By Abdu Ali Eaton
Most people spend a good part of their free time online, so it only makes sense that they indulge in online shopping! By now you have probably heard of Etsy.com, a chic place to shop online. Set up as an e-commerce site, it allows people from all over the world to sell cool stylish threads — old or new alike. CBS Baltimore recently sat down with Jenny Andrzejewski, an Etsy store connoisseur who is the owner of Charm City based, Old Baltimore Vintage to talk all these vintage and Etsy.
Jenny Andrzejewski: To me, “vintage” can be anything that doesn’t look or feel like right now. I know true vintage people think that calling clothes from the 90s “vintage” is an abomination, but I don’t really care. If it looks old enough – it’s vintage to me.
CBS Baltimore: What’s your niche?
Jenny Andrzejewski: My vintage niche is the 70s and 80s. Hardcore vintage sellers and enthusiasts scoff at the 80s being called vintage, but I really love it and I think I always will. It’s also worth mentioning that buying vintage is a much more sustainable, earth-friendly and people-friendly way of buying clothes.
CBS Baltimore: What does a piece have to embody to you in order for it to be a part of Old Baltimore Vintage?
Jenny Andrzejewski: It just has to meet my standard of looking a certain way that I think is cool, and that’s all it really comes down to. If I could see myself wearing it, or someone else looking good wearing it, then I’ll buy and it and try to sell it. The “buying” part of selling clothes and shoes is really interesting because you have to venture outside of your own personal style and imagine what other people are looking for. I used to buy anything that looked “old” without really caring or knowing whether it would look good on someone. Now I have a very discriminating eye and I really think every purchase through and try to imagine it being worn. I keep fashion trends in mind when I’m buying, but only to a certain extent. I think it’s more important to look out for stuff that is made well and has the right nostalgic feel to it rather than being on-trend.
CBS Baltimore: How do you feel about the relationship between Baltimore and vintage?
Jenny Andrzejewski: Even though Baltimore thrift stores are way picked over compared to how they used to be, this is still an awesome town for thrifting. Not every city has 15-20 thrift stores within a reasonable driving distance! I’ve gone thrifting in other cities and it’s made me appreciate Baltimore thrift stores even more. As far as Baltimore and vintage goes, there are a lot of really cool vintage stores here. I would recommend Woodwards/Decades in Hampden, Ten Car in Towson, Killer Trash in Fells Point.
CBS Baltimore: Talk about your journey to starting your own Etsy store.
Jenny Andrzejewski: I’ve been on Etsy since late 2008, and I sold a lot on eBay before that. The secret behind my success is not being able to hold a regular job. Since high school I’ve probably had 30 or more different jobs. It was 2008 and the economy was really, really bad and I seriously couldn’t get a job doing anything, anywhere. My friend Caitlin told me to check out Etsy’s vintage section and her suggestion totally changed my life. I started an account and I’ve been on it every day since then.
CBS Baltimore: Why do you think the Baltimore woman loves vintage so much?
Jenny Andrzejewski: I’m not sure. I can only speak for myself, and I like vintage because I like feeling like I’m wearing something no one else has. To quote Pam Haner, “I can’t bear to buy something off a rack that has 20 other exact copies next to it.” I know it’s kind of silly, but I need to feel special in that way. I’m sure that’s how other girls feel too.
CBS Baltimore: What brands do you love to carry?
Jenny Andrzejewski: This is really nerdy but my favorite vintage shoe brands are Bass, Bally, Nine West, Wild Pair, Thom McAn, Etienne Aigner, QualiCraft, Dingo, Zodiac, Capezio. Finding couture designers like Chanel, Dior, or YSL is the best feeling in the world. I could name about 50 more but I’ll stop there.
CBS Baltimore: Who is OBV’s audience?
Jenny Andrzejewski: When I imagine the people who shop on Etsy I think of the hipster/art school type, or people who just like to wear weird stuff. I also ship at least 30 percent of everything I sell to other countries, and most of the international packages go to Australia, Denmark, Finland, and France. It’s really weird to think about, but people in other countries, especially Australia and Japan, have an obsession with vintage clothing from the United States. It’s really interesting, and you could draw all kinds of conclusions from that, like globalization! American pop-culture is nostalgic to people all over the world – not just Americans. Pretty neat to think about.
CBS Baltimore: Where do you want to take OBV?
Jenny Andrzejewski: I’m going to do my best to open a vintage store in the next year or so. It would also be awesome if a big company wanted to pay me a lot of money to be a buyer. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’m going to do my own store. I’m pretty confident that if I also had an online store – and all my merchandise could be in two places at once – I could make it work and be successful.
CBS Baltimore: What story does OBV tell to the fashion community especially Baltimore fashion community?
Jenny Andrzejewski: I guess it would have to be this: if you hate working for someone else, or you hate your job – it IS possible to make money doing something that is mentally stimulating and creatively rewarding. It will probably take a couple tries and misses, but if you’re miserable at your job, it’s worth trying out as many things as you can.
Check out more of Jenny’s shop @ Old Baltimore Vintage!
Abdu Ali Eaton is an arts advocate and writer living in Baltimore. His creative works can be found on EatOnThis.com.