When the entire inventory for Old Moon Vintage recently moved from Napa to Oakland, none of the customers noticed. That’s because the shop, which opened in 2014, is web-based, selling on the popular platform Etsy. Brook-Lynne Worthen, the store’s owner, describes herself as a one-lady operation, but has hopes to expand in the next year.
After three years of being solely an online retailer, the proprietor has goals to open a brick-and-mortar store in Berkeley with her husband who is a tattoo artist. The shop will sell her vintage pieces and serve as a tattoo studio for him.
That’s why they moved from Napa to the East Bay, where they feel they will have a larger in-person clientele. However, Worthen credits her friends in Napa for contributing to her success and helping to get her started.
She explained that they not only purchase her goods, but model for her as well. They are only part of her customer base now, though, as she said she ships all over the world, which is one of the things she likes best about the job. Outside of the U.S., she said the two countries receiving the most Old Moon Vintage are Australia and Canada.
The young entrepreneur got her start by working for Crush Vintage, another online retailer based in Napa. Worthen began assisting the owner of Crush Vintage with her boutique which sold through eBay before eventually moving to Etsy.
Of the two platforms, she noted that they felt eBay was for selling anything and Etsy was of higher quality. When it came to her own brand, Worthen said she decided “I’m just going to do Etsy so I can build it nicely.”
The idea for Old Moon Vintage came about organically. The owner explained that when she would go with her boss from Crush Vintage to find inventory, she would be drawn to items from the 1970s and newer, but Crush usually sells things from the 1960s and older.
She launched Old Moon Vintage in 2014 and continued to work for Crush until 2016 when her own shop required her full-time attention. The transition, she said, “was a fun and scary jump.”
Worthen cited estate sales as a source for finding inventory for her shop, but said she is constantly on the lookout wherever she goes. How does she know what will sell? She said it’s just trial and error sometimes.
“It’s hard because I know what I like and what I want other people to wear,” Worthen said. “You have to watch the trends and see what’s coming back. Hunting for the inventory is my favorite part.”
Pricing is another thing she said she always has to be aware of.
Worthen noted she tries to keep everything at Old Moon Vintage under $150 and most things are under $80, so whatever she purchases must be at a price that leaves room for her markup.
Again, she said she uses trial and error to work out pricing and likened vintage to the stock market saying that when trends change, prices change.
Much like any business owner, Worthen said the biggest challenge she faces is keeping sales up. “Every day I’ve got to make sure someone is buying a dress so I can buy groceries,” she joked.
Highly aware of the competition that she says is increasing every day, Worthen noted that she makes sure her vintage is quality and that her store stands out. The latter is why she said she loves being online.
She said she thinks of social media as free advertising. “I work really hard to keep my online profile up,” she explained, saying that Instagram was the most effective social media platform for Old Moon Vintage.
This, along with some back-end analytics, is also how she gains insight into who her customers are. “Someone will post a picture and tag Old Moon Vintage and I’ll get to see them!” she said.
Worthen described her clientele as being ages 20-30 and both male and female. She said she thinks part of the age bracket has to do with the fact that her models are usually in their late teens and early 20s. She also tries to appeal to everyone by using models with a range of looks so that her customers worldwide can connect with them.
She anticipates serving a similar demographic in Berkeley when she does decide to open a physical storefront. However, her main goal is to make her customers, whomever and wherever they are, happy.
“I just want people to be really excited about their item, the same way I was when I found it. And I want people to feel like they have their own unique style.”
For more information on Old Moon Vintage, visit: etsy.com/shop/OldMoonVintageShop