Name: Nikki Hollander
Shop Name: Jet Set Vintage
TVB: When did you start selling vintage?
NH: I opened my vintage Etsy shop in 2008. I had been selling vintage pieces from my own collection here and there to my friends and coworkers for several years prior to that while I lived in Chicago.
What’s your set-up like now? Do you sell mainly online, at markets, where do you keep all your inventory when you’re not at the Bazaar?
Right now I sell online, at swell gallery, at the Bazaar, and at The Pec Thing. My friend and I own a gallery/studio in downtown West Dundee (swell gallery). It is divided and big! One side is the gallery, and the other side is our painting/work space with an additional room full of vintage storage. I have a full-time vintage corner for sale in the gallery.
How has Jet Set’s style — and your personal style — evolved over these past few years?
Jet Set’s style is constantly evolving. It evolves as the trends do, it evolves as availabilities change, and it also evolves as I refine my searches and become pickier. I used to just buy all kinds of old stuff as long as it was old. Now I have the mental abilities to take a pass on certain things and only slightly feel guilty about it. My personal style seems to have stayed very similar in the past few years. I live with my boyfriend now, so I am a little less girly when it comes to home decor… haha!
What will you be bringing to the Bazaar on June 10?
I’m bringing a ton of awesome and colorful housewares and accessories. It has been a good couple of months since the last Bazaar, so I will have a lot of new items. I am also bringing along my handmade broken vintage plate jewelry for the first time. I use the broken or chipped china and glass that I can’t sell at vintage markets and break it up more to make wearables for the handmade markets.
How did you get the idea to do that and how do you do it?
I always find singles of collectable plates or unusable plates with chips or cracks, and I used to pass them up. Now I buy them and cut out pieces to make into jewelry. I use a stained glass technique that I taught myself. I would like to say that I made it up, but I saw someone wearing something similar. It was one of those things where you see it, and you want it, and you say, “Well I’ll just figure out how to make it.” I can make custom pieces out of your grandmother’s favorite dish that you accidentally broke, too. I also take your old home movies or slides and make jewelry from that. Just contact me, and we can work something out.
Besides selling vintage, what else do you do?
I have another Etsy shop, DuckandCoverShop, where I sell my vintage repurposed crafts. I collect old filmstrips of any kind and embed them in resin in my own molds to make bracelets and necklaces. I have my broken vintage plate jewelry on that site as well. I am a leader of the Rockford Etsy Team. I make collages using old department store catalogs. I paint with acrylics and watercolors. I do printmaking. I do gallery stuff: curating, planning, hanging, watching, etc. I also have a 35′ x 35′ vegetable garden in my yard that sometimes makes gardening feel like a full-time job.
How can people hire you to do illustrations for them? How did you get started doing those?
People can contact me through my website or my email if they want one of my pieces or something commissioned. I’ve done several wedding/couples portraits already, and I would love to add to the list. I focused on painting and printmaking in college, and that’s where I started doing my 1960s yearbook style pieces. I use vintage images as inspiration in my pieces, so the vintage aspect is in almost everything I do.
What does your living space look like? How would you describe your aesthetic?
My living space is truly eclectic. It’s a mixture of kitsch, punk rock, hockey, 1950s, and barware/beer collectables. My aesthetic? My boyfriend and I collect a lot of different things, but we are lucky that it all tends to tie into each other somehow and looks fun. We like to have a very comfortable living space. I tend to do a lot of working at the house even though I have an awesome studio, so it’s never completely tidy!
Do you ever get to shop at these things or are you just swamped selling?
Unfortunately, no. I have quite a drive, so it’s usually just me that is doing the event. I like to stay in the booth anyway so I can talk to customers and make deals. Wink wink….
Where do you hope to see yourself — and Jet Set — in the next year? Next 5 years?
I hope to be able to pull some switcheroos in the near future. I have been doing handmade markets in the northwest suburbs, Rockford and Milwaukee. I do vintage markets in Chicago. I want to start doing more handmade events in Chicago and vintage in Rockford. I used to do Around the Coyote all the time when I lived in the city, and my handmade goods were well-received. I would like to branch out that way now. It’s hard for me to see my vintage and handmades as being two separate things. I want to be able to combine them as one eventually (like they are in my brain anyway). In 5 years I would like the vintage market to be so awesome that I can sustain my own shop in Rockford and not have to worry about income.
Seen any awesome shows at the Aragon?
I do believe I saw Jesus Jones and Stereo MCs at the Aragon way back in high school. Yeah, it’s been a while.
You live all the way out in Carpentersville, no? What secret cultural or vintage gems is that place hiding that we should all know about?
I grew up in Carpentersville, went to college in central Illinois, lived in Chicago for almost 10 years, and am currently in Rockford with my workspace in West Dundee. I’m all over the place. As much as I loved living in the city, out here I am able to live in a house on 4 city lots with a permanent fire pit and huge garden. There is a great “buy local” vibe in Rockford, and we do so much to create multiple outlets for creativity. It’s pretty awesome that there is a decent music and art scene here. One of the biggest pluses for me is the estate sale and thrift market is quite a bit cheaper than to the east. This is the reason I am able to keep my prices low at the Vintage Bazaar.