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Vintage Hot Spot Interview & Tour: Black Bear Vintage & Handmade Brooklyn, NY

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Vintage Indie is pelased to welcome co owners Michelle Ferrara and Julia Duncan-Roitman with an inside look at their store Black Bear Vintage & Handmade.

When did you open? Is there a story about why you opened?
We opened in May of last year. Julia had been thinking about opening a store for  some time, and had already researched a lot of the logistics. We had talked about me doing some window displays for her, and then she asked me in late March if I wanted to come on board as a partner. I said I would think it over; she gave me the weekend to decide because she wanted to sign the lease! We decided to go for it -- we took the month of April to get the space ready and fill it with our initial inventory, some of which she already had. Pushing ourselves to open at the beginning of May was a ton of work, but definitely worth it!
 
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Do you offer vintage or handmade items in your store?
Officially we're called Black Bear Vintage & Handmade, so you will find both vintage AND handmade items here. The clothing, shoes, belts and bags are mostly vintage. As far as handmade items, we carry jewelry, ceramics, greeting cards, pillows, candles, stuffed animals, art prints, and more! A lot of our handmade inventory is made my local artists.
Pillows
Cat and Dog pillows, by our very own Julia Duncan-Roitman

 
What is your shop address?
469 16th Street, just off of Prospect Park West. 
 
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Elephant and Owl pillows, illustrated, silkscreened and sewn by Alison Corrie

What are your hours?
12pm - 7pm Sunday through Friday, 11pm - 7pm Saturday
 
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What are some of your favorite items?
We have some really great jewelry. Julia and I have definitely bought a few pieces for ourselves! Also, some of the vintage items we come across are outstanding. It's very hard not to buy them all, but we *try* to leave the best pieces for our customers. 
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Cat totebag, by 1Aeon
 
What is it that you love about vintage & antiques?
First of all, the one-of-a-kind nature of vintage pieces is so fun -- you know no one else is going to have the same thing. Second, we both appreciate the design trends (not to mention the workmanship) of decades past. And it's always fun to mix modern pieces with vintage accessories, etc.
 
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Is shopping indie and small businesses important to you? If so, why?
Yes -- we've both lived in Brooklyn for a long time, and have always tried to support the many small businesses in our neighborhoods. It's a big draw of living here, honestly. Also, we're both super crafty ladies, so we appreciate the high level of quality you get when something has been lovingly made by hand rather than churned out in mass quantities. But in order for those businesses to thrive, we all have to buy their products and services! So we try to support them whenever we can.
 
A special thank you to Michelle Ferrara and Julia Duncan-Roitman co-owners, Black Bear Vintage & Handmade for the interview and inside peek into their store. If you visit their shop, let them know you hear about them on Vintage Indie.

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