Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Opening a Shop

Tom and I are going to open an Etsy shop!  We've been toying with the idea for ages now, since we both like the idea of having a fun little side project, and because we could always use a small (emphasis on small, because we don't expect much) extra source of income.  But neither of us are super artistic, and we just never came up with a craft idea that seemed like something other people would be interested in.

Over the weekend, it finally occurred to us that we should just stick with our real strength: secondhand and vintage stuff!  We already go to thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, etc. all the time - simply because we love them so much.  And we've been told quite a few times that we have a good eye for secondhand things, and a knack at scoring deals.  So this seems like a good fit for us.  We'll already be out thrifting anyways - might as well pick up a few extra things that someone else might be interested in.

My only real concern is that neither of us are very "enterprising" or business-oriented.  I hope we don't lose the motivation.  As long as we continue to think of this as something fun for us to do together, we should probably be alright.

Some of the prices people are charging on Etsy for vintage things seem pretty ridiculous.  Or maybe they really cost that much in other cities?  At any rate, I figure we can charge a better price on some of our items, and hopefully get more customers that way.  I just hope there are people out there who love cool vintage treasures as much as we do!

I've asked a couple friends who have Etsy-selling experience, and their suggestions were:
1. Take really nice photos [err...I'll try my best]
2. Write creative descriptions for each product
3. Put some work into the look and feel of the "shop"

If anyone else has advice, I'm happy to hear it!

We still need to gather a few more items, and get some good photos of everything, but we're feeling pretty excited to get started and see how this goes.  I'll post a link to our shop once it's up and running.

As an afterthought, I want to mention another potential problem with this whole venture: falling in love with the things we pick up, and deciding to keep them!  This morning, I dressed both the kids in some of the vintage kids' stuff from the "shop stash" so I could get pictures of the items on my little models.  Stella looked so adorable in her little knit sweater, that I decided to just leave it on her for the day, and make it our own :-D


  1. I don't have any experience selling on etsy, but I love shopping on etsy and I second the photography advice. It's so important to me to really be able to see the item. A well lit photo with a plain or out of focus background really makes the item look appealing. And especially with thrifted stuff, there's a fine line between "vintage" and "junk." I think the photo makes all the difference for that!

    Good luck. I love that this is what you like and are good at and you can share it with others. I never even go to places like TJ Max or Big Lots, let alone garage sales or thrift stores, because I just can't handle the idea of going shopping without knowing exactly the item I'm going to buy. So I'm quite happy to pay YOU to find me the exact thing I need!

  2. This is a great idea and I really hope it's successful (and fun!) for you guys. As a pretty frequent Etsy shopper, I also agree that photography is super important. Maybe you guys even want to dedicate a portion of your sales towards a fancier camera? I feel like you've been wanting one for a while and now you can consider it a business expense!

  3. Replies
    1. ha! Well, it's good to know that this idea has potential for success...but I don't see us turning *that* successful!

  4. You can do what my husband and I do for eBay selling and purchasing-we spreadsheet sales on items we have. We inherited a ton of Disney collectables and I trend what sells and how much.

    Agree with the advice you've been given, an appealing 'storefront' turns those just looking for a place to land into visitors, and hopefully buyers.

    The camera you use for the pictures on the blog should be fine for quality. I stage my product photos-I sit smaller items on a large piece of poster board on a table so that the item has nothing distracting buyers from looking at it. Furniture pieces too big for this need a clutter free and clean backdrop, one that doesn't distract from the item you're selling.

    If you want more pointers, I'm happy to add more-but a .50 piece of posterboard from the dollar store works some wonders for those pictures!