This is Mandy! I had the great pleasure of meeting Mandy in NZ and talking a lot of vintage stuff...and hopefully working on some fun events together in the future!
Mandy owns a gem of a shop in Auckland called Black Betty...full of sweet vintage dresses, shoes, books, jewelry....I loved hearing all about the trials, tribulations and joys of having a brick and mortar shop....thought you might too!
So here is an interview with Mandy about her biz....and here you can see her facebook page....enjoy and thanks so much Mandy, great to meet you!
How did you get started with your store? (in a nutshell!)
I found a vacant shop in my local arcade and offered to do a pop-up store till the tenant moved in - they didn't, and the shop was offered to me.
I have sold online and done markets before. I had always dreamt of having my own shop, so I leapt at the opportunity!
What is your biggest hurdle as a brick and mortar store?
Apart from the weekly battle to make rent?
I would say educating walk-ins that it is not a charity shop, we pay for our stock, and that you cannot ask for things in a different colour or size...
Is the thrill still in the hunt or more in the 'sell' now you have a shop?
The hunt will always be on!
Which pieces in your collection will you never sell?
An art print linen full circle skirt my mum bought for herself as a teenager.
My real leopard fur coat.
A velour Marimekko full length dress with 60's purple and black wallpaper print and a few dresses my Mum made in the 50's.
Do you have a vintage community around you? is it important?
I do have friends in the industry, but I still think everyone holds their cards pretty close to their chests as far as resources go - New Zealand is a small country.
I would like to see a few join forces to bring more into the country or scour locally. Power in numbers. But it's not for everyone.
What was your last vintage-selling panic attack about?
Hindsight. I think back on some key pieces I sold when I was starting out that I would kill for now. You never get over it... But you were not to know at the time!
Where would your dream location be for the shop?
I love out of the way places. I would dearly love to go back home to Melbourne and do it there as well. I think back to where I used to "discover" them, under a train station, an old strip mall, but an abandoned warehouse where you can also host events would be ace!
In a back street of the city! On a boat! Sorry, my mind is running away with me now!
How much of your business is based on regulars?
Online and in the shop - roughly 20%.
How do you unwind from the shop? can you leave it 'behind' fairly easily?
I like to travel and go home to see family and friends.
But it always results in shopping for clothes! The best of both worlds!
Are there any other things you'd like to sell besides vintage?
I make jewellery. I have a friend who does vintage hair and make up. We offer those in the shop. My friend is in a band, so I sell her band t-shirts, CD's and zippo lighters in the shop - they're cool. But if I could choose something besides vintage - it would be something easy to sell that everyone wants with a massive profit margin!