Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I have lived most of my life in New Hampshire. I love the changing of the seasons with my favorite being the crisp air that cools down the summer heat and leads us into winter. I would miss the changing of the seasons if I left. Although not a fan of snow believe it or not, I do love the seasons and feel lucky to have lived here.
Growing up in NH I remember helping my aunt with her yard sales. It was at her yard sale that I acquired my very first vintage item, a Sears sewing machine repair kit box that opens up to lay flat. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I still have that box. It was the start of a long love affair with vintage.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I began my business in September of 2015 because I wanted to make some extra money. I started it with some vintage items that I could part with and then got to support my habit of vintage hunting with selling them. It is the best of both worlds! Along the way I am finding that I am learning a lot more about the stuff I love.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My shop tends towards kitchen, dining, pottery and house decor. I like to sell useful items. I want to be able to use an item that I buy. I don’t want it just sitting on the shelf gathering dust. The great thing about vintage pieces is they tend to be well-made and still work great; sometimes better than the “newer” version. Bowls and pottery are my favorite pieces. I have a collection myself of Pyrex and pottery bowls. My first blog post at https://vintageeves.wordpress.com, a blog that ties in to my shop and features other Etsy sellers’ listings, as well, was about bowls called “Bowl Me Over.”
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by my love of history. When I wander through a shop looking for inventory, I love to imagine how the pieces were used or who used them. The history of the pieces really intrigues me.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I would love for this business to continue growing. It will stay a side business as my career working with disabled students is my main job and one that I love. My dream for this business is to keep it small enough to enjoy but big enough to make some extra money.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Let me answer this question by first saying there are so many amazing vintage shops on Etsy. They have some truly great items. To make my own business stand out I look for unique items that I love and spend the time to research them before I introduce them to my audience. When I find a piece and before I post it, I find as much information on the internet and in books to be sure that my description is accurate. I strive for excellent customer service with a quick turn around and take the time to really package my items well. Since I sell mostly breakables, I work hard to make sure the item will arrive safely.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I do not have a separate studio. In fact, my living room and kitchen have been taken over by inventory.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I had had a better handle on how to figure out the postage rates. I ate the postage on my first few packages, especially the over-seas ones. I learned to add the packing weight and size into the calculated shipping costs.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Setting up an Etsy shop is incredibly easy; the rates are much more reasonable than other selling venues. Once the shop is up and running however, you have to get your name out. I have found that setting up a business Twitter account has been helpful and free. Also, setting up a Pinterest account that features my business name and has boards that are related to my business is helping to drive traffic, too.
I find that I need to keep my business entity and my personal life separate. On my personal Pinterest there are recipes and other items, but when someone is going to follow me and my boards and I want them to focus on vintage items, the other personal boards make people pick and choose boards rather than just follow all your boards with the “follow me” button. Having a Pinterest account that only has boards that relate to your business is a way to get more business.
Make sure to join some teams. They are super helpful in getting your shop noticed while you help others get noticed. It is good for everyone and gives you a sense of community; that you are not alone.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy knitting and meet with a knitting group when we can all get together. I love to read and cook, also.
What is your favorite quote?
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul” William Ernest Henley
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The people at Etsy are amazing. The team members are great, also. Helping to promote someone else’s shop will not detract from yours. The karma you build in helping others will come around for you, too.
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.