Ms. Hill is working to combat this by creating resources to educate and empower Black women to enter the resale industry as entrepreneurs. She shares her knowledge and expertise through master classes, an e-book and weekly business chats on Instagram Live (called “Chic Talks”). She also recently started a new initiative, Small Business Saturday, where she posts Black businesses in Random and Chic’s Instagram Stories.
“The good thing about vintage is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to start,” Ms. Hill said. “With Small Business Saturday, I just wanted to share my platform. Because I sell vintage, I only have one of every item, so there’s no way I’ll ever be able to accommodate over 200,000 people. I figured that I could share my space to help other businesses with marketing, and at an affordable price. That comes from me wanting to see people win and give them the opportunity to invest in themselves.”
Mariah Collazo, the owner of Vanilla Vintage in Raleigh, N.C., quickly realized that Black plus-size women were not adequately represented by online vintage sellers. “I first saw the issue when I was thrifting in college, trying to find affordable clothing on a budget,” she said “I could rarely find fun, fashionable clothes that catered to a larger frame. I don’t see the point of sustainability if it’s not accessible to all people.”
As a student majoring in fashion and textiles at North Carolina State University, Ms. Collazo started her store as a side hustle and went full-time after she graduated. “I realize that vintage clothing tends to run a bit smaller since body sizes have changed over time,” she said. “But still, some of the vintage clothing brands I was seeing online had a certain aesthetic, and seemed to be holding on to ideas that were very exclusionary. Sustainable fashion is supposed to be a good thing, but I wasn’t seeing myself in the field. So I created Vanilla Vintage as a way to be that representation.”
Ms. Collazo plans to continue expanding her company by refurbishing designer handbags and leatherworking.
She has been collaborating with other Black-owned shops and plans to continue. “We get a lot further working together versus competing with others. I’ve seen that when I’ve collaborated with other Black business owners, other vintage shop owners. Pulling together resources, you get a lot further.”