Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Etsy-Selling Secrets

   As I reached  1000 sales in my Etsy shop, I felt pretty excited.  I've been growing my
Etsy shop for 5 years!  It's a wonderful online marketplace for handcrafted and vintage things!
    Actually there were more than 1000 sales,  including some returns, cancellations,
 breakage and refunds,, and multiple purchases counting as one. 
     Selling Etsy from home is time consuming, and takes a lot of space. If I had a storefront
it could be displayed somewhere else, and not so invasive in my home. But, an online store
 reaches more people, and there are benefits of working from home..  
    I feel as though it serves some remote customers and even helps people.  I imagine some
folks can't get out to shop for many reasons, or don''t have antique and vintage, collectibles
 shops nearby.  Some people say, online selling is impersonal, but I have a lot of satisfaction interacting with my customers.

  I once got an order for a fancy  dress. The lady said she had trouble finding clothing
that fit her, but she needed something special for her grandson's wedding.
 She seldom wore a dress, and was hesitant to buy it. I sent her two dresses, in case
 one didin't work.   But once she tried it on, she just loved this green beaded gown.
  It made her feel so beautiful for the first time, and she felt so condfident at her son's
wedding, that she sent me a picture!  I felt so good, knowing this sweet lady was a very
happy customer and looked  stunning in a gown from my shop!

    One time a woman ordered some Sporto Canvas slingback shoes.  She thought they were fabulous and wore them to work. By the end of the day, the sole was entirely loose and flapping.  She got many laughs. I felt terrible, imagining her embarrassment.  I was surprised because they looked fine when I shipped them, but then they came apart first time she wore them!   But she said she wanted to keep them and would like a partial refund, just  to pay  cobbler  repairs.  I talked her into trying a good shoe glue, "Shoe Goo" that I had used.  I gave her the money to buy it. She used it and the problem was solved.

Shoe Goo is available at Walmart

     Another time a young woman bought a small vintage purse and later wrote me a lovely letter.
  She told me her elderly father had owned the company, and he had designed and manufactured
these beautiful  leather bags many years ago.   Since she was a little girl, her life's dream was to help her daddy design handbags!
So when she Googled and found a Perlina bag, she had to have one of his creations. When she received it, he was so pleased to see one on his proud pieces still existed and in such good condition!   She'll always cherish it, and is inspired to reproduce an updated version of that design
She hopes to make it again, now that she manages the company!  She made me so happy!
A Perlina Bag

 Here's my secrets for selling vintage in your Etsy shop:
   ☆ Write a really good description, with good measurements. You can't say too much about the     item.  They will ask you for silly details many times if you don't give enough details.
   ☆Use all five photos!   Sometimes my photography is not so great, but I will go
    back later, when I have more time, and edit - adding better retakes.
   ☆Add a little personal comment, funny remark or suggestion,
 as though you were talking to the person live,  in your shop.
   ☆ Be truthful about flaws, They won't mind complaining and returning items that aren't perfect!
 But probably will accept imperfections if you state them and price accordingly.
 Naturally, Vintage is used, older, and of course, it sometimes shows a little wear or discoloration,
 ( we call it patina)  so be up front about that.    Somebody will still want it, but you have to represent it honestly.
   ☆ If you sell out of something, and someone else  "favorited" it, Then you acquire another one.... Take the time to notify that potential customer that you are listing it again, and quickly list it again. This may lead to another quick sale.
   ☆ Communication is so important. If I can't find an item that is ordered within a week,  I have learned to tell the customer the truth,    Simply, " I am sorry, but I can't locate the item".
Sometimes I  cancel the sale, promptly give a full refund,  and tell them I'll notify them
 when I find it. They are usually very understanding.  I got my only bad feedback from
a lady I didn't notify, because I kept searching for the item for over 10 days, and didn't
tell her I couldn't find it.  Even though I finally located it, and send it within 14 days of
when she ordered it,  she gave me only 1 star and complained that I didn't communicate.
         All my other feedbacks are ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ !    Oh no!  My perfect reputation ruined!
  ☆ I try to ship in 2-3 days, and tell the customer if it will be longer.
Be considerate, especially since you already have their money!
  ☆ I spend the extra money to insure breakables.  Sounds like common sense, but I learned the hard way when customers claimed items I had packed very well were broken upon arrival.
I suspect customer may have lied and said this lid arrived broken,
but I hadn't insured it,  so I got stuck with giving a  full refund.

 Now I own this cute little  set, minus the lid!

     And lastly,
 ☆ Clearly state your return policy. I give a full refund if the customer returns the item
 within 14 days, for whatever reason, Customer pays return shipping.

