Licensed personal shopper opens profitable vintage clothing store in Toronto

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After being laid off from her job as a personal shopper at The Bay, a Toronto woman turned her vintage online store into a full-time business from her one-bedroom apartment.

Emily Conrad started her vintage clothing business Slow Hand Salvage in January 2020, but when the pandemic hit she found herself without a full-time job. The work-from-home phenomenon and lack of events meant people didn’t need to do personal shopping as much.

“No one really needs fancy clothes anymore,” Conrad told blogTO. “I was permanently fired from my old job, so I started working harder for it.”

Conrad collects vintage objects and loves thrift stores. At the start of the pandemic, she started selling some items from her personal collection on Instagram.

“People were taking it,” she says.

She finds items to sell online in bulk and now takes shopping trips to Northern Ontario. His online business has become a success. She now ships worldwide to Australia, all from her one-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto.

“It’s actually more money than I made in my regular job,” she says.

Conrad created the boutique around her style, which she describes as a rock and western vibe with “biker jackets” and “girly prairie dresses.” She thinks the online store stands out because few vintage places have a theme.

“It’s kind of cool to have more themes and then people know they’re coming to me for leather jackets or cowboy boots.”

One of Conrad’s most interesting finds was a Brimaco leather jacket – a British biker jacket – which she sold for $900 on ebay.

“If you know the value of certain brands and what to look for when shopping or choosing things, you can find gems like this,” she says. “That’s what I like best: finding little treasures from time to time. »

Conrad studied fashion arts at Humber College but has worked in retail since grade 11 with his first job at Zara.

“I’ve always had the dream, in the back of my head, of wanting a vintage store like a brick and mortar.”

But with the closures continuing, opening a physical store didn’t seem like a good idea. So for now, she’s packing her apartment with things she finds, cleaning them, and photographing them before putting them up for sale on Instagram or ebay. She puts things away in a small dressing room and in an alcove in her living room.

“I need a separate room for all my clothes.”

She plans to buy a bigger apartment to add storage and so people can come in after the pandemic to try on items.

“My apartment is not very accommodating at the moment.”

Conrad also does pop-ups and plans to eventually have items at a fall vintage market at Evergreen Brickworks.

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