This month’s Shop of the Month is TinyDogVintageShop, owned by Sue.
What is the meaning behind your shop name?
That’s a very easy one to answer, my shop is named after our tiny little dog Nelly, she’s a three year old cross between a miniature poodle and a shih tzu and we absolutely adore her. She’s small with a huge doggy character, she knows what she wants and exactly how to get it, she’s the boss around here.
How did you get your start selling vintage?
That’s a much more complicated answer as it’s a culmination of several different things. Family is very important to me, and my family has given me lots of support and encouragement in their own different ways with the shop. I’ve always loved collecting vintage/antiques, old books (now props in some of my photos), commemoratives, china rabbits (might start listing those soon). As a family, we all enjoy going out for the day and searching antique shops for hidden treasure. We’ve got some great antique centres nearby and quaint villages and shops.
A couple of years ago my partner who is very proud to be Scottish bought me two pretty Scottish brooches from an online auction, he bought them at a knock down price, he does love a bargain. My Dad who has been buying and selling stamps and ephemera online for years on another site did a bit of research on the hallmarks of the two brooches and found who made them, where and when they were made etc. and I was hooked!! I had already discovered Etsy because Mum and I love to craft so we came up with the idea of TinyDogVintageShop.
Initially Dad and I ran the shop together. We started in July 2015, Dad did all the research into hallmarks etc. and he did all the packaging and posting for me as he already had the experience from running his own online shop. Sadly, Dad passed away last year on the 8th of May, strangely a year ago today as I’m writing this, it was sudden and unexpected. I shut the shop for approximately six weeks while we dealt with things we didn’t want to do. When things settled down a bit I started to think about TinyDogVintageShop again but was on the verge of leaving it shut indefinitely as it was a bit too daunting to carry on without Dad. I thought how disappointed he would be and how proud he was of what we’d achieved so I took the plunge and re opened, I’ve had a lot to learn but the shop has really helped Mum and me get through a very difficult time, it’s been a good distraction and has grown beyond what we had hoped for. There is a photo of Dad with Nelly in the shop about section, I’ve left him there as I sometimes feel that Dad’s still keeping an eye on things. He’s still a big part of our shop and when I’m not sure of things I ask myself ‘what would Dad say’, he was always our go-to guy for help and advice.
Approximately 50% of my sales are in the UK but I love the fact that the rest of them are sent all around the world from our tiny village in England. The shop means a lot to me, I’ve “met” some wonderful people and made some forever friends. I’m constantly having to learn new skills. What started out as a hobby has become so much more than that.
What is your favorite item in your shop right now, and what makes it special to you?
This is definitely my favorite item in the shop at the moment, it’s one made by a designer of Scottish jewellery who I really admire, Ola M Gorie. It belongs to my Auntie, last time she came to visit she showed me this brooch and I couldn’t believe she had such a lovely piece by OM Gorie, she hasn’t worn it for a while and wondered if it would go in the shop. I love the intricate design. It’s based on the tree-of-life symbol carved on a cross at Jarrow in Northumberland thought to date from the 10th century AD.
What is the most unusual or amazing item you have sold from your shop?
For me the most amazing item I’ve sold in the shop is this antique Norwegian brooch by David Andersen. It is a rare early piece with his early hallmark dating it somewhere between 1876 – 1920. The is a traditional Sølje wedding brooch- it’s dangling spoons were thought to reflect evil away from the wearer giving protection against trolls and other dangers. It was worn by brides traditionally and pinned to babies blankets to keep them safe. It was in perfect condition, a little work of art and the person who bought it was really pleased with it.
What social media platforms do you use? Share your links with us, so we can follow you!
You can find me here on https://www.instagram.com/tinydogvintage/, I’ve just started using it and am really enjoying it.