You want a shop?
 Have fun with it.  If you enjoy dealing with vintage, your joy will shine through and your customers will feel it. They are looking at your vintage shop, because they like old things too!
I think if I didn't have fun doing this, it wouldn't be worth it!
 Vintage is a way of life. My home is filled with old things, which I prefer over new things.
I am delighted when I find a dingy hand crocheted tablecloth that needs TLC.
 I appreciate it and love the challenge of washing it, drying it in the sun and watching it become a restored beauty.
 I don't mind craze lines and small chips. I keep and use the unsaleables that are damaged, but still pretty! I sell the best of my finds, and I love the hunt, the research and handling old things.

 I only regret when I have to sell something that I really wanted to keep!

j. k.    I really didn't like these guys at all!
 Customer bought them after a trip to the Universal Studios. Her kid  really
 wanted these exact doll characters, and they couldn't buy them in the souvenir shop,
So she bought them from me for a surprise Christmas gift!

The funniest thing I ever sold in my Etsy shop, was my ex-husband's  old swim trunks from when he was a teenager!  They said "Grubb" all over them.

But I  do have fun handling my vintage treasures, in  the process of putting them in my Etsy or my booth at the antiques mall.  I love doing the display work. I am always up for  the hunt for vintage treasures. I see the quality in handcrafted items, and the beauty in things used long ago, from another era.

Occasionally I enjoy exhibiting at local antique shows and rubbing shoulders with the other dealers. I learn so much from them. I make good connections, hear about other venues, and find out where to shop for more vintage treasures.

Part of my booth at a weekend Antiques Show in my hometown, 
We only have a few hours to set up!

Do you like vintage too?  

If you decide to be a dealer, you better like it, because it will surround you and take up all your space,
 and consume most of your time and energy.

What's your favorite selling site, and what makes your shop successful? 

I wish you lots of happiness buying and selling vintage! 

Love, Linda

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shot down

What's a girl to do when she's got all kinds of vintage goodness to sell and just a little space in an antiques co-op?  Clutter up her booth, of course.   Expensive space, so it's got to carry as much as I can possibly fit into it, right?    It's been a slow start in a new place, and I just made my rent for the first time in December, after being there for over a  year.  Seems foolish right?  But I didn't want to give up, and the sales were growing, a little more each month, as people discovered the mall, and found me - way in the back.

    I just put an enamel- topped table in, it's red and white, in great shape.  I figured it would look cute for Valentine's Day, and I thought it would fly out the door. Wrong.
   It's still there. So I just took down the Valentine's Day decorations and  moved a few things around, took a few things home and added a dozen new items.
My Cluttered Booth
Carnival of Collectables

Next week, I am participating in an Antiques and Collectibles Show in  Vineland, N.J. so I will clear out a bunch of stuff and take it there, It will be nice to display in a new place, and it's price-tagged already, it should be easy to move stock and take it to a new audience.  Then my booth will look decluttered,  That's my plan.
Here's the kind of stuff I sell in the Carnival of Collectables

 A toy section and a baby gift section in the booth at Carnival of Collectables

   Another  recent dissapointment .
 I tried to open a used-furniture/ repurposed/ vintage store in a property I rent with another lady.
 We had canvassed the neighborhood and everyone thought our idea was grand!  We were prepared, as the township requires that everyone within 250 ft of the property be notified and given a chance to object to changes in land use.

  But we got shot down at the planning board meeting!    Evidently, the city engineer recommended ADA requirements be met,  and new paving, Unfortunately the landlord doesn't want to spend any money on improvements.  Sadly,he  knew this was going to happen and didn't even tell us, but he led us on,  telling us that he would do anything to help us have a store, but  then he withdrew the variance application!  Here we were with our hopes up, planning a great little place where women create, where we could sell cool stuff, and we never had a chance.   There I was with my mouth hanging open, speechless!     My arms full of papers with a petition from the neighbors.  I was ready to explain my business plan, eager to give  my polished elevator pitch,   But, it was never going to be.   Meeting  American Disabilities requirements and new paving is just too much of a hassle for a small business with no money to spend and a stubborn landlord.
    There goes our dreams of holiday bazaars, and painting classes. No people are allowed to visit our building.   All we wanted was a quiet little shop, open a few days a week at most.  Now  the other lady is leaving and going somewhere else, and I am stuck with renting a building I can only use for storage.  I wish I could buy an old barn or some kind of big old building and do what I want with it. It's really tough in this backwards community, with a poor economy. Defeated again.  Haven't gotten over the loss of my other warehouse, and all the work moving from there yet,  and now more problems.

 So here's some new items added to my Etsy shop, which is the only thing working for me right now.

Isn't this the coolest handled reamer, in Jadite!

