Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

When I started this blog I decided that one of my goals was to stay positive.  I am somewhat of a high strung person, and, staying positive, at times, can be a challenge for me.  For this first post of the New Year, therefore, I wanted to remind myself - and others - of my positive experiences on Etsy over the past year.  This means, of course, setting aside my memories of those who "simply MUST have XXX" and can I "Pretty PLEASE set up shipping to XXX immediately?!?!?!?" only to never hear from them again.  Also, to all of those who have mysterious "Paypal problems" that for some reason do not allow them pay too, are now gone from my memories.  To the people who ask me a different question each day about an item for a week only to never follow through with any purchase, never mind a thank you - farewell!  And, to that woman who decided her first act on Etsy was to leave my mother two negative feedback comments, without ever contacting her about her displeasure...well, there IS a special place for you and your "master quilts."

So, when, you are wondering, does this post get positive?  Right now, of course!  Take a deep breath, send the past conflicts behind, recall the pleasures and think positively about the future.

Thank you: Brides
Some of my favorite memories from this past year on Etsy are of brides.  It was not far into the new year that I realized the popularity of clear rhinestone jewelry for brides.  I had started selling a few pieces from my own collection , and, shortly after that, I started looking for more.  Julia Carroll's books provided me with a new level of understanding over the summer and by the fall my knowledge level had increased dramatically.  I have had countless people turn to Carmen & Ginger when they needed an item in time for their wedding.  I have been sent wedding photos featuring pieces sold from the shop, engagement photos, and countless thank you notes.  It gives me great pleasure to know that something I found and was able to offer in the shop became part of such a special occasion for so many people.  I was also so pleased that the limited edition cards I created for couples of the same sex were selected with care and given on such momentous occasions!

Thank you: AMC
I can think of nothing that has helped the vintage clothing business more over the past year than AMC's Mad Men.  (the economy tanking, of course is a close second...but where do I start for "thank you's" on that?)  Mad Men's savvy take on fashion in a well-scripted and delightfully-acted period drama is a vintage seller's dream!  I have talked to local vintage sellers who told me "I had hats sit untouched in my shop for the past three years and this year I cannot keep them in stock!"  Dresses, hats, gloves, brooches, clip earrings and clutch handbags have enjoyed a popularity this year on a level they have not seen since 1963! 

I had actually placed the dress shown above in my shop with a "Mad Men" tag without even having seen the still above with a nearly identical dress!   This pair of Pat Sandler for Highlight dresses was a lucky find.  I paid a little more than usual for the pair, as they were so fabulous, and, was so happy to send them off together to sisters who planned to wear them on New Year's Eve!  (hope they had a great time!)

Thank you: Etsy
There are a lot of people on Etsy - whole websites even! - who both sell on Etsy and like to complain about it, a lot.  At this point, my attitude towards Etsy is one of gratefulness.  I am grateful that it exists, I am grateful that it allows vintage sellers, and I am grateful that it tries to maintain -  as hard as it may continue to be - a community of friendliness and goodwill.  Sure, you can only list items 20 years old or older, fine with me!  Sure, you only get 5 photos, fine with me!  At $.20 per listing so anyone in the world can see your stuff, what's to complain about?  Maybe some of the structure could be a little more accommodating of people like me who have been lucky enough to have such a high sales volume, but, that's me using them, not them not helping me.  In fact, Etsy has helped me time and time again.  One of the biggest boosts was the Etsy Storque article shown above.  Having a piece of rhinestone jewelry in an article about weddings linked with Martha Stewart Weddings...can't buy advertising like that!  I happened to be away visiting my parents and recall my sales suddenly going through the roof!    Another Mad Men Storque article appeared on a Thursday night and I immediately shot and listed all sorts of "Mad Men" related jewelry on-the-spot and milked it for the weekend as fast as I could!   I am lucky that my design background helps me take decent photos.  I also spend a lot of time on the photos.  This gets me into treasuries, Storque articles and Gift Guides.  That placement helps my business and for that I am extremely grateful.

Thank you: Bloggers
Sometime around six months ago, people started adding my items to their blogs.  Some let me know, and, some I found on my own.  All that I have found, have been flattering, although an unflattering cameo on Regretsy would likely bring me more business than anyone could!  (Not really something I am wishing for, however...)  The Vintage Bulletin (above) was one of the first to let me know, and, the members over there have been very kind to me over the past year.  In fact, they added a hat that was in my shop for the past two months to their front page last week and it sold in a day!  Now that's power, and, that deserves a big thank you!

As a collective big thank you to these folks, I'd like to share the list and links, to all those of whom I am aware so far...

Thank you: Mom
My mom has always had an interest in digging around for bargains and cool stuff and she passed that on to me at an early age.  A lifetime collector, she has dealt in antiques and collectibles for the past 20 years or more. She is able to adjust with the times and was the first person, sometime in 1997, to tell me to look at this new thing called eBay.  Although I was the one to encourage her to try Etsy - on which she has been an immediate success - she is the one who has listened to me gripe the most about my difficulties and frustrations with setting up an on-line shop over the past year.  She always has a voice of reason, and, even stopped me from enthusiastically buying some too-good-to-be-true vintage Christmas items the other day that she had already spied as reproductions.  You can never thank Mom enough, so, "thank you again, Mom!"  Check out my mother's Etsy shop Find Me A Memory for great vintage items added weekly...

Thank you: Customers
I would be nothing this past year if not for all of the wonderful people who turned to Etsy for their shopping needs (and midnight drunken shopping binges - you know who you are!)   The ribbons above are the very first sale I made on Etsy.  I had these antique silk ribbons for years, pulled them out of a drawer, photographed them put them on Etsy and they sold in 5 minutes.  Literally, five minutes.  I was hooked.  Thank you to those who trusted me to supply and even direct-mail their gifts for them.  Thank you to those who trusted Carmen and Ginger for their first Etsy purchase - there are many of you - I hope the experience was a good one.  And an extra BIG thank you to my "regulars" in San Diego, Washington, London, Australia, and Japan - you know who you are and I thank you and wish you all the best in the new year!


  1. And I would like to thank You, for the inspiration I needed to start my own Etsy store and the fabulous banner you made for me!!!

  2. You are the coolest lady ever! I am grateful for all that you share. I found your blog recently and am trying to catch up on back posts to learn as much as I can from you. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for all your great posts! A much needed break from baby business.

  4. Thank you too, for great items, blogging and giveaway items. :-)

  5. What a fabulous blog!! I feel very grateful for Etsy mostly because it allows me to buy the things I love and sell them to people who love them as much as I do. I'm looking forward in 2010 now. I wasn't... but this post has helped a lot.

  6. Thank you all for your positive comments! I am positively thrilled to have stayed positive for at least one post. I almost completely fell off the wagon the next day but I am positively determined to stay positive!

  7. Thank you for the acknowledgement in your list...quite an honor!

    This was a great post...being thankful helps with being positive :)



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