One of our most frequently asked questions is, “How do you find all these clothes?” Well, I’m about to give you all the details.
The process begins with a visit to our wholesaler. When our inventory needs replenishing or we need to stock up on new pieces for a new season, our owner Jen takes a road trip down to Houston where the wholesaler has a warehouse filled to the brim with vintage goodies anywhere from 20 years old to 60, 70, even 80 years old.
On her most recent trip, Jen made it out with 166 POUNDS of clothing and accessories – over 200 pieces in total! Finding all those special pieces is no easy task. The warehouse floor is line with bins, each one overflowing with clothes. In the words of Jen, “I probably pass over 50 items to find one that we want.” It’s a very time consuming process of digging, examining, and deciding what we think our customers will love – we don’t bring back just anything! We like our pieces to have a little something special about them, whether it’s a fun pattern or a unique detail, that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
The next step is categorizing. When Jen returns home from the wholesaler, she sorts through all the items and places them into roughly 12-15 different categories. It sounds like a lot, but I promise it makes sense (and it makes the tagging process which happens later much easier!) This time around, the categories and their respective quantities were as follows:
- 13 ’50s dresses (and some reproductions)
- 26 ’60s dresses
- 15 ’70s dresses
- 13 ’60s tops
- 26 ’70s tops
- 3 pants/shorts
- 7 skirts
- 5 menswear items
- 8 accessories (scarves, purses, shoes)
- 25 winter pieces (too special to be left behind – they’re be released around October)
- 26 rare/special items to be listed on our Etsy
- 58 items that need work (repairs, spot treatment/cleaning, etc.)
The items we’re holding back until early fall will be stored away, Jen will clean and mend the items in the “needs work” category, and everything else will be brought up to the store to be be put out onto the sales floor! But first, it has to be tagged.
Tagging begins with another examination by our store manager, Monica. She takes a closer look at each item in order to determine its era as well as to check for any small discolorations or minor repairs that need to be made. Then, she will determine the size of the garment based on average measurements. Depending on the era, material, and quality of the piece, she will then decide on an appropriate price. After all of that is done, she’ll add a description of the piece to the tag, and voila! Attach it to the garment, put it on a hanger, and put it into its section in the store!
Our process is very different from your typical retail store. At my previous jobs in retail, the inventory process went a little something like this: we would arrive at 5:00 A.M. on a Saturday, unload a ton of heavy cardboard boxes filled with multiples of the same items, pre-priced and tagged, that we would hang up and place wherever corporate told us to on the sales floor. I had little knowledge about the pieces whereas working here at Vintage Tex has allowed me to develop more of a connection with each piece. I can answer questions about our clothing because I know more about it than just what it looks like.
So now you know where we get our pieces – from bins in a warehouse to our store, to hanging in your closet!