A cute set of milkglass  pedestal mugs

a darling little dutch girl dolly

   So I continue to list  more vintage goodness on my Etsy shop,   I have over 1000 items, just as many sales and  very good  feedback from happy customers!   ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 I keep my booth filled to the brim.
I will have yardsales as soon as the weather permits and also sell on the online yardsales.
 It's February still and I have a way to go, but spring will come, the economy will pick up and I will survive,

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, 
all ye that hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

 Please just don't  let me hear anyone say I should just get rid of the junk,  I can't stand it if someone says,"it's hopeless, why don't you give up",  and "you shouldn't  have your booth cluttered".  Where am I supposed to put stuff, when my storage is maxxed out, my retail possibilities just vanished?

 Frustrated, but still hopeful!    Love , Linda

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lost an old friend one year ago this week. I knew him since 7th grade.
Can't believe he's gone.  I felt so proud of his kids, as if I was related, but I'm not.
I felt so old thinking about his life being over.  He's my age- too young to die.
I'll miss you Dale.

 I wanted to see him again, I looked forward to being with him at our 45th,
 and 50th class reunion.  I hope he knew how much he was loved and admired.
 My mother is losing her friends, but they are elderly.
  We're not supposed to lose the young!
Every loss I face reminds me of my own loss,
 every funeral I attend - I  relive my son's untimely death..

     Now their birthdays are near.  My friend Dale's and my son's.
    Birthdays in Heaven.
   I know that's a better place, but I still have tears, and feel sad.
    I thought I would stop feeling so sensitive, like it just happened.
   Why am I still weepy,  will it ever stop hurting?
           Because it changes you forever,
           and no, it will not stop,  it will always hurt.

   Losing my son changes everything about my life,  everyday.
  It changes what I think about, what he would be doing, what I wish I had done,
 what plans I will make.  How I think about everybody else, how I respond to them.
 Maybe I'm a little more serious, and I care more, and love a little deeper,
 Only thing I can do is go on.  Just one day at a time,
 living my life to the fullest, as best I can, dwelling in a place of hope.
Spending lots of timein wistful memories.
 God promised life eternal for him, and me too!  He promised never to leave me alone.
I must continue. to think on all that is good and right in my life.
  That's what our loved ones want us to do.
I'm imagining that Gary is watching me, and I'm wanting him to smile and be proud.
Now as the leaf  buds are appearing and spring arrives, I think of Easter,
and Jesus' death and resurrection.  I think of renewal, and rebirth and
 new beginnings,fresh starts.
My son has a new life, new beginning, in a new place.  He is in God's care, with Jesus!
So with that reassurance,  I can go on and live my life here, cherish each day
 because life is too short.

Dear God,
    Please restore me, refresh my spirit show me your purpose.
 Life goes on, as the waves never stop coming in  crashing the shore.
And I feel small and humble when I see the ocean,
but I feel your power and might, and know you are in control.
 In Jesus' name, Amen

 I have hope, I'm looking forward.  Spring will come.
                                                                  Love, Linda

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Letter to my Teenaged Granddaughter

Dear Granddaughter,

I know you think I am old and I don't understand how it is today.
I know you think you're all grown up, and you can take care of yourself.
I know you believe your aunt and I are  " talking trash on you",
  when we mention your mistakes and dangerous activities,
   but we're not.  We are very concerned and looking for advice and reassurance
  from each other about you. We always determine that in the end,you will be okay.
 Grandmothers and aunties, like mothers, are worried about you sometimes
when we see you making poor choices, or getting hurt.
We know more about life because we've been around longer,
 but we don't think we are smarter,  or better than you.

I believe in you, I want the best for you, I'll do anything I can for you.
I hope you'll trust me when you need someone to talk to. Any time, about anything.
I pray for you, and I know God loves you and will always help you if you ask Him.

I wish you still found me fun and interesting, like you did when you were small.
I wish you would call me once in a while, just for a brief conversation.
 I don't want to take up all your time.  I really don't want to dominate your thoughts,
 I realize you are busy with school and work and your social life.
 I want you to have fun on your free time.
 You are only young and free for a short time before the obligations
of jobs,  marriage and family take over your life.

 Take your time and don't rush into a marriage or relationship until you're really
 ready for a commitment, because you'll never be freer than you are now.
You can never get time back, but marriage and raising children will be much better
when you are mature and balanced.
 It is wise to get your education done first, it's so much  harder to do that
when you have other people to consider besides yourself.

  Most importantly, please don't ignore God.  It is impossible to get through
 all the hard times without faith, and with God all things are possible!
 You can do all things through Christ who will give you strength.
 He is always with you, He will never leave you.

 I have a lot more ideas, but I will only share them if you are interested.
I don't care to run your life, I am busy enough trying to run mine!

 I love you so much.
 Being your grandmother is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Love, Grandma Linda