Jillian Knox faced a big challenge: It was 2009. She was about to graduate from Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia, had no job, and needed money. When she tried to raise a little cash by reselling some vintage costumes she’d purchased for a school project, none of the secondhand stores in Savannah would buy them because they were “too out of style.”
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently chatted with Knox about her San Francisco-based small business and her “tiny personal assistant.”
ISBB: Your business has a very interesting name. What’s the story behind it?
Knox: The name is a revival of a handmade jewelry business I started when I was in seventh grade called Joules Jewels. “Joules” was a nickname I got because I am a very high-energy person and a joule is a unit of energy.
What is the essence of Joules Jewels Vintage?
Joules Jewels Vintage started with a simple approach: quality vintage fashions at affordable prices. Since it began in April 2009, the online vintage shop has expanded into men’s and children’s fashion, home décor, vintage housewares, and even refinishing and upholstering vintage furniture.
Tell us how you use Weave.
The discovery of Weave has really been a miracle. I have so much running through my head and lots of tasks and orders that need to get done. Trying to remember it all is really just impossible.
I use Weave primarily to keep track of my income and expenses. I am always buying supplies like foam and fabric, paint, etc. I also input gas, tolls, booth fees, and sales made for shows on the road. I have to keep track of how much money I am making and losing on projects. Also, I need to have all this info for tax season. I have told people that Weave is like a tiny personal assistant.
What draws people to vintage items?
It is a stylish, economical way to be green and support your local businesses, or Goodwill or Salvation Army, or other companies that give back. Vintage also offers a sense of nostalgia for people. I find myself buying items for the shop that remind me of a time period, a family member, friends, childhood TV shows, etc. If you say, “Hey, remember this?” while you’re sifting through a pile of clothes at a thrift store, vintage is probably your long lost soul mate.
How about some tips on choosing a vintage piece?
The best tip is: Don’t be afraid of the clothes. The more types of styles and eras you choose, [the faster] you will get the hang of what looks best for your body type.
Also, be aware the tag may say that it’s your size, but in Vintageland, sizes don’t measure up to today’s vanity sizing. I have walked into many a store and found an item that says my size on the tag, and I got to the fitting room and was baffled that I couldn’t even get that amazing ’60s dress over my hips (darn hips). Make sure you know your measurements and carry a pocket tape measure. Measure the garment flat if you can or while it is hanging — hips, waist, and length, and in some cases measure the arm hole opening. That’s the only way you will know for sure if an item will fit you. Lastly, if an item doesn’t fit you right, or looks like it could need some adjusting, don’t pass it up. Find a good tailor!