Pricing Key to Vintage Shop Survival

stillhouseJoshua Davis East Village boutiques have thrived by offering low priced merchandise to its customers. Still House, 117 East Seventh Street, sells artwork and jewelry by local artists.

With reports of hard times for struggling Lower East Side boutiques, The Local paid a visit to merchants on East Seventh Street to see how their businesses are faring. But rather than echoing the frustrated voices of Lower East Side merchants, many of whom have closed or moved to Brooklyn, the East Village is holding steady and even opening new stores.

The secret: low prices.

Here is what some local shopkeepers had to say about starting up and surviving in the East Village.

Rena Reborn and Still House, both at 117 East Seventh Street

Two newcomers to the block, both stores opened within a week of another last month, and both specialize in selling goods from local artists and designers. Rena Reborn, which sells new and recycled jewelry and clothing for women, draws many of its customers with $5 and $10 racks.

“Low prices keep us in business,” says owner Rachael Rush.

renareborneJoshua Davis Rena Reborn, 117 East Seventh Street.

Still House is as much of a gallery as it is a shop. The majority of the jewelry and artwork sold is by local artists, and is carefully curated by owner Urte Tylaite.

“The whole energy and vibe behind the store is to be a visually intriguing and welcoming space,” said Ms. Tylaite, before adding, “And not overpricing stuff.”

Red, 123 East Seventh Street

Closer to Avenue A is Red, a boutique selling new and vintage women’s clothing and accessories. The store opened two years ago by three Italian business partners that found each other in New York.

Owner Barbara Gentile says it is sometimes a financial challenge to stay in the East Village, which she described as more “commercialized,” however said “the pockets of creativity” that exist keep her in the neighborhood.

AuH2O, 84 East Seventh Street, and Tokio 7, 83 East Seventh Street

One block west, mainstays like AuH2O and Tokio 7 have remained in business by sticking with the neighborhood and staying inexpensive. At AuH20, previously home of the MetroCard dress, it’s all about keeping the vintage cheap.

“This is what vintage should be,” says owner Kate Goldwater.

Tokio 7 has been in consigning clothing and accessories now for 15 years.

“Recycling is a good system,” said owner Makoto Watanabe, who added that consignment became more accepted after the financial crisis of 2008.