21 May 2011

Paper Doll Girls


Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my May sponsors, Paper Doll Girls. This Etsy shop is one of the most unique sponsors I've had since beginning my blog. Paper Doll Girls is a mother/son team who stocks their shop full of original vintage fashion magazine advertisements dating from the early 1900s through to the 1970s. Both expatriates hailing from Texas, Patty lives in Sydney, Australia while Allen lives in Paris. After learning a little bit about the set up of the shop I was curious to know more. Patty was kind enough to answer a few of my questions...

Please tell us a little bit about you and your shop.

Our shop features vintage fashion ads and fashion illustrations from the 1910s - 1970s that we source from the US, UK and France. Because I'm a child of the 1950s, I tend to be attracted to ads from that time period. I still have lots of memories of my mom and her sisters from when I was a child. I thought they looked so beautiful in their lovely dresses and gloves. Always had to have your gloves. I also love the 1940's, especially from Vogue and Harper's Bazaar UK. There are a two or three French fashion magazines l that I really like because the paper they used was quite thick and the magazines are usually in very good order for their age. I try to stay away from magazines with thin paper because the pages become very brittle--as do magazines with tanning on the borders. I'm afraid I'm quite picky about which ads I put in the shop--I have hundreds of ads that don't meet the "Patty" test. If I wouldn't wear it, it most likely won't go in the shop!


A mother and son team is so unique in the Etsy world. How did that partnership come about?

It was really a matter of two things that got Allen and I started on this shop. He's just finishing his Master''s degree in France and of course, he's been the "starving student" for the past several years. He did his undergraduate degree in France, as well, so he's been there seven years. He needed a way to make some spending money, and he's about a 2-hour train journey from the big flea market at St. Ouen in Paris. So, we decided to pool our resources and talents. I would fund the search for vintage magazines in Paris, and he would get the fun job of finding the creme de la creme of fashion for us. I made him a two page list of the "do's and dont's" of dealing with magazines and what to look for and he's become very adept at it. As for me, well, I'm back in Sydney waiting for the postman to arrive with Allen's packages and then work for me begins. I always tell Allen I'm the one who has the hard job--pulling apart the magazines without damaging the pages, scanning, and listing. Then, there's the twittering, tumblr, blogging, etsy team, flicker, and facebook promotion of the shop. That's a full-time job in itself!


Have you always loved finding treasures at flea markets? Has vintage advertising always had a special place in your heart?

Yes, I have always loved looking for treasures at flea markets and antique stores. I got my university degree in history, so I love anything with a "story". As far as vintage advertising goes, it's really the fashion illustrations that tug at my heart. I much prefer to see a dress drawn to perfection by one of the many talented fashion illustrators of the day rather than see a photograph.


Do you have any exciting plans for your shop this year?

The exciting thing for the shop, I think, is that I am going to Paris for the month of December and Allen and I will be having a blast shopping the St. Ouen market. I'll probably have to buy another suitcase just for the magazines I plan to purchase. I want to continue to add new advertisements to grow the shop this year.

One of the most special things about having the shop is the opportunity it has given Allen and I to stay in touch. Another wonderful part of having the shop is the opportunity it gives me to reunite people with ads from companies that their fathers or grandfathers founded, or helping someone find that one designer or product advertisement that they have searched for to add to their collection. I have a "wish book" where I record what my customers are looking for or collecting, and when I do find it, I put it on reserve just for them so that they have the opportunity to purchase it first before it goes into the shop.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer all of my questions Patty! You can check out her shop, Paper Doll Girls here and the blog she writes about her shop here.


Caitlin Rose said...

Oh what a lovely team. I'll have to check out their store, I can't wait to see the illustrations from french magazines.

Paper Doll Girls said...

Thank you so much for the lovely post about our shop! And, thanks to Caitlin Rose for her kind words and her visit to our shop.

C'est tres bon!

Miss Marie said...

The shop sounds wonderful. And what a great idea to have the interview - it's a lovely story of how the mother and son work together, and are able to share something so big despite living on opposite sides of the world.

Will definitely have to have a look at the shop... and at St Ouen myself next time I'm in Paris!

Oh, My Darling said...

I'm such a sucker for vintage magazine ads! Also, I'm a bit partial to the name of this shop because my grandma and I had this tradition when I was young, where we'd make our own paper dolls. Thanks for the delightful reminder of this memory!