WKU alumnus started vintage resale business – The Herald
Whether you’re looking for ’90s graphic tees, baseball caps, or denim, Vette City Vintage has all the finds you could be looking for.
Vette City Vintage occasionally does pop-up shops in Bowling Green, including on campus, in the Muse Apartments, and in an upcoming pop-up shop at the Fox Hole in the Grove, in Smiths Grove for their Memorial Day Makers Market.
The company is owned by Gatlin and Maddie Milam. Gatlin is currently working in sales using his WKU degree in finance, but uses the business as a “sideline.”
“My wife and I would go to Nashville flea markets, different vintage stores,” Gatlin said. “We really liked it, so this idea sprouted.”
Vette City Vintage is available on several different platforms, such as Depop, Instagram, their website and booth.
“The booth only started up a little over a year ago,” Gatlin said. “We actually started on Instagram and Etsy, and started growing our customer base and our customer base. Then we left Etsy to create our own website. “
When the couple wanted to start selling at Consignment Corner, Gatlin said the items they were selling were already incredibly different from the clothing stalls in the store.
“I think it’s a little different from these stands,” Gatlin said. “We focused on louder ’90s graphic T-shirts. Back then, they were selling what you would call real vintage, like’ 60s, ’70s, formal pants and jackets for smokers. We wanted to focus on more laid back things, so she (the owner) let us do that. “
Originally, the couple found items at various thrift stores, but as thrift store shopping became more popular, it was harder for them to find items, Gatlin said.
“For my job in sales, I travel a lot,” Gatlin said. “I’m able to travel within an hour, an hour and a half of Bowling Green, so I sometimes find old junk warehouses or old abandoned general stores in those little towns off the freeway. I could go and the owners usually let it go on the cheap. “
Networking with other vintage dealers has been another resource for finding items, Gatlin said.
Their Instagram page has over ten thousand followers, which allows them to post items sold online or at the booth.
“It’s just about staying consistent, creating good quality posts,” Gatlin said. “When I started out I was really interested in how social media works, how to get a great presence online. I’m trying to find organic followers, I call it. People who are already interested in vintage. People who follow other vintage stores or who comment or like articles on vintage clothing. “
Another reason to launch Vette City Vintage is to give clothing another life, so that people are buying an item that has already lasted so long and will continue to last rather than buying a new item of clothing.
“I really want people to focus on responsible buying, and not going to retail stores so much, and buying things that they know they’re not going to throw away in a year or two,” Gatlin said. . “I think consumerism and all the hype of spending money and shopping, and doing all of that, is kind of very damaging to the environment.”
Gatlin uses his degree in different ways to run his business, but it has given him the skills to run his business.
“I went to school at Western for finance,” Gatlin said. “With that, you learn where your priority should be with money. I see people spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month on clothes that just won’t last. That’s why we offer parts that have already lasted at least 15 or 20 years. “
Gatlin said many big fashion companies underpaid children in countries like Bangladesh, Taiwan and others as a way to make cheap clothes.
“Things got so much better back then,” Gatlin said. “They really focused on the quality of their garment and not the cost of making it. I think nowadays it’s all about lower and lower prices. “
Digital News Editor Debra Murray can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @debramurrayy