What this blog is going to be about
I am the owner of a secondhand consignment shop called Emotional Outlet and Fashion. I’ve been in business since October of 2011. I sell in a storefront in my tiny upstate NY village and I sell on line on Etsy and sometimes on Ebay.
In February of 2013, I purchased part of an estate. A lady in the next town had died at the age of 94. Her son, Paul, and I were introduced by a local antique dealer. Paul invited me over to her house to look over her collection of clothing and accessories. He needed to start getting the house ready for sale and the first step would be removing her extensive collection of clothes.
I visited the house two times. Marie’s collection was vast and seemed to span the decades from the 1940’s through the present. The collection was stored on racks in the closets of all four bedrooms, the hallways, and other rooms as well. Some of the closets were walk-in and had double and triple racks and built in drawers. There were dressers in each room as well. Every rack, every drawer, every bed, every door and every corner was filled to capacity with a wondrous assortment of dresses, suits, blouses, coats, skirts, boots, bags, lingerie, gloves, shoes, sweaters, hats and scarves.
It appeared that Marie had every piece of clothing she’d ever purchased stored in that house. It was so exciting go through it in situ, but it was a bit dark in the house and everything was so tightly packed together and I had to work quickly. I made the best assessment I could of the value and condition of the collection and made an offer to Paul. We went back and forth a little bit and agreed on a price. I went back the next day with three men and two large trucks and a check.
My men and I spent the entire afternoon moving the collection from Marie’s house to an apartment down the street from my brick and mortar shop. My task is to sell as much of it as I can, recoup my investment and make a profit. It’s a big job and I am going to love every second of it!
Like many business owners I am in a business that lets me do something that I love. I love clothes, I love sewing and I love fashion. I love handling vintage clothing and exploring how it was made. I love doing research on styles, fabrics, and designers. I love the connections I make with the people who buy and sell these types of clothes.
Most of all I love the story that comes with each piece. I love to imagine the scenes in which each piece was worn, what the wearer was doing, what she wore with it. I imagine her at the party, doing her shopping, going on a date, working around her house, entertaining – whatever the piece suggests.
Sometimes I get to question the actual owner and I learn something about her life. One time I was able to convince a lady to bring me her wedding album to look at. She was so kind to do it! I had her beautiful lace wedding dress from 1948 but now I could see the pictures of her in it, see her parents, her house, her groom and her own beautiful young self from 65 years ago.
With Marie’s collection I have a unique opportunity. I can explore the entire life of a woman I never met through her clothes. I believe I have everything she ever wore! I will learn how her tasted developed, how her figure changed over the years, and how she spent her time and how she used and cared for her things. I am sure I will learn a lot of things I can’t even imagine right now. I feel extremely privileged to be able to do this and at the same time I feel a responsibility to honor her and treat her memories and treasures with the utmost respect.
In this blog I would like to record and share my experiences as I dig into this amazing collection. Welcome!