Vintage Violet

April 13, 2008

Vintage talk with south Jersey’s Carol Baker

Filed under: Profiles — by Bobbi Lee Hitchon @ 4:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Southern NJ shore girl Carol Baker has a history with vintage. As the daughter of two antique collectors and dealers, it was almost serendipity that led her to open her online vintage clothing store, Dandelion Vintage, in 1997.

Today she ships vintage items all over the world from the center of her universe, southern New Jersey.

What first attracted you to vintage clothing?
I grew up around my parents collecting and dealing in antiques and going to flea markets. I started as a teenager, just looking for something different and cool to wear.

Can you remember your first experience with vintage clothes?

My mother used to buy Victorian clothing and baby clothing, so it’s just always been around
You opened your online store in 1997. What led you to selling vintage clothing?
I was fired from my last job in retail and spent my unemployed hours exploring the Internet for the first time. I came across someone selling vintage clothing and decided to add a page of vintage clothing to the crafts site that I was building. I sold items from my own closet that I had bought and horded over the years

Why did you choose to sell it online?
To reach a wider customer range. There was no vintage clothing market in my area.

What are the positives and negatives of selling online?

Positives are that you reach a wide range of people, all over the world. Negatives are just like running any business, you really have to work to keep your stock fresh and keep yourself in the public eye. Some people are still reluctant to buy online though too.

Would you ever open a store?
I had always dreamed of opening an antique and vintage clothing store, but now I don’t think that I would. I wouldn’t seek it out, but if it did come my way, I would consider it. There is so much more to risk with having a store, and many more expenses and demands on your time.

Why do you think people are so drawn to vintage clothing?
The style, quality, history. To make their own style and not follow trends or wear what everyone else is wearing.

What era do you personally prefer in vintage clothing?
I love the 1930s and 1940s. But I wear mostly 1950s because it’s easier to find, fits me better, and I worry less about destroying it.

What era/items do you find sell most?

Day dresses from the 1940s and 1950s.

Do you always dress vintage?

I wear more vintage in the summer, vintage dresses and vintage shoes. I always carry a vintage bag.

What do you look for when vintage shopping?
I buy what I like and what I know my customers are looking for. I do not read any fashion magazines and I don’t follow any trends. I stick to old school vintage.

What advice can you give vintage shoppers on searching, bargaining etc.?
Don’t be obnoxious when bargaining. If it’s a good price, pay it. Buy it when you see it because it might not be there when you go back.

What is the best vintage item you have ever come across and why was that your favorite?

Best and favorite would be different to me. Best would be pieces that sold well for me: 1950s Levi’s, a man’s 1930s Big Yank Shirt, 1920s Lanvin and Molyneux dresses found in a trunk, Ceil Chapman and Patullo-Jo Copeland dresses. Favorites would be some of the items in my lingerie collection: kimonos, silk 1920s pajamas.

Did you keep it?

I sold most of my lingerie collection but I did keep a few favorite pieces.

How is the vintage scene in Southern New Jersey?

I have no idea. I am a hermit and I don’t go out anywhere. I doubt many people are wearing it around here though.

Do most of your shoppers come from New Jersey or elsewhere?
I only have a few purchases from inside of NJ each month. 98% of what I sell ships to outside of NJ.

What do you like about NJ?
Everything, there’s nothing that I don’t like about it. I’ve never lived anywhere to compare it to. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else to try it.

Baker’s experience in vintage is almost as amazing as her inventory of vintage goods. Her site offers so many options it’s hard to imagine where she stores it all. With a collection like that, I wouldn’t leave my house either.



  1. Bobbi this is an awesome interview. I love that your blog is all about vintage and that you were able to interview someone that was so knowledgable about the field. The Q&A makes me wants to look on her website and by vintage. I love all of your links, especially Lanvin Paris, such a great label! Blog all in all is a wonderful source for vintage shoppers and for people just looking to gain some extra knowledge on fashion and it’s history!

    Comment by ruinvolved — April 14, 2008 @ 1:20 pm |Reply

  2. […] jimhqwbop14nHI coiffe more oldness in the summer, oldness dresses and oldness shoes. I ever distribute a oldness bag. What do you warrant for when oldness shopping? I take what I aforementioned and what I participate my customers are labour for. … […]

    Pingback by Ellie Shoes » Vintage talk with south Jersey’s Carol Baker — April 14, 2008 @ 8:55 pm |Reply

  3. Great interview! Buying & selling vintage clothing is so much fun and rewarding. Sometimes it is difficult to part with pieces…I generally want keep everything. Thanks!

    Comment by Veronica Cizmar — July 3, 2008 @ 8:44 am |Reply

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