Vintage is the new Black!
Buffalo’s Creative Class Series: RustBeltThreads
Business Type: Web Based
Description: Selling vintage items
Venturing into a thrift store is comparable to metaphorical time travel. Visitors get the opportunity to browse and purchase items from the past, them restore those items into the present. Yet, finding favorable items in a thrift store or estate sale takes time and a keen eye – one that Amanda has. Back in 2008, Amanda discovered her knack for finding vintage items, and presenting them to people for purchase on eBay. Soon Amanda’s small-time hobby became a part-time business. She discovered Etsy, and began to sell her items in the midst of like-minded online retailors. Unlike the others, however, she is selling an assortment of items straight form the Rustbelt.
Amanda graduated with a degree in Graphics Design from Buffalo State College, and although she is not originally from Buffalo, she considers herself to be a proud Buffalonian. RustBeltThreads started off selling only clothes and shoes, but she soon started selling other items such as reading glasses and drinking glasses that were very popular in the 50’s - also very popular among her customers. Amanda recently sold some of those items to the prop department of the hit TV show Mad Men. When I asked Amanda why she liked Vintage clothing she stated: “I just think that in Vintage clothing the pieces are made so well, they are constructed very well, and the prints are just different, making them timeless. I feel like I need to show this to people. That a dress from the 50s will last a lot longer than something you buy today.”
The items listed on RustBelthThreads are from thrift stores, estate sales, and other outlets that feature vintage items. Amanda informed me that she has thee 6-foot z-racks that are filled, and numerous items spread all throughout her apartment. While Amanda is not in a rush to open a storefront anytime soon, she is an active part of the city. Just this past December her and three other retailers hosted an event called Queen City Market at Karpeles Manuscript Library on Porter Ave. The one-day holiday sale event featured 55 other vendors and was a big hit, which may lead to an annual event. Amanda says it was the first time she got her name out in Buffalo.
Chatting with Amanda has very humbling. She truly is passionate about vintage and promoting the sale of vintage items in the WNY area. Amanda has found that she has had customers from every continent (except Antarctica) making the purchases spilt between national and international. Amanda says that Buffalo will develop into a thriving city, but it is not going to happen overnight. She believes it may take a decade or so, but we will get there.
It is always great to meet people that take something they love and turn it into a business. I look forward to see how the online business continues to grow.
Please check out RustBeltThreads at http://www.etsy.com/shop/rustbeltthreads or http://rustbeltthreads.tumblr.com/