Interview by The DIME Store, Photos by Sheena Croft
For this month’s feature, DIME caught up with the amazing Sheena Croft of No Carnations Vintage. This lady is made of magic. There has to be at least 27 hours in her day. Not only is she the nationally-praised executive chef of Hannah’s Off the Square, but she also runs one of the best-curated vintage shops on Etsy. Read on to find out why this southern gal could give “the most interesting man in the world” a run for his money.
Sheena, what originally drew you to vintage?
was quality clothing that was affordable. I would find great labels to mix into
my modern clothing. But more to the point it was about the trends at the time.
I remember watching 'Desperately Seeking Susan' and seeing Madonna find that
second hand jacket with the eye on the back. Suddenly the thrift store find was
way cooler than before. We won't talk about the brightly colored crinoline I
think I once wore to the seventh grade as a skirt.
Did you come a vintage collector and by default a vintage seller, or visa versa?
I started collecting before I started selling. I sold jewelry on the side that I made and someone told me about Etsy for my jewelry. Not long after I realized I could sell vintage on Etsy. The first few items in the shop were from my own collection. Not really even clothes or items that would suite/fit me but items that I could not leave behind at an estate sale or thrift store. I just had to have them without never really knowing what I would do with them.
You're also the executive chef at Hannah's Off the Square. How do you balance having two very creative, very different jobs?
Both my love for vintage and my love for cooking fuel my creative side. Every day I think about how lucky I feel to do these things. Finding that perfect balance is everything but perfect. I try to use my down time away from the kitchen in a positive way. Vintage takes up a lot of that time, but selling has allowed me to set more financial goals for myself and that is a great freedom in and of itself. It helps that the vintage is considered a self-employment, so when my professional life needs attention and takes over I can adjust and set the Etsy job at a slower pace.
Your vintage clothing Etsy shop is highly successful. What makes your shop stand out from other vintage shops?
I tried to create a brand from day one. I also did lots of research about good cameras, taking quality photos, using photoshop for lighting issues. When it comes to vintage fashion, learning about labels and quality craftsmanship of textiles is equally as important. You need to know that a dress with a Ceil Chapman label can be sold for four times as much as another dress of the same style.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Etsy sellers or vintage collectors?
My suggestion to other sellers is to research your medium to the fullest, and create a 3 year plan for yourself with attainable goals. I also want to say that social media is a huge part of what you can do to brand and get your product seen. Even when I neglect my shop for a week, I try to re-list five items each day, mention something about my shop on twitter and send out a few Instagram shots. I've had quite a few direct sales from social platforms.
Where can folks shop your collection?
There is a limited collection of items that rotate in and out at the DIME Store. You can find me on Etsy, and I am happy to take appointments to view and purchase from my personal collection, most of which is not available online.
Do you aspire to someday have a brick and mortar vintage boutique? Or would you rather stay creative in the kitchen full time?
I look forward to my older years, a retirement I suppose, when I can have an encore career. I dream of a nice little flower shop with a wall of vintage wedding & party dresses from the 20s-50s. Kind of a one-stop-shop for the vintage bride. I imagine friends hanging out as well, so I'll keep the kettle on and always have cakes, scones, soups and sandwiches waiting with a smile.
The DIME Store is a shop and artist collective in downtown Denton, featuring art, craft, and vintage from 40+ local makers. Rachel Aughtry and Shelley Christner act as the "curators and purveyors" of the shop. When they're not at DIME, you'll find them behind their sewing machines or enjoying a margarita at Greenhouse.