I consider myself a connoisseur of Etsy shopping (can such a skill warrant an award?). After repeated and long nights browsing the marketplace, I have fine tuned my eyes to find good quality handmade and vintage items. Truth be told, there’s a lot of product but few are of high quality, especially when it comes to vintage clothing. Because vintage clothes have had a previous life, they often have what I like to call ‘war wounds’ (marks and stains outfits acquire while in battle – shopping, partying, lunching, instagraming, etc.). When I come across good quality, I know, and I immediately contact the shop owners. One such shop owner was Brooke of Sweet Bees Finds. The product in her shop is well within a tight budget and on point – although vintage, each piece can be integrated into a modern wardrobe.
In addition to signing up to be one of Madalynne’s sponsors, Brooke also accepted my offer to participate in an interview. After reading her responses, I grew even fonder of her and her shop. Not only does she refer to her three children as “kittens” (amazing) but she views her business as a “fun hobby.” That’s my outlook of Madalynne and it was refreshing to find someone else who views work as enjoyable. So without further adieu, take it away Brooke…
*be sure to read the footer of this post for a special offer from Brooke and I*
Q: Can you briefly introduce you and your shop Sweet Bee Finds?
A: Hello! My name is Brooke Leathers, I am the proud owner of Sweet Bee Finds, a vintage clothing shop on Etsy. I am also the happy wife to a wonderful, hardworking man and mother to three rascally children, whom I lovingly refer to as my “kittens.”
I have always been crazy about vintage, I’m sure it started as a young girl watching classic movies with my mother and sisters. For my shop, I look for quality pieces that are easily integrated into modern wardrobes.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about owning a vintage clothing shop?
A: Most often for me, it’s viewed as “a fun hobby.” I think the whole work aspect of it, often goes unnoticed. However, it’s quite a process, first, you have to find your items in good condition, then clean, mend, press, photograph, edit, list, and pray it was all worth it!
I think, you really have to love vintage and appreciate the history and art in each piece otherwise, I don’t think it’s worth the time and effort. To be able to see the beauty in a piece is imperative but also being able to judge whether or not others will see the same is essential.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite garment? Vintage or new?
A: My favorite garment is a 1940s navy blue rayon swing dress. At first glance, it seems rather plain, but upon closer inspection it’s just incredible. It has a fitted bodice, v-neck, three quarter sleeve, with a swingy pleated skirt, a hidden side zipper and ties at the back. And most importantly, I always feel like a million bucks when I wear it!
Q: If you were a person or a place, who or what would you be?
A: I have fallen in love with the BBC miniseries, Call the Midwife. I can very easily close my eyes and imagine myself in the role of Jenny Lee, the heroine of the show. The idea of living in post WWII London, as a young, single midwife is very appealing to me. The show is based on the book by the same name and it’s just such a real and compelling representation of life in an impoverished area of London that I was hooked from the start! It beautifully balances sorrow and hope and growth through experience. Of course, it goes without saying that I adore her wardrobe, the little cashmere cardigans and full skirts are right up my alley. I did also have every intentions of becoming a midwife when I entered college, so that aspect of the show feels very natural to me.
Q: What did you dream of being when you were little?
A: As a young girl, I dreamed desperately of becoming a gymnast. I was enamored with Nadia, Mary Lou and Kim Zmeskal. I spent so much of my time perfecting handsprings, cartwheels and walkovers, it still amazes me. It wasn’t until my 15th birthday that I realized I was too old.
Q: What’s on your Christmas list?
A: new camara, books, and a sonicare toothbrush. Oh, and of course an Etsy Gift Card! (wink, wink)
And just for fun…
Q: Pumpkin or peppermint?
Q: Candles or incense?
A: Candles, the warm glow is so romantic
Q: Convertible or hard top?
A: Hardtop, it just feels safer!
Q: Chocolate or caramel?
A: Chocolate, make it dark!
Q: Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Catcher in The Rye (books)?
A: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Q: Disney World or Busch Gardens?
A: Disney World
Q: Rear Window or Casablanca (movies)?
Q: Cats or dogs?
Q: New or used?
A: Used…nearly always
Q: Chignon or bun (hair)?
A: Whatever stays in place!