When Katherine Moore posted a picture of a vintage style Morgan & Co lace dress on her West Village Vintage page in May, she had no idea how much her little Instagram shop would turn into a thriving business.
Known as the Hammer girl who hunts and sells fun antiques, Moore’s collection is made up of over 900 unique items that she proudly displays through thousands of pictures online. Her shop is a nod towards her love for collecting vintage and desire to share it with her Westdale Village community.
Despite starting her shop a little over five months ago, Moore had been collecting vintage pieces since she was four years old.
“I loved penny sales where old ladies sold stuff, [I would] touch everything and I used to think everything was so expensive and beautiful, like obviously a four-year-old would think that, but looking back I always did enjoy it,” said Moore.
Moore is now a second year student in English and Multimedia at McMaster. She still loves to collect beautiful vintage, but now focuses more on exploring and learning about the history behind the items she comes across.
West Village Vintage came to be when Moore realized that her collection was starting to outgrew her home. The shop was the perfect solution to continue collecting vintage, without having to keep all of it.
“The main reason that I do it now is for the people. I love hearing comments like ‘my grandma had this, or my parents had this’ and [my clients] don’t know where to go and find it, so I like finding it for them and giving it to them,” explained Moore.
Finding the perfect pieces for her shop and clients can be a challenge. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Much of her collection pieces are from spontaneous road trips with her mom.
“Sometimes we’ll drive two hours away to an auction and just go and look… My mom and I have a lot of fun at garage sales. We usually drive out, if we see a yard sale we’ll stop, or a little antique shop, pretty much whatever happens on the road,” said Moore.
Their Toyota Yaris may be small, but the vintage hunting duo never fail to take home the most amount of antique treasures.
At first, Moore relied on her natural instincts when sifting through pieces and assessing their value. She would often look into the history of an item on the spot or if she has a good feeling, she’ll take it home and do the research then.
With practice, Moore was all able to retain the information she’s learned and can now appraise items herself. Her vintage shopping superpower is the ability to easily identify the year and make of antique washboards.
Moore’s instincts tend to be spot on and West Village Vintage’s charming aesthetic has been met with positive response from eager customers and supporters.
However, her shop’s success does come with challenges. Moore spends countless hours hunting antiques, organizing them in a tote system, wrapping them like Christmas gifts, talking with customers and keeping track of orders.
She also goes out of her way to ensure pieces are affordable and conveniently delivered for students, often leaving little profit for herself. The West Village Vintage is driven by genuine passion.
“I like doing something that feels like it’s mine in a way… It’s kind of like my baby, I love seeing the growth of it. Even watching the page change, the way the images look and I like getting the positivity of the comments,” explained Moore.
“I love hearing back from people who bought something and they’ll send me pictures of where it is in their house.”
What the future holds for West Village Vintage is unknown, but Moore is working hard to continue growing her brand. She’s excited to see her antique pieces fill more homes, with exception to her brass, a secret collection the antique lover will continue to hold onto.
The West Village Vintage can be found at @westvillagevintage on Instagram and will be at the Christmas in November Market at 459 Ofield Road South in Dundas on Nov 18.