Selling coal to Newcastle

by Julie Alpine-Crabtree

Back in the big smoke and new-season boots felt like a priority.

While the vintage clothes shops of Brick Lane and Spitalfields are only a stone’s throw away, rummaging and babies do not go. Also, the last time I did get an hour to go hunting, I couldn’t find a decent pair of leather boots for under £100. Which seems a bit steep for what is, after all, used footwear.

Finding eBay a tad dispiriting following a summer-long addiction in pursuit of a bargain Ergo baby carrier, Bugaboo, and other bits of kiddie kit, I did a Google search for navy vintage boots. Seconds later, I’m staring at my perfect pair:

Available on Etsy, a site I hadn’t previously encountered, for $30, and miraculously, in my very size, were these vintage navy knee-high leather Cobbies boots with wooden heel. A quick email and the seller confirmed she’d ship to the UK for a very fair $20. Five days later and they’d arrived safe and sound here in Shoreditch. With a lovely hand-written note from their previous owner.

Billed as ‘the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace’, Etsy is packed with the kind of thing you’d find on, but, being American, there’s a thousand times more choice. I’m not sure if all vendors will mail internationally, but it’s worth a browse. There are some inspiring baby and wedding ideas, too, and plenty on there to check out besides shopping, such as craft blogs.

Coming in the same week that one of my best friends called to rave about now selling their vintage fashion online, it seems that trawling through rail upon rail of second-hand tat in order to find that one special treasure might have had its moment.

At least until the children reach school age.