Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I love art, travel, meeting new people, learning about different cultures and my new home in New Mexico. I’m just starting to paint again. My education is in fine art and teaching. I’ve traveled to and lived in many places in the U.S. and around the world. I have a wonderful, supportive husband who likes to think up interesting things to do. I’ve always loved vintage clothing and am so happy to have work that is also a lot of fun!
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my business on Valentine’s day, February 14th, 2011. A family member, who owns consignment stores encouraged me to do so. Actually I started with an Etsy photo shop called Plum Lane photos, which I think lasted about a year and was full of shots my husband and I took on our travels. Then together we started CTMercantile, which included all kinds of vintage, including home decor. Eventually I decided to concentrate on vintage apparel.
I love finding old treasures, the beauty, color and craftsmanship of vintage and antique clothing is often amazing.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I find vintage every where I go! It is a giant treasure hunt in fascinating antique stores, thrift shops and online and brick and mortar vintage whole sellers. One of my most interesting sources was a dancer who was selling portions of a huge collection of clothing, dating to the early 1900’s. I clean and mend everything before it goes to its new owner. I sell both women’s and men’s vintage apparel.
What inspires your work?
I love the beautiful workmanship of textiles from the past.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
This year? I need to get massive amounts of inventory ready to list! I am planning to get my blog started again and to get much more involved in social media in connection with my shop.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
There are many wonderful vintage sellers on etsy and elsewhere, so this is not an easy question. Like these sellers I always consider the customer and do my very best to send their garment (which is often very old) in the very best possible condition, by cleaning and mending if necessary and as quickly as possible. I research to find out as much as I can and only sell true vintage clothing.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
We recently moved to a new location and I am in the process of organizing things in one large area.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Perhaps the importance of balance. I have learned now to set hours and as much as possible to work within the time I’ve established, consistently. It can be too easy to let work you love take over all aspects- time with family, friends, even sleep time. Although sometimes 2 AM can be a good time to work it is important to know when to stop. On the other hand it is important as much as possible to work consistently so that your shop will thrive.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
I believe good photos are one of the most important things, as well as excellent customer service.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to explore our new home of New Mexico. There are festivals, wonderful walks, downtown music and farmer’s markets and so many friendly people! And of course that amazing sky! I also love photography, gardening and have started to paint again.
What is your favorite quote?
I have so many I love. The most recent is
“Success likes to find you working.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Work hard but keep having fun!
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.