Contributor post by Elizabeth of CottageCraftsOnline
Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Central Illinois and have been here most of my life except for a decade of school and work out east and in the south. I have four children and one wonderful husband. We are now empty nesters and adjusting to life without a household full of noise and chaos. We seem to spend a lot of time traveling to see them which I look forward to and enjoy immensely.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started selling on Etsy over five years ago. I had amassed an enormous collection of vintage linens (tea towels, tablecloths, napkins, handkerchiefs and fabrics) and knew that I had accumulated more than any one person could enjoy in a lifetime. I began to look for ways to pare down my collection and happened upon Etsy. I also knew that I wanted something firmly in place to occupy my time after my children were gone.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I offer vintage linens and some collectibles from the Mid Century that have appealing graphics and are in excellent or mint condition. I discovered early on that I am dreadful at removing 50 year old stains, so I seek linens that are pristine. I am very good at ironing and do it on a daily basis. I actually enjoy it!
What inspires your work?
I am amazed that I continue to find previously unknown (to me) designs. The variety of graphics and level of artistry on vintage linens is staggering. My items have been purchased by artists, illustrators, authors, store designers, theater and movie set designers, collectors, museums and even a few celebrities. I like to think that they have provided inspiration or, at the very least, a reason to smile.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I hope to continue to grow. Five years ago my original goal was to reach 1000 sales. I’m now over 5000 sales, so I’m over the moon about my success on Etsy. It’s really gratifying that people have had such a positive response to these designs.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I offer items that are in excellent condition and I try to give the best possible customer service. I ship very quickly and I respond to inquires right away.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have commandeered the dining room in my home. The table serves as a desk and wrapping station. I have my linens and items in bins around the room. I get a lot of grief from my family about this, but I’m happy with the set-up. We have another table to eat at!
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
As a vintage seller I’ve learned to be very discerning when acquiring “new” items. I feel a strong obligation to offer the best quality possible. I pass on some pretty cool designs because they aren’t up to snuff. Three years ago I diversified and offered items outside of my comfort zone. It didn’t feel right and wasn’t as much fun, so I returned to my original vision for my shop. Vintage tea towels aren’t wildly popular in the general populace, but I’d like to think they are a bit more so now and, who knows, they just might be the “next big thing!” Stay true to yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Patience, persistence and promotion. It takes a lot of work to succeed but it’s worth it. I’ve met some of the most passionate and supportive people (both buyers and sellers) on Etsy that I’ve ever encountered.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love yoga, walking and reading. I watch a fair amount of TV – PBS shows, Game of Thrones and Mad Men are my favorites.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ve got two:
Throw kindness around like confetti.
What defines us is how we rise after falling.
Where can people find out more about your business?
My About page on Etsy: NeatoKeen
I’m an active pinner on Pinterest: NeatoKeenEtsy
I tweet a lot into cyber space: NeatoKeen
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for letting me share my story. Talking about myself is not my favorite pastime, but this was fun!
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