Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Brennan Gregg.
Emily, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My story, as a creative entrepreneur, began about five years ago during a transitional part of my life. I had just felt the soul-crushing feeling of my first close familial loss, that of my grandmother. I accepted and then left a job position after eight months that helped me learn what I did NOT want to do as a career. Luckily, I had saved enough money to be picky about job opportunities, and I took advantage of that by trying out a few different part-time gigs. Long story short, I was on a search all while having just been reminded that life is short and there’s not enough time to spend it doing something I hate.
As mentioned, it was a transitional part of my life – my mid-twenties (what a doozy) – and to fully transform, I needed to change my wardrobe as well. Fast fashion was becoming a total bummer. It only took a few washes for small holes to appear in my shirts. Not to mention, how disappointing it was to see someone else wearing the same piece I just bought. I didn’t have lots of money to spend, but luckily, I had just started my new favorite hobby of shopping secondhand.
At a thrift store, it is hard to find two of the same thing. Meaning, each item has a uniqueness to it. There is a plethora of textiles with various patterns, colors, cuts and textures. I gravitated towards older articles of clothing. It could have been / probably was that the style reminded me so much of my grandmother and made me feel closer to her. Building a new wardrobe, one that was more special and more mature, was easy to do. Too easy, in fact. I began over-collecting.
Anything that I found too exceptional to be left behind would end up coming home with me, whether I planned to wear it myself or not. Some could deem this a bad habit, hoarding even. I needed to make it productive. I began selling a couple of items here and there by posting them onto my Facebook. I realized this couldn’t be long term and that my reach was restricted. Later, I moved onto Instagram. Again, I could only go so far on that platform and eventually moved onto eBay and finally, Etsy. That’s how I began, what would turn into, my career as a vintage shop owner.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
For the last four years, I have been selling vintage wares via the Internet – Verna’s Vintage Shop on Etsy to be exact. My job starts by hunting for the items to sell. This part is my favorite. It’s where my passion and prowess really come to play. If there is any washing or mending that needs to be done to a find, I do it. Then, each piece must be photographed. I take close to 10 pictures of each item and then edit the photos for clarity and composition purposes. Articles must be measured and described, including information on what era the piece originates from. This is where experience and knowledge are needed. Last, each item is listed and posted into the shop’s inventory.
As mentioned on the shop’s Etsy page, Verna’s Vintage is the birth child of a love for vintage and the belief that buying secondhand is best. It gives new life to items that have been in a way, previously discarded. It helps diminish the financial gains of the fast fashion industry that takes a heavy toll on our environment. My shop gives consumers an option outside of a mass-market retailer. Along with creating an opportunity to reduce and reuse, it gives shoppers a chance to select something that feeds their own creativity and highlights their uniqueness.
While I’ve explained how selling vintage can benefit the environment and the customer, it is much more difficult to cover all the ways that running my shop has helped me. It has given me purpose. A purpose that pushes me forward each day. It has taken the person I was in my mid-twenties, downcast and directionless, and has molded me into a 30-year-old woman that can say she loves what she does for a living and is proud of herself. To think that I turned a leisure activity into a passion, an outlet for my creativity and most surprisingly, a career, is more than I could have ever imagined.
My message would be – it’s possible. When I started, I thought to myself, “but I’m not a vintage seller.” I wasn’t… yet. Now, I am.
Artists face many challenges, but what do you feel is the most pressing among them?
The biggest challenge facing artists today is funding. This can be on a large scale or small scale. Whether it’s a funding cut by the government or friends that want a piece or a performance for free, an artist will struggle. They will struggle to pay bills, or they will struggle to find time outside of working a job for money to make available for their art. This isn’t a new problem, but it is a problem.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
To view a gallery of photos that give an introductory look into my style and selections, I can be found on Instagram at @vernasvintage.
To see my shop and current inventory, go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/vernasvintageshop.
To support my entrepreneurship, shop Verna’s Vintage!
- Address: Atlanta, GA
- Website: https://www.etsy.com/shop/vernasvintageshop/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vernasvintage/
All images have been taken by me!