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Big mood at Hello Moon: Owner Kadeeshia Solomon talks vintage
Kadeeshia Solomon, founder of Hello Moon Vintage. Photo: Hello Moon Vintage

Big mood at Hello Moon: Owner Kadeeshia Solomon talks vintage


Kadeeshia Solomon, founder of Hello Moon Vintage, chats about her shop’s romantic aesthetic, running a Black-owned vintage business, and how she uses Instagram to drive website sales

Every night that Hello Moon Vintage owner Kadeeshia Solomon happens to spot the moon, she picks up the phone to tell her 95-year-old grandmother where to look in the night sky to glimpse it—from 540 kilometres away.

“We love the moon and how it represents intuition and feminine energy,” the Toronto-based Kadeeshia says of her oma, who lives in Montreal. “She’ll finally find it and she’ll say, ‘Oh hello, moon.’”

“Hello Moon” was a natural choice for the name of Kadeeshia’s vintage clothing shop when she rebranded her business in 2020 after operating under the name KD Vintage Goods since 2017. It was a personal touchpoint for what is now a brand that Kadeeshia, a self-described spiritual person, says contains her heart and soul.

On our call, Kadeeshia is wearing her favourite possession, her Oma’s wedding-day blouse. Its gossamer-thin material and pointed lace-trimmed collar encapsulate the Hello Moon Vintage aesthetic: ethereal, whimsical, inspired by nature, and a bit “witchy,” according to Kadeeshia — indeed, scrolling through her Instagram feed, the mood strikes as a little bit wood nymph, a little bit witch.

Kadeeshia favours hard-to-find Victorian and Edwardian silhouettes especially, and rounds out her racks with an eclectic collection of hippie-chic, size-inclusive pieces from all eras. “When I look for clothing, I try to find things that I would wear myself,” she explains.

With vintage apparel, “you have someone’s energy with you. I’ll look at a nice dress and think, ‘Wow, I’m sure someone had a really good day in that. I want this energy in my house,’” Kadeeshia says. “To think that there was a whole life in that? And that person probably doesn’t even know you have that on you? It’s just so special.”

A paisley-patterned pleated skirt paired with a sleeveless frilly button-up shirt in cream tones, forest green wide-brimmed felt hat, linen blazer, and brown cowboy boots.
Kadeeshia got interested in vintage early in life. As a child, she loved flipping through photo albums to see her grandmother’s outfits. “She had amazing style and I was like, ‘Wow, I think I like old clothing!’” she says. “The beauty of vintage is that nothing is perfect — and if it is, that is going to come with a cost.” Photo: Hello Moon Vintage

Kadeeshia runs Hello Moon Vintage full-time with the help of her fiancé Jordan Commons, who handles the shop’s administration work. The couple recently moved to Toronto from Ottawa to make a go of Jordan’s gourmet food business, Good Wheel Pizza, which he runs with his brother.

The move has proven beneficial for Kadeeshia too, as she continues to gain ground and develop connections in the Toronto vintage scene.

Establishing a client base in a new market has been a rewarding challenge. “It feels like I’m almost starting from scratch again, which also feels kind of nice,” she says. “In Ottawa, I was KD Vintage and then I became Hello Moon Vintage, but now, I’ve come here fully being myself.”

Supporting Black-owned businesses

Kadeeshia says she’s proud to be a Black-owned business in the vintage-selling industry. “As a Black woman, I never felt that vintage was for Black people, because you would never see it in pictures,” she says. “You’d go on Pinterest, type in something like ‘1950s old catalogues,’ and you’d never see a Black person. So then you never think it’s for you.”

In addition to the challenges felt by every entrepreneur starting their own business, Kadeeshia says she’s had to carve out a sense of belonging in what is still a predominantly white industry, and push back against racial stereotypes — like when she’s watched more closely while shopping at a thrift store, or when she’s often felt unsafe or unwelcome while visiting vintage shops and estate sales in small towns.

Black-and-white portrait of the seller and her husband standing in a grassy field on a summer day.
Kadeeshia (left), pictured with fiancé Jordan Commons, who helps her run Hello Moon Vintage, says she hopes more vintage sellers will explore size-inclusive clothing. “There's a really big market for plus-size folks who also want to dress really cute,” she says. Photo: Hello Moon Vintage

“Sometimes you go into small towns and you’re dressed up like a city person, on top of being Black,” she explains. “It’s hard to be taken seriously as a Black woman [in business]. I feel I’ve had to whitewash myself so I can get more opportunities, or into markets.”

Kadeeshia says she sees a shift slowly taking place in the reselling industry, and gives partial credit to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which gained more widespread global support in the early days of the pandemic.

As BLM continued to highlight and encourage patronage of Black-owned businesses, Kadeeshia noticed a rise in her Instagram followers, which helped her with “actually feeling seen,” she says. “But I also give props to myself, because I worked my ass off to market myself!”

