Meet the Makers

Keys to Success with Miss Farfalla

The Shop:  Miss Farfalla

The Owner:  Chris

The Goods:  vintage fashion and accessories

 The three faces of Miss Farfalla. "At heart, I am a comedian".

The three faces of Miss Farfalla. "At heart, I am a comedian".

When and why did you choose to open and online shop on Etsy? 

I opened my shop in 2009. It was just after the 2008 crash and I needed an income stream to replace lost income from my artwork. I'm also a sculptor and had just completed a large exhibition where there were no sales due to the economy. So I thought... "Chris, back to the drawing board!" I decided to return to selling vintage until things improved. I liked the look of Etsy, the artistic inventive imaginative vibe of the place and felt it was a good fit for my quirky sense of style.

 

 "The Pile"... recently acquired vintage that's being sorted for cleaning, repair, proper storage and when ready... photography.

"The Pile"... recently acquired vintage that's being sorted for cleaning, repair, proper storage and when ready... photography.

What got you started in your craft? 

I've been involved with vintage since I can remember. I come from a long line of pack rats and was wearing vintage clothing when I was a kid. I went to a farm school in Vermont and used to work the fields in late Victorian dresses hiked up over my long johns. Grew an entire crop of pumpkins one year in Victorian Mourning! When I was first in NYC I sold vintage at the Soho Flea and also did restoration for top vintage sellers like Victoria Falls. I modeled vintage for Gene London where I got to wear dresses formerly worn by Garbo. He had an extraordinary collection of Hollywood garments and a stable of girls each chosen to wear a different star's wardrobe for customers to chose. Interesting job. But the most helpful was working with restorationists from the Met costume collection. I really learned from those ladies. 

 

 vintage 1950's striped shirt dress

vintage 1950's striped shirt dress

Who or what influences your style the most? 

The guy who delivers the mail and brings the bills.

 Here's Michael in the studio. We use a professional strobe system and shoot directly into a computer.

Here's Michael in the studio. We use a professional strobe system and shoot directly into a computer.

How do you stay focused and movtivated? 

The guy who delivers the mail and brings the bills.

 Every package is shipped looking like a birthday present!

Every package is shipped looking like a birthday present!

What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"? 

Keep a sense of humor. Seriously. Running your own shop is such a crazy process of constant reinvention, shape-shifting and flexibility that if I was too set in my ways I would have never lasted. I keep very high standards of customer service... this business is all about response to customers, not just sales. And besides that, I try to have a good time with it all. I love sending long letters to customers with the history of a garment, care instructions, links to info they might find interesting about what they just purchased. Vintage is always a history lesson. It's not just a dress. I sometimes say things like... "You must think of this dress as a very elegant old lady! Do you expect to look this good at 75? So take good care of her." And customers love it! What we sell here at Etsy is personal... it has meaning for us otherwise we'd all do something more practical, like work on Wall Street. To me... I'm still in the Pumpkin Patch... and each garment I sell is unique and a bit of a surprising delight. It's a harvest of treasure from history that I'm passing along. It's fun.

 

 a sampling of vintage items from Miss Farfalla

a sampling of vintage items from Miss Farfalla

A big thanks to Chris for sharing her Etsy story with us! 

For more Miss Farfalla information: 

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Her other Etsy Shop 

 

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