Apr 9, 2009

Vintage Kitsch and Fun: An Interview with Valerie of Dandelion Girl

Dandelion Girl features a large assortment of "Vintage Goods for the Modern Home," and boy are they good. Featuring a wide selection of goods in mostly Modern styles, Dandelion Girl is a one-stop-shop for everything you may need to satiate your Modern sensibilities. Here Valerie answers a few questions for us:

I've found that a lot of vintage sellers tend to be collector's themselves...are you a collector, and if so, what do you collect?

I collect lots of things – usually things that make me happy! As for a proper collection though, I collect bookends – antique ones made of cast iron and other metals – most are animals and I have a few Art Deco and Art Nouveau ones.

What attracts you to a vintage piece? Do you have a style in mind when sourcing materials or are you led by instinct?

Hmm – interesting question. I generally buy what I like – it has to call out to me. I don’t usually source with a style in mind – maybe you can tell that by looking at my shop. It’s a mix of styles and eras – I may buy something because it reminds me of a simpler time. I’m drawn to some of the Pyrex and Fire King pieces because I vaguely recall that both grandmothers had them in their kitchens. I love classic dishes as well – delicate styles like those from Noritake as well as those from the old American potteries – Vernon Kilns, Stangl, Frankoma etc. I also buy items which make me smile – silly, kitschy things, funny mugs, cute items, cheerful colors – one can never have enough sunshine in their lives! Some of the items I have are from relatives who were downsizing and wanted me to sell their items for them. So, to answer the question, I buy mostly on instinct and feelings. And I’m well used to the strange looks I get from cashiers and other people when they look at some of my selections – yes, even the occasional “eye-roll” from family members! You’ve got to love vintage to appreciate vintage.

Do you incorporate vintage into your home and decorating? Which styles are you attracted to for your personal use?

If my home were totally mine to do as I wish, I would have each room decorated in a different style! One would be Victorian, one would be Arts and Crafts, one would be beach cottage, another mid century … but I do share it with my husband and two cats and I have to be practical – Earth to Valerie – come back from Fairytale-land, please! It’s a mix of Federal style antiques with a touch of Mission style pieces. My vintage accessories? Lots of classic books which I plan to read one of these days – Dumas, Faulkner, Kipling… Yes, it’s quite a serious home – rather the opposite of my shop!

Tell us a little bit about your sister store metrovintage.etsy.com...Do you find that having a separate shop for clothing and accessories attracts more customers? Is it easier for you as a seller?

I opened Metro Vintage because I do have a lot of vintage clothing, shoes and handbags that I’ve collected over the years. Most are not my size but they were too cool/pretty/fun/unusual to pass up. I always think – ooh, someone might like this too! My closets are overflowing and what I have in the shop is just the tip of the iceberg.

Originally, I sold my clothing and shoes in Dandelion Girl. However, I always thought it looked odd to have shoes next to dishes. Plus, you’re only allowed to have 10 sections in one shop – not enough for my varied inventory – so, opening a second shop seemed to be the answer.

When I had everything in one shop, I noticed that my customers bought either vintage home goods or vintage clothing. There was only one instance where a customer bought a vintage item for the home and a piece of vintage clothing – even then, one item was for her, the other was for her sister. So, I think having a separate shop for clothing helps the customers who are looking especially for vintage clothing and fashion items. As a seller, it makes it easier as I can better categorize my clothing and accessories in more sections, making it a more focused shopping and listing experience. Clothing and shoes that didn’t get much attention when mixed in with my vintage home wares did get noticed and purchased when I put them in the new shop. That’s been my experience – it may be different for other sellers.

Do you have any new projects in the works? Is there any news you'd like to share with us?

I have lots of potential projects on the back burner one of which is looking into having my own website – that’s probably something 6 months to a year down the road. My goal for the next few months is to get into a listing routine and put more items in both my shops – I have so many more goodies that have yet to be photographed and listed. I do want to get a blog going as well in the next few months and do what I can to help promote the awesome members of the Etsy Vintage Street Team! Go Vintage!

Take a peek at Dandelion Girl for some fantastic vintage finds...thanks a bunch Valerie!


Conrad said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Callooh Callay said...

Great interview! I love both these shops--and would love to see some picture of the vintage bookend collection!

Dandelion Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dandelion Girl said...

Thank you Rachael for taking the time to put this together! Photos of my collection of bookends will be on my blog when I get it going!