Ms. Hill is working to combat this by creating resources to educate and empower Black women to enter the resale industry as entrepreneurs. She shares her knowledge and expertise through master classes, an e-book, and weekly business chats on Instagram Live (called “Chic Talks”). She also recently launched a new initiative, Small Business Saturday, where she posts black businesses to Random and Chic’s Instagram Stories.
“The good thing about vintage is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to start with,” Ms. Hill said. “With Small Business Saturday, I just wanted to share my platform. Because I sell vintage, I only have one of each item, so I can never accommodate more than 200,000 people. I thought I I could share my space to help other businesses with marketing, and at an affordable price. It comes from my desire to see people win and empower them to invest in themselves.
Mariah Collazo, the owner of Vanilla Vintage in Raleigh, North Carolina, quickly realized that tall black women were underrepresented by online vintage sellers. “I first saw the problem when I was thrifty in college, trying to find affordable clothes on a budget,” she said. “I could rarely find fun, fashionable clothes that appealed to a larger frame. I don’t see the point of sustainability if it’s not accessible to everyone.
As a fashion and textile student at North Carolina State University, Ms. Collazo opened her store as a side hustle and went full-time after graduating. “I realize that vintage clothes tend to run a little smaller because body sizes have changed over time,” she said. “But still, some of the vintage clothing brands I saw online had a certain aesthetic and seemed to cling to very exclusive ideas. Sustainable fashion is supposed to be a good thing, but I couldn’t see myself in the field. So I created Vanilla Vintage as a way to be that representation.
Ms. Collazo plans to continue to grow her business by refurbishing designer handbags and working with leather.
She has collaborated with other black-owned stores and plans to continue. “We go much further by working together rather than competing with others. I saw that when I collaborated with other black business owners, other vintage store owners. By gathering resources, you go much further.