Monday, February 7, 2011

Coffee Talk with Heather of Texas Vintage: The Interview

Texas Vintage Things:  From Houston, with love, Brooch $30

Q: Tell us all about you.

My name is Heather. I'm a mom to a cute little boy named Dominic and a five year old Akita named Hana. I am a native Texan and currently live in Houston, Texas. I went to college in Chicago for fashion design. I sell vintage jewelry, clothing, accessories and mid century modern stuff when I get my hands on it. I also make handmade items and other crafty things. I like to cook (not bake), blog, travel, go to estate sales and craft. I hate housework, although I clean everyday.

Sheer dress, $38 at Texas Vintage shop.

Q: Why vintage clothing?

I'm not quite sure really. I remember going to thrift shops in junior high and high school. I've always loved really old things. I love vintage clothing because it fits women in the right places. Especially 1940s-1950s garments. Women actually had real waistlines. I prefer the more fitted vintage garments. Not the big, circle skirt type garments and party dresses. I love looking at those garments and studying their construction, but they're not my style.
Texas Vintage Things offers everything from fashions to jewelry and then some!

 Q: What was your best find ever?

I have a few. One of my best finds was probably a 1940s Adrian suit. I've also had a few pieces of Miriam Haskell jewelry. One Miriam Haskell necklace cost me about $75, but I turned around and sold it for $750. I also found a pair of Miriam Haskell Baroque pearl earrings within a "lot" of jewelry. The woman obviously didn't understand how valuable the earrings were and sold me the entire lot for $10. I turned around and listed those earrings on auction and they sold for over $200. Pretty sweet!

Heather and son Dominic Summer 2010.
Q: What other things do you love besides vintage clothing ?

I adore vintage jewelry as well. I also LOVE mid century modern furniture. I've been replacing pieces of our furniture with MCM furniture when I find pieces I like. I also like Hollywood Regency style stuff, but it doesn't fit with our decor. I just like to look at it!

Vintage Pin

Q: When did you start selling online ?

I started selling vintage stuff on eBay during college to make some extra money, then. I started selling vintage clothing on eBay when my son was three months old (in 2007). I did pretty well on eBay this last round. I was a Powerseller for several years as well as a top rated seller. I even offered consignment to people in Houston, which actually worked out well for me. I was able to make a commission on items that I didn't have to buy, just sell. I closed my eBay shop this past fall (2010) due to continued fee increases and lack of sales.  *(unlike Etsy, who allows you to list an item for only twenty cents, gives you five free picture and a free shop and takes a very small sales fee!)

Q: What brought you to Etsy?

I have two Etsy shops :vintage which is Texas Vintage, handmade which is Mattie Reid Chicago. They  were both open a few years ago. Etsy is a friendly, happy site compared to eBay. I like Etsy because all of the shop owners are crafty and/or like vintage. eBay wasn't like that at all. I also like how Etsy has teams. eBay never had anything like that. It's a nice change.
Mod Halter Dress, $40

Q: Tell us about challenges of selling online and what you have learned....

There are many challenges to selling online. People can't see your face or talk to you in person. Since closing my eBay shop and focusing on my Etsy shops only, I've basically started all over. Traffic just pours into eBay, but it seems like you have to work so much harder on Etsy.

In order to sell online, photo's really matter. They really do. If a potential customer cannot see the details of your item, even if the item is amazing, why would they buy that item. You also have to give complete and accurate descriptions of your items.

If you are selling vintage garments, you have to measure the shoulders, bust, waist, hips, inseam, length, etc. The customer has to know that this garment is going to fit them when it arrives. It the item is damaged, you have to list that information as well. I put my reputation on everything. I want to win that customer for life, not just one sale.
A new camera in tow, Heather has been working on her pictures. I love this brooch!

Selling online is also challenging because people have to find your shop. You have to utilize or try and utilize various social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Indiepublic, etc. You have to network with other sellers, retweet their tweets on Twitter, repost other sellers posts on Facebook and hope they will do the same for you. What goes around comes around, hopefully. I will say that I work way more for myself, selling online, than I did when I worked in a corporate job.

WRAP UP: We can learn a few things from talking to Heather.  First, it's never too late to start over.  It may be time to take a good hard look at your Etsy shop and see what you need to work on.    Secondly, you have to work hard at your Etsy shop.  Promoting others on your blog, Facebook, or tweeting other's finds (and hoping they reciprocate) is a very good tip and something that is proven to work!    Heather also features a lot of shop interviews on this blog, and both her Mattie Reid Chicago blog and her Texas Vintage Things Blog.  If you want to do an interview, contact her!

Catch up with Heather and show some love:
Twitter:  HERE


Cynthetic Styles by Tranzendental Arts said...

Excellent tips and beautiful stuff - bravo Heather!

:) -cyn
by TranzendentalArts

Heather said...

Thank you Cynthia for your compliments. :) Thank you Cindy for posting my interview!

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