Profile: Justyna Baraniecki

February 2, 2011

Report by Danielle Waters.

Additional photos provided courtesy of

So what do you do if you’ve lost your job and you are not really considering the idea of going back to work for someone else? Well, if you are Justyna Baraniecki, you turn an ongoing passion and love for fashion and vintage into a full-fledged online clothing store.

Baraniecki is not alone in her new business venture, however. “I co-own with my fiancé and business partner,” she says. “We just started mulling around and thinking about it, and were originally going to open a little thrift shop on eBay and see what happens.”

But they decided not to stop there. Baraniecki says that they “started playing around with the idea of a website and, after a couple of months of planning and talking, decided this is what [they] wanted to do full time.”

As the project developed, the team at Chicshop had to make many decisions. Their main concern was competition.

Baraniecki explains, “Most of our competition is online and that’s one of the things Jeremy and I were really looking at when we decided to open the store. In our research we found that there really isn’t that much in terms of online shopping in Canada and [that concept] still seems to be in its youth.”

One of the challenges that many in the vintage industry face is the ability to select pieces to sell, as the vintage market is very diverse, so it is easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of clothing available. In the world of vintage, therefore, it is necessary to try many things to see what works.

“I’ve been collecting vintage for almost 10 years now,” says Baraniecki. “Whenever I’ve gone to a market or just seen a great vintage piece, it didn’t matter if it was my size or not,  I would just pick it up to have it in my collection. So I had this huge excess pool of vintage that I could sell right away, and so it started out as that.”

Creating an entire look solely based on vintage is easy if you have a dress, but if you have separate pieces it can be a little overwhelming to combine everything together.

Baraniecki talks about finding new trends and looks to combine and complement the vintage pieces at the online store.

“We are going to add new non-vintage designers as well. We have BB Dakota, Jack and Motel from England already in. We also have a number of other designers coming in as well, such as Yasmine Wasfy from Montreal, Style Stalker from Australia and Lucy Love from America, and we are buying a ton more for fall, so eventually it’s going to be 50 per cent vintage, 50 per cent new designers,” says Baraniecki.

Chicshop has great plans for the upcoming months too.

“We have pretty much everything right now except for jewelry, shoes and purses. I would say that in about two months, we will be there with the full package!”

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