Oct 6, 2010

Member Spotlight: Dahlila Found

When they’re good, online vintage stores can offer the same excitement as a brick and mortar store—an eclectic, surprising mix of wonderful items, and something unexpected each time you turn the page. Meet Dahlila Found, “California vintage, accessories, and decor.” We recently had a chance to speak with the proprietress, Debra (aka Dahlila).

Q. How did you come up with the name of your shop?
Back when e-mail was new—yes, imagine!—I had an epistolary romance with an Englishman with a 1930s aesthetic. We were both story tellers at heart, writing e-mails to each other as antique “telegrams.” We were our own protagonists: two lovers, miles apart living in another era. It was Out of Africa meets The English Patient, and Dahlila was a pistol and adventurous woman. Her spirit runs through me and Dahlila Found.
Vintage orange oxford box heel
Q. Describe the aesthetics behind your shop.
Eclectic, colorful, bold. I am drawn to color. Sometimes I’ll pick up a piece just because the texture and color are fabulous. The shop changes constantly as I never really know what I will find on my ventures: 30s silk scarf, 70s industrial lamp. There’s nothing like the element of surprise. I love it. 

Retro polka dot scarf
I’ve never been a purist. I like to mix up eras in my shop and in my wardrobe.  I’ve been thrifting since I was in a teenager, because that’s where all the exciting clothes were. I’d buy 1920s mourning dresses, wear them with black tights and cowboy boots. Louise Brooks meets Siouxie Sioux. I’d wear shark skin ties and men’s jackets with big floppy hats: Annie Hall. I had tons of hats and I wore them all. Dress-up was my favorite activity.

Q. What does your family (or friends) think about your on-line vintage business?
It’s a toss up. When I worked in editing, at cocktail parties I’d simply say “I’m an editor,” and people would swoon like I was writing for Vogue or Forbes, when in reality I was covering the most tedious magazine in existence: California Geology. May it rest in peace.

As a shop keep—an on-line shop keep­—people have this notion I’m throwing junk on EBay between episodes of Jerry Springer. It’s a hard sell, and honestly, I still trip up explaining what I do. But often, when they see my excitement over a sale or fun purchase they brighten up to the idea. They can sense my happiness.

My mother warmed to it when she saw my sales numbers rising. She invited me to a Gatsby themed fund raiser once. I showed up with a suitcase (vintage) filled with trinkets, dresses, hats, jewelry. We spent all day playing dress-up and were the smash of the party. She kept telling her friends, “These are from Debra’s shop.” It made me smile.
Vintage mosaic floral cookie ti
My father is a historian and art dealer. He has two Etsy shops! We swap goods, trade secrets and sales stories every day. It’s in the family, really. My great, great grandfather was an apothecary in a wagon train medicine show. He sold crazy tinctures in glass bottles that promised cures. My great grandmother sang and danced for the show too. Traders, makers, tinkers, pickers, artists, crows. I’m just keeping it in the family.

Q. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“It’s all beautiful, but you can’t take it with you.”

5 comments:

Tina aka forrestina vintage said...

Fantastic interview--congrats, Debra! She's one of my best vintage buddies online. Yay for Etsy and especially for vintage sellers! :o)

Dahlila said...

Tina, it's so good to have vintage friends.
You're a dream, sweets. :-)

debra. xxoo

Bird-in-Hand, Laurie said...

So it's "Debra"! But there's still plenty of mystery left. A fascinating woman (who makes me laugh) with a marvelous shop. An Etsian and Tweeter on the other side of the country whom I would love to meet.

nora - treasurehuntvintage said...

Great interview from a fellow Sacramentan! Thanks for sharing your passion. :~)

Dahlila said...

Laurie you are too kind. It's always fun sharing finds. Nora, nice to meet you. Our paths have surely crossed.

My five minutes of fame is up, back to work!

Thank you Susan at Calloohcallay for all your patient & hard work for the Etsy Vintage Team. YOu're awesome.
dahlila xxoo