A little recharge.

Over the last year I went from having a retail shop (of almost 5 years) to having an appointment-only showroom.  Its been a huge transition for me but I welcomed it and never looked back at the decision I made.  A long-time model moved on and a few new models came and went.  While some people may think that sourcing or photography may be the toughest part of this business – they’re mistaken.  Picking the perfect girl to represent the shop by far, has been my biggest challenge over the last six years.

The model that represents the shop is so important because she tells you my story.  She gives the clothing that once had life, a new life for you to see and fall in love with.  I admit, some hasty choices have been made over the last year because its really all just trial & error when choosing models.  Personality clashes happen, girls find new jobs and even move.  I recently realized that this shop needs a recharge, a breath of fresh air – a new look, if you will.

So please pardon our appearance as we make some very big changes around here.  We won’t be listing very much over the next few weeks, we will be making the transition from Etsy to a stand-alone website (something that’s been in the works for over a year now) and clothing that will blow your mind.  The Etsy vintage audience has changed – and we’re changing with it.  Hold onto your hats, this is gonna be fun ….

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A Peek Inside!

I know it’s been ages since I last blogged.  I’m sorry!  Life has been as usual, insane.  So many of you have asked to see some photos of the studio and I was finally able to get a few shots to share with you.  Please, pardon my lack of expertise with interior photos, this type of photography is not my forte.

The transition over to the studio has been amazing – and just a few months ago another space down the hall from my original studio became available – with three times the amount of space, a sink hookup (a GODSEND!), tons of room for shoots, mending/cleaning and inventory.  I’m planning on getting a full size fridge and some kitchen cabinets so that I never have to leave!!!  I kinda wished I lived here.  Shhh!  Don’t tell my family:)

Studio hours are by appointment only, but I’m generally here Monday through Friday during normal business hours with later hours if needed.  Weekend appointments are for brides only, please.  Call 603.430.8500 or email concettascloset@gmail.com to make an appointment.

 

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Fresh and New

Owning a retail shop is tough, ask anyone who does it. The countless (and I mean countless) hours of spent time plugging away on the computer, organizing, dusting, arranging, brainstorming – you get the idea.  But throw in the hundreds of people coming in and out, and add your undivided attention to each person – it starts to wear on you.  Not to mention holding down two very active social media platforms and a 400+ item online shop – and its bound to make any normal person want to run away from home.  And any creative bone you had, takes a back burner while the most important things get dealt with first.  But most importantly, you miss important family stuff including spending time with them – which has diminished to maybe one day or night a week (if I’m lucky).  I thought owning your own business meant you can do whatever you want, right?  Wrong.  It means you no longer have a human husband, you have a retail husband.  It also means that the time you spent with your children is now replaced with customers.  Shit, even my cat forgot who I was for a while.

Over the past year and a half in Portsmouth, I’ve learned a few really good lessons.  Don’t let mean people bother you, do the best you can with what (energy) you’ve got and you just can’t please everyone.  After nearly five years of having a retail shop, I’ve decided that I will no longer keep a retail storefront up and operating.  I’ve decided to do what I’ve wanted to do since the moment I started this business – and create a beautiful studio and showroom, where I will be able to get work done but also let my creativity really blossom into something that Ive been dreaming about for years now.  I really want to focus on my online business and photography, where my passion has really been since day one.  I’ve neglected it for far too long!

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And yes, there are about 63 other legit reasons why Im moving the shop from retail to showroom – from the demographic of Portsmouth changing, to the parking problem that has been swept under the rug for far too many years, to the simple fact that vintage clothing is just not fully understood by a majority of people in this region.  But this isnt a sad time.  Please, don’t be sad!  This is nothing but pure happiness for me, I could hardly contain myself these past few weeks while all of this was in the works.  The thought of being able to travel, spend time with my friends and family during normal hours and on *gasp* a WEEKEND! – This makes me elated.

So, I’m sure you have a bunch of questions, so I’ve answered a few that I thought you may have:

1 – Will you be closed to the public?

– Yes and no.  The studio/showroom will be in the West End of Portsmouth, I will be open for appointments only and a few small evening gatherings once a month or so.  Want to come shop?  Call me, shoot me an email – Ill be there!

2 – Was business bad in Portsmouth?

– No, not at all.  It was amazing and fun sometimes.  I love my landlord and neighbors. But it sure wasn’t what I expected.  Downtown Portsmouth has changed over the last year, big time.  Young people just don’t live or shop there anymore.  And a lot of people don’t even want to go to Portsmouth at all – parking is THE biggest issue this town has – which will most likely be the cause of its demise.  Also, you know its time to bounce when they start building (and selling) $1M condos, retail spaces that are going for $12K/mo and a Whole Foods is built – because you know an Urban Oufitters is right around the corner.  The small town vibe with independent business owners is fading away. <rant done>

3 – Can I still sell you my vintage clothing?

