Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Please join us in welcoming Colleen of postcardsintheattic, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up a Midwest farm girl from Wisconsin but through a series of moments of self discovery I have since moved to California and live the city life in Palm Springs. I live in a beautiful contemporary home where my husband and I have designed a small but very beautiful Japanese Garden.
Unfortunately, though, the contemporary look does not blend with my passion for vintage and antique Victorian froufrou. So I have created for myself a virtual world with my shops. I welcome you to my attic filled with all the treasures found and creations made especially for you.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my business 2011. I have had a dream to sell vintage postcards since I was a small child. At the time my mother informed me that it would never happen because no one would ever pay more than a few cents for the cards I collected. I guess she was mistaken!
Now that I am a photographer I also have a passion to create my own postcards. One of my favorite things to do is recreate the types of vintage cards that were popular in the early 20th century. Big Letter, Tall Tale and night scenes are a few that I have dabbled in. Of course it is much easier now since I have the advantage of digital art vs having to manipulate plates and film.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I sell almost any type of vintage postcard but at least half of the vintage postcards I sell are over 100 years old. I have a love for anything that is paper and withstand years and years of handling. To me it is amazing to see something that age in such great condition. Sadly there are some that have not been able to survive fully intact but often I use those for digital art where I restore the card to a new state.
I sell my digital work on Sellfy under the same name. I also create clip art from the designs to use for digital papers, gift tags and art.
More common are the Linen cards from about the 30’s and 40’s but while these are not rare I love the bright vivid colors that the linen paper creates. The ink soaked in creating supernatural tones. Plus this is a period where the fun Tall Tale, Big Letter and Night Scene postcards popped. The intense colors is almost like looking at the world through rose colored glass. Everything in these images are vivid and exciting.
I carry a small number of recent vintage cards from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. While these often do not catch my eye I have found several political and advertising cards that are quite intriguing.
What inspires your work
I work in images. As a photographer my style is macrophotography and closeups so I see the world slightly different. I relate to my environment through imagery so collecting and selling vintage images is right up my alley. In fact often seeing something in a postcard will dictate a trip or even a move.
In fact one of the reasons for me to move out West was due to the postcards from Arizona and the deserts that my grandparents sent to me. These amazing images were such a contrast to what I seen in Wisconsin that I would spend hours daydreaming of what it would be like to visit the desert. Now I live in the desert of the Coachella Valley. And it is even more beautiful than those vintage images from my childhood.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My goal this year is to increase sales in my Postcards In The Attic shop (sure that is everyone’s goal) My long-term goals are to build a self sustaining shop that generates enough income that it can contribute significantly to my income. I have designed my own website from my photography www.butterflysattic.com; my long-term goal for this shop is to earn enough to use this as my primary income. I would also like to be featured locally in either a gallery or a similar forum.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
My Postcards In The Attic stands out visually because of my professional and creative branding and banners. Aside from appearances; my prices are competitive, I provide excellent customer service along with free US shipping. I also include a depth of information for most of my cards that exceeds many of my competitors. I also take the time to research each card, what the publisher was, printer, date etc. so that the information is as accurate as it can be.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
No but since I am photographer my work space is the whole world.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I had been selling vintage in general and included everything from ephemera to knickknacks, books to jewelry which took up a lot of space and time. I also sold handmade crafted items (which part of me still loves) but this made my stores too wide spread and not specialized in anything.
I have not focused Postcard In the Attic strictly on ephemera and Butterfly In The Attic Photography on just that photography. While I am still trying to reduce my original inventory on Bonanza I must admit it is neglected and I will be glad when I can just focus on the two.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Do not over estimate the time you have for your shops. I often do this but with working more than full-time for my day job it leaves very few hours left in the day aside from sleep and eating. there is only so many hours in the day no matter how much we try to make it stretch.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I have many hobbies that includes: travel, playing the piano, photography, writing, and spending time with my 4 children and 6 grandchildren. We live quite a ways from each of them so we are not able see each other frequently but when we can this is my favorite way of spending my free time.
What is your favorite quote?
“God would not have put the dream in your heart if he had not already given you everything you need to fulfill it” Joel Osteen
Where can people find out more about your business?
I have two blogs one on my new website www.ButterflysAttic.com and a long established blog www.ButterflyInTheAttic.com. On the latter site I spend a lot of time promoting not just my self but others.
I am also available on facebook at www.facebook.com/PostcardsInTheAttic and www.facebook.com/ButterflysAttic
Twitter www.twitter.com/ButterflysAttic and many others social media venues that are interlinked once you find my blog.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
My shops have been slow starters and have been reshapened many times over the years trying to find what fits for my life and helps me balance my work and my business.
I think one take away is that I refuse to give up on my dream.
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.