Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
We are a mother and daughter team.
My daughter fell in love with vintage items when she visited an antique mall while on vacation. She convinced me to go back and visit it—and I caught the bug too!
She has a knack for finding unusual items—like a group of figurine nuns playing baseball or wacky Christmas ornaments!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
We kept finding fantastic items, that didn’t necessarily go with our decor, that we knew someone else might love for their home. We talked about selling on-line for a few months and then decided to give Etsy a try!
Willow Valley Vintage opened on September 10, 2015 with about 10 listings.
We made our first sale — Renwal dollhouse furniture, within two weeks of opening on Etsy.
Tell us a bit about your products.
We offer vintage toys, decor and collectibles.
Litho items are a favorite, along with retro holiday decorations.
What inspires your work?
After reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” I began reducing items in our home and letting go of things that were hidden away in drawers or cabinets.
We supplement our stock for Willow Valley Vintage by frequenting estate sales and antique stores looking for unique items that “Spark Joy!” Even items that show wear like old photos and chipped toys deserve to find new homes, to be displayed and appreciated.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I would like to reach 400 Sales by the end of the year!
(My daughter says, “You’re crazy!”)
Our dream is to eventually have our customers feel comfortable enough to ask us to search for their must-have items!
We’ve had some luck finding doubles for people who have messaged us saying, “If you find another dog like the one that Sold, could you let me know?”
That’s always a great feeling when we can write them saying: “It’s your lucky day!”
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Our photography is often complimented by Etsy Shop owners and our customers.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
A messy computer room is my work space.
I have little slips of paper with notes and scribbles for Tag ideas fluttering all over the place!
I also have an area in my kitchen where I “stage” items to be photographed and Listed. I try to find other items in our Shop to display in the photographs to make interesting groupings. I include links in the description to the other items shown, so they get a little extra publicity!
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
We’ve learned that estate sales are the best places to shop—–people keep the most amazing items stored away!
Some things we’ve found have never been opened or used!
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Even if you are new to social media or the world of on-line selling, there are lots of people in the Etsy community to reach out to for support.
I had limited computer skills, but was encouraged to participate in Team activities by Pam, a Leader on TeamKitsch. She showed me step-by-step how to post on the threads.
We have met so many wonderful Shop owners who are willing to offer their advice and knowledge–it’s been amazing. Being new to vintage collectibles, we find a lot of items that we need help identifying. If we see something similar on Etsy, we contact that Shop for assistance—we find the answers we need and usually make new friends too!
I had a vintage baby planter in blue for sale and found the same one in pink at another Shop. I contacted that Shop owner and suggested we have links to each other’s planters in our descriptions. She was willing to do that, so we saved potential customers an added search if they were looking for boy and girl colors.
Collaboration is key—don’t be shy about asking for advice or Tag ideas from another Etsy member.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy gardening and have a small pond with goldfish in my backyard.
Still, our favorite subject to talk about is our shop and we look forward to the time we spend together hunting for treasures!
What is your favorite quote?
The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Follow us on instagram: willowvalleyvintage
Follow us on pinterest: willowvalleyvintage
Follow us on twitter: willowvalleyvintage
Like us on Facebook: willowvalleyvintage
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
We would like to thank all the wonderful members of the Christmas in July Team who helped promote Willow Valley Vintage this summer!
This is a fun Team!
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.