Career Day - Kate DiNatale Vintage, Greenville, SC Vintage Retail Shop
Kate DiNatale is one of those old souls who is immediately interesting to talk to. She has a knack for finding special vintage pieces and restoring them to their original glory for the next owner to enjoy. She seems to have strong family ties, which I can totally relate to! Her logo is a image of her aunt and uncle - who happen to be her biggest influence in business and sound like amazing people (see more below). And if that's not enough to intrigue you, Kate's brother is Pickle the Pig's dad - claim to fame right there! She's built her vintage clothing business from the ground up and was kind enough to share some words of wisdom with me when we met. I'm extra excited to pass this one along to y'all!
Tell us what you do in a few sentences!
I buy, restore, and sell vintage clothing. I specialize in women's clothing from the 1940s to the early 1970s. However, I do sell children's and men's vintage clothing in small quantities. I also sell accessories such as hats, purses, and shoes from the same time period. Everything I sell is clean. I've either hand washed it or had it dry cleaned. I have fixed any issues with the items so that you are getting a piece that's in pristine condition. I often get asked if I've hand made the items or if they are reproductions because it's hard to believe that vintage could look so clean and modern. But, I'm super picky, very detail oriented, and want to present vintage clothing to people in a way that allows them to appreciate and love it as much as I do.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is being my own boss. I get to do things how I see fit, what I feel is in the best interest of my business, etc. I have as much or as little freedom as I want to give myself. I know when I can take a break and when I need to push harder. I also get to grow in this specific passion of mine. I'm learning new things every day, and that's incredibly exciting. I feel like I'm playing a small role in keeping history alive, and that's very empowering.
What called you to this career?
I grew up around antiques. I zoned in on the vintage clothing aspect of it probably 15 years ago. I was wearing it, but I was also buying and selling (“flipping” as we call it) to other vintage clothing dealers. After a few years (and several local dealers getting out of the business), I realized I could do it on my own. Buy, restore, sell. In 2009, I opened a booth space at Olde Faithful's Antique Mall. I still have a large spot there. In 2016, I "retired" from teaching after 10 years, and opened up my own store at 11 Lois Ave. with Shindig Furnishings. I've never been happier!
What does a normal work day look like for you?
I wake up around 6 am. On Mondays, our store is closed so I use that time to take pictures and prepare draft listings for Etsy. I work at the store Wednesdays, Fridays, and every other Saturday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days to go to vintage buying appointments, hit the dry cleaners, research, price inventory, and continue to work on laundering/ironing items for the store.
Any advice for women trying to figure out how to translate passion into a career like you’ve done?
Just do it. Talk to your friends and family and get advice, but the bottom line is that this is your life, and you choose how it goes. Its success or failure is on you. It's not society, men, your kids, or whatever other excuse you want to throw out there. It's you! Knowing you do indeed have that kind of control is terrifying but equally liberating. Find what makes you get up in the morning with a smile on your face. Find what makes you excited to go to bed because that means you get to wake up and do it all over again. Plan for it. Pray about it. Do it.
What’s a personal motto or quote that describes how you view your work and/or business?
Transparency. If you've ever tried to buy clothes from me, you know that I will tell you how I think it looks on you (love it or hate it) and if there's any issues to know about the style, fabric, condition, etc. I want people to love and appreciate vintage as much as I do. I'd rather have a customer for life because they know what to expect when working with me than make a random sale here or there to someone who won't be back.
Anyone that inspires you or that you look up to in Greenville?
My brother, Max DiNatale. Max is one of the hardest working people I know and probably the best all around human being you're going to meet. He works at Infinity Marketing, models, carts a pig around in a stroller, volunteers with Generations Group, and still has time to bring me lunch once a week at the store.
Whatever I feel like wearing. I very much have clothing moods. Some days I feel like looking like a grandpa in a men's vintage cardigan and jeans; somedays I want to be all dolled up in a 50s dress; and some days I just want to wear a graphic tee, a leather jacket, and some chucks.
What’s currently on your desk or in your workspace?
Printer, computer, camera, cup of coffee, inventory roster, and every single colored sharpie ever.
Biggest influence in your work?
The cute couple in my logo - my great aunt and uncle - Annie and Jack. They were a huge part of my life growing up; they were those people that made you feel like their world revolved around you - that you were worth a million bucks no matter what. Unconditional love. Having them as part of my logo on my cards and on the shop window keeps them with me every day, but it also holds me accountable. I wouldn't want to do or say anything that would disappoint their legacy of love and compassion.
Last book you read?
Favorite Restaurant in Greenville?
Is it cliche to say my own kitchen? I love food almost as much as my dogs...plus I'm Italian.
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