Black-owned vintage clothing stores explode
Ms. Hill is working to combat this by creating resources to educate and empower black women to enter the resale industry as entrepreneurs. She shares her knowledge and expertise through master classes, an e-book and weekly business discussions on Instagram Live (called “Chic Talks”). She also recently launched a new initiative, Small Business Saturday, where she posts black businesses in the Instagram stories of Random and Chic.
“The good thing about vintage is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to start with,” Ms. Hill said. “With Small Business Saturday, I just wanted to share my platform. Because I sell vintage, I only have one item of each, so I will never be able to accommodate more than 200,000 people. I figured I could share my space to help other businesses with marketing, and at an affordable price. It comes from my desire to see people win and to give them the opportunity to invest in themselves.
Mariah Collazo, owner of Vanilla Vintage in Raleigh, NC, quickly realized that plus-size black women were not adequately represented by vintage sellers online. “I first saw the problem when I was thrifty in college, trying to find affordable clothes on a budget,” she said. “I could rarely find fun, fashionable clothes that fit a larger setting. I don’t see the point in sustainability if it’s not accessible to everyone.
As a fashion and textiles student at North Carolina State University, Ms. Collazo opened her store as a side business and went there full-time after graduating. “I realize that vintage clothing tends to be a bit smaller because the body size has changed over time,” she said. “But still, some of the vintage clothing brands I saw online had a certain aesthetic and seemed to cling to very restrictive ideas. Sustainable fashion is supposed to be a good thing, but I didn’t see myself in the field. So I created Vanilla Vintage as a way to be this representation.
Ms. Collazo plans to continue expanding her business by renovating designer handbags and working with leather.
She has collaborated with other black-owned stores and plans to continue. “We work a lot more together rather than competing with others. I saw that when I collaborated with other black business owners, other vintage store owners. By bringing together resources, you go much further.