For 17 years, Shelley Banker served the vintage clothing and accessory market of State College. But at the end of this year, the doors of The Rag and Bone‘s East Calder Way storefront will be closed for good.
From Shelley’s sunny smile traced in bright red lipstick and the soundtrack of rude boy ska ricocheting off of an inventory of golf tees, costume jewelry, coke bottle glasses, and 50’s housewife dresses; it’s clear The Rag and Bone is far from running out of steam. As Shelley puts it, her business isn’t shutting down, but moving on.
All of the great vintage wares on the shelves of The Rag and Bone will be sold from the store’s Etsy account. Shelley will continue to purchase retro goods for resale and rent out garb for special occasions. She’ll also stay in touch with her faithful customer base through an active email list serv (firstname.lastname@example.org).
And though the days of doing business exclusively in State College are over for The Rag and Bone after December 31st, Shelley is open to collaborating with local establishments to host truck shows and other special events.
By shedding the overhead and time commitment of a fully operating store front, Shelley plans to free up time for her to reinvent not just The Rage and Bone, but herself personally.
“I’m ready for a change,” she said with her hair tightly wound in a bun supported by chop sticks. Her radiant personality was only equaled by her 70’s era floral blouse. “I’ll use my online store as a stepping stone while I search for other outlets within the vintage industry.”
Some of her ulterior aspirations include dabbling with wholesale retail, traveling to antique clothing shows, and starting up her own line of retro-inspired apparel. In this way, closing her physical shop makes business sense and personal sense.
“It’s bittersweet because I’m going to miss having a store where customers can touch the products and try on different clothes, but it’s kind of like opening a new chapter — for The Rag and Bone and for myself.”