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The Internet Is a Bane and Boon for Vintage Sellers

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Marmalade Vintage in the old days

In the aftermath of the spate of downtown vintage shop closings, Crain's New York has weighed in on the matter, even going so far as to using the headline "Vintage Stores Out of Fashion." Cases in point: The shuttering of Marmalade, Beauty Crisis, Love Saves the Day and Atomic Passion, plus the eviction of Sweet Ones (owner Alyssa Pallett had to forfeit her $25,000 deposit—ouch).

Fingers are pointed to the astronomical rents (spawning the $172 gently-worn polyester disco dress; it's a vicious circle) and, of course, the Internet. "The prices on Etsy kill me," Beauty Crisis owner Eva Weiss tells Crain's, "It started as handmade, but now there are over 100,000 vintage items listed there." Savvy online vintage shoppers also peruse eBay (which carries over 460K vintage listings), Nasty Gal and Archived Vintage for a much wider selection and lower prices.

But in Screaming Mimi's case, embracing the online world has helped the vintage business survive and grow. In business over 30 years and counting, Screaming Mimi's sells its wares on its own site and eBay. Online sales account for 10% of its revenue and sales have even stabilized this year. Beauty Crisis, which closed over the weekend, is working on an e-commerce site, plus will also reappear as a pop-up at Artist & Fleas. The move online looks like a trend, with even Sweet Ones' Alyssa Pallet weighing in with the ominous observation, "I see the storefronts, in the Lower East Side especially, as artists' statements."
· Bad Day for Vintage Stores: Beauty Crisis Says Goodbye to East 7th Street [Racked]
· Vintage Shop Sweet Ones Not So Sweetly Evicted from Allen Street [Racked]
· Vintage Stores Out of Fashion [Crain's New York]