Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Interview with OldSoulVintageCA!

 Interview with a Collector - A ggsdolls blog Series

A monthly series on my blog where I feature some of the most amazing collectors, sellers, and content creators that have become really good friends of mine and what they collect and why?

    For the month of January, my blog interview is with a Canadian beauty with an eye for vintage, mentor and restorer, Savannah of OldSoulVintageCA on Instagram!

    Savannah is from Ontario, Canada and is 26 years old. She sells vintage toys on Etsy and vintage patchwork quilt blankets locally for a living. Now, onto my questions for Savannah! When was the first time you encountered vintage rubber faces? Hmm... I think the first time I had seen lots of vintage rubber face toys was on the website Flickr. Back in my early days of toy collecting when Instagram wasn’t really a thing, and a few Canadian Regal brand rubber faced toys locally at antique stores and such. I've always thought they were interesting and have never found them or any of my toys creepy. The knock off Rushton Brand Santas' can be found in almost every antique store nearby so I had seen those a lot.

 How do you describe your relationship with your collection, and what is the magical thing that keep you interested in it? I am extremely attached to my toys and also collecting and selling as a lifestyle in general. It does not feel like a job for me. Like other collectors, toys are really an escape for me! They are what keeps me going a lot of times. Throughout my life I have always felt like sort of an oddball with my obsession revolving around vintage toys and antiques! Since I can remember I always been obsessed with toys and completing the play sets I had among toy lines. They have always been a big part of my life and will continue to be. What keeps me interested in these magical toys is the unique personalities and energy each one brings. I believe they are a deep expression of who I am. I also feel like some of my older toys have personalities within them. Haha, this is why I get passionate about where they end up sometimes. I like that collecting them is endless, I am able to collect different types of toys from all eras without any limitations. Lastly, there is a lot of mystery surrounding them and their history. I’m always curious about the previous lives they have lived and enjoy talking with my friends doing toy detective work…trying to figure out the origins of how these toys came to be. Especially, Mary Rushton's creations. I’m constantly reading and learning new things about them in my spare time.

What is it about vintage kitsch aesthetic that makes it different from others? I would say the vintage kitsch aesthetic is different than other eras as it was really the staple and beginning of mass produced toys. Kitsch era heavily influenced toys throughout the following decades and even today that are being sold in stores. There is something so sweet and cute about the expressions, colors, and big eyes of the kitschy era. My collection originally started when I was younger. I used to go to yard sales with my grandpa as a child, he taught me how to be a finder. Once I grew out of the typical age where children stop playing with toys I was still very much obsessed with them. Mostly dolls! I started searching eBay and collector blogs, Flickr and became extremely influenced by Blythe dolls, Strawberry shortcake, Holly Hobby and rag dolls. They really took over my entire brain. My parents would find me lots of these toys locally and surprise me with them for Christmas! 

Okay, my collection now is honestly quite large, but I try to part with some items in order to acquire more without feeling too crowded. I have learned to get a bit picky with my collection and don’t normally share toys I am after or actively trying to collect on social media. I am always looking for unique toys that I don’t see much of and lately I am rekindling the flame with my collecting roots and love for antique and vintage rag dolls that are one of a kind!

What has been the reaction of your family, friends or colleagues about your hobby? My partner lets me take over rooms in our house and fill them with toys. So I thank him for that freedom and always supporting my collecting (ha ha). My parents have always been extremely supportive of my collecting. They even get so excited when I have new toy arrivals! We go out antique hunting quite often as a family as they are into this type of thing too. I am also extremely lucky to have a cousin who shares a passion of vintage and antique toys as well.  I have had boyfriends and friends in the past that would make fun of my collecting and really misunderstood it. So I kind of kept my toy collecting a big secret for a large portion of my life. (It’s not fun). I think a lot of people who know about my collecting in real life now don’t really get it and might find my toys unsettling. They cannot see the artistic side to them which is hard for me to understand. As I have grown older I embrace my collecting and now I don’t mind sharing it with new people regardless of their reactions or judgement. Some think it is a very unique hobby and are shocked at the craziness of the toy collecting world. Especially the value of some items.