– Yep!  I will always make buying appointments and house call appointments.

4 – Will you be having parties?

– yes yes and yes!  The new space is lovely and spacious and very cool.  Its an old warehouse with lots of industrial elements and great floors.  I can’t wait to throw a cocktail party!

5 – Are you happy?

– I cant tell you how happy I am.  A few tears of joy were shed the minutes after signing the lease to the new studio/showroom.  I now have my life back.

6 – When are you closing the retail space?

– I dont have an exact date right now, but I will be fully out of the space the last week of March.

7 – Will you be having a moving sale?

– maybe!😉

I want to thank each and every one of my customers for making this little spin on retail a good one.  Most of my regular customers have known about this for months and they have been very supportive.  Thank you to the fellow shop owners downtown that have been great neighbors – and to my landlords who have been the best a girl could ask for!

ONTO BIGGER AND BRIGHTER THINGS!

XO

Dana

Theresa’s Dress

A few weeks back, my husband and I visited his Memere (French, for grandmother).  Her name is Theresa, and she’s 88 years young.  I enjoy visiting her because she always makes me laugh and has such a pure heart, something which is hard to come by these days.

Memere, Jonathan and I were all looking through her photo albums.  Some from the 1970s when Jonathan was young, and many from the 1940s – when she was a young woman.  Memere loved taking photos back then and learned to hand color them for the photo studio down the street, to make some extra money.

When nosing through the photos, gushing over hairstyles, shoes and clothing – I asked Memere about a dress she was wearing in a photo (see below).

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She told me all about it, as she remembered it fondly.  She said the color was a pinkish peach, and that it had lovely fans on it.  Now, I had already asked her about the clothing she had when she was younger – sadly, there was nothing left.  She had moved several times and well – it wasn’t saved.

Fast forward to a week later.  I received a call from my husbands mother.  She was at Memere’s house.  She said, “You remember last week when you were here, and you were asking about a dress that my mother was wearing in a photo?  Well – you’re not going to believe this.  But we found it.  Sitting in a drawer, folded up.  No other clothes from that era, or any other era.  Just this dress, THAT dress.  And she wants you to have it.”

So the following week I went over and picked up the dress, and yep.  Its the exact one.  Memere wanted me to sell it, but I just couldn’t.  The chances of the conversation we had AND the dress just appearing like that – too cool.  So the dress will stay in the family.  I thought I’d photograph the lovely Chantal wearing Memere’s dress for you to see it in its glory!

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1st & 4th Anniversary Time!

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I hate throwing parties for myself, but I want to show my fantastic customers some appreciation!  On Saturday, October 25th at 7pm – I’ll be having a 1st and 4th year anniversary party!  Why 1st and 4th?  Well, I started this little dream of mine in four years ago in October of 2010 in Newmarket (see the old shop below!)

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And then I moved to Portsmouth in October of 2013!

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So in honor of my customers keeping my dream alive – we’re gonna celebrate!

Come join us for *generous* door prizes, wine, cheese, sweets and a very special sale for all that attend that night!  Wear your Saturday night best!

Please RSVP via the Facebook Event Page! 

Playing Favorites

Do you have a favorite dress that has graced the racks at the Closet?  I do.  Actually, I have quite a few.  The list is long, so Ive condensed it, and some you may remember from a month or so ago – some you may have never seen, ever!  Here’s a *short* list of some of the best dresses Ive ever offered!

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Which is your favorite – is it on this list?  If not, let us know!

Open Call for Models! (and a farewell to Lauryn)

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As most of you already know, Lauryn has been our main model for three years now.  We’ve had some amazing times together shooting on Tuesdays.  We laughed, (nearly) cried because of laughing, ate lots of food and churned out some great photos.  I can’t think of a better gal to spend my day off with!

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But, Lauryn is a young woman with opportunities that await her, so she is off to a far away place to see what the next chapter of life brings her.  Sure, I’m sad.  Really sad actually.  But Im also very happy for her as I cant wait to hear about all the adventures her new surroundings will bring!

With that being said, Concetta’s Closet is looking for a NEW MODEL!  This time, we are doing it a bit different – we will be hosting an OPEN CALL day for models to come in to do a small test shoot.

What does it take to be a Concetta’s Closet model you ask?  Well – first and foremost, a sense of humor, as we have LOTS of laughs and make working fun!  Second, you gotta be OK with being recognized EVERYWHERE!  Just ask Lauryn, she gets stopped nearly every day when in public.  Third, good work ethic!  While we do have a bunch of fun, taking this job serious is for real.

Here are the deets about the open call:

Where – Concetta’s Closet, 7 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth.

When – Tuesday, July 1st.  9am-12pm and again at 6pm-8pm.

