If I had not written my debut novel, you’d probably see me on the TV show Hoarders instead of here at the Debutante Ball and on the jacket flap of my book.
VINTAGE is the story of a secondhand boutique called Hourglass Vintage, the women who work and shop there, and the garments that come through the door. My idea for the book grew from many, many hours spent at consignment shops, estate sales, swap parties, and thrift stores. In short, from an obsession with all things vintage.
Over the last five years or so, I’ve amassed a collection of secondhand treasures. I’ve kept some of the items for myself–an amber-colored Bakelite cocktail ring, a Chanel scarf found at a garage sale. Others, I’ve sold online in my Etsy store– a 50’s Dior evening bag with the tags still on it, a hand-knit baby cardigan from the 1940’s.
My inventory grew and my closet space diminished, as did as my husband’s tolerance for yet another piece of midcentury modern furniture. But I’ve always had a hard time passing up a good story and, for me, that’s what vintage items are–chapters from other people’s lives.
When I realized I’d never know the histories of all my found objects, I began to make them up. VINTAGE was inspired by the idea that there’s beauty in what may appear at first glance to be flawed and frayed. The novel alternates points of view among three women of different generations, all with less than perfect pasts, whose stories become inextricably stitched together among the aisles of Hourglass Vintage.
People sometimes ask me if its hard to sell certain items in my online shop. I answer that it isn’t. Because the items were never mine, not really. When I found them, they already had a story.
My Etsy shop is not a huge money maker. Most of the time it brings in just enough profit to cover the cost of my next vintage find. But being the link between a beautiful item’s past and its future–that’s where the real rewards lie. It’s that link that inspired my debut novel as well.
Plus, selling and writing about some of the stuff I find keeps me off Hoarders. If you ever tune in and happen to see a lady trapped under a a pile of crinoline party dresses from various decades, it will probably be me, your Wednesday deb.
Photo credit: Nick Wilkes Photography