Press Art Giveaway: Win Any Art Print You Want!

Thumbtack Press has an amazing art philosophy. Their motto: "Authentic. Affordable. Art."  They've recently rebranded and the site is looking better than ever. I'm excited to get the word out on Thumbtack Press with another Any-Art-Print-You Want Giveaway!

Thumbtack Press Gets It

Thumbtack Press just gets the philosophy behind art and why we want authentic prints in our abodes:
  • Art is sacred: Artists have complete control over their work
  • Excellent Selection: Fastidious dedication to selecting only quality & unique art
  • Respect to Scale: Art prints are generally the same size as the original artwork
  • Affordable: Amazing art prints priced between $19.99 and $49.99
  • Custom Frames: Option for buying mat & frame customized to your print

Enter to Win a Thumbtack Press Print of Your Choice: 

Thumbtack Press is offering one contest winner an art print of their choice (Browse the site to choose one.) Leave a comment on this post and join the Thumbtack Press Facebook Page (where the winner will be announced) for a chance to win.

For Additional Entries (leave a separate post for each action):
  • Follow Thrift Core (Blog)
  • Follow Thumbtack Press on Twitter
  • Follow Thrift Core on Facebook
  • Follow Thrift Core on Twitter
  • Stumble this blog post
  • Tweet about this Giveaway

Winning Announcement: The contest winner will be announced Wednesday September 27, 2011 at 12:00 CST on the Thumbtack Facebook Page. If you need some art to spruce up your nest or home studio (like I do, it always inspires me!) tour Thumbtack Press. You won't be disappointed.

Disclosure: Not a paid review. Thumbtack Press and I brainstormed on a way to spread the word. I have a raging passion for zee art so they didn't have to twist my arm.;) Contact me if you're interested in doing a giveaway with Thrift Core.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thrift Haul: A Perfect Day at the Flea Market


I had a sublime flea market date with a special friend yesterday. There was a crisp, refreshing breeze and no humidity (Rare in Florida this early in the year!) and I've never scored so many wonderful vintage finds in one trip. We actually had to check stuff into the car when my cart and our arms started to overflow with vintage finds!

These are very happy yet exhausting times for me. I'm pushing hard, working full time, developing the Thrift Core Brick & Mortar shop, and piling a lot on my plate. I created a stubborn cold for myself by pushing too hard and sleeping too little.

But I'm not complaining, I'm grateful for these new, life-changing opportunities. I'm seizing them all, working tenaciously, and remembering to enjoy the journey. 

I'm grateful you're here with me on this adventure. Thank you for your wonderful feedback, it means a lot to me. It drives me to help others live life to their full potential, too.

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dream Shop: The First Thrift Core B&M Presentation


I was invited to present on the Thrift Core Brick & Mortar at the Jacksonville chapter of AIGA'S "Morning Leak"! (Thank you for the invite Stephanie!) It was my first public presentation for the Brick and Mortar and it was incredibly exciting to share our plans with creatives and graphic designers in Jacksonville.

I could feel the enthusiasm and I even made a heartfelt connection with a college student director that I hope to collaborate with on student art shows. Nicole and I bought in vintage finds from our personal collection to paint the picture of the merchandise our vintage shop will carry, and I chatted about our community-oriented vision.

I ended our presentation by encouraging everyone to never stop believing in their dreams and passions. I'm confident in sharing this tip for success. It may sound like hopeful and improbable rubbish; but dreams come true when you never stop thinking about them and believing in them! It won't happen overnight, but I promise, the pieces will fall together naturally because when your dream is always in front of you, you're always working for it!

The right people will feel your passion and gravitate to you.
This tribe will help you make the dream a reality.
Don't stop reaching for the stars!

I'm writing about thrifting, reselling, and achieving your handmade business dreams on Handmade Success. My first post Setting up a Vintage Reselling Business: It Starts with Passion, answers many of your questions about starting up a reselling venture of your own. Check it out!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: The August Sales Report


I moved to a bigger booth, made plenty of small ticket and creative merchandise to increase sales this month. It all paid off, I've made more sales than ever this August! I checked in yesterday and my September sales are already equal to my August sales. It took a little while, but the work I put into the project was worth it!

August: The biggest profit thus far...

Sub Total of Sales
Grand Total: $175.50

Top Three Antique Store Lessons From August

 These are my top three take-aways on selling in an Antique Store Booth for August.

1. The small ticket items add up to big sales

I forced some time out to incorporate beguiling grab bags and offer a wide variety of small ticket merchandise. You can see this makes up a  lot of my sales and added up in the end.

