Can you share with our readers a little about you and your family? Where are you from originally? What brought you to open up a shop in Old Saybrook, CT?
I was originally raised in Madison Connecticut, and fell in love with the shoreline. I went to FIT Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and knew by graduation that I did not want to stay and live in the city. I knew if I wanted to live on the shoreline, I would have to create my own career path. That was 23 years ago now! I live in Essex with my husband, our 8 year old daughter, and 8 year old pug. Most days at the shop you’ll find human workers, my mother and I, and our two pugs, Moxie and Esmeralda, working upfront, and behind the scenes!
Can you share with us your “why”? What inspired you to open your store? What is your mission as a business and store owner?
When I was still living in New York, I was working for a high-end company designing vintage inspired evening gowns. This company had been started by a woman who owned a vintage clothing store and started to re-create all of the best selling pieces. She had an extensive vintage storage area at the company, and for me, it was the most fascinating part of my job. I was already in love with vintage from dressing up in all of my grandmother’s dresses in the attic when I was a child. I focus on clothing and accessories from the late 1800s through the 1970s and it’s mostly one-of-a-kind, beautiful fabrics, finishes, patterns, embroidery’s, colors, and styles. It’s just a treasure hunt!
What is your ideal demographic? What type of individual do you feel would benefit most from the products and services you offer?
My demographic is a wide range of people. Mostly women from preteens to women in their 70s every decade has some thing for everyone. (My personal favorite area of Tove’s store is the chest of gorgeous children’s and toddler’s pieces, I bought several for my client wardrobe last time I was there!)
In reviewing the Tova’s Vintage Clothing website, it’s obvious you offer a great deal of products for purchase online. Do you have a preference for in store purchases versus online ordering?
I try to get as many items listed online as I can. I try to focus on things that are unusual, especially beautiful, or are a favorite among collectors. Once I get things listed on Etsy, I will post them on Instagram. I really like Etsy’s platform and half of what I sell online goes international.
What is your favorite product/service you offer?
That’s like trying to pick a favorite child!
What items are your hottest/hard-to-keep-enough-in-stock items?
People are loving 1950s dresses right now, border prints, 70s abstract patterns, color, fun sunglasses, hand, embroidery’s, brimmed hats.
Tell us a little bit about how you vet your product lines. What factors help you determine the best fit for your store and brand?
Since I’ve been in business for 23 years, people, call me every day with items, and I select after seeing them in person. I put new stuff out every day.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
There is always an unsung hero behind every business and business person. Mine is my mom. She has been around since the first idea about the shop and was with me every step of the way. She has been my biggest cheerleader, helper, and has shared the biggest joys and the hard times that inevitablycome with owning a business for 20+ years.
After having my business for so long, I’m still surprised how much I just adore it. I love chatting with people about their stories, and seeing these dresses and fun pieces have a new life.
I love shopping at Tova’s Vintage Clothing Store in Old Saybrook, Connecticut for myself, my kids, and for my client closet pieces for photoshoots. From the moment you step foot into the store, it’s like stepping back into history, one full of color, charm, and beauty. Do yourself a favor and take a trip to see her store in person. And if that’s not an option, at least take a peek at the amazing pieces she has listed on her Etsy shop here, there are new pieces listed all the time, and due to the unique nature of her items, they are rarely in stock for long!