Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eight lessons learnt in the first year of having an Etsy Store and inspiration for you to chase your dreams.....

This time last year I was in hospital snuggling with a fresh bundle of joy with our wee man Fraser. Phone calls congratulating us along with text messages and emails were coming in too thick and fast. Among the messages we received on that day was also a notification I had made my first Etsy sale.

It seemed at the time to be magical sign that I had given birth to our last little vintage baby and on the same day my Etsy store gave birth to it's first sale. I look back now and think about all the effort that went into preparing my store and setting up my business. Taking on building my dream was not a project I had intended on doing deliberately while I was pregnant. But I simply just did, because no matter what I said or did I could not tell myself to wait to work on my dream any longer. My dream had an energy of it's own and simply propelled me forwarded to launching my Etsy Store only a few weeks before Fraser was born. It's not been easy with a young family with three children now five and under.

Many lessons and insights have been learnt through this process of the last year.

1. I've learnt that despite perceived or actual life challenges, there is always time and space to honor your dream. I want to inspire others to see and believe this too in their own dreams.

2. Having an Etsy store totally rocks and suits my lifestyle and business model for now. There is so much support in the Etsy community and opportunities are abound if you're ready to chase them and receive them.

3. If you're an Australian Etsy seller it's absolutely worth shipping internationally. It might seem like a weird point to single out, but it's true. I've heard so many Australian Etsy and other online sellers from other sites talk about shipping and postage rates overseas being prohibitive. My biggest tip is: don't make decisions for people about shipping rates and what they'll pay. Half of my sales have been and continue to be outside of Australia. If you have awesome products and it moves people in some way, where they are saying to themselves they need it, want it and can't live without it, they will pay the shipping. Extra tip: be fair don't charge extra on shipping, charge actual cost no more and if you do over estimate on shipping/postage be generous and refund the difference to your customer or offer them a store credit. Trust me people will be impressed with your ethics and integrity, they'll be back.

4. Managing a business and a young family is a juggle, it's best to be flexible about these commitments. Family is always first, without family what do you have? Getting your home life and children into a routine that allows you to be flexible to their every changing needs, will bring calm to your business goals and expectations and of yourself.

5. If you're setting up an Etsy store aim to have a minimum of two full pages of your store stocked. The more items you have listed the more chances people have of seeing your items or store. A pretty basic point that most Etsy sellers will tell you, but it's true and I've walked the path.

6. Listing new items regularly is great and if you're on top of this your items will appear in recent feeds and searches more often, and once again giving you more chances of your products being seen.

7. Product photographs are everything, take the best pictures you can with the equipment you have. Be flexible to supplying interested buyers with more photographs. I've improved my photos already this year and it made a difference and I'm just about to move forward with this again, with a studio lighting set up.

8. Finally customer service has been everything. Going above and beyond to make customers feel special about their purchase has been everything. My very first sale came when I was in hospital after giving birth to Fraser. I simply and honestly contacted my customer and explained there would be a delay and why. She also had a request for packaging and it to not giveaway whether the item was for a boy or girl. These were small matters dealt with simply (despite having a newborn) but made such a difference to their experience. The review I received for my customer service on my very first sale was glowing and set a standard. Believe me, going the extra mile in a simple way pays dividends with people's confidence in buying from you.

I'm excited to reach this milestone in my dreams, it's been a long time coming after many years selling "unoffically" in different forms and collecting for even longer. What has been achieved in one year and the opportunities that have risen have surprised me, when I'm still finding my way in the overall scheme of things.  I guess it goes to show that caging our dreams for what we think might be a better time in our lives is a crazy thing.

I want to say to others, let the beast out, let your dreams run and see where they go, I truly believe that life, if you listen to the signs will ALWAYS provide you with answers of how YOU can have time and energy to answer your calling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Birthday my wee vintage man, you're one today......

Oh my goodness how the last year has whizzed on by. This time last year things looked a lot different and so did I and our little family.