2. Don't give up on some items, the right person will find it

Sometimes a special find will be slow to move. Don't sell it or mark it down too quickly, if you have faith in your product, the right person may find ir.

3. Take Risks: You never know unless you try it

Most of the items that sold this month weren't even vintage! Sometimes you just need to take a risk and try something new and gauge our shopper's reactions.

Thoughts: Sales are going well at the antique store. I'm busy, but I'm making time to keep on top of it by adding new merchandise, checking on sales, rearranging items, and curating the area as well as I can with my limited time. You have to continue to innovate and find new items to keep your sales going, but it's a welcome challenge that provides valuable retail lessons.

Past Antique Store Wisdom Posts:

[2/02/2011] Don't Underprice Your Items
[2/10/2011] Should You Rent a Booth at the Antique Store?
[2/16/2011] Stage Your Booth Like a Pro and Increase Sales 
[3/03/2011] The Answers to Your Antique Store Booth Questions
[5/03/2011] The Four Month Update (A Candid look at my Sales)
[5/11/2011] Finding the Best Antique Store
[6/02/2011] The Vintage Cabin's Expert Reselling Tips
[6/09/2011] 10 Action Steps to Improve Booth Sales, NOW!  
[6/07/2011] Antique Store Wisdom: The 6 Month Update
A Frank Look at the Sales Numbers
[7/21/2011] Sales Trends and Surprises

[8/23/2011] A Late August Check-in

How are your reselling efforts going?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Giveaway! Let's Play a Game: What is This Groovy Mushroom Thing?


I found another Mystery Mushroom Item! The last time I asked you to guess what a vintage item was, we decided it was a vintage recipe card holder. (I sold that item recently and was told it's now in a Tween's bedroom, aw!) This time I have another groovy and mysterious mushroom...thing. 

This item is in the Merry Mushrooms style, but I've never seen anything like it! The pesto-bismal pink color makes it stand-out, I've never found a vintage item in this hue. It jumped out at me when I was hunting on Labor Day and demanded me to buy it. It shouted distinctly, its refined voice carrying all the "subtlety" of Samuel L. Jackson, Dolemite, and Shaft. How could I refuse such an amazing mushroom laden thing?

There are so many Mushrooms on this find. The whole proverbial pot is shaped like a mushroom. The proverbial cherry on top is a mushroom! There is a mushroom printed on the plate and on the front. The item is big, think casserole dish or soup tureen big.

Here are my guesses on this mystery item:

  • Someone's homemade casserole pot
  • Or a casserole pot produced by some line
  • Perhaps a cookie jar, perched upon a pretty plate
  • Another psychedelic hallucination? (Am I Real? Are You? Faaar out...)
  • Someone's mod nightmare made reality with black magic (I LOVE this item. My mom would vomit at the sight of it. Not everyone loves a good tacky mushroom like we do!)

Can You Identify this Mod Mushroom? + Random Prize

So tell me in the comments, what do you think this vintage mushroom pot is? Do you already know? Are you laughing at my lack of knowledge? Is there a line of these brazen pink mushroom pots out there that I've never heard of?

I will select a random commenter a week from now, and I will send them a surprise in the mail. (The surprise is small, hand-crafted, and mushroom related!) I'll e-mail the winner so leave your email in the comments, and I will announce the winner (and reveal the identity of the mystery prize) via the Thrift Core Facebook page.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What Are You Collecting from the Thrifts Right Now...?

I've got some sneaky crafts in the pipeline, so I've been picking up the necessary vintage supplies while hitting up the thrift stores and flea markets over the past few months. What are you collecting from the thrift store lately? Here's my haul....

Vintage Tool Boxes! I already hinted at what I'm going to do with vintage tool boxes in a past post. For now, I'm scooping any delicious ones I find with some nice patina and texture. Bright red-orange is my favorite color, so I love these two.

McCoy Pottery Planters! I fell in love with vintage McCoy pottery planters this year and I've been discovering so many lovely ones over the past few months. You can probably guess what I'll be using these for, the result will be interactive!

Toys-up-the-Wazoo: I'll be back to making fun art from my toys as soon as possible. Until then, when I find unique toys for a good price they must be mine!

Vintage Playing Cards: I'll post some fun craft tutorials involving vintage cards soon. Until then, my eye is always peeled for them.

My thrifted collections are coming along nicely. I'll have to share a new thrift list soon, I'll be hunting for a lot of supplies and bits around the house (like chairs my friends don't fall out of!) and for the Thrift Core Brick and Mortar shop too!

The hunt for store supplies has already extended to curbsides and dumpsters! I love free things. I'll have to show you my lucky curbside finds next!

What Are You Hunting for right now?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

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