I was shopping in NYC a few years back and went into a thrift store on 3rd Avenue around 21st Street. Behind the counter was an old friend from Milwaukee, whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while, Ricky Becker. He’s the owner of The Spooky Boutique, a fabulous collection of vintage he sourced from thrift stores, flea markets and Goodwill. He has sold his vintage wares to the likes of Chloe Sevigny, Vanessa Hudgens, Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, Adele, Kelly Rowland, Lisa Bonet, the late Patricia Neal and Erykah Badu during his career in “the rag trade.”He currently resides in Milwaukee. Here’s his “expert” take on shopping resale and thrift stores.
How did you get started with thrifting?
The thrift bug bit me when I was about 8. I used to go to garage sales with my Aunt Herta. After I moved to New York, I went to work for a couple of not for profits, setting up thrift stores that doubled as job training programs.
How do you identify a vintage item?
Something is vintage if it is 20 years old or more, vintage American garments will usually have an ILGWU label in them, which stands for International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, at one time the largest union in America. Look for that union label!
What should people shop for at Goodwill?
Know your Designers!!! If you think it’s fancy and don’t recognize the label, look it up on your smart phone! Today you have a world of information at your fingertips. Use it! You can check ebay for prices. Wikipedia is great for designer bios, and learning about Design houses.
Any recent finds at Goodwill?
All winter I was sporting a deliciously warm full length 1920s men’s raccoon coat I bought at Goodwill on Chase Ave last fall. People stop me in the street when I wear it!
How do you support our motto of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”?
I try to buy as much pre-owned as I possibly can. It is eco-friendly and economical. Over the years I have given away as much as I have acquired. EDIT! The old and the new are happy siblings in my home!
Check out the slideshow below to see how much fun, creativity, and passion my friend Ricky has for thrift and vintage shopping!
If you’d like more information on what Ricky sells, or could do for you, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.