31 March 2010

Another Round of FAQ

photo from last summer

I've received several questions over the past couple of weeks that I thought I'd take a second to answer. I try to answer your questions right away and but I know that sometimes they slip through the cracks and before I know it, days have passed and they're still sitting in my inbox. So sorry! While I'm at it, are they're any other pertinent questions you'd like to know the answers to? Leave them in the comments and I'll add them to this list. Thanks!

How tall are you?

This question came up multiple times after posting the photos shopping with Andreja at the Chelsea Flea Market. For the record, I’m a not-too-tall and not-too-short 5’6”. Andreja’s just really tall (like 5’11-ish)! I realize walking next to her makes me look like a bit of a shrimp especially since I was wearing sensible flats.

I’m thinking about starting to sell vintage online. Do you recommend Ebay or Etsy?

Looking back, I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to swap over from Ebay to Etsy. I can’t imagine ever going back. I understand why long time Ebay users are hesitant to make the switch after building a regular customer base on Ebay but for new sellers, I would recommend Etsy 100%. I think Ebay is sort of like shopping at a big, messy mall where you are barraged with junk around every corner and it takes hours to find the good stuff while Etsy is more like shopping at a small flea market where the vendors are friendly and you find lots of handmade goods among the vintage treasures.

I was wondering if this shop is what you do for a living, in other words, is is possible to make a living that way? Also, how did you start doing this, and how did you promote yourself to make your shop so well known?

It is possible to make a living selling vintage online. I think the trick to it is, you still have to treat it like a full time job. To be really successful it has to be more than just a hobby. It takes a lot of work and dedication but it's also very rewarding. Most of the Etsy and Ebay shops out there are run by a single person (as is mine). You're the buyer, the merchandiser, the graphic designer, the photographer, the customer service representative, the shipper, the accountant... the list goes on! As much work as it is, I wouldn't trade it for sitting behind a desk even on my worst days.

I started out selling on Ebay (for almost two years) before switching over to Etsy. When I first started out I used every means I knew to promote my shop. At that time it was pretty much Flickr, Blogger and Myspace. Now there's Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Chictopia, Weardrobe... again, the list goes on! Be an active participant in the online vintage community to get your name and face out there. I've been blogging and selling online for nearly three years and my shop still isn't the most popular out there by any means. My point is, I've been working at this for three years and still feel like there is a lot of room left for me to grow. It's not going to happen overnight and it takes work but it's totally worth it!

What kind of camera do you use? What kind of camera does Tom use?

I’m still using the same little Canon SD1000 that I’ve had for years. I can’t say enough good things about this little camera. It’s been dropped, scratched and abused and yet it’s still working. Sort of amazing! I like it because it’s small enough to fit in my pocket and I the manual setting are easy to change. When Tom takes my outfit photos he uses his Canon EOS 7D. It’s big and heavy and completely amazing. It’s too much camera for me but it’s perfect for all of Tom’s explorations and I love the way the lens gives you that shallow depth of field.

How do you edit your photos? What is your favorite photo-editing software?

I use Photoshop CS3 to edit all of my photos. I haven’t tried any of the other photo-editing software that’s out there so I don’t have any basis for comparison.

(I know some of these are repeats from answers past but the questions keep popping up so I thought I'd better answer them again)


Penny Dreadful said...

Wow thanks for this! I have just started my own vintage shop on etsy and have been asking myself if it is possible to make a living from it. I'm still working full time and would dearly love to be running my own vintage business one day instead, so at the moment ALL my spare time is spent trying to get things done for the shop. It is really tiring, but so heartening to know that there are people out there that have made it happen for themselves!

the Citizen Rosebud said...

There really is something special about the way you do things, SJV. You come across as smart without rubbing it in. Your fashion sense is always on point without seeming trendy, and you seem genuine, and trustworthy. Doesn't hurt that your recommendations are always interesting, and new things to explore and like, and the fact that your stylish self seems quite photogenic.

Thanks for sharing some of these facts, especially your take on ebay vs etsy. I'm just gearing my etsy store up, and was just asked by someone why I wasn't opening up an ebay store. My stuttering answer was that etsy offered communtiy; one doesn't just sell on etsy, you buy from there as well, and I like that. Your flea market vs mall analogy is perfect.

I truly enjoy reading your blog, and window shop your etsy store. And one day, soon I hope, will be a proud sponsor of SJV. take care! xo. -Bella Q

Maria Confer said...

Love learning more about you and your shop!

Lulu Letty

Carys said...

This is such a great post! My friend and I are new to the blogging world, and are such admirers of your blog, so this is really helpful to us starting out!
Thank you!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

AlicePleasance said...

We use the same camera and I agree, it works great!

T said...

I'm a big Canon fan myself, although lately we have been using my husband's old (but fancy) Olympus for my outfit shots and I have been pretty happy with that too.

Thanks for posting these!!! I am a big fan of our blog. Cheers.

JessMidge said...

This post was really insightful and inspiring for those trying to do the same thing as you!
It's really interesting to find out things such as this,
and the picture is realllly cool.

Shanti said...

Wow! Thank you so much for this helpful info. I have an etsy store and I'm struggling to market it. I will be following your advice. Thanks again!!


Nishant said...

It is really tiring, but so heartening to know that there are people out there that have made it happen for themselves!
data entry india


Thanks for this post! I've been toying with the idea of making the full on eBay to Etsy switch for a year now, but it's certainly scary when I've made a living solely off of eBay for 3 years. xo.

hannah, heart city said...

I can't believe I use the same camera as you! The little cannon 1000 that is. I've been thinking about upgrading, but maybe I just need to mess around with it some more!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for answering the camera question! I'm hoping to buy a new camera within the next couple months and I love hearing what other people use.

I'm planning on reselling some vintage soon and the Ebay vs. Etsy question is something I've had in mind; so thanks for that too!

I have one more question regarding vintage and identifying items. Do you have any tricks or methods as far as identifying what period items are from? Most of the time it seems pretty easy to tell, but what about for the times when it isn't? I've been searching for a book that might help with this sort of thing, do you have any suggestions?

Sorry to bombard you with questions! This was probably more e-mail-appropriate. (My e-mail is jessica@wardrobesandwhimsy.com, if you have time to answer.)

andreja said...

hey, i'm not that tall :-) i'm 5'9'', but i was wearing kitten heels that day!

Arleene said...

This is great info, thanks.
I was wondering how you create your photo collages. I want to conserve space on my blog by condensing pictures, and love the look of yours. Any advice? Is it all on photo shop?...
I especially love the Dec 08 ones:




Thanks for your time and any help at all.