Talking Shop: Nicole Penmer of Paprika Vintage

talking shop

The picture above is the lovely Nicole Penmer of PaprikaVintage on Etsy. I was first drawn to her shop while searching for pieces for my Mr. Rogers themed Etsy vintage round-up. But what kept me looking around was the light filled images (by:Suzanne From Suzuran photography) of her vintage pieces and the pretty styling. This shop possesses a luminous quality, the models are adorable and the perspective is unique. So here is my interview with Nicole!
Can you introduce yourself to my readers?
Hello! My name is Nicole and I started Paprika Vintage in 2012. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and have been collecting vintage for about a decade now. I live with my husband Chris and our pets: our terrier mix Edith, and two cats named Fidel Catstro and Dolly Purrton.

What sparked your interest in vintage?
Vintage to me has always seemed more special and more interesting than what I see in stores today. I love the story and history behind each piece and the one-of-a-kind-ness of it.

Do you have any collections of your own?
I have my own collection of vintage clothing and mid century furnishings in my home. Anything mid century modern, teak or floral I have a general weakness for. I also love the cheesy yard art from the late 60s and 70s – I have a whole wall of it in my bedroom. My husband has a collection of vintage suits and in our garage we have a stable of vintage mopeds. I feel like we are constantly toeing the line between collector and hoarder.

Is etsy your sole source of income?
As much as I wish I could curate and style vintage online exclusively, I sell my wares in a couple local venues here in cleveland – I have a collection for sale at R/S boutique here in cleveland and I do local events here and there.
vintage pop up 4
vintage pop up 3
vintage pop up
(above images taken by: Katie from ackey + z photography)
I have some studio space over at R/S and work with my friend Jennie (who owns R/S boutique) on projects as they come up.
And to help keep the lights on I tend bar and my husband works at a local printing company.

Do you use social media to enhance your success on Etsy and if so, how?
I use Facebook, and Instagram @nicopenny, and I recently joined twitter, @paprikavintage (but I’m still figuring out how twitter really works…)

What has been your biggest Etsy success and your biggest Etsy fail?
I’ve been buying on etsy for years now and selling for the past 12 months, but its all a learning process for me, I figure new stuff out all the time.

Like seriously, check out these amazingly creative pictures!
Dress found here

What are your favorite places to score vintage treasures?
Cleveland is a very special place to hunt for vintage and you end up finding special pieces everywhere – thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, I’ve even found stuff in piles of junk.

What is a typical day like working for yourself as a seller on Etsy?
A typical day involves waking up around 7:30 or 8 and working on my shop, or helping out at r/s boutique (we just got through planning and hosting a big launch party for my spring / summer collection), running to the post office or going to an estate sale or hanging out with my puppy Edie, and then heading to work at the bar in the evening.

What have you learned about photography as an Etsy seller?
Natural light and movement are your friends in bringing something to life.
And drawing the eye to the photograph is key, making it something a customer wants to look at. ((Nicole clearly has a gift for both of these things, her pictures are outrageously light filled and fun, total eye candy, I’m obsessed!))

Do you get a lot of repeat business and if so what keeps you’re customers coming back?
I have been dressing and lending pieces to my friends for as long as I can think, and I have a couple repeat customers that I have met in real life, who have been to events where I have had space. But I think that if you deliver a good product and are passionate and honest about what you are doing, it is going to attract people to what you do.
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What is your favorite era for vintage things? Why?
I love the cloche hats from the 1920s
I love the waist lines from the 1950s
I love the minis and shift dresses and Peter Pan collars and colors from the 1960s
I love the fabrics and craziness of the 1970s
Favorite fashion icon?
This is tough, I go through phases. Right now, I love Brigitte Bardot’s hair from the 1960s (the messy, blonde with the bangs) I love how Christina Hendricks dresses for her body, actually I love anyone who dresses for their body type well. Its really tough to pull out favorite icons when I really appreciate anyone who has good style.

Nicole has created a 25% off coupon, CODE ‘RainandRotini25’ is available to use through august 1st.
There’s a space for coupon codes at checkout on Etsy. All you need to do is insert the code at checkout and voila!
Thank you so much, Nicole!


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