Sunday, 9 August 2009

Fortnightly Featured Seller

The fortnightly featured seller is back! Our seller today is Lisa or Sommersbreezeantique. A vinatge seller on Etsy, Lisa lives in Wisconsin but she and her husband travel to Arkansas in the winter to live in a cordwood cabin they built by hand.

Five years ago she sold a 10,000 square foot antique mall, which she started with her sister, Kim. Since then she continues to rent spaces in antique malls selling antiques as well as selling on Etsy. She works at a large Antique mall every other weekend and the occasional weekday.

I asked Lisa a few questions about herself and her work:

1. What got you started selling vintage?

I would spend several weekends with my Grandmother, Irma {now deceased} and though she never got her drivers license, she would take me out "junkin" in her big, old, white car. She was such a poor driver! But she loved yard sales so illegal turns down a one way were never a concern to her! Her goal was to get to that yard sale! My grandmother was was always trying to get a better deal, she was a haggler! I loved to watch her negotiate a better price, she humored me with her thrifty ways. I loved going on these rides with her and finding treasures. I studied her to learn her craft of bargain hunting. Thus the seed was planted and I have adored vintage items my entire life. You could say I carry my grandmothers traits with me when I go junkin!

2. What is your personal favorite item in your shop?

Lately, I seem to have gotten into a habit of listing vintage jewelry, both junk jewelry for re purposed artwork and wearable. And though I own several rubber maids full of vintage and antique jewelry, I really don't have a passion for it. Funny I guess, I don't wear jewelry, so It makes it easy to sell. I love the old photographs that I list, especially ones that make you think. I personally like the hard to find oddities. And I sometimes hoard them for a few years before offering them for sale. In the near future, I will be listing more old tins, shabby chic treasures and old feed sacks, those would be objects I adore. I also love the item I just listed a Vintage Ranger Alfalfa Seed Bag

3. What sort of places do you get your stock from?

This spring my husband along with a few local Amish men raised an old one room school house onto a huge flat bed trailer. They lowered it, secured it and hooked the wagon to a local farmer's tractor. At the crack of dawn, we set out towing this huge wooden school house down the back roads to find it's resting spot on our land. It was then lowered and filled with my inventory that I had stashed.... well, every where. I have purchased a few estates, shopped yard sales, gone to auctions and thrift sales and have an impressive amount of inventory on hand. My current plan {and reason I have stayed home today rather than join my husband at an auction} is to remove one box at a time from the school house and tag items for my rented spaces and take pictures of the smaller treasures to list on etsy. So to answer the question, I go to my yard and shop now!

4. You have had over 1300 sales on Etsy, I couldn't let you go without asking you what your top tips are.

When I sell an item on etsy, here is my check list that I follow:
1: I am honest about the item I am listing
2: I charge actual postage, without packing fees.
3: Once an item sells, I convo the buyer with my plans of shipping, which is the same to next day of payment recieved. I let them know what day to expect their package to arrive. I use a delivery confirmation which allows the buyer as well as myself to track the package. {Very Important}
4: I package the items up safely and securely and try to use recycled items in packing, yet tie a bow and make it look like a nice package, with out going into allot of expense in order to be able to charge the actual postage rate.
5: I try to leave positive feedback right away.
6: I have several regular buyers, I have learned their want lists, I try to list items best suited for them in Reserved Listings.
7: I follow through, if you buy from me, I want to know that you are happy!
8: The best advise I can give any seller, communicate!
I hope these tips help!

I'd like to thank Lisa for sharing her great story. She is genuinely one of the nicest sellers on Etsy that I have come across. Her shop has some gorgeous items and such a diverse range.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Time Management Tips

Well, you don't need to have been selling on Etsy for long before you realise there is so much to do and so little time to do it all in.

Think about it, you've got to be anything and everything for your little business. You have to create, list, photograph, market, work the forums, social networking, package, ship, monitor supplies, answer questions and all the little jobs that crop up. Phew. It's a lot. Especially if you're tied up with a job or school or kids.

It shocked me at first to discover that Etsy success doesn't just happen - you have to work your socks off to get it. You can't list as you walk out the door and arrive home to a sale. By no means am I anywhere near success but with so much else going on I have certainly found a way to squeeze my Etsy chores into my day.

Our human nature is to procrastinate, leave everything to the last minute. If you go online to list an item - do it. Don't check your email, dont go onto facebook. Go straight to Etsy and list the item. I always write a small list and stick it on my laptop saying exactly what I have to do.
For example:
1. Check Conversations
2. Send shipping notifications
3. List 2 new items
Once I finish the list I can do other things but the list is great for getting your mind to focus and you'll get the job done in half the time.

Another thing to try out is set a deadline for every task you undertake and then take a quarter of that time off. For example if you say you are going to make one item in an hour then take 15 minutes off. Therefore you're saying you will make it in 45 minutes. I always used to set deadlines for myself and I would always use up the whole time. However when you set yourself a shorter deadline you might find yourself taking up a lot less time! Your mind focuses on the task in hand and you can just get on with it.

My third and final tip is on to do lists. Firstly, be reasonable; you aren't going to list 10 items and go to work and make dinner and clean out the hamster cage and write a blog post and take photos all in one day so don't write it on the list. The best way I've found is to write your list in two columns: "To do today" and "To do by the end of the week" This system works well if you set realistic goals as you can finish your "today" list and start working on the "week" list. It means you can feel organized and can focus on putting your effort into your tasks. Remember once you've made your list, don't procrastinate! It will only take you longer.

So in summary my three tips for managing your time are:

1. Dont procrastinate

2. Set short (but achievable) time deadlines

3. Organize your tasks into lists

I hope these tips help!