By Samantha Murphy:
For Anna Kaplan, owner of Sempre Vintage, selling vintage clothing is not just a business, it’s a passion. Sempre Vintage, located at 1396 Hertel Avenue, is celebrating its one year anniversary in business this month.
“I’m a vintage clothes lover and wearer,” Kaplan said. “I hadn’t found a good vintage outlet in Buffalo. Here it’s mostly Amvets or places like Amvets.”
Sempre Vintage is actually run out of another store, Webb Trading Company, owned by Kristen Webb. The Webb Trading Company specializes in selling quality vintage furniture. The pair met three summers ago and became fast friends.
“When I told Kristen I wanted to start out on this business venture, she suggested I start out here,” Kaplan said. “My collection works really well in this space. It really shapes my collection; I can’t just put anything in the store. I want there to be a back and forth.”
This opportunity also provided Kaplan with something most start-up businesses don’t have, an established clientele.
Sempre Vintage focuses on selling quality, higher end vintage pieces made for women, mainly from the 50’s through the 70’s. The collection is comprised of mostly formal wear at very affordable prices. Everything is under $200, 80% of the collection is under $150 and most of the clothes are under $50.
Vintage looks are certainly making a comeback. Vintage patterns, colors, and styles can be found in stores like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, or H&M. But these clothes are still missing something; they are not truly vintage pieces.
“The appeal of wearing vintage is that you won’t find it anywhere else,” Kaplan said. “You can find something here for less money and it’s actually original vintage, it’s not just vintage inspired.”
Kaplan also understands why some people are apprehensive about incorporating vintage clothing into their wardrobes.
“A lot of people struggle with finding something that fits them exactly,” Kaplan said. “Accessories are a great way to start because you can work them into any outfit. It’s not hard to find a bracelet that looks awesome, or a pair of boots, or a purse.”
Kaplan searches for new vintage clothes almost every week. Many people bring her their finds and she also searches at estate sales. She has certain standards in shopping for vintage pieces.
“I look for things that are wearable, interesting, and maybe a little unusual,” Kaplan said. “It can’t be too crazy to where it can no longer be considered contemporary. I love simple, classic vintage, but also the unique, one of a kind items that make everyone stare at you in the right kind of way.”
Aside from the actual store, Kaplan also runs an online store at etsy.com. Etsy.com is an online marketplace specifically for selling handmade and vintage items. On etsy Kaplan also sells menswear, which she does not sell in the store.
“I’m very successful on etsy,” Kaplan said. “I fit right in with the vintage clothing sellers. I have 388 things in the etsy store. There’s definitely overlap in terms of the clothing sold online and in stores, but it’s almost like two different collections.”
Both The Webb Trading Company and Sempre Vintage are open:
Wednesday – Friday: 11-5
1396 Hertel Avenue. Also any time by appointment: 716-836-2380