Yourgreatfinds - Seller of Good Things
That's who I have been for 21 years selling on line. I started with American Country Antiques and over the years reinvented my business to be focused on jewelry. I have collected antiques and vintage my entire life. I carry vintage handbags and wear vintage boots. My house is furnished in antique and vintage. My saddles that I ride in all of the time are both vintage. I bought my car used. It's a nice car, but it was leased and tossed aside for something newer after 2 years. Now, she's mine forever.
I have a 20 year old college student daughter who loves to thrift and she sells clothing on Poshmark. Often I go with her to help her find things, I am pretty good at finding good things you know.
As I look at at the endless rows of tossed away clothing I wondered what happened. The shoe racks are filled with used plastic shoes. These shoes spill over to fill the tops of every clothing rack, which are packed with clothing made in China, India and Bangladesh. Some stores have entire walls, even more that are filled with plastic purses and backpacks, also made in China, India and Bangladesh. Here where I live, there are huge box thrift stores that are filled and refilled all day long, 7 days a week.
It did not used to be like this. In my day, we sewed much of our own clothing. Did you? We learned to sew in school. And I will tell you, when you work hard to make your own dress, you don't wear it once and toss it aside. We bought good things such as Levis jeans and wore them until they fell apart. If they got a hole we patched them and kept wearing them. I still have a pair of Levis that I wore in the 1970s. My daughter wears them now. You bought a good coat and wore it for years. I wore hand-me downs and that was a normal thing.
In my life before on-line selling, I was a designer. I made hats, jackets, dresses, vests and hair bows for stores all over the country including every Nordstrom and Bloomingdales in New York City. We had four seasons. Winter and summer were the main seasons with fall and spring as shorter lead-in seasons. We designed and shot advertising 8 months in advance. I ordered fabrics from the mills and guessed what I thought that I would sell. If I sold out, customers had to endure a back order while we waited for another run of fabric and got more pieces made. That's how it was, It worked. People did not mind. It created demand and sort of a rarity especially when we could not get a fabric again. Even then I used vintage lace and trim for every hat.
I never had my designs made by the jobbers and sweat shops in LA. I had a network of stay-at-home moms that sewed and made things for me. I had two sisters, that worked in the shop. They were with me a long time and I loved them. They were also the models for every photo shoot. Every week, I would go and pick up all of the finished pieces from the moms and pay them. We would put finishing touches on the pieces and ship them out.
It was a great thing. We had quality product, hand made and we helped families make ends meet.
So what happened? About 10 to 15 years ago, "fast fashion" happened. The garment district moved overseas where pieces could be made cheaper. Stores like H&M and Forever 21 appeared in cities across the country selling cheap clothing. Over time they retired the traditional four seasons and went to weekly seasons. New fashion every week! Wear it a few times and throw it away. Often times you need to because these things are of such poor quality.
Cheap fabrics and poor workmanship is what we get now. As prices drop, the quality gets worse. And then there's the plastic. Nasty plastic purses and shoes...everywhere. Every thrift store that I visit has a WALL of plastic purses like this:
We have to stop buying this stuff. It's trash. They have to stop making it to make a fast buck. We need to get back to the way it used to be and use quality things. We need to repair items and keep them working for us for a long time instead of throwing things away.
This is why I am on a mission to SAVE THE GOOD THINGS. When I am out buying jewelry I also search estates, antique shows and flea markets and even some of the thrift stores for good vintage leather goods, things of wool and linen and hand woven cotton. Good leather shoes and boots of quality are what I prize! My favorite are of course the old leather handbags. I love the old Mexican bags with tooling. The Early Coach bags are of a quality that is superior to pretty much everyone. I restore and condition these pieces with my good saddle balms before I present it to you on my website. I aim to curate a fine collection of well made vintage accessories that you can enjoy for years, just like your jewelry.
I'm only one person, but if we all pitch in and stop buying the junky stuff, maybe together we can make a difference.
If you are interested in this topic, there is a 2 hour documentary that you can find on platforms like Netflix. Here's link to the trailer: "The True Cost" As you watch this film you will be reminded of America in the 1960s, 1970s...you'll think of Bruce Springsteen's song "Factory". You'll see other countries racing down the same road that America did.
The movie made me sad. And, it let me know that I am doing the right thing.
PS If you want to see some of the good things that I have saved you can check out my new arrivals HERE.