Sunday, November 17, 2013

School of Vintage sells unique items year 'round on LBI

School of Vintage in Surf City is a gold mine for shoppers who are truly looking to purchase something that no one else will have. The shop is a lot like the creative online marketplace Etsy, only in person. In fact, the store’s owners, Erin Buterick, 30, of Manahawkin and Jeannine Errico, 32, of Tuckerton originally opened the vintage and handmade clothing and accessories boutique on Etsy in 2004.
Photo by Ryan Morrill
School of Vintage shop owners Jeannine Errico
and Erin Buterick offer alterations by appointment.
Now going into its third year as a full-fledged business with a storefront located on the Boulevard in one of Surf City’s quaint shopping centers, School of Vintage is filled with unique-patterned clothing and vintage wedding dresses, antique jewelry, handmade purses and other eclectic d├ęcor that is primarily sourced from the 1920s to the ’80s.
“If it’s something we would wear, we’ll sell it,” said Buterick, who favors soft, neutral colors.
“You can’t go wrong with the ’40s or ’50s,” added Errico, who seeks out bold colors and structured lines. “We’ll sell anything, but the ’60s has too much polyester. There’s too much psychedelic-looking stuff.”
Photo by Ryan Morrill
SOV offers one of a kind
wedding dresses
The shop was recently honored for Best Vintage Clothing in Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly 2013. Through the connections of Dawn Simon, curator of Gallery 1603 – an art gallery and boutique in Surf City – the store also opened a pop-up shop in October at Art Star Gallery, located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, where it will stay until the end of November.
“It would be nice to do permanently,” said Buterick. “We have an audience in Philly, so it would be good for us to have a location out there. Their clientele is like our clientele. It’s not so mainstream. It’s outside of the box a little bit,” she explained.
Business is usually booming at School of Vintage during the summertime when tourists frequent the area. But as with many specialty niche shops on LBI, the store is only open on Saturdays and by appointment on Mondays during the fall and winter months, when business slows.
The shop owners said they do not have any plans to relocate despite certain obstacles.
“There’s almost something to the challenge of surviving in a place where we kind of stick out. Maybe it’ll help bring other left-of-center ventures here,” said Buterick. “We do feel like this area needs something a little bit different. We’re waiting it out for the locals to catch on and start coming year ’round. I know they’re here, because I grew up here. I would have killed for a place like this,” she added.
Customers in the know are very loyal, the owners said. Many have even become friends, bonding over the eclectic pieces offered in the store. Patrons are known to buy their favorite items right away, as they understand the inventory does not stick around. A number of women have even purchased their wedding dresses in advance.
“Our stock is always evolving and changing. If you see something and you like it, you should probably buy it because it probably won’t be here long. It happens all the time,” said Buterick.
The store’s clothing and housewares offer an interesting and unique design but are also classic and timeless.
The shop owners recently acquired an array of inventory from Johnnie’s Beachwear in Surf City, a popular store on LBI that opened in 1947 and closed around 1960. The original owner’s nephew, local resident Richard Jeffries, had kept the clothing in storage until finally selling it off this summer.
The owners also recently purchased handmade, vintage-style clothing from Barnegat Light resident Karen Larson. Handmade jewelry and bath and body products as well as vintage-inspired art are also consigned from other local artisans.
Buterick and Errico sell their own handmade clothing and handcrafted perfume in their new venture, Modern Chemistry. Custom headpieces and wedding veils can also be specially ordered.
Buterick offers alterations for any item purchased at the shop or elsewhere. She specializes in mending vintage attire, including lace, silk and other fine materials.
For more information, visit or call 609-494-1171.
–Kelley Anne Essinger

This article was published in The SandPaper.

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