Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
To tell the tale of the LazyY, I have to tell the story of us; Jim and Linda Yunker.
We have been together for 40 years now. We have so much in common, so much to talk about, and a busy life to lead. So, together we are moving towards making changes in our lives that will allow us to hang out together more, and begin the adventure of doing something you love for a living (or a semi-retired living).
I’d like to also say that Grandma Ruby is here in so many ways. She use to tell us stories of her glass and dishes, and even the flower pots outside. She kept so much of the past, never wasting anything. She would give me a small dish and talk about the mark on the bottom and where it had come from. When the kids were small we would go up to her attic and she would crank up the gramophone and show us pieces and pictures from past generations.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
The LazyY was open for business in January 2014. And, it just felt that it was time. I had talked about a vintage shop and how much I would love to be in that business. So, when the economy crashed, and we were both unemployed at times, I knew that this was something I could do, that I would like to do, and that Jim could help me out with.
Really, you just needed a little cash flow, a few wonderful vintage items and some good pictures, research, and descriptions. So, we launched and continue to build the shop into a sustainable venture while providing us with great adventures to find the vintage items for our shop.
Tell us a bit about your products.
While still evolving in inventory and character, our choices of vintage items remains diverse. We are pleased to find pieces made in America especially the American potteries. Haeger, Red Wing, Ransbottom, Glass, and McCoy are pieces we look for to add to the shop.
I like dinnerware. I just do. And some of the older materials and designs are amazing. Just think how elated I am when I can dinnerware that is pottery! Franciscan and Hull are brands I like. Restaurant ware by Syracuse and Shenanogo are two manufacturers to watch.
Each piece comes with some story (even if its what a great day it was when we found it)!
What inspires your work?
Working for myself and working together with Jim. But we both really like old things. And, we really believe that vintage items in your home adds character and warmth but also helps the earth by recycling, reducing, and reusing items that have a tremendous value and history.
Sounds corny, but sometimes I’m in awe of a beautiful hand blown glass, or a piece of pottery made by hand. An embroidered tablecloth, well those I’m keeping for my tables and dressers. We also refinish most of all of our furniture. I just bought a wonderful 1940’s oak kitchen table with six chairs for my kitchen. I can’t wait to get started on fixing it up.
We are inspired by this opportunity to weave life into our work life; to have time when we decide we have time.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
Short term goals are to be more active with social media. I’m working on the idea of a blog. I have a Pattern website now (www.lazyyvintage.com) through Etsy and we need to promote this more and bring in more traffic there. And, we are working on a better inventory system and I now have my accounting in very good shape.
Long term, we want to be profitable of course, we want to continue to have fun and be together, and we want to go to the Longest yard sale one year soon. And, a few really big flea markets and vintage events. Maybe join the Blue Willow Association.
My dream seems within reach. Hard work and creativity, money, freedom to set my own schedule, maybe add in some travel to see what is out there that needs it picture taken to find a good home.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I’m going to say that I’m still working on this one. Vintage is very competitive and finding how to stand out can be difficult.
I will say that almost all of our reviews mention how great the item was packaged. Jimmy takes his responsibilities as the shipping department very seriously and he is very creative. It shows in how he can pack glass and other oddly shaped pieces for safe shipping.
I worked for years with environmental educators, some of the best, happiest people you’ll ever know. Vintage people are like that too. Friendly, helpful, and willing to share their knowledge with you.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
Since becoming empty nesters, we have a guest room. Once all the kids were moved out, I realized that I now had two bedrooms that were all mine to do with what I wanted to do with them. The boys helped name them (so we didn’t refer to them as Casey’s room or Jay’s room). The middle bedroom is now the art room. I have my yarn stash and crochet projects/business in that room. It is where I scrapbook and where all the kids art work from over the years are displayed. We keep board games and art sets for the grandbabies too.
The guest room is also my work room and home office. We call it the quilt room because the bed has a quilt on it that my Mom gave me. I have an early 1900’s library table for a desk and vintage items all over the place. My own and those going up for sale. The bed is where I keep the pieces safe until they are listed and boxed away.
It has a great window that looks out over my backyard garden and I love to work here. Today it is beautiful, breezy, and showing signs of fall.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
You can become so focused and involved in all aspects of running the business. The next thing I know, I’m in my pajamas and its time to think about dinner. So, now I split it up, work on the shop early mornings, take a mid day break, and get back online or to work for a few hours in the early evening. And, I stop to smell the flowers (or work in the dirt).
Also, there is so much to read and know about social media. I worked so much at a computer over the years, that I like the parts that are not sitting at the computer. Keeping up with the changes in an e-commerce world keeps you on your toes and you can’t let change get you down. You have to be ready for it, or at least not resistant to it.
I wish I had thought more about policies. Our shops policies have changed a few times over the past 2 1/2 years. I think they are where I want them to be now.
Again, it helps a lot to have the community that Etsy promotes to get help when you need and know your not in the boat alone.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Set some basic goals, be aware about the social media aspects and promotion. Learn a little about your camera and find your style in taking the pictures.
Don’t hesitate to send the Etsy Admins an email for help or clarification. They are great resource.
Join a team or two to get to know other sellers. The community here has helped me to learn how to be a shopkeeper.
Set aside time everyday (or at least most days) to work on the shop. Whether that is paperwork, the pictures, the adventure of finding the items and/or creating the items it pays off to set that time aside.
And, have a budget in place. Know what your spending and what you are earning.
And, package your items safely. The 1940’s bread pan shipped in this box made it safely to the customer.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
Jim and I have six grown kids and 13 grandbabies ages 1 to 18 years old. We love to be with those babies.
Together we hike; visiting national and state parks. We both read a lot. We love to garden (flowers and vegetables). I love to cook and Jim likes to eat, so that works out well. With fall on its way in, I’m looking forward to some serious baking.
We have started learning more about yoga, and Jim loves, loves to ride his bicycle each morning. It is an old commuter bike (picture the wicked witch of the west) with baskets and his helmet with blinking lights.
To unwind we like a glass wine sitting on the front porch on a beautiful day just talking and catching up.
What is your favorite quote?
“Sometimes the ordinary things can be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.” Elizabeth Green
“I love you Grandma Linda” Andrew Yunker (just thought I’d throw that one in there)!
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
When I go looking for items for the LazyY, I go intuitively. I know what I like and seem to make good choices as things do sell. But maybe, just maybe I need to watch trends a bit more. I’ve picked up some vintage and home decor magazines and it is fun to look through them and think, you could use this piece etc.
But also, when you out on the inventory adventure; its helps to see what is in these home decor magazines and websites.
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.