What should you bring? – A pair of heels and your pretty self!

Is this position paid? – Yep!  And quite handsomely!

When do you have photo shoots? – Usually Tuesdays, but depending on the models schedule, other times will be considered.

Is there food? – Sometimes!  We often order lunch or have muffins/coffee during the shoots.

Do I have to be a size 0? – Nope, but being able to fit a wide range of sizes is preferable.  (we pin a lot of clothing when its too big)

I cant make the open call, can I come another time? – Sure!  Just email Dana at concettascloset@gmail.com for details.

I think that covers it.  Please feel free to email Dana if you have further questions or concerns.  We hope to see you!!

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Enchanted Days and Nights

Once in a while I get totally uninspired by our weekly photo shoots.  It gets a little boring shooting on the same old grey background.  I had an idea.  I thought, why not shoot the prettiest pieces of lingerie I had, in one of the prettiest locations I could find, on one of the prettiest girls I could find.  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Well, it was.  We were able to take so many photos of our new model Mia, wearing lingerie from spanning from the 1920’s to the 1960s.  Where did all of this take place?  We came across a quaint little Bed and Breakfast called Enchanted Nights, located in Kittery Maine, right over the bridge from Portsmouth.  I met with the owners Peter and Nancy and they were elated to have us use the rooms to photograph our vintage collection of lingerie.  If you’re ever in Portsmouth or the NH or Maine Seacoast area, I highly recommend staying at Enchanted Nights Bed & Breakfast.  The decor and the hospitality are unsurpassed!

Here are just a few photos from the shoot – we will be sharing more, but for now, just a tease!

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Model Search!

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Once in a while, we look to add another fresh face to the shop, usually just for swimwear and lingerie.  So let it be known!  Concetta’s Closet is looking for a swimwear and lingerie model!  Your face will be seen everywhere, you’ll be noticed everywhere, you’ll be famous!  (Kind of, ha!)  Do you have a bit of a vintage look?  Ever dreamed of wearing gorgeous 1930s lingerie or 1950s swimsuits?

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If you’d like to be considered for the job, please fall within the below specifics and reply with the below requirements in an email to the provided email address below:

Height: 5’5″ to 5’10”

Waist 26″ and smaller

Bust 34″ and smaller

Hips 36″ and smaller

Location:  Please be within 30min of Portsmouth NH

Availability:  Typically, we would prefer that you would be able to have Tuesday’s for photo shoots, but we understand that this is not possible for everyone.  In your reply, please let me know your weekly availability.

Modeling Experience:  While I understand that not everyone has tons of modeling experience, this job is not for someone who has never been in front of a camera before.  This job is a lot like acting, it IS a lot of work.  Please do not approach this in an unserious way.

Head shots/Photos:  Please send at least three photos/head shots with your email, professional photos are best.

This position is paid.

Send all inquiries to Dana – concettascloset@gmail.com

deadline is 2/16/14

Your Body, Her Body, Our Bodies.

Ive battled back and forth about blogging about this subject for months.  And I think Ive come to a point where it needs to be talked about.  Females and body image.

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As most of you know, I own a vintage clothing boutique in Portsmouth New Hampshire.  I see between 30 and 100 women a day come in and out of my shop – I hear their conversations, answer their questions and talk to them about sizing.  I also have a social media presence on Facebook and other SM outlets, so I read the comments and answer the same sizing questions there too.

I guess what I want to say without beating around the bush is:  Can we stop talking about other womens body sizes?  No matter how big or small, no matter if she has a 23″ waist or a 32″ waist, regardless if she has boobs or not.  Can we, please – stop?

A day doesnt go by when I dont hear, “Oh my goodness!  A 24″ waist!!  That girl is so tiny!” – when referring to Lauryn, the lovely (and quite healthy) young woman who models for the shop.  And it bothers me to no end when I hear it.  Why?  What’s wrong with having a 24″ waist?  or a 42″ waist?  Who cares what her waist size is.  Who cares what your waist size is, now or 15 years ago.  I often wonder if those same women would say the same thing about that woman with the 42″ waist, out loud and in a public forum.  I would imagine not.  So why the double standard? Why is it OK to openly remark about the smaller girls size/measurements?  Is it because the smaller waist is ideal based on what the media portrays as “ideal”?

Sometimes when women pass through the racks, they say something out loud like, “A 26″ waist!?  Who wears that size?!” – I answer with, “Lots of girls.” – once In a while I get a response of, “well those girls arent normal.”  And even though I wear a size 12, those comments bother ME because I have friends and customers of all shapes and sizes, even some with 26″ waists.

Im sorry if this is coming off a little venty – but it has really bothered me for quite some time now.  And I really want us women to stop fussing over our bodies.  Be happy with your body, and if youre not, thats fine – but dont talk about other womens bodies.

So lets just stop it, OK?

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