Residents of Greenpoint, Brooklyn might not remember a time when buy-sell-trade vintage boutique Fox & Fawn wasn’t a retailer on Manhattan Avenue, or its original location eight years ago in the Lower East Side of New York City. Both the store and its curators feel like a permanent staple of the neighborhood.
Finding their LES space too small and rent increasing in early 2010, business partners Marissa Johnson and Beverly Hames looked to their own neighborhood and saw Greenpoint’s potential as a tight knit and fashion forward community. “This was the first space we looked at,” Hames said of their current location. “It was the little sister to Williamsburg…a tattoo parlor on one side and a neighborhood bar on the other. What else do you need?”
At first glance, Fox & Fawn closely resembles other buy-sell-trade shops in the area; the store offers 35% cash or 55% trade to those who want to sell their gently used vintage and designer goods. “We want our sellers to have a good return,” Hames tells us. “We sell around 50% vintage and then a combined 50% of contemporary and higher designer brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton.” As the neighborhood changes, the shop’s been seeing more designer duds with higher price tags, but Hames reassures us, “We always want there to be a low price point of $8.95. I want someone to be able to come into the store with $10.00 and find something.”
As e-commerce cripples local businesses with competitive prices and expeditious delivery, small business owners can’t ignore the digital marketplace. Fox & Fawn distinguishes itself by integrating social media into the selling process, while keeping its local community of vintage shoppers happy. “Originally my Instagram feed was just a personal account…cat pictures and metal shows…and then I’d sometimes post photos of the store,” Hames said. “People started inquiring about items they’d seen in photos and asking about store holds.” Hames realized the potential of this platform and implemented some basic rules.
“It’s our price point that makes these online sales possible. People are willing to risk buying after seeing only one or two photos if something’s $14.95.” As soon as an item is posted to the Instagram account, shoppers comment with their last name and, “Ring me.” The item is charged to the credit card Fox & Fawn has on file and the customer can have the item shipped to them for a fee. It’s a true race to the finish.
Fox & Fawn has expanded to a second location in Bushwick; the store has its own Instagram handle and has quickly gained the same popularity as its predecessor. Hames told us that although many #foxesandfawns, as they’re hashtagged, are locals, others are from elsewhere in the US. Regardless of location, most social media clientele are regulars and know each other on Instagram; they have truly redefined the term “local community.”