Welcome back to town, students! Happy Valley just got a little happier and so did we. Pop Up Ave is excited to have State College native Shelley Banker at the flea in less than three weeks!
If you frequented downtown State College between 1995 and 2012 you might recognize Shelley, who once owned the beloved vintage shop The Rag and Bone. She has since started an Etsy business called Steele Hollow Vintage, selling high-quality, one-of-a-kind vintage treasures.
Shelley took the time to chat with us about her experience selling vintage, and what it was like to transition from a brick-and-mortar store to an Etsy shop. We love her spirit and the passion she has for the history of each item she sells.
// What got you started in selling vintage?
For me, selling vintage started as a personal interest-turned-career. Beginning in high school, I would frequent thrift shops, yard sales, and vintage shops, buying everything from the clothes I wore to the things I decorated my bedroom with. I decided to try my hand at selling vintage in 1995, two years after graduating from Penn State, when I opened my first vintage clothing shop in State College called The Rag and Bone.
// What makes your vintage pieces special?
I take a lot of pride in selling great quality vintage pieces in excellent condition. Part of the appeal of vintage for many people is the history and story behind a piece, so even though most of the vintage I sell has been worn and loved, I try to pick unique items that still have a lot of life left in them. I take great care to clean and mend each one so they present well for their new owner.
// What is the most exciting thing about attending fleas?
After 17 years of running my shop, The Rag and Bone, I decided I needed a change. About three and a half years ago, I closed the brick and mortar and switched over to selling online through Etsy under the new name Steele Hollow Vintage. One thing I found I missed about not having a shop downtown was the face-to-face interaction with so many wonderful customers. This is where my enjoyment of attending fleas comes in. I love having the opportunity at markets to talk to customers one-on-one again. I love seeing their reactions to certain items, helping them make selections, giving tips on how to clean things, or telling the backstory of where an item came from.
// Where does the inspiration for your business come from?
In this very plastic, mass-produced world of merchandise we live in now, I love the uniqueness and quality of vintage. I love the history, the colors, the smells, and especially the details. I also find so much of vintage to be well made and long lasting. I love the thrill of the hunt! I like the idea of giving beautiful things new life and continued use. I feel that so many things made in the past have more heart and soul and just seem more precious. I also believe in doing what you love for your work, so I'm very inspired to work hard so I can continue having a job I love.
// What is the hardest part of selling vintage clothing?
Definitely sizing! Vintage sizes are very different from modern sizes. Things were worn differently too, often with lots of restrictive undergarments. I love that with vintage, it's a one-of-a-kind item, but that also means that item comes in only one size, which can be frustrating. I find that a lot of vintage is handmade, and those items were made to one person's specific measurements which can make fit a little tricky. You sometimes have to be willing to make small adjustments here and there, but so often the end result can look amazing!
We can't wait to see what vintage treasures Shelley will bring to Pop Up Ave in September. Until then, you can find her online at the following sites:
Etsy Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/steelehollowvintage