Shops We Love: The Ivy Estate!


 If you've spent any time on Etsy looking for gorgeous vintage gowns I'm sure you've come across the lovely Jacqueline's store called The Ivy Estate. The Ivy Estate is a boutique of hand picked vintage items that want to be worn with grace, style and individuality. Jacqueline believes that vintage clothing can transport you to a different time and era, which can be inspiring and uplifting. Transform yourself into a 1920s vamp, a demure 1950s lady, or a bohemian 1970s flower child - the possibilities are endless! Check out the store on Etsy and follow the Instagram we love this pieces and the store's aesthetic! 

Interview with Jacqueline!

Being a Vintage Buyer:


  1. Tell me about the last vintage item that you bought.


A beautiful hand tooled leather saddle bag from the 70s - I have been after one for years and years and I stumbled across this particular one in an op shop for only $5! I wear it all the time and always get compliments on it!


  1. What vintage items do you buy the most and why?


Vintage clothing is definitely what I purchase the most, there are a few different reasons why - a) the quality of the garments is incomparable to some of the newer clothing on the market these days, b) you have a bit more freedom to express and explore your personal style with individual one off pieces from a particular era, rather than having a mass saturated market of the current 'on trend' items, styles or colours that you may not necessarily resonate with, and c) I feel like I'm doing my small part in reducing my carbon footprint by reusing and recycling clothing, rather than going the 'fast fashion' route.


  1. Where do you buy most of your vintage items? Online, what websites? In person, what stores? Op shops? Markets? Which ones and why?


Online is definitely where I buy most of my vintage goodies, only because there is such a wider availability of products, compared to only a small percentage of vintage markets/stores near my location. Etsy is first stop online, it definitely has the most available on the one site, and you can be sure you will find what you are looking for. Occasionally I browse on eBay but it can be a bit 'hit or miss' sometimes! 


  1. Do you have a favourite decade or vintage style or do you look at all age periods?


As much as I try to explore and experiment with different styles from different eras, I always keep coming back to the 60s and 70s! The bohemian 'flower child' style has always resonated with me, and I'm such a big fan of music from that time, like Zeppelin, the Mamas and the Papas, Hendrix...I could go on!


  1. What devices do you use to browse online shopping?


Most of the time I'll be on my MacBook Pro browsing around, but sometimes I'll get a light bulb idea in my head when I'm out and about, so I'll be on my iPhone browsing to research my ideas straight away, otherwise I'll forget about it that afternoon when I'm back home!


  1. Do you look for cheap finds, or invest in something special now and then?


I think the great thing with vintage shopping is you have the freedom of both. That leather bag that I mentioned above I have seen similar styles selling for $100, sometimes you really don't have to spend that much on vintage. I do like to invest in beautiful pieces like coats or designer vintage, to me it's like investing in a beautiful piece of art - it just happens to be wearable art! 


  1. What features do you like in an online shopping website?


I love a good aesthetic! The look and feel of a website that reflects the brand, whether it be colours and style of the site, down to how they photograph the items. When everything is cohesive it makes for a better buying experience.


  1. What features do you dislike in an online shopping website?


A lack of detail in descriptions or images. I can't count how many times I have come across a vintage piece that interests me, yet there is no information about the decade, the fabric, the label, etc. I like to see the item at all angles, and any close up features that might be important, whether it be a detail on the button, or perhaps a flaw or fault in the garment. I don't want to see five different images of the front of a dress - show me the side, the back, the zip, the fabric up close!


  1. What is your intention when you go to a website such as Do you look for something in particular or browse? If so what do you search for?


I always go on Etsy to find something specific...but then I find myself spiralling down that rabbit hole when I browse through a store, which leads to looking at other similar items, which leads to looking at a different thing I know I'm looking at brocade Winter coats when I originally just wanted a novelty print dress!




  1. Do you think there is a sufficient supply of vintage items in Melbourne online and in store/market?


I do think Melbourne is a great hub for vintage, but I always think there is plenty of room to expand. The 80s/90s vintage trend is pretty popular right now, but I would love to see more older era vintage stores that stock incredible pieces from the 20s though to the 70s. 


  1. What colours do you look for in vintage items?


It changes with the seasons and the particular era, but I always seem to gravitate towards soft pastels and dusty pinks and purples. I love the bright pop colours of the mod 60s but my hair and skin colouring do not!


