Friday, October 21, 2011

Keeping Up with the Etsians

(The orange stuff of thrift dreams...)

Here's my dilemma: I have wanted to open an Etsy shop for some time. I have made excuses, literally been the butt of my own excuses (i.e. no time, no time, no time). I have read all the posts, drop-downs and FAQs I can about it on reselling sites and blogs. A name for the shop has surfaced and burst in my thoughts more than once. And, I definitely have the stock.

Oh, and I have been a thrifter since I was 15! The other day I was sorting through some old boxes o' crap, items thrifted in the mid-nineties (yes, I know) and what do I find-Kitschy Deer. I'm not kidding, I was thrifting deer before they popped up everywhere in Vintage Modern Land (and I still love them).

The same goes for Made in Japan, animal planters, paint-by-numbers, Pyrex, owls, knitted toys, vintage sheets and other wonderful items we all covet. I am constantly amazed how similar all our tastes are out there.

Years ago, I was an active member of a Yahoo forum dedicated to thrifters. It was started by Al Hoff (or one of her 'zine* fans, but she participated as well) and we shared all our fun, vintage finds. Ebay was rather new (outside CA) and many of the participants were resellers, but the majority of us just liked kitsch. I think I knew then that thrifting was about to change (or had already begun to change). I am going to admit to you now that I was sad. I knew the world of thrift was about to become more challenging. See, in those days, at least in the Midwest, thrifting was a-mazing. Lots and lots of mid-century (1930-1970) stuff, general kitsch, vintage clothing, kitchenalia, religionalia...all of it at dirty, cheap prices. I can still remember being overwhelmed by the vintage dresses at the local Salvation Army (I couldn't afford all of them I wanted and not because they were expensive-there were just that many!) And the kitsch...wish I had possessed a (small) digital camera back then!

Over the years and three houses and one apartment later, I have purged the collection many times. I sold great, vintage things for dirt cheap at yard sales. I re-donated many items (and tried to resist buying them back). Then, I rebuilt my collections again and again.

Anyway, all of this pining and whining is just to say that I think I am ready to dip my toes in the world of Internet reselling. Should have done it back then, but didn't. Is the trend winding down? Perhaps (I'm still buying it both in person and online). Either way, I have three options: purge and redonate again, live with my hoarding tendencies, or find a way to share my great treasures with like minds. The last will at least combine a passion with something useful!

My one, big, over-analytical question is if I am too late. The reason I say this is there are so many resellers out there now who have put in the time to build up their shops and following. They were the inovative ones that started out on the proverbial basement floor. Now there are so many wonderful shops out of the basement, does anyone wonder back into it to see us newbies? I guess there is only one way to find out. Also, I buy things I like, not because I think it is worth a lot of money. I do not have time for extensive research (although, I suppose, the "real" gold diggers who know values could be customers of mine for resell as well, right?), so will not be offering many Picasso pieces for sale right now. ;)

This is one of my Lofty Goals. So, I am working on putting up a shop at Etsy. It is cheap to try and I hope I can learn to be more artful in putting it together. I really wanted to go the booth route at a flea market (or even better-start a flea market store in Indiana with other sellers; KY already has many fabulous chains), but this is what I can handle right now. By making this shop, I hope it will spill over into other goals (photography, Internet, blogging goals).

Here is where the goal part starts: Have this shop up and running by November 10 (wish I could make this shorter, but I have work travel again, but fortunately I will have a lot less this year). Give it a whirl for six months or so and then analyze if it is something I really want for my life. Fair enough? I think so!

*Remember the 'zine craze of the mid-nineties, Older Hipsters? Al Hoff had one I subscribed to called Thriftscore. She later published a book by the same title (it is out-of-print now, but check second hand sites-well worth reading if you love thrifting). Her
zine was hilarious and she would actually glue items from thrift stores in some of the copies (toothpick flags, pieces of vintage denim). I loved 'zines! I guess blogs are really just 'zines in disguise.


Kylie said...

I can feel your passion about this Gina and I think you should so go for it. I for one will be checking out your shop come the second week of Novemeber.

I love your nod to Halloween x

Poppy said...

I say go for it too! I had my reservations as well, vintage has been a hobby & passion of mine for the past 30 years. I researched & prepared for just over a year & finally opened up my vintage Etsy shop in late August. I am having so much fun at it. It is a lot of work, but rewarding & gives back what you put into it.

I, like you, buy the things I love & it is so great finding people who love them as much as I do. I enjoy being a part of finding something that someone has been searching for for years because their grandma had one or they lost theirs when they were a child.

Good luck!

Gina said...

Thanks for your supportive comments, Kylie and Poppy!

Rae said...

i've been thinking the same thing. I have SO MUCH and i love thrifting and going to estate sales but unless i start reselling i have no reason to keep going. my house is already full. and i think if you have good merchandise it doesn't matter than you are a newbie. go for it!

Gina said...

Thanks, Rae! You should def consider it too (I know I love your finds!) :)

ImSoVintage said...

If you love it, you should do it. I love my Etsy shop. Is it a lot of work? yes, but it is the most fun job in the world. I say welcome aboard.

Gina said...

Thanks, Laura!