January 4, 2010
Here are some quick tips and some sound advice from yours truly on "How to Start an Online Vintage Clothing Store"

I don't claim to be an expert at this, but I have been running an online vintage shop for a little over 5 years now and it has been trial and error for me along the way as I discovered new things and made quite a few mistakes.

A couple times a year I receive emails on how to start up an online vintage clothing store. I always respond with a few quick tips and some advice, but never spell everything out for anyone (as I don't think that would be fair for me to do your homework) ^_^. Below is some advice and pointers for opening up your own e-commerce vintage shop. I am assuming of course you already have vintage inventory, know a thing or two about photography, HTML, and can navigate the web.

What should you write down exactly? Anything and everything related to your vintage clothing business! It could be just ideas for colors combinations, or maybe write down URLS of other websites you like and get inspiration from. Write down what categories you want to use for your shop. Do you want to divide everything from the get go and have separate sections for each type of jewelry and clothing or just lump it all together under "jewelry" and "apparel"?

The reason why it is so important to "get it in writing" is that your brain will better remember ideas and thoughts this way. Remember in grade school when the teacher made you write vocabulary words over and over again? This is kind of the same thing. You don't even have to write down business-y stuff, you could write words of inspiration, or your goals. Bottom line, get it on pen and paper and go from there.

If you don't know anything about web design or HTML, then get cracking! You do not need to be a CSS, Java, PHP expert by any means, but you NEED TO KNOW SOME BASIC HTML! You can visit Getting started with HTML to get the very basics or visit this site: Basic HTML. If you are going to be using Etsy or Ebay, you don't need to know much more than the basics. If you're going to be designing your own site and do not know was a cascading style sheet is...then best to leave it to the pros. ^_^

This one should be pretty self explanatory. I shouldn't even have to touch on this but I will, just a little. Learn the basics of vintage clothing such as dating vintage dresses. What makes a dress a 1970s dress instead of a 1980s dress? Why is this blouse from the 50s and not the 60s? Learn different types of sleeves, collars, skirt styles, pant styles, etc etc. This will help you in accurately describing your products and also help you date them.

I have a folder on my comp for all my work stuff as well as a physical folder in a file cabinet for other things. The most important thing when starting up your own vintage clothing store business is to STAY ORGANIZED. Unless you have plenty of other gals to keep everything in order for you, it's best to start organized and keep organized. Keep folders for site images, product images, ideas, inspirations, rough drafts of html pages or even text you are writing for your website. Just keep it all in one, easy to find place.

Ok, so running an online vintage clothing store means you need to know some business stuff. What kind of stuff? Well, you need to know how to price your items. You need to do some research on other stores to see how much everyone else is charging and most importantly WHY or even HOW? I see a bunch of vintage stores selling a-dime-a-dozen 80s and 90s "vintage" at steep prices and wonder "WHY are they selling it for this much?" and "HOW are they able to sell it for that much?" Ask yourself the same thing.


All righty, those are my tips and advice for now! I hope you found them helpful! More tips on "How to start an online vintage clothing store" soon!


  1. What a great post--I'm always inspired by other people's organizational and business skills, (yours is no exception!) and I'm extra jazzed to read these tips because you have such a wonderful store & I can tell so much knowledge and research and creativity goes into it.

    xx Jenny

  2. This is a great post, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I've had my own online store (jewelery) for almost a year now and am learning as I go. This is great general advice. I am currently reading up on basic HTML and learning so many new things.
    Best of luck to you in 2010!

  3. thanks for this wonderful post.
    i learned alot.

  4. good tips. i am setting up an etsy shop to sell vintage, and appreciate all your advice. thanks so much. ps: your shop is adorable. many wonderful finds!

  5. These are some great tips, but if you can, head to London, England to areas like portobello road in Notting Hill to see some wonderful examples of vintage stores. I have just come back and I found the area hugely inspiring.

  6. When my sister expanded her online business a couple of years ago, she thought that building a website would be difficult because she doesn't know a thing or two about web creation. Good thing she listened to our friend, Michelle to hire a specialist who knows online marketing and web architecture. The web developer made the entire process easy for her including planning a website.

    Well, thanks for sharing your tips on starting a vintage business online. Those were pretty helpful reminders particularly keeping the files organized. Good organization will certainly help business owners to update, change photos and descriptions of product items.

  7. Hi great pointers thank you. I have just started trading vintage clothing and handmade retro-inspired jewellery on Etsy and a blog - craftyrollsprettyvintage.blogspot.co.uk. You've given me a good few things to go away and think about so thanks for sharing!


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a little comment, I do try to respond back as often as I can. Have a lovely day! xoxo - Rodellee