Tell me about your favorite item in your collection and why it is so special to you? I have a LOT of favorite toys so this question is extremely hard for me…but I would say that my primitive rag doll cat and also this large mask face cat are in my top favorites. They are just so special to me…worn and played with kitties with character that hit every checkbox for me. I instantly feel happy when I look at them.  

As a seller, when did you start selling, what has been your experience and is it easy to find things to sell for your shop? I sold my first item on eBay when I was 13 years old! I found a vintage 'Jammie Pies' doll locally for 3 dollars and I think I sold her for 130 dollars! Which was a lot at the time. But my Etsy shop actually started when I was in college and pulling some of my collection out of storage and decided to part with some of my toy hoard. I posted them online locally and was shocked that the value had tripled since the time I had them packed away. I decided to start my shop and sell off my extra strawberry shortcake dolls that I had doubles of, but then started grabbing vintage toys while I was out thrifting as I sell patchwork quilt blankets and used to sell vintage novelty and band shirts or old clothing. I was able to turn this into a full time income and eventually quit my retail job. It took a lot of work to get my Etsy shop going with traction. There has been many times where I part with an item from my collection and feel extremely sad about it. But I always remind myself that better toys eventually come along with patience.

How would you describe your shop? I would describe the items I sell as vintage kitsch 80s and 90s girl toys but I also occasionally sell kitschy decor items if I come across them. How do you source the items you sell in your shop? Now I source the items I sell from a good friend of mine that lives nearby and treasure hunts all day. I normally pick up toys from him every week, clean them up and post them. My favorite thing is to clean 80s and 90s toys and fix them as close to original as possible. It is so rewarding to save toys and it is a whole other passion within collecting and selling. Cleaning toys is so therapeutic and I love being able to reunite people with their childhood memories. I also buy lots of my toys online, I search selling sites daily. Sometimes I buy things and they don’t sell. It takes a lot of time, energy and money to figure out what sells and what doesn’t. I have donated lots of toys back after spending time cleaning them etc because of this reason! The types of items I mainly look for are nostalgic toys, the more obscure the better. The best toys to sell are ones that other thrifters wouldn’t consider grabbing. But ultimately I just sell things that grab my eye.

What are some of the best selling items in your shop? The things that sell the best in my shop are Polly Pockets, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, vintage Fisher Price and Playskool plush toys. I am frequently restocking these items. What is the most unique or unusual item you have come across? The most unique item I have come across are my vintage oil cloth carnival prize plush and also some antique cloth dolls I have. I truly cherish them and don’t think I can ever part with them. 

If there was any item that was given to you or found for free, what would it be and why? If any item was given to me for free of charge I would have to say I would choose some early Rushtons. Mary’s earliest work really interests me. There has been a huge increase in demand for rubber faced toys in the past years. I think most of it is attributed to social media and the pandemic but also because toys have evolved into somewhat of an *aesthetic* as well…As soon as Covid started I noticed I had a lot more sales on my Etsy shop, more people interested in their childhood toys but also people have had a lot more time to get heavily influenced by Instagram collectors and discover rubber faced toys. 

I also think that new collectors are drawn to “fixing“ these old toys as a hobby. Which can end up being very unfortunate to witness if they don’t know what they are doing. But overall I think that Rushton's in general are extremely enticing and interesting. Once you have one they kind of become an addiction. Their quality and craftsmanship is truly unmatched. Right now the market is so competitive and these toys are becoming more and more rare. Especially hard to find in original untouched condition. It seems that younger generations of teenagers are very into rubber faced toys and squeaks which I find interesting!

Thank you again so much to Savannah with sharing her story, collection, and shop! Be sure to visit OldSoulVintageCA on Etsy, and Instagram for Savannah's amazing restorations and treasures up for sale!!

Until next month, when we meet another collector for the Month of February!! Happy Finds Y'all!!

Thank you for stopping by! ~ ggsdolls


  1. Great interview and such magical photos!

    1. Hello A, thank you so much for your thoughts dear! Savannah did such an awesome job! Hugs, Gigi