Oct 11, 2010

Member Spotlight: Cemetarian

Our Member Spotlight today focuses on one of the Etsy Vintage Team’s “homecoming court”—members who joined Etsy in the very beginning, in 2005 or 2006. Cemetarian (which first opened under a different name) has a fabulous collection of vintage sewing patterns, as well as clothing, accessories, and ephemera. We recently talked with Rita, who is one half of Cemetarian.

Q. How did you come up with the name for your shop?
Cemetarian is actually a two-person team, my hubby and myself. I have been doing genealogy research for 30 years and we spent a lot of time in old cemeteries, and my husband was on the board of directors for our local cemetery for close to 20 years. We had another name when we first started in 2000, but our account got hacked on eBay and we had to come up with something immediately as we were trying to work that issue out. We tried several different things and all of a sudden my Dear Hubby says “How about cemetarian?” We honestly thought we made the name up. LOL. And actually it is misspelled. But by the time I realized the error, we were a couple of years down the road and already branded with the name on eBay, Etsy, and our own website. So cemetarian it stays.
Unique ladies playing cards

Q. Do you incorporate vintage into your home and decorating? Which styles are you attracted to for your personal use?
Yes, we use vintage to furnish and decorate our home. Some is by intent and some is simply due to the fact that it is old. Our home is a 1952 structure and I prefer an eclectic decorating theme. Our kitchen is done in red and black 1940’s apple theme with things from our childhood, like my mother’s Hull apple cookie jar and grease pot and my husband’s mother’s Aunt Jemima salt and pepper and spice set. Other things that decorate our home are old magazine ads framed and hung in the kitchen and bathrooms, along with vintage and antique medicine and vanity items. The office windows have glass shelves that house a portion of our soda bottle collection.

We have way too many things to list and it would get quite boring before I was through. But everything we have has some type of meaning for us. It either invokes a memory of something that was in our past or it is something that was in his, mine, or our families’ past. But maybe that’s just what happens as you age: you want to replicate the past and surround yourself with things that are familiar. For us anything that is newer than 1975 just doesn’t feel old, so we tend to collect and admire things from the World War II through the Kennedy era.

1950s Atomic print dress from Nelly Don
Q. Describe your favorite day shopping for vintage items—where you go, with whom, what you buy.
In our neck of the woods, estate sales are the main source for inventory. We usually hit them about 2 hours before opening to get in line and try to be at least in the first 10 in the door. We know most of the organizers and nearly all the other dealers in the area and have a pretty good time just waiting to be “let in.” When we get inside, I head straight for the bedrooms because that is where the clothing and sewing items usually are. Some of the organizers just point me in the right direction. They KNOW what I’m looking for. The DH heads for the garage or shed because he is looking for the guy things. Then we kinda wander around and double check on each other. He has been known to spot the box of patterns that I missed, and I have been known to find some prize postcards that he overlooked. By the time we have been over the house at least three times each, one of us will holler MARCO and the other hollers POLO, and all the dealers and estate personnel know that we are ready to check out.

The fun part comes when we get it home and play show and tell and really look at what we have grabbed in the excitement of the moment.

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