Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I live with my husband and cat in Budapest Hungary. Originally I am from Canada but when my husband retired we moved here. Hungary is a beautiful country with great weather, wonderful food and amazing thermal spas!
But I miss my daughter so early next year we will move back to Oakville Ontario.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
After a bout with colon cancer I needed something that would keep me very busy and my mind working. I started spending a lot of time on the internet and became fascinated by online shopping. As I love shopping and love vintage clothing I decided to try to open a shop.
I first started selling on Ebay in 2010 just a few items not really knowing what I was doing. Then in 2012 I opened my Etsy shop and had like 1 item that sold after a few months. But meanwhile I was reading everything about Etsy and slowly started to fill my shop. I was never discouraged even with slow sales because I enjoyed it so much.
Tell us a bit about your products.
Living in Hungary has given me access to neighbouring countries as most are just a car ride away. Due to this I am able to find clothing from all these places . There are markets in the summer that I go to and of course the hidden little shops that have been around from the Communist time and are still open. Tiny little shops the size of closets and they are stuffed with vintage clothing as stock does not change much in these stores. The Eastern European countries did not get clothing like North America did, so much is different. Here it was reuse rather than buy new.
What inspires your work?
I remember myself growing up wearing clothing from the 60s and 70s and having the time of my life because style was so unique and one of a kind back then. The colors and styles , the ethnic diversity and the feeling of putting something together to make an outfit that is one of a kind that is what inspires me.
I love when a customer contacts me about putting an outfit together to make something unique.
That inspires me to go find more interesting items.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My business has been wonderful to me so far , the future goals would be to further develop my own brand of reworked sweaters and blouses and to double my sales.
Next year I would also like to start social networking as so far I have fallen behind in that.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
My priority is to communicate with my buyers. This sometimes takes a lot of time but I do not mind . I feel in the end a sale will come .
I also think my European clothing have sometimes something a little different to offer.
The most important part is that I lived when these styles were in fashion, I wore these styles and that makes all the difference when trying to help a customer decide on what to buy.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a room in my house that I have set up as my “store”. It was an attic room converted to a bedroom but now is my room. I have a long table in front of a large window facing the hills . I have my sewing machine and trim and buttons and everything I need there plus my computer. Beside that is my ironing board and then all around I have shelves and racks of clothing. Everything is in order of what it is. All the skirts are together, all the blouses etc. It is a nice bright space. I wish it were bigger as it becomes tight when I take the photos of my items to list. But I am happy to have a separate place to work.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I learned that to do this you must be organized and everything little thing counts. Once you have a system of how to do your business you have to stick to it and this will free up more time .
You learn from every mistake you make. Your gut feeling about things in business are important . I used to look at all the other shops selling vintage clothing and try to get a handle on why they were successful. I started to get sales when I did my own thing and not try to copy what another shop was doing.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
To sell on Etsy takes patience. You have to work on it and it is not a get rich quick business. But it is a satisfying business if that is what you want.
Never ever think that just because you sell on Etsy you can give up your day job in one month. It usually take months but then slowly you will see the sales coming.
The most important is to keep listing your products.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to walk around the city and take in the sights and sounds. Mostly I unwind by looking at antique markets or vintage stores. I never go with a purpose to me it is just for fun and to explore. I also feed stray cats that gives me great satisfaction.
My hobbies are reading and crafting.
What is your favorite quote?
Through bolts and bars we reach the stars!
Where can people find out more about your business?
People can read about me on my ABOUT pages on Etsy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I love selling on Etsy it has been rewarding for me . I have met so many new people online, I had no idea 3 years ago that I would be doing this and making money.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.