Pop-up Shop Opening Day
Writing this blog was not on my to-do list today. I started writing to note down an idea but the words kept flowing. Perhaps they flowed because I left my phone outside my room today in a bid to find more focus or maybe I kept writing because, as Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic, creativity comes to you, and you have to be open to receiving it, or it will find someone else. Whatever the reason, I ran with it today, and one thought just connected to the other. So here are my reflections of joy, sadness and hope this International Women's Day.
I will never forget the first day of opening my physical vintage shop in Portrush. I was feeling nervous and still labeling up to the last minute. The true optimist in me had hopes that there would be people waiting to get into my shop as soon as I opened, but it wasn't until around two hours in when my first customers came up the stairs, a mother and daughter vintage loving duo from Derry City. They had seen a flyer about a new vintage shop opening and made it their mission to come in for a browse.
I was beyond excited that two true vintage lovers had come to visit. As a vintage seller, you pick clothes you love for your shop, but you have already experienced the first sight of the item and been around some of that stock for some time as it patiently waits to find a new home. Therefore, it is such a lovely experience to witness your customers excitedly go through every item on your lovingly curated rails and watch their first reaction to each item. All of us vintage lovers know that feeling of anticipation for what will come next on a rail of gems? It's one of utter joy and excitement, and my job means I get to witness that first-hand. So what did they buy, I hear you ask? The item that made my mummy shopper scream 'I have to make her mine' was a 70s brown leather jacket, and the daughter fell for a pair of green checked trousers that were made for her.
This lovely mother-daughter duo reminded me of my vintage shopping days with my mummy and sister. We have named such days 'The Best Day Ever' : vintage, coffee and all the cake. One of us falls in love with an item saying, 'Ohh I love, but I don't need it.' The other takes on the role of 'encourager', 'Oh need smeed, that piece is meant for you! Remember, nothing haunts you like the vintage you didn't buy.' The role of the encourager in my family shopping experiences is always me, by the way, and my 'money grows on trees' personality often means I am even my own encourager. My sister will vouch I am the best person to take shopping, but your bank balance/husband might not say the same.
When I think of these joyful vintage shopping trips with the fabulous women in our lives, I think about the joy each piece of vintage clothing brings us and wonder did it have the same relationship with the woman who owned it before? Did she, too, find the item on a shopping excursion, making memories with her mother or daughter? Did she try it on and feel utterly fabulous? Who encouraged her to buy it? Did she wear it to a special event? Did she receive compliments while wearing it? Did she feel empowered when she wore the garment?
Just imagine that garment could speak; it would have the answers to all these questions. The stories it could tell about the amazing woman who made it, the woman who sold it or the woman who wore it through the ups and downs of life. I'm getting very sentimental about the vintage items here, but we really should view a clothing garment as more than just that.
While I think about how fabulous it is that a once treasured item of clothing gets to move on and take on a second lease of life with another woman, I am struck with sadness about today's current fast fashion system. How I once lived a life so disrespectful of my clothes, not considering who made them, not considering why they were so cheap and considering them old and worn after very few wears. On this International Women's Day, as I feel so much love and respect for my customers and the women who support me in life, I feel utter sadness for the women working in poor conditions and struggling to make ends meet in garment factories all over the world. These women are just like us, simply trying to make a living for their children, provide them with opportunities and live a life well-lived. Yet, their talent is being entirely underappreciated. Their human rights are denied as they are taken advantage of by giant corporations who think the women who buy their clothes don't care about the women who make them. They think we don't care about the conditions of garment workers. They think all we care about is getting more and more cheap clothing for ourselves. The whole situation is so sad.
But I have to finish this article with a message of hope because if we don't have hope, what else do we have? The tide is changing and slowly but surely more women are being educated about the conditions of women in garment factories working for fast fashion companies. More women are starting to vote with their purses and spend money on a world they want to see. This way change can happen. Demand better with your dollar, influence your friends by showing them where you spend your money, and we can create a better world for women everywhere.
As I said, I didn't set out to write this blog today, and of course, the usual fear of letting others read this arises, but if some creativity was floating about today and picked me, then who am I to deny being the vessel this piece of writing comes through. So there you have it, my thoughts this International Women's Day. If you would like to educate yourself more on the fast fashion industry, I'll leave a list of documentaries you can watch below.
Thank you to anyone who made it this far in reading my blog, and thank you to all of you incredible women who continue to support me on my business and personal journey through life! Here are some of my fabulous customers wearing their Terra Vintage items. Can you spot yourself?
Let me know if you read the article below. I would love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful day, be kind to yourself, and lots of love to you all!
Fast Fashion Documentaries:
The True Cost
“Need Smeed” haha love it! And yay I spotted myself :-)