Clothing-resale shop is part of fabric of Queen Village

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Dan Wilbur, owner of Wilbur: Vintage/Designer Clothing & Accessories, says jewelry and accessories are big sellers at his thrift shop in Queen Village's "Fabric Row."
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Dan Wilbur, owner of Wilbur: Vintage/Designer Clothing & Accessories, says jewelry and accessories are big sellers at his thrift shop in Queen Village's "Fabric Row."
Posted: July 19, 2013

D AN WILBUR, 44, of Center City owns Wilbur: Vintage/Designer Clothing & Accessories, on 4th Street near Monroe in Queen Village's "Fabric Row." The popular store opened in 2008.

Q: How'd you get into the biz?

A: I've been interested in clothing and fashion since the '80s. When I was younger, I visited a lot of shops [in Greenwich Village] when new wave and punk rock were in. I loved the color and texture of the clothes, and kind of formulated my shop from that.

Q: What were you doing before you opened your shop?

A: I was a florist for six years, I framed pictures and I had a used-book store in the '90s on Pine Street.

Q: How did you come up with the money to start?

A: I did it on credit cards, and my parents helped me a little bit. I started out small.

Q: So you went into debt to get the business off the ground?

A: I did go into debt.

Q: What distinguishes your shop from others in the city?

A: I like to carry stuff from the 1940s on, but I also have more modern styles and I mix and match, which a lot of places tend not to do. They either do newer, secondhand stuff or they do vintage. And I specialize mainly in '70s, '80s styles, male and female.

Q: What's the key to being successful in this business?

A: You have to cater to people's likes. You want to have a little bit of everything for everybody. I think lots of businesses fail because owners buy things they think they'll like, and that's sometimes not good because you're going to get a very select audience.

Q: Who are your customers?

A: I get people anywhere from 18 up, I get older people in their 50s and 60s, but I think my basic customer is probably a twenty- or thirty-something who's a student or working woman.

Q: Where do you get clothing?

A: People just bring it to me. I don't even shop for it anymore. People sell me their goods, but I curate it, I pick and choose what I think will sell, what looks good.

Q: Do certain items sell better than others? And if so, why?

A: I think jewelry and accessories sell better than clothing, because often people just want to come in and not try stuff on.

Q: What's the biggest challenge being in a business like this?

A: The biggest challenge is getting people to come in and buy stuff, especially in the summer. City taxes are a challenge, especially the business-privilege tax. As a small-business owner, I feel that we're not rewarded for opening businesses here, and instead we're punished by paying more taxes.

Q: You also use the online marketplace Etsy. What's up with your Etsy moniker, poppygenetierney?

A: I love Gene [Tierney, a stage and film actress of the 1940s and '50s]! I'm a fan of old movies.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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