This interview was conducted by Michelle Genders and originally posted on the Rainbow Artists team blog here.
Let’s get to know Gina from Gina’s Vintage Shop. She tells us about how she started collecting vintage items and the story behind some of her items:
Where do you live? Can you describe the landscape of the place where you live?
Where we live has been a journey in it’s own. My ex-husband removed us from the family home in June of 2015 leaving me and my four children homeless. But two very special angels found us a home that we were able to rent to own.
When the divorce came through, we were able to buy this home. We bought it in April of 2016. Home is where our hearts are. The landscape of our home is simply the love that we have for each other and the gratitude that we have for a roof over our heads.
Tell me about the vintage items that you sell on etsy – how did you come to collecting and selling vintage items?
Gina: My love for vintage really came from the passion my father had for old books and history. We would spend hours at book sales and touring old forts and battle ships. Vintage to me is about history and stories. Both the personal history and stories as well as the history of how the items came to be.
My shop began with a few items my father and I collected and was gathering dust in the basement. My ex-husband would not allow me to open a shop and thought my idea was stupid so I hid my shop from him until one day an order came in when he was home. The cat was out of the bag and so too the arguments that followed. But I kept the shop going and my shop grew in-spite of all that was happening in the home. Then in 2015 my vintage doors closed due those events in the home.
The day I had to shut my vintage doors was a very difficult day for me. For me my vintage shop became a part of me. The stories, the mysteries and the history of each item ran through my blood and to lose those stories, mysteries and history felt like my life stopped. My ex threw out the majority of my items.
I thought my shop doors would be shut forever but those stories and mysteries wouldn’t let me go. I re-opened at the end of 2015 with a few items that I smuggled out of the house. It has been a struggle but the stories will continue.
Thank you for being so honest about your story Gina. I’m sorry to hear about your past, but I really respect the strength it has taken for you to pick up and do it all again!
Where do you find/source the vintage items that you stock in your shop?
Gina: Most of my items are stories that had ended and are sold at garage sales, thrift stores or left in a trash can. They are in need of someone that understands their stories and can add a new chapter to continue them.
What is the most difficult part about collecting vintage items?
The hardest part of collecting and selling vintage items is letting them go. With so many items I find that someone in the family falls in love with it and begs for me to keep it. But the point of having a shop is to find a better home for each item and making money to provide for the family. So they must go…
Out of all the items that you have in your shop at the moment, which one was the most exciting find for you?
I have many items that were an exciting find. Many items can take a lot of time solving their mystery. Questions like time period, who produced the item, where did the item come from, what pattern or design is it, and many many many other questions that need to be answered before the item is listed.
This item was discovered at a church garage sale, I had NO CLUE to the pattern or time period or who made it nor could I find any information on her. It took me 2 years to crack the case and boy was I shocked and surprised to find out that she was 115 years old. She is sooooooooo pretty and elegant even with her imperfections. I was half tempted to keep her but I really don’t have any room for her. I’m hoping one day someone will be able to provide her with a home and continue her story for the next 115 years.
My partner loves to drink tea and we live in a cold climate, so it gets cold quickly. This item would come in very handy for us! Could you tell me a bit more about this item?
Vintage Rubbermaid Woodbine Tumblers were made in the 70’s during the time when everyone was getting back to nature and becoming one with it. They are made out of heavy plastic and are great for any outdoor adventure.
(Gina’s listing for this item says:
The design, the color and the durability of Rubbermaid makes this tumbler perfect for your outdoor adventure.
These cups are great for hot or cold beverages and can be placed in the dishwasher on the top rack. They hold under 12 ounces of liquid.
I have 6 total $6.00 a piece. Each will be charged a separate shipping charge…don’t panic, I just need the amount to ship the item to you. I will refund anything over a $1.
Condition: I would say each tumbler was lightly used with general vintage fading, scratches and ware.)
This item is a classic and it seems to have an interesting story behind it. Could you tell us a bit more about the origin of this item?
I love this cookie jar. I know that cookie jars seem so outdated anymore but they really can be a useful thing not only for cookies but for pet treats as well.
This pretty and modern looking cookie jar was a part of Woolworth and Safeway Fresh cash savers stamp with purchase program. The program worked by collecting 20 grey stamps and exchanging it for a bake ware piece. As an incentive they gave an individual soufflé baker for free. The goal was to collect enough stamps and or books to be able to complete the entire set.
(Gina’s listing says:
This product was made in Japan. It measures under 7 inches tall and from handle to handle under 7.5 inches wide. Inside depth is under 6 inches deep. Colors are white with pink and purple flowers and a gray lid. Perfect for cookies, dog biscuits or to hide your secret stash of candy)
I know that you are very busy Gina, so I really appreciate the time you have taken to tell your story. You have given me an insight into people’s passion for vintage.