27 March 2010
Salvage Life was one of the first Etsy shops that I discovered and fell in love with. If you've ever searched Etsy for a vintage dress you've probably seen the distinctive black and white floral backdrop that surrounds all of the lovely vintage pieces in the shop. I've been kicking myself for well near a year for not snagging this little number when I had the chance. It's been sitting in my Etsy favorites ever since and I just can't bring myself to delete it. Ah, the one that got away! We all have those, don't we? So when Beth, the gal that runs Salvage Life, contacted me about working together via a sponsorship I was happy to jump at the opportunity.
After spending many an hour admiring her shop, I was curious to know a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes at Salvage Life. Beth was kind enough to answer a few questions about her shop, her philosophy and the excitement of a celebrity appearing in one of her finds!
SJV: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Beth Giles, well actually Elizabeth, but my parents have always called me Beth. I am 28 years old. I live in Long Beach, CA with my husband and one year old daughter in a 1920's bungalow that we stripped to the studs and fixed up together. Okay, my husband did most of the work, but I picked everything out.
SJV: When and why did you begin Salvage Life?
I studied design and merchandising in college and have always wanted to have my own business. I was working as a merchandiser, designing window displays and selling a few things on Ebay and Etsy on the side. The vintage pieces were selling really well, so I kept it up. I never really planned on getting into this, it just sort of happened organically.
SJV: Tell us a little bit about the philosophy behind Salvage Life.
The philosophy for Salvage Life comes from some of my very deepest beliefs. I could try to say in in some flowery way, but this is how the thought pattern goes in my head: Many of us are extremely blessed and it just seems normal to us, so we consume ridiculous amounts of things. There are lots of great "things" already in existence, so why not look to those to fulfill our desires for something new, hip, fashionable, etc. When we save money by buying secondhand, we will have more money to give to those in need.
SJV: Have you always loved vintage?
I remember being the first one up as a kid and anxiously waiting for my mom to wake up so we could go garage saling. I also remember wearing a butterfly print 70's polyester shirt in high school and running to a vintage shop when I needed a last minute prom dress. My love for quality vintage pieces really blossomed in college when I studied costume history and used vintage trims and buttons in my designs.
SJV: Do you ever have a hard time parting with any of the clothes you sell?
Yes, all the time, but not because I want to wear them, though sometimes I do. The clothes are like my babies, they are all unique and I will probably never see another one again. When I have a really pretty dress in the shop and it sells, I get sad and then I remember that sales keep me in business.
SJV: Do you have any favorite vintage finds?
I just bought a pair of 1940's brown peep toe pumps that I am in love with. I find myself rationing the wears because I don't know how long they will last.
SJV: What do consider a vintage must-have for every gal’s closet?
If we're talking basics: A lace blouse, full skirt, party dress, beaded cardigan and pea coat.
SJV: What do you have planned for Salvage Life this year?
My first goal is to continue to build brand recognition. This goal had a big boost recently because bought a lovely yellow dress from our shop and is wearing it on her current concert tour! I am also working on the infrastructure of the business behind the scenes, ie. trademark, accounting practices and other boring but essential things. Lastly, my goal is always to sell lots of beautiful clothes!
Thanks so much Beth! I hope you all enjoyed finding out a little more about her lovely shop as I did. If you see something you love, don't make the same mistake I did! These pretties go fast so be sure to snag yours while it's still around.