Beggar’s Banquet brings vintage finds to Roxborough
ROXBOROUGH » A charming vintage shop has resided on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough since it opened last year, but its owner, MandyKravetz, has been a passionatemerchant of all things retro for a lot longer.
Beggar’s Banquet, named for the Rolling Stones albumof the same title, is a local business that sells primarily women’s clothing and accessories.
Kravetz is a lifelong lover of all things vintage who started out selling vintage dishes online back in 2011. At the time, she was living in Phoenix and her children were starting high school, which allowed her some free time to devote to her passion. After her children went off to college, she made the decision to relocate to Philadelphia.
“I didn’t know what it was like to be an empty nester. I had all this time on my hands,” Kravetz said.
She had by then moved away fromselling dishware and had shifted her focus to selling clothing. She eventually decided to open a brickand-mortar store and settled on Roxborough for the location.
“Roxborough’s so great— it’s still in the city, but it has a neighborhood feel, more so than any other community,” Kravetz said.
The store itself is tidy, bright and colorful and filled with eclectic, retro décor. Customers can find everything from tops and dresses to outerwear, sleepwear and handbags. While the store mostly carries women’s clothing, about one-third of the store is men’s clothing. Customers can also find a small section of home-related products, including dishware, such as vintage Pyrex.
Kravetz said she is particular about the items she carries in her store, and she strives to curate a collection of high-quality items in excellent condition. She has learned from experience what to look for in vintage clothing. She considers both the age and quality of items when deciding what to sell. She searches for well-made clothing, typically from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and pays special attention to the construction, fabric and patterns. When she finds a great item, she enjoys cleaning and repairing it. Kravetz estimates that she repairs about 20 percent of the items she sells.
“It’s a labor of love,” Kravetz said, adding, “The people who work here are like family.”
She runs the store with the help of three employees. She stressed that Beggar’s Banquet is not about highpressure sales techniques. She and her employees do not like to push people into buying items. They prefer to be honest in helping customers find clothing that really works for them.
“We’re about someone looking great,” Kravetz said, “[and] getting something awesome at an awesome price.”
She said there are many reasons to consider buying vintage. The quality of clothing from previous eras is generally much better than what is available today. Not only that, recycling clothing is better for the environment than buying new. Plus, it can be much more affordable.
She recalled a time when she sold a vintage designer dress for $30. The woman who purchased the blue gown planned to wear it for her wedding.
“It was in better condition than anything you can buy new,” she said.
Themajority of the clothing sold in Beggar’s Banquet was made in the United States, as most clothing sold in the U.S. through the 1960s was manufactured in the U.S. Kravetz said she aims to carry shoes that were made in Italy, Spain and Brazil.
In the year since the store opened, the community response has been positive. Beggar’s Banquet has a lot of repeat customers and vintage-loving regulars, says Kravetz.
Beyond that, the store was recently interviewed by students at The Wharton School as part of the business school’s Wharton Undergrad Consulting Club.
She welcomes the possibility to receive advice.
“My expertise is in finding and curating vintage clothing,” she said, adding she is not necessarily an expert in running a business. She believes it’s important to listen and take advice from others in order to succeed.
Kravetz will find out next month if the store will be selected by the program to be studied and assessed by students.
Kravetz recommends customers follow the store on Instagram at beggarsbanquet_vintage. A lot of the merchandise is featured on the account, with size and price information, and the store occasionally sells products to customers shopping via Instagram.
Retro table settings and other items are on display at Beggar’s Boutique Vintage in Roxborough.
Owner Mandy Kravetz works the sales desk at Beggar’s Boutique Vintage in Roxborough.