Outpost Vintage & Thrift


Starting a business of one’s own usually has an inherent “but“. I know this from personal experience because until I had actually left my corporate job, I thought I’d love to be an entrepreneur “but” working for a big company gave me steady income in exchange for reasonable and consistent hours of work.

Now that I have a small business, people sometimes mention to me that they would also like to be an entrepreneur… “but” their parents want them to be professionals or they don’t have capital or they don’t have the savings to even cover their basic living expenses while the business gets off the ground. All valid and logical “buts“…and as I say, I’ve been there.

I mentioned in my last post that a former manager of customer service at PGB, Carolyn Fielding, skipped the “I would love to start a business, but” stage by just going right ahead and starting one! She had, I assume, lots of logical reasons why she couldn’t  but nevertheless she just did.


Last summer, with an inkling in her mind that it might one day be useful, Carolyn bought a vintage teardrop trailer and in the fall she started working part time in a vintage clothing store (cupcakes, clothing, why not?!). In January, Carolyn finished things up at Prairie Girl and then spent a few months planning her business, Outpost Vintage & Thrift.


Rather than commit to a store lease, Carolyn decided to stock her very cute little trailer with vintage clothes she had been carefully selecting for several years and hit the Ontario flea market from May throughout the summer. Her attractive website, perfectly displayed and pristine merchandise, and clean, simple business cards reveal a carefully thought out strategy minimizing financial risk but maximizing her ability to test the waters, meet people who may have interesting business ideas for her to consider, and most importantly, see whether this is a path that she really likes.

Based on emails this summer from Carolyn and the smile on her  face when I saw her one Sunday at a Toronto market, I do think this is a path she really likes!  She has mentioned that her diet includes a lot of rice cakes and cereal lately but she doesn’t say it as a complaint, in fact Carolyn says she has never been happier.  By approaching business ownership in a low key but enthusiastic way, she found a way to start her dream vintage clothing business and I am pretty sure that one way or another, Carolyn will figure out how to take what she has learned in this first summer and build from there.

Check out Outpost Vintage & Thrift at  http://outpostvintage.tumblr.com

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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