Being a Vintage Seller:


  1. When did you set up your online business and why?


I officially opened my Etsy shop in 2017, but only started concentrating on my business full time until mid 2018. I had been working in retail for over ten years and was frustrated with many aspects of that working environment.

I decided to take the plunge and quit my job to focus 100% on my business. I suffer from chronic pain and migraines so by working for myself, if I have an 'off' day, I can allow myself that time to heal and take care of myself, rather than feeling guilty to have to call in sick and feel like I'm 'letting the team down'. 

I also was not comfortable in the constant pressure to meet daily budgets by pushing to make sales over having a genuine connection with customers. 

It's basically taking all of the parts I love about retail (beautiful clothing, giving great customer service and connecting with people) and removing all the parts I disliked! The great thing is getting to work your own hours. I am so grateful that I can enjoy times with family more (eg : around Christmas time) than having to work and miss out on sharing moments with loved ones.


  1. How do you decide which items you keep at which items you sell?


This used to be so difficult! I only like to stock items in my shop that speak to me and that I find personally beautiful, so I learnt to change my thought process when buying stock. If i'm out on a buying trip then I'm in 'business mode' and just shut that part of my brain down that says "Ooh but this would look so great with those boots you have at home!"

I purposefully do my own personal shopping separately for this very reason!


  1. Would you say you have a narrow demographic buying items from you? Who are they? Are they younger or older customers mostly? Are they local or international customers mostly?


My demographic is fairly broad, I would say 90% female, half of my customers are Australia based and the other half international, with a large chunk being from USA. As far as age range goes, I've had customers as young as early twenties to late 40's. I try not to target a specific demographic as I like to believe vintage fashion is so versatile and subjective, one piece can be styled in so many different ways!


  1. What do you think is the key to your success with an online vintage retail shop?


Firstly I am only still a very small business and success is still an ongoing goal, but success can mean different things to different people. I have my goals to strive towards, but I do believe more and more customers are turning to online sales as they aren't getting the full experience from most bricks and mortar fashion stores around. There have been too many times I have had friends complain about the lack of acknowledgement or professionalism from sales staff in stores (not saying this about every retailer, mind you!), and I feel like Etsy especially has that unique feel of the sellers truly appreciating their customers and going above and beyond to make them feel special and acknowledged. 


  1. What is the most challenging part about owning an online vintage retail store?


Probably the fact that you literally wear all the hats in the business. I buy the stock, photograph it, make any repairs, run my Instagram account, reply to emails, package the items, ship them off - it can be a big responsibility but at the end of the day it is also very rewarding. 


  1. Why did you choose for your store to be housed in online?


I feel very loyal to Etsy as I had been a longtime customer for years before opening my shop up. It is such a great community of like minded people and feels almost like a family. It is such a widely recognised company and the range of vintage on there is incomparable!


  1. What are the most popular items/items that have sold the most times or for the highest price?


The most popular pieces that sell in my shop are always my favourites! I'm a huge lover of a good romantic bohemian maxi, and those always seem to be the most favourited items. 


  1. What would be your advice for someone looking to start their own vintage Etsy shop?


Just do it! Start today! The sooner you get cracking the sooner you can have fun with it! When I first started I was so worried that I had no idea what I was doing, or that my photos weren't great, or I was writing my titles doesn't matter! You learn as you go (I am still learning constantly!), it's the journey that matters, not the destination!

And one more tippet of advice - ignore anyone who is negative or discouraging about it! Sometimes I've had to accept the fact that some people just 'don't get it'!


  1. Do you ever host markets or pop up shops or do you stick to the online? How come?


I only sell online at the moment, as everything that is involved in The Ivy Estate is literally just me, I feel like I would need a few extra hands to help set everything up for me if I was to ever do a market, and at this point in time it's just not achievable! 

Maybe down the track if there were people showing interest for me to do one, but for the time being I'll stick to online!


  1. Is there anything else you want people to know about being a vintage seller?


That I appreciate each and every person who takes the time to look at my shop, give an item a favourite, or follow my business on Instagram! It is definitely a niche area selling vintage, as opposed to the highly advertised area of fast fashion. I work hard at my business to create the best experience for my customers, and I am so grateful for all the vintage lovers out there who are a little left of centre, quirky in their best way, and who choose to dance to the beat of their own drum!


Check out the store on Etsy and follow the Instagram we love this pieces and the store's aesthetic and loved talking with Jacqueline about her experiences in the vintage scene!