Aurora Shoe Co.

Meet the Neighbors - Dinosaur Dry Goods

We passionately support small business and handmade and local goods. As a visitor of our blog, we thought that you might feel the same way. In our Meet the Neighbors series we're featuring businesses and people who reflect our own values and whom we feel lucky to call neighbors and friends.

Today I'm excited to introduce you to a small business that I have known and loved since it appeared a few miles from my house.  I would come home from college and peruse the racks for simple and beautiful linen dresses and tops.  I'd usually find a few vintage treasures like aprons or handkerchiefs, and once a vintage white bedspread, which has become a favorite. 

  I stopped in to visit with Jackie at her shop, Dinosaur Dry Goods a couple of weeks ago when the weather was warm(ish) and the sun was shining.  Here are some photos from our visit along with our conversation about her eclectic work.

How did you get into retail?

I always had entrepreneurial aspirations that probably come from various family-run businesses that I was exposed to while growing up. When our kids were little, we shopped for second hand kids' clothes on the other side of Cayuga Lake. When one of the businesses was up for sale, I investigated buying it and moving it to King Ferry. The purchase didn't work out, but the wheels were in motion and I started Dinosaur Dry Goods in King Ferry as a gently-used clothing store. That was in 1999 and Ed was a stay-at-home dad, so he worked in the store with a baby napping in the back room.

Our business and the world of on-line commerce were growing up at the same time and the movement toward on-line sales was natural. Now 95% of our business is from our various e-commerce venues.  Our specialty is the locally headquartered, Flax by Jeanne Engelhart which has a loyal collectors around the world.

How did you come up with a name for your business?

I wanted a name that sounded friendly and would adapt well as the business grew and changed. Dry Goods seemed to encompass a wide range of products featuring textiles. The Dinosaur part worked for used goods because dinosaurs are always being recycled, reused...always making a comeback. And I love alliteration.

Your etsy shop has vintage stuff. Have you ever had something that you thought was amazing, but that didn't sell well?
Everything sells eventually. It is just a matter of the right buyer finding the right item at the right time. That is the downside of 7-day eBay auctions. If the right customers don't find you in that small window of time and bid against each other, you don't get those crazy-lucrative auction prices for your items.

How do you balance work with motherhood and all of the other competing interests in your life?

I try to do only things that I enjoy. I make my business my life and my fun. My family likes to roll their eyes at me when I suggest that work is fun, but I think deep down inside they are learning that a job doesn't have to be something you complain about and dread going to each day. It is all about choice. You can choose to be busy and unhappy, or you can choose to find balance and contentment.

Why do you think it is important to buy local?

I like to buy local so I don't have to pay the added transportation costs to the product and environment when something travels across the country. Local food is generally fresher. Buying from local businesses keeps the money in the neighborhood and I'd prefer my neighbors prosper before I see large corporate businesses prosper.

Do you have anything new or anything you'd like to share?

I went to a dinner for Wells College's new Center for Business and Entrepreneurship and was reminded of how perfect my liberal arts education prepared me for running a business. I am able to combine so many of my interests...economics, art history, sculpture, marketing, graphic design, computers as I manage my business

Thanks to Jackie for welcoming us into her business and her home.  I had no idea she was so multifaceted - there were crafty and creative surprises everywhere.  As you can imagine, I didn't walk away empty handed and indulged with a few new linen shirts and dresses.  
You can shop Dinosaur Dry Goods online here.  She's also got a vintage shop on Etsy and hosts regular Ebay auctions.   Local folks can contact Jackie to make an appointment. 

I like to keep up with Jackie on Twitter.  If you're there give her a shout @DDG (give me a shout too while you're at it: @AuroraShoeAlys).