A couple years ago I was sitting at work working hard on some work stuff when I got a ping from my coworker Shelly exclaiming that she and her friend had opened an Etsy shop. I said “sweet!” (or awesome or cool or nice or word, I can’t be responsible for such a tiny detail) and then promptly “what does that mean?” Shelly said, “OMFG are you kidding me? You haven’t heard of Etsy? What kind of non-cultured, under-a-rock living, stupid loser are you?” No, not really. Shelly’s not an asshole like the rest of us. I’m sure what she said was more like “Oh you haven’t heard of Etsy? It’s awesome, you should check it out!” Reluctant as I was to pry myself away from whatever captivating work task I was powering through (wink), I decided to be a bad employee, just this once, and peak at this “Etsy” thing. And so began another interweb love affair.
The more time I spent perusing Etsy, the more in love I fell with this amazing online community. My other coworker, David, opened a shop as well and I started to think about what I would sell if I had an Etsy shop. I have nay a creative bone in my body, I don’t craft or sew or knit, I’ve never made jewelry, I can’t draw or paint, and I certainly won’t be carving anything out of wood or welding metal anytime soon. So my fleeting hope to join the cool kids and start my very own online business was boxed up and packed away in the attic of my brain. Until, that is, I discovered the world of Etsy vintage.
When I was in 7th and 8th grade the bulk of my wardrobe was purchased from thrift stores. Shopping at the mall just wasn’t hip, at least not among my circle, the “skaters.” What a silly label. I mean, I understand that it stemmed from the fact that many of our group actually did skate, but even if you didn’t skate (me), and you simply hung out with skaters, you too were a skater, and to the “gangsters” you were a smelly, dirty skater loser that always needed a shower even if your hair was freshly washed and you smelled of soap and roses. Middle school, wtf. So as a “skater” my style (if you could call it that) was based on used clothing and mismatched outfits – ironic t-shirts, flannel shirts, beat up jeans, bright colored tights and converse of course. My friends and I were thrift store junkies and there was no feeling quite like finding that perfect pair of plaid grandpa golfer pants. It was like winning the lottery – pure random luck that was sure to make your friends jealous. Fast forward through high school and college during most of which I went nowhere near a thrift store because Boca Raton had turned me into a bit of a label whore, and there I am as a kind of grown up with pretty much no money (this could apply to any year between 2004 and now) and a great love of deals and cheap shit. Group this with a growing affection for vintage fashion and you’ve got the makings of an Etsy shop.
I got stupidly excited when I made my decision to open my shop selling vintage goodies. I told a few friends and family members and began thrifting for some inventory. Then I peed on a stick. Norah!!! Through the early stages of pregnancy I still held out hope that I could get this gig going. Mom and I even dragged Dad and James to Goodwill in San Antonio during our “I’m pregnant!” visit. But as I progressed, I became more and more focused on this whole baby business and less and less into anything else. Back into the brain attic with that little box of entrepreneurial ambition, stowed away for another day.
That day came in January of this year. We were nice and settled into our new life as parents and I was getting the itch again. Time to dust off the cobwebs and unpack that box! I opened my little Etsy shop in late January and have been working hard to build my business ever since. Mom’s help has been invaluable – she’s a rock star thrifter and auction extraordinaire, and she helps me with shipping, measuring and other tasks. There’s a crap ton of work that goes into getting an item listed in the shop – first, of course, you have to find it. Then it may need some cleaning. Next up is taking pictures – nobody’s going to buy it if it doesn’t look damn good – followed by measurements and finally plugging all the infos into Etsy. Once things are listed you have to promote yourself, so there’s Twitter and Facebook and Etsy teams to attend to. Sometimes I groan and complain about the tedium of things like measuring, but for the most part it’s fun and I love it.
Questions I get asked the most:
- Where do you get the stuff? Thrift stores, auctions, yard sales and soon I’ll be checking out flea markets and estate sales.
- How do you know what stuff is vintage and what decade it came from? Research, research, research. Look at what other folks are selling, check out patterns from different eras, research trademarks and on and on and on. I may not always be able to accurately identify the decade, but most of the time I can get close.
- Do you expect this to become a full time job? Meh, I’d have to sell a shit ton of vintage for that to ever be a possibility, so for now it’s more of a hobby, albeit a hobby that will make us a tiny bit of extra cash. I definitely look forward to seeing where my little business is in a year!
So that’s the story of superelder vintage. Kind of neat, eh? Linkfest below…
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Elderland out. XO.