Using the Instagram platform as an extension of her authentic self has given Kadeeshia the opportunity to forge and maintain new relationships with her followers as they connect with her on a personal level.

She says she’d like to see more Black women inspired to join the industry — while she lived in Ottawa, Kadeeshia’s was only one of two vintage shops owned by Black women.

“It feels really empowering to be one of few, but [the industry] still feels like a little club,” she says. “When I do see specifically Black-owned businesses, especially ones owned by women, I’m just so happy. I hope that there will be more in the future because we really, really need that community.”

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Channeling a mood

Kadeeshia points to the rise of the “cottagecore” aesthetic as another reason why her shop’s popularity has increased (at the time of this writing, she had over 7,500 Instagram followers), as well as the number of resellers that started to emerge during the COVID-19 lockdowns who helped to proliferate the fashion trend.

“Everybody was tapping into their creativity and following what they love to do,” she says. “Cottagecore skyrocketed, because people were seeking simplicity and nature.”

Creativity is in Kadeeshia’s DNA — she studied baking and culinary arts in school and, as a passion project, moulds and hand paints polymer clay mushroom earrings, which she occasionally sells.

She channels her creative flair through her Instagram feed: an endless grid of moody, editorial-esque photo setups where she, Jordan and their friends model Hello Moon’s clothes.

To create each photograph, “I take things from my home, or things that make me feel really comfortable and are true to what I personally love,” she says. “I hope that energy pulls through in the pictures.”

A creamy wool ribbed button-up sweater paired with a knee-length floral dress, straw hat with black band, and black leather lace-up shoes.
“It's hard to be seen for creators on Instagram, because now you have to make Reels,” Kadeeshia explains, noting that the platform’s current advertising model favours large brands with deep pockets. “Instagram needs to figure out a way to give some exposure to small businesses.” Photo: Hello Moon Vintage

“I’m trying to convey a breath of fresh air. The Internet can be so draining. When there’s things going on in the world, we see all those slides and stuff, which are great to have because they’re really informative — but sometimes, people just want to look at a deer, or a mushroom, and feel like they can escape. I hope I can convey that, or make people feel like they’re in a dream.”

Mood is integral to Hello Moon Vintage’s brand — Kadeeshia says she is increasingly careful with how she engages with social media to ensure she maintains healthy boundaries and represents her brand in the best possible way.

So if she’s planned a post but is having a bad day, she’ll hold off from tapping “Share” until she’s in a better place. “I want my pictures to radiate joy,” she explains. “If I have a flat-lay that I really love and that I had so much fun making...I want that energy to be in that picture.”

Earlier this year, Kadeeshia switched to a standalone website to move her products, rather than selling via Instagram, which she now uses primarily as a marketing tool, community engagement platform and a means to drive followers to her site.

Not having to manage a slew of direct messages during a sale or the frustration of interested buyers who suddenly ghost has been especially freeing, she says.

“The website simplifies things, where if you want it now, you buy it and that’s that. I’m not chasing anyone,” she says. “Mentally, it’s just so much better for me to not be on my phone as often, and it leaves more room to be creative, post whenever I want and also build a fun hype.”

A long white fur coat displayed on a mannequin with a moss green wide-brimmed hat and black trousers with a brown belt and large brass buckle.
Kadeeshia creates a mood for her photo setups with Hello Moon Vintage. She says some of her favourite online vintage shops favour a similar aesthetic, including Marigolds Vintage, Forest Floor Vintage and Weft & Whorl. She also likes to shop at Ragdoll Vintage and Black Diamond Vintage in Toronto. Photo: Hello Moon Vintage

Knowing your worth

As a full-time seller, Kadeeshia says finding a balance between her time and effort and her own values about vintage has made some activities, like pricing, harder than others.

“Sometimes I find myself underpricing things because I want to be as accessible as possible,” she says. “I think everybody deserves to be able to wear vintage and not feel like they have to spend an entire paycheque on a pair of pants.”

Not every seller will repair items, but Kadeeshia, a sewer, does. Between fixing tears, mending buttons or reconditioning the material to get a piece looking its best, plus washing and photographing, she might spend up to three days getting an item ready for sale.

“Not enough people talk about that, or how much a small business eats the cost of things because we don’t feel that we’re worthy enough to charge [more].”

Her biggest lesson: know your worth. When pricing an item, Kadeeshia factors in the initial cost, the product’s rarity, materials and time needed for sourcing, washing and repairs, and the cost of shipping, which tends to be relatively expensive for small businesses.

On top of that, she needs to ensure she is maintaining a fair living wage. Kadeeshia is saving to eventually buy a bricks-and-mortar home for Hello Moon Vintage.

“I want a little shop where it makes enough income for me to just live and have what I need and to continue to have this community, because I don’t want to lose any of this,” she says.

“I still want to be able to talk to people one on one and continue to establish relationships with shoppers. It’s so personal.”

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