I’m so excited to bring you Kindness by Design’s first ever guest post. Here’s a fantastic feature by a great friend and vintage aficionado – Olivia Simmons – Enjoy!
Village Vintage is a retro wonder-store promoting ethical consumerism. This place ticks all the boxes. It’s a small local business with a retro focus and an emphasis on social and environmental responsibility.
The mother-daughter team at Village Vintage present a beautifully decorated shop packed with amazing finds. They do the hard yards for us vintage lovers; seeking, sorting and fixing quality retro clothes and wares to sell on for a song. We had a chat to Marissa to find out more about Village Vintage!
Q. What’s the story behind the store?
Village Vintage came about in 2010, in a funny kind of way. I had quit university after a year of volunteering and I was trying to find a job that would sit happily with an environmentally ethical lifestyle. I wanted a job that I could ride my bike to every day and I wanted to introduce consumers to a more responsible way of buying.
My mother had been wanting to set up a vintage-retro shop all her life being very talented in textiles and an avid vintage collector. So when the opportunity came up for us to lease a space, I decided it was time to give it a go.
Q. What can we find in your store?
A cave of entertaining surprises! We have an eclectic collection of authentic vintage and retro clothing from the 50’s onward, for sale and for hire. We also have many quality second hand garments from today.
We sell a gorgeous collection of vintage hats, handbags, shoes, belts, jewelry and home wares. On top of that we have many locally handmade gifts and home wares including handmade paper, bags, cards and earrings – all made using recycled materials.
We specialise in custom made rock’n’roll skirts, locally made in recycled and vintage fabrics.
Q. What makes your store ethical?
At Village Vintage it is our goal to encourage a way of wearing clothing that does not rely on the exploitation of natural resources or people. In store, we use recycled packaging when necessary and all of our tags are hand-made from recycled paper and card.
By selling recycled clothing we reduce the amount of waste going into landfill and lessen the demand on the manufacturing of new garments therefore reducing pollution, avoiding slave labour and other harmful practices.
By buying local, hand-made items we reduce our carbon footprint and promote low-mileage consumption.
Also much of our stock has been purchased through goodwill stores, and therefore most of our expenses go to charity, which is a wonderful thing, we think!!!
Q. Is the world running out of genuine retro goods?
Naturally, genuine retro vintage goods are becoming rarer and rarer to find. In our experience, it is almost impossible to find a pre-1950s garment that is in wearable condition.
This is an interesting trend and it re-enforces the fact that shops like ours will not be around for ever. However, we search high and low to find remaining pieces and even restore many items that we find may be a little out of shape.
So many customers come in to our store wishing they didn’t throw out their clothes in the 70s! This is a lesson to us all to be more mindful of what we consume and what we throw away!
Q. Who are your customers?
Men and women of all ages are attracted to our store. We have many rock n’ roll fans who love our custom-made rockabilly items. Many collectors, artists and environmentally conscious shoppers also buy from us. We also have many special interest groups such as circus performers and other entertainers who regularly hire and buy from us, which makes life in the shop wonderfully vibrant.
We love to encourage the purchase of second hand items as a sustainable way of consuming. Our customers love the variety of kooky and unique garments that they find. This makes us happier than any money we make!
Q. Tell us a little about some of your locally made items
Most of these items are made by my mother and myself. We both have a passion for recycling and creating and love to share this with our customers.
We stock a complete range of locally handmade paper, masks, origami earrings and gift cards, which are all made using 100% recycled paper in a carbon neutral process. Our hand-made bags have been a huge hit, made with retro materials, recycled denim, tablecloths, doilies and other beautiful bits and pieces.
Our locally hand-made beanies, scarves and hats are in a higher demand than supply! We also sell hand-made earrings, crafted lovingly by a local artist and we often have new locally made pieces coming in on consignment.
On top of this, many of our vintage garments have been beautifully handmade by the loving housewife of yesteryear and we are overjoyed to stock such precious works of art!
Q. Do you have a favourite item in stock right now?
I just can’t take my eyes off an original 1960s mini dress that came to us from the closet of a customer’s mother! It is amazingly patterned with gorgeous contrasting purples and oranges and has eastern influences in the collar and sleeves. I can’t wait to see who will take it home!!
Q. What can we expect from Vintage Village Retro in the future?
Customers can expect to see the expansion of our hire attire, our men’s section and also our pin up/rockabilly section. We hope that our secret little shop will become a must stop destination for all conscious shoppers!
We will continue to support locally hand-made items and to ensure quality, genuine vintage at affordable prices.
You can check out the Village Vintage online or in person from Tuesday to Saturday at Shop 5/41 Bells Line of Road, North Richmond in New South Wales.