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Vintage enthusiast lives her passion

To some, the term vintage means old and out of style. But to others, a love of vintage items sparks a deep passion, hobby, and even career. Meet Kerry Martines, Alabama native, and true vintage enthusiast.

Camellia CompanyVintage 1950's Strapless Black Velvet and Tulle Evening Dress
Kerry Martines
Kerry Martines, owner of Camellia Company
Kerry Martines

Kerry was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama and has held a deep love of all things vintage since she was a young girl playing dress up.

"When I was little, I used to tag along on the many treasure hunts my granny embarked on at local thrift shops, yard sales, and estate sales. I begged her so many times to buy a beautiful vintage dress for me to play dress-up in."

Since those fun childhood days of dress up, Kerry’s fondness for vintage clothing and accessories enhanced from a love to an obsession, from a hobby to a career.

“I have spent many years collecting and researching vintage clothing. I love the thrill of the hunt, researching the history of the pieces I find, as well as sharing my finds with other vintage enthusiasts.”

Kerry currently runs a small business, entitled Camellia Company through Etsy. The shop sells women’s vintage clothing and accessories and will soon be adding household items into the mix; prices range from $30 to $450. The shop has had orders from all over the world, including Australia and London.

I recently had time to talk with Kerry about Camellia Company, her thoughts on Etsy, as well as her love of all-things vintage. Here’s our convo.

Q. First things first. What is considered vintage?
A. To be classified as vintage, the item must be twenty or more years old. Some die-hard vintage enthusiasts won’t consider anything made after 1970 as vintage. But, I tend to include some items from the 80’s in my shop.

Q. Tell me about your shop, Camellia Company. How did you come up with the name?
A. I came upon the name Camellia Company when I decided I wanted to pay homage to the state of Alabama; the Camellia is the state flower. I also wanted to incorporate my grandmother who loved antiques and flowers into the name.

Q. Where do you get inspiration for your shop?
A. I get my inspiration from other vintage enthusiasts, various blogs, and all the beautiful, vintage clothing that I am lucky enough to find.

Q. So, do you have a favorite era of clothing or accessories?
A. I love them all, but I am particularly fond of the styles of the 20's and 50's. I really like the beaded gowns from the 1920's and the full-skirted dresses from the 1950's.

Q. Where do you acquire the merchandise Camellia Company sells?
A. I have been collecting it for years from thrift shops, yard sales, and estate sales. I am also looking to purchase vintage clothing from anyone that may have some that they would like to sell. (Click here to contact Kerry.)

Q. What do you like/find interesting about vintage clothing/accessories?
A. I love that it's unique. You can be assured that when you purchase a vintage item, you won't show up to a party wearing the same thing as someone else. Vintage clothing is also much better constructed than modern clothing.

Q. Do you have a favorite piece(s) from your collection?
A. The White Eyelet Ceil Chapman Dress and the Enid Collins Copycats Box Bag.

Q. Explain your own style to me. Do you wear vintage items yourself?
A. I call my style vintage-inspired. I like classic and feminine looks. I do wear vintage items myself, but even if it's something new it most likely has a vintage feel.

If you haven’t checked out Etsy yet, you have been missing out on a world of impressive things. Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items, supplies, and unique factory-manufactured items sold by Creative’s around the world. Items range from art, photography, clothing, jewelry, and more.

Keep reading to find out what Kerry thinks about the well-known site and being one of its sellers.

Q. Do you think Etsy is a good place to sell/set up a shop?
A. Yes. Etsy is a large community of Creatives that love handmade and vintage items. I really love the design of Etsy and its DIY ethics. I also really like the great support you receive from the Etsy community of buyers and sellers.

Q. Do you have any tips for others interested in starting their own shops on Etsy?
A. Research. Take the best photos you can, and list as much and as often as you can.

Click here to check out Camellia Company and its array of magnificent vintage items.

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