Poor George Vintage is one of those brands with "cool" seeping out of its pores. It’s the type of company you come across and you find that you are kicking yourself because you wish you had come up with it first. All of the items are from the 1990's or earlier, so there is a little something from every era in her assortment, making it diverse and fun to shop through for almost anyone. All Poor George's success can be tied to its creator and my wife Cadah Hague and her seemingly limitless enthusiasm for buying and selling vintage clothes.
Cadah is the type of person that could take a flea market setup on blacktop on a 100 degree day and still find joy in it, which she has done plenty of times in the last 3 years of running PGV. Shes sweet and welcoming, and clearly loves what she is doing. The best part about interacting with her is that she’s not like other vintage sellers. She doesn't have that cold, distant, sanctimonious attitude that I have seen so much in my other interactions with vintage sellers. When you come to her in-person events, she doesn’t judge you or shy away from talking to you because at the root of it, she’s just genuinely happy to have someone show the same interest in her products that she does.
Cadah has shipped items around the world through her Etsy shop, including Thailand, Australia, Germany, and dozens of states in the U.S. Her photos in her shop are flawless and her ability to outfit her items is really the key success in how she is able to sell to such a broad and diverse customer base. She even goes the extra mile and adds hand written thank you cards, as well as pins and stickers, so that her customers get that little added flair to their purchase. She's always willing to answer questions on her Etsy when asked, and often times will go out of her way to get exact measurements, sizing quirks, or material info to give to you if you need more information before you are willing to make a purchase. Whether it's online, or in person, she strives to give the best customer service she can, because all she wants to do is spread her love for vintage and continue to make this dream of hers a reality.
I was able to sit down with Cadah without the interference of chores and the obligations of our busy lives, and get behind the curtain a bit to find out what makes her and her shop tick and what her plan is moving forward. Here is our interview.
Tell me about yourself
Hey I’m Cadah! I’m the owner/creator/curator/thrift queen behind my shop Poor George Vintage. I started the shop 2 years ago as a hobby and have been making it my life’s work since! In my free time from my day job and from PGV responsibilities, I like to go hiking, drink beer, and hang with friends. I’m mostly an extrovert but sometimes I have weird, awkward and unpredictable introvert tendencies; It’s really fun.
How did you get into vintage clothing?
I’ve always loved clothing and style since I was little and spent lots of time at the mall with my Grandma Janet who was a shopaholic. This coupled with my dad’s love of antiques and treasure hunting manifested itself into a deep love for vintage clothing and antiques. The best high in the world is discovering something unique and wonderful and I hope to bring that experience as much as I can to my shop.
Why do you think the vintage market has exploded so much in recent years?
It has a couple of major influences, the first being the sustainability aspect. By choosing to shop vintage consumers are making a conscious decision to reduce waste and exploitation that happens with the clothing industry, especially in fast fashion which is so trend and cost driven. Almost every piece I offer in my shop is made in the USA, and a lot of my product is 30+ years old and in excellent condition, mainly due to products from that era being so well made. A second influence in the market exploding is the consumers desire to own something unique. It’s all about treasure hunting to build your own personal style. Huge companies like Nasty Gal and Urban Outfitters also brought vintage clothing into the mainstream and showed consumers that vintage can be modern and trendy without the kitsch of the typical 40s/50s cocktail dresses that were the canon for vintage clothing for so long.
How would you say your perspective on your business has changed since you started the company?
Since it started out as a hobby, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself like I normally do, but as soon as I made my first couple of sales and did my first pop-up event, I realized that my life has shaped me for an entrepreneurial path and that retail and fashion were in my blood. I then shifted gears and began to concentrate mostly on in-person events, and that has spawned my plans to open my own brick and mortar. I’m always racked with self doubt, but with every ounce of support from my customers I am reminded that I can do this, that I am good at it, and that they’re down to support me and my dreams.
What sets you apart from your contemporaries?
I have a really solid background in retail, merchandising, trend forecasting (from my Art History degree), and customer service. Vintage clothing will always be there, but customers want to support people and their dreams and I make a huge effort to connect with my customers. I want them to love their purchases as much as I love being able to provide them with fresh product that makes my heart skip a beat.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Brick and mortar all the way! I will have a space that I can pour my creativity into and be a positive contributing member to the community wherever that may end up being.
What is the best and worst part of your job?
The best is the treasure hunting. I love spending hours and hours just scouring for new product. I’m getting giddy just thinking about going shopping! The worst part is not getting to keep all the stuff that’s in my size. I’ve sold so many things that afterwards I was like "crap. I should’ve kept that." But that’s okay, because then that customer gets to enjoy it and love it as much as I did.
Tell us something we don’t know about you
I have no plan B, sooo here’s to hoping this works out!