Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vanessa's Vintage Treasures: Same Great Merchandise, New Location

Vanessa has an array of dazzling costume
jewelry, like these mid-century earrings
Upon passing through the lilac-colored, yet unassuming door of Vanessa’s Vintage Treasures, I am greeted with nostalgia for decades long past that, like many young thrifters, I have never even experienced. Cream-colored lace drapes old mahogany wood dressers displaying 1950’s costume jewelry and sterling silver clip-on earrings. Stacks of royal blue china teacups and saucers decorate the shelves like glass flowers. Colorful fabric swatches printed with 19th century scenes hang freely, inviting the adventurous old-spirit to repurpose them with a contemporary flare. Whatever your niche, whatever your price point, Vanessa’s quaint, yet artfully crafted showroom of “old stuff” has a gem awaiting your discovery.

Federal Hill’s cherished antique shop, Vanessa’s Vintage Treasures, after 22 thriving years of business, has relocated to a new space at 1028 S. Charles Street. Though slightly smaller than her previous storefront at 1132 S. Charles, shop proprietor Vanessa White says she’s acclimated to the new space and happily anticipates her re-opening in late May. “I hope all my old customers and new ones will come,” says Vanessa.

As with her first store, Vanessa’s inventory consists of mostly vintage fabrics, such as lace, costume and silver jewelry, and glassware. “I still consider this a linen store, but the jewelry is really my forte. I think it is because I am extremely picky.” Walking through her space now, which is overflowing with eye-catching objects, it’s apparent that one is among a professional collector. “At any given time, you  never know what’s going to be a best seller,” says Vanessa, “I’ve had weeks where I’ve only sold pottery; collectibles go up and down in popularity.” Vanessa has a small network of “pickers” who buy items on her behalf, mostly from estate sales. Although she may have a large collection of, say, 1920’s broaches one day, they may just as soon fly off her shelves the next. “I have very loyal clientele,” she says proudly. “They know what they like.”

A self-identified “old school” Baltimorean, born and raised right here in Federal Hill, Vanessa doesn't use computer technology   company or personal e-mail, social media, a store website   to bolster her business. Instead, she humbly relies on the loyalty of her customers, who have continued to drive her business through word-of-mouth alone. “I plan to go digital in the near future,” says Vanessa. For now, vintage seekers will just have to dig the old-fashioned way.

Briana Lopes, Intern

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