Friday, June 5, 2015

DIY: Selling on Etsy, A Vintage Vendor's How To

Well, hey there, long lost friends! Since that big fat hairy art show blog post, I've been to Cali and back and have since continued my never-ending effort of decluttering and tidying (follow that excitement here, y'all!). In case you've not read my blog or spoken with me for more than five minutes, Ima reading this book and cleaning the shizz outta my biz as I've recently discovered that A. I'm a hoarder! and B. I'm a compulsive shopper! and C. I'm the proud owner of 6 deodorants (which I frequently forget to use, ahem), 9 toothbrushes and 13 chapsticks! Why? BECAUSE READ A. AND B., THAT'S WHY. It's funny because I was at the dentist the other day and as the hygienist was taking out her frustrations on my plaque she mentioned how she had read this great book on tidying up. And I was all "Me too!" although, with her hands all up in my grill it sounded more like "Muefeefs Oooooo!", but whateves. We both agreed that the book is indeed a miracle worker and I need to floss more. 

Anyway, what's all this jib-jab got to do with the blog post at hand? Well, I happen to have a lot of vintage clothing and whatnots to my decluttering name. I've been selling these wares in my vintage shop on and off of a couple of years. It's a great way to share my vintage finds as well as rake in some fabric buying cash (shhhhhh, don't tell the hubs). More often than not, I also spend that money on etsy, scooping up great vintage finds and unique artworks. And that's how I met Sharon Hernandez of Sassy Señorita Vintage. I purchased one of my very fave vintage hand-stitched skirts from her and we struck up an vintage-lovin', etsy-sellin friendship. You might recall a couple of months ago, I interviewed a jewelry-making/art-teacherin/etsy-seller Beth Heishman. This time around, I thought you'd enjoy hearing from the perspective of an active and successful vintage seller. Enjoy!
You are the owner of one of my fave vintage shops! Tell us a little bit on how you got started selling vintage items on etsy.

My adventures on Etsy started after I suffered a traumatic physical injury.  It was definitely the worst and best thing that ever happened to me.  The best part of it was that it really brought my life into focus.  I had been working at a soul-sucking job, and after my injury happened, I would just sit at work with the thoughts, "what the bleepity bleep bleep am I doing here?" just racing through my brain all day.  So, I literally walked out of my job with no plan.  Luckily, I learned about Etsy from a friend, and a lightbulb went off – one thing that I knew I was good at was shopping for deals at thrift stores and garage sales!  So, I was able to start up selling pretty quickly and bring in some badly needed income.

Right now, Etsy is my part-time gig, and I am currently in school studying hydrogeology.  Even though I plan to become a professional hydrogeologist, I think I will always be a seller on Etsy.  It really is part of a creative part of my life that I need in order to balance out the more sciency/technical part of my personality.
Having a vintage shop is a tough balance between selling vintage without looking like an online flea market. How do you curate your shop? In other words, how do you know what to sell?

In looking for items to sell, I definitely start off with what would I like or what would I wear.  If I am thrilled by a piece of clothing, I certainly hope someone else might be too.  Otherwise, it has been a bit of a trial and error.  Sometimes, I’ll find an item that I’m unsure of and will try it to see what kind of interest it gets.  I’ve been often really surprised at all the different niches there are out there and what can be really popular.  Of course, I’ll snap up anything unusual….old trapeze circus outfits, Halloween costumes, or antique nurses outfits!

If we promise not to shop in the same places, can you give us a hint as to where you find your awesome finds?

I am really lucky in that, in addition to doing my own shopping, my mother is an estate sale whore, and so she is always out looking for items for me as well.  Besides frequenting garage sales and estate sales, I treasure hunt in local thrift stores, charity gift stores, and even Goodwill.  I would love to take a cross-country trip looking for goodies some day!
Is selling on etsy your full-time gig or do you work elsewhere? Would you like it to be your full-time gig?

Selling on Etsy is requires an amazing amount of multi-tasking!  I’ll typically wake up and answer emails from customers, package items, go to the post office, and then return to the house for mending items and then promoting the store.  The fun days, maybe once or twice a week, are when I get to go shopping or work with my models.  

What's your fave thing about selling on etsy? Do you have a least fave thing?

My favorite things about Etsy are the hunt for amazing things and also interacting with many awesome customers and people.  It’s also great to have a customer just love what you send them.  I really like pushing myself to be more creative with photography and how to put together an outfit so that it looks fashionable.  My least favorite thing is all the garment preparation…the ironing and the mending – I wish I could claim workman’s comp for all the times I have burned  myself with an iron or stabbed myself with a sewing needle (many are haunted, I swear!).

Any advice to someone thinking of selling vintage on etsy?

My advice for people who want to start selling on Etsy is to stick with it and always push yourself to do better.  There is often a big learning curve…from learning to where to take photos and how you want to present things, to figuring out how to label your items so that customers can find your fabulous treasures.  One of the most important things is perseverance, especially when you go through a dry spell!

 Thank you so much for the great chat, Sharon! Y'all, don't forget to drop by Sharon's shop Sassy Señorita Vintage!

If y'all have an etsy shop of any kind, please feel free to add a link in the comments so we can check ya out.

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  1. Please check out my husband's etsy shop. Thanks!

  2. Sorry I left something out.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love her shop, too! Mine is

  4. Great interview, Cassie! It pays to grasp the full scope and breadth of the Etsy trade. Its relative lack of constraints in terms of media and market presence has allowed its prominent products to grow in stature. Thanks for helping Beth run through the slightly more technical aspects of this trade. Good luck, and have fun!

    Tom Hall @ WCS Solutions

  5. I love the way you stage your clothing! Please visit my shop If you have any tips to improve my shop, please convo me!


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