I may have gotten spoiled thanks to my job but I love it so much that it doesn’t bother me. Down in The Ferry, we are a community of small shops who pride themselves in history and local items. In The Vintage Lady, we especially take pride in that almost all our products are handmade from local (or at least American) vendors and we push shopping small on our Facebook constantly. Many of our customers appreciate this, too, because they like knowing where their products come from and having an idea of how it was made.
For example, we have these gorgeous acorn pieces. Well, sort of acorn pieces. The designer collects real acorn tops and into that she places a single drop of of melted glass, which she copper wire wraps into the shell and lets dry. They are super cute and so many people are fascinated by the process of how she makes them out of real acorn shells. Then there’s our wooden pieces that we display next to the acorns. A lot of people pick them up and have no clue what they are looking at until one of us explains. You see, what they are looking at is some medium with a million little colorful squares. How does he makes these accessories? He cuts very small pieces of dyed wood and lays them on top of each other, creating the shape that he wants the piece to be. Then he cuts the wood so that when it lays flat you can see how all the tiny pieces were on top of each other making the design.
My favorite things that we sell though is The Vintage lady team products. While I’m not a jewelry maker…yet, Crystal and the Vintage Lady herself, Cindi, both make fabulous jewelry and accessories. Crystal ironically works with Swarovski crystals. She works in other mediums but that’s what I like of hers the best. Out of everything she does, the prettiest are the birthstone necklaces and earrings. She takes two square crystals in the color of your birthstone and separates them with a crystal studded disk. I wear my June necklace constantly and whenever I see someone looking at them, I always point out that she’s the one who made them. As far as Cindi’s collection, there’s a lot of quirky and vintage-inspired pieces, which if you knew my boss, it’s perfect for her. I’ve been eying the rings and earrings she makes for a long time but I don’t own any yet. However, I do have three of her bobby pins. She takes these really cute flowers and dragon flies and natural items and puts them on bobby pins to add a little flair to your hair. I don’t wear them often but I don’t think I’ve ever worn one without having someone compliment me at the time.
Plus, we’ve got out hand in our West Virgina Made Gallery, too. You in the market for condiments, soap, or doggie treats? We’ve got them. There’s like 15 different types of food and all of them get raving reviews from the people who buy them. I’ve only tried the Ramp Mustard (For those of you who don’t know, a ramp is a vegetable that grows only wild and only in West Virginia that has an onion-ish taste). It was good; I plan on trying some of the black bean and garlic dip very soon and I know the Hillbilly Hot Sauce is very popular among Crystal and her family.
My favorite thing to sell is Maggie’s Munchies. They are our all-natural, homemade doggie treats named after our owners’ beloved scottie, Maggie. Normally, they come in two flavors–peanut butter and beef and cheddar–but we ordered a pumpkin spice Halloween flavor that’s still hanging around. A dollar from each bag sold goes to a local animal rescue group and let me tell you, the puppies don’t exactly hate these treats. We are a dog-friendly shop so whenever I see one come in, I give them a treat right away. Saturday, I had the sweetest little lab come in and she kept staring at me with these big sad eyes until I gave her more cookies (She’s a regular customer). I love getting to feed dogs and play with them as part of my job.
Now, if you are feeling a little stinky, we’ve got the soap for you! Especially if you a a beer drinker. We have homemade beer soap that looks like the head of a beer and has a slight citrus smell. While it looks like a Guinness in color, it smells more like a Corona. I haven’t used the soap but apparently, it lasts for months and is really creamy. We just got in a new scent, too. The Raspberry Vanilla is so strong and lovely that you can smell it through the plastic wrap. Of course, we have a third kind of soap that we don’t produce but it might just beer the coolest. A local lady felts a bar of soap in colored sheep’s wool. The wool works as its own scrubby and gets things all lathered and the soap lasts forever because of the wool and when that bar runs out, a small slit in the wool means you can replace the bar with your own and keep using it.
When you shop small like us, you get this kind of relationship that you don’t get when you buy from a big store. Plus, you know that you are getting a quality product that someone put a lot of effort into making. Almost all of our products, we can tell you the story behind and who created it and how. We know many of our customers because our regulars become our friends and when you ask us a question, we can usually point you in the direction of where you need to go in the Ferry. It’s a good feeling when you know all of this about the owners, employees, and products of the business you shop at.