Explain your reasons for starting an Etsy vintage shop.
I started my shop about a year ago (exciting!) and it all happened really quickly. I've been a long-time-lover of vintage clothing and accessories and always kind of dreamed about opening up a small retail location in a city or a small town. But the financial reality of actually making that happen just isn't in the cards right now. It really hit me suddenly that an online store was a very tangible thing and that I could figure out a way to work it into my schedule and my life. Now I have a chance to go on hunts through thrift stores and antique shops and share the items I find with the world. It's a wonderful thing!
I have to say that I'm really attracted to the 1950s. I love the full-skirt dresses-- mainly because my hips are on the large side and these frocks hide that -- and the feminine detailing. It feels like a completely different time, but there are so many ways to incorporate the style into a modern wardrobe. But I also tend to find myself shopping from the 70s mainly for items like sweaters and accessories.
image via Hinterland's blog
One of my favorite pieces is a lovely burnt orange wool coat from the 1960s. I found it in a thrift store for $3. It had a few flaws (light spots and holes in the lining), but I took it to the dry cleaner and tailor and now it's as good as new. It's such a unique color and I know that there won't be another girl walking down the street wearing a similiar coat. I get giddy just thinking about it!
Which item is your favorite in the shop right now?
It is definitely this cobalt blue wool wiggle dress by Shannon Rodgers.
Shannon Rodgers was a respected designer who worked on costuming and then began to do a ready-wear line with Jerry Silverman. The dress is just so stunning when you look at it close up. It has great details such as a sparkly brooch and the original belt with decorative draping. Plus, I can't get over the color! This dress reminds me so much of Joan from Mad Men. It feels like something she would wear and love.
Your pictures are so clear! What camera do you use and do you have any other secrets you would like to share?
I use a Nikon D40 DSLR to take my photos. It was such a great investment because I know I wouldn't be able to make photos look good with a point and shoot camera. It has been really difficult for me to get a hang of the pictures for the shop. My apartment has terrible natural light and I don't have the funds to go out and buy a lighting kit. So I simply wait for a sunny day, set up by a window, reduce my shutter speed and go to town. My tripod is my savior.
Which states have you gone thrifting? Which one was your favorite?
This might be surprising, but I've honestly only been thrifting in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately I don't get a chance to travel all that much, and often, when I do go to a different state, my traveling companions are not really into hitting up thrift stores for entertainment (strange, I know!). But PA has been kind to me for sure!
Is there an item you sold that was hard to let go?
I have to say that selling these oxfords was particularly painful. I had bought them for myself and got a great deal on them. I had been looking for a pair exactly like them for years. But as much as I tried to break them in, they were just the slightest bit too small on me and ended up cutting into my feet and hurting me. I still look at them and sigh once in a while. But I'm thrilled that someone else is enjoying them! However, my search for the perfect pair of vintage oxfords continues.
(very cute and love the color!)5 words to describe yourself.
Honest, loyal, laid back, bookish, sweet
Is Etsy a job or a hobby?
It is definitely a hobby for right now. I would love more than anything to make this a full-time job and be able to support myself, but I just don't make enough money from sales to pay my student loans, rent and grocery bills. I currently work as a writer and blogger in Philadelphia. Maybe one day I will be able to make this much more than a hobby-- fingers crossed.
Your one year Etsyversary is coming up? What have you learned about selling on Etsy?
Yes! I'm so excited. This year has been one of the most fulfilling and interesting years of my life so far. I've learned that you need to have patience above all else-- things aren't just going to fly off the shelves right away and you'll have weeks where you might not make even one sale. As much as I want to figure out everything, I've learned that it's nearly impossible to try to determine what will sell and won't sell.
But my best piece of advice about selling on Etsy is just to get involved with the community and the other people that are out there doing the same sort of thing you're doing. I've met some amazing, supportive and helpful friends through being on Twitter, making Treasuries, starting a blog, etc. Having a nice group of sellers who are experienced and know what you're going through is a really nice thing. For the most part, the community is wonderful and inclusive, and I'm thrilled ot be a part of it.
Isn't she sweet?
You can find her on twitter, also and she has an amazing blog with her many adventures wearing vintage amongst many other topics. Finally, you can also subscribe to her newsletter by going to her blog.
Thanks so much Diedre for agreeing to do this interview! It was definitely a treat and I really enjoyed it!