Photo: Christina is modeling our vintage gold-tone dachshund tie clip.
If you’re here, you’re likely a dachshund devotee. And because our enthusiasm for our doxies is just about always overflowing, we wanted to make sure that Witzig was a place where you could find more than just the essentials you need for your pup.
You may have noticed the vintage items on our site, nestled between denim vests and bungee leashes. Each of these one-of-a-kind pieces are hand-selected by Witzig’s Christina Boland, a dachshund parent and vintage aficionado. But what’s the story behind these pieces and how she chooses them? Below, Christina shares a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into sourcing Witzig’s unique vintage collection.
What inspired you to include vintage pieces in Witzig’s product selection?
There are so many e-commerce sites that sell gear or toys for your pets, and I think it’s easy to feel inundated with choice, because at any given time, there’s so much available. With these vintage items, though, we have a very limited quantity, and so if you want to purchase one, it’s more time-sensitive than a standard purchase. For Christmas, for example, the ornaments I’ve selected are all unique — we only have one of each. That means that once someone buys one, it’s gone. To me, that makes it both a more special gift to give and a more special gift to receive. We’ll always sell harnesses and toys — they’re incredibly useful! — but we don’t want to needlessly fill the site with things that people don’t need, either. By adding vintage pieces that people haven’t seen before and may not see again, we keep the site fresh and exciting.
How do you select Witzig’s vintage pieces?
I love yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales, so I always have an eye out. It’s an added bonus that I get to do that for work now. Taste is so personal, and everyone has a different style, so I’m not only going to choose items that I would want to have. I do try to consider what’s tasteful though, and tend to ask myself if an item is something that I would be horrified to see in someone else’s home. If it doesn’t pass that test, I won’t put it on the site.
Once I find a piece that I love, I search for it again. By doing this, I’m looking to make sure that the item is fairly unique. If I can find dozens of the same thing online, I’ll probably pass. Condition is also really important. If there’s a tiny crack or something small, it’s okay and I’ll be sure I note that on the site, but I’m not going to buy anything that looks damaged or is dirty.
We’ve heard from so many of the dachshund owners in our community that after a certain point, their friends seem to only get them dachshund-related gifts. For the most part, they’re receiving items that feel a bit generic, and they don’t have any real interest in holding on to them. Instead of the cheesier, mass-produced dachshund paraphernalia, it’s my goal to ensure that Witzig’s vintage items are things that people would actually be excited to receive — to the point that they may even buy them for themselves.
How do you define vintage?
A lot of stores market things as vintage, but they’re actually brand new items that are just “vintage-style,” so it’s an important distinction to make. I think vintage can be as new as 10 years ago if I feel confident that it’s not still being produced and hasn’t been produced since then. Vintage pieces by my definition are things that aren’t still in circulation, and it’s a bonus if it’s something that not only isn’t produced anymore, but also wasn’t ever widely produced and so isn’t readily available. I’m sure there are things that were produced 10 years ago that haven’t been produced since, but you could find them almost anywhere, and that’s less appealing to me. Beyond that, anything that is pre-1990s is a pretty definite yes.
Have you learned anything about the breed while hunting for vintage dachshund pieces?
I get the sense that dachshunds were incredibly popular in the 50s. There’s a lot of ephemera from that decade. I don’t know if it has something to do with the timing of the World Wars, but there are a lot of Americana pieces from that time period that feature dachshunds.
What are some of the pieces you’ve found that you’ve loved the most?
I really love the framed pieces. There’s one in particular that, for whatever reason, I’m really into. It’s a Polaroid that was taken in the 60s of a guy lying down with his dachshund. They’re not doing anything special — maybe napping after dinner or something. Looking at it, you start to wonder what that guy was like, why the photo was taken, and why it was saved for all these years. It’s a pretty candid snapshot, but I also find the photo really beautiful, and by framing it, I love that we’re giving the piece a second life.
In general, the older the piece is, the more fascinated by it I am. We found a postcard from 1912 that we’re planning on framing in double-sided glass. It was a sent postcard, and I want to be sure that the message is preserved. To think about the fact that someone wrote it, that someone owned it, and that someone held onto it for all these years is crazy to me. I’m a packrat, especially with cards, because it’s so rare to get handwritten notes these days and they feel really special. But to make it through over 100 years? That’s quite something.
Are there any pieces you’re hoping to find that you haven’t found yet?
I would love to find a super-soft, worn — but clean! — dachshund t-shirt from the 80s. I haven’t found anything like that yet, which surprises me, because I’m sure that it must exist! If and when I do find one, though, I might have a hard time putting that one on the site because I have a feeling I would want it for myself.