I ask sponsors to choose their top three finds. Here are Specialist Auctions’ picks: 1940s Train/Swag Evening Dress, $149.99; 1950s Eisenberg Originals Blue Suit, $125.00; 1980s Pink & Black Sundress, $50.00.
Our second June advertiser interview is a bit late, for obvious reasons. Unlike previous sponsors, Specialist Auctions Vintage is a section of a new auction site that features many different sellers. I emailed Margaret Bolger, co-moderator of SA’s Vintage section (along with previous sponsor Born Too Late Vintage’s Margaret), for more information.
Note: Specialist Auctions will advertise with us through August, so if you have questions after this interview, leave them below and I’ll use them for July’s sponsored post.
1. What is Specialist Auctions (SA) and where do we find you online?
Specialist Auctions (www.specialistauctions.com) was established in late 2005. The site’s concept is based around communities, whether they are established sporting clubs, collecting groups, or people with special interests like vintage and antique clothing. The idea is to create support within these communities, and create a safe and cost-effective place where communities can interact with each other (in Specialist Auctions case, interaction includes buying and selling between members).
As the Moderator of the Clothing category at Specialist Auctions, I extend a warm welcome to individual sellers and buyers or collectors, as well as any group with an interest in fashion and clothing, whether modern, vintage, or antique.
2. Why do you sell on SA, instead of more established auction sites like eBay? Why should vintage sellers sell with SA?
Personally, I have been registered with eBay since 1997 and have also been active on other selling sites. Over the last few years, the approach and attitude of all these sites have not remained consistent to where we and many others would like them to be. We were faced with two alternatives: like it or lump it, or put your money where your mouth is and go elsewhere.
Our aim is simple:
- Keep fees reasonable.
- Work closely with communities.
- Be reasonable and actually listen to our sellers and buyers.
- Make sure all items sold are authentic (i.e. designer licensed items, vintage and antique clothing, etc.).
- Offer a sensible alternative to other sites.
- Avoid the jumble sale/garage sale mentality.
As a seller, I find Specialist Auctions an attractive alternative to other sites because I feel I can maintain control of my own business, with little
or no interference from the site itself. I feel as if I am part of a community of serious and ethical sellers, not just a mere number to be dictated to by some faceless management group with little knowledge pertaining to my area. The free listings and stores, low fee on sales (only 3%) and weekly uploading of all set price items to Google by the site are also a big part of the attraction.
3. Why should vintage buyers shop at SA?
Apart from the fact that we have a wide range of fabulous items on sale from many reputable sellers, buyers have the security and assurance that the item is genuine vintage, not a fake and not a reproduction version of vintage. We do provide a separate category for costumes and reproduction items for those who would like to list those items. However, it is important to differentiate between reproduction items and real vintage items. Every category on the site has Moderators who are responsible for making sure that the items listed in their area are authentic. The Moderators are experienced in the areas they moderate and will remove any ‘questionable’ item and advise the seller accordingly. So if you decide to purchase a 1950s evening dress at Specialist Auctions, you KNOW it will be a real, genuine 50s evening dress from a reputable seller.
4. What are three things you wish shoppers knew about buying vintage?
1. Vintage offers unique items which cannot be found in modern stores. No matter how much something looks like ‘vintage,’ you and tens of
thousands will be buying and wearing that same ‘vintage style’ item. If you want style, quality, and a degree of individualism in your clothing, go for vintage every time!
2. Vintage sizing is not the same as modern sizing. Bodies have grown and proportions have changed! The majority of women’s vintage clothing was worn with very different undergarments than what we wear today. Always always check your own personal measurements against those of the vintage item allowing at least 2 inches for ease of fit and don’t assume that a 1940s size 14 will fit your present day size 14. It won’t!
3. Remember that most vintage sellers are offering one-of-kind items. The sellers want you to experience and share the pleasure they get from handling such items, and many are happy and willing to work with you to achieve your vintage dream – they are all approachable and more than willing to answer any queries you may have. A happy buyer is the best sort to have!
Thanks for all your help, Margaret! Remember, if you have questions about this interview or about Specialist Auctions Vintage, just leave them below for next month’s post.