Here we are today, one year old.
Happy Birthday my gorgeous wee man.

Fraser you're quite simply delicious. You are every bit of everything I could have ever imagined and more. Just as your brother and sister have, you have brought more peace and healing to my heart. You are our last bubba, and the last puzzle piece to our family.

I'm so utterly blessed beyond words to have you choose me as your mumma. We are like two peas in a pod, you don't mind one bit being my market, business baby and letting me live my dream. Everything no matter what we do is fine by you as long as we are together.

You make me work harder, strive higher and parent better. You have me one hundred percent wrapped around your finger and desperately in love with your perfection and peace.

Fraser is wears:
Red and White 1970's Ribbed Long Sleeve Shirt - from his own wardrobe
Brown 1970's Velvet Overalls - from my stock and soon to be available on Etsy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rocking 60's Mini Dress on Ladies Night Out With the School Mums.....

Last Saturday night I did something I haven't done in the longest time, and I mean the longest of longest times. I had a ladies night out, with an amazing gang (we call ourselves the gang) of mummy friends I have made through Cohen starting school. We all get along wonderfully and are all very different from each other and it gives which gives us a wonderful dynamic and laughter when we're all together.

Our night out had been planned for weeks and as luck would have it in the days leading up to Saturday every possible challenge was thrown our collective way, trying to jeopardise our night out. But we pushed on through all the challenges and we had a great time for it.

With it being a long, long, long overdue child free night out, I was having it no other way and I announced to the girls I was glamming it in the style stakes, even though we were just going locally to a cafe bar close to all our homes. 
1960's Habe Garments Dress - op shopped years ago for $6
Leopard Print Stockings - retail on sale
Chunky Heel Ankel Boots - gifted from a friend
1980's Clutch Mesh Bag - op shopped
I love the pleat.

This whole outfit us thrifted or gifted except the leopard print stockings as noted above. I've been waiting for a proper chance and excuse to wear this 1960's Habe Garments mini dress since I bought it. Ever since scoring this frock I've not had a night out without a breastfeeding baby or child with me, who I've had to accommodate my outfit for. If I haven't been breastfeeding, I've been pregnant and not able to wear the dress, so Saturday night was a super excuse to pull this pretty out.

I love this frock it makes me feel all sorts of awesome and fun, and now that I'll be having more occasions to pop out child free, this dress will certainly be a contender for fun nights out. Our night out was fabulous, not a single a photo was taken as evidence of good night as we were all too busy letting loose and being in the moment. By the time I got home and and into to bed finally, it was 12.30am and I had to be woken at 5.30am because we had a garage sale we were doing at home.

Yeah I know stupid sheer madness stuff doing a garage sale the very next morning, but heck I'm pretty accustomed to surviving on five hours broken sleep with three children and Fraser waking for feeds. It was just a bit harder to get going with a champagne haze at that time of the morning.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My style hasn't gone anywhere it's here....

For the longest time I've regularly posted on a Wednesday doing my Style Collective post either showing one outfit among many in a week or several of them. I've shown off new to me frocks and tried and tested combinations as well as new ones. I've mixed vintage with thrifted items as well as the occasional brand new buy.

A few months ago my Wednesday posts started to wain, not because my style has gone anywhere, like out the window. But because life has been busy and I'd be getting ready for a shower in the evening realising I hadn't stopped for the day and taken a photos. Setting up a tripod can be a logistical nightmare at times with some children running around like spinning tops.

I had also noticed too that there were less people tuning in to read and comment on what combinations I'd been throwing together that particular week. With life being a lot more busy recently and trying to get outfit pictures it started to feel like a chore, because I was getting zapped for time. I started thinking perhaps others were getting a little bored too, so I stopped. 

Well what I didn't realise is the amount people who'd start asking me why I wasn't posting outfits regularly anymore. I've also been surprised to hear from those who aren't vintage clothes wearers who follow the blog or other social media. There are a whole crew of people out there who tune in to admire my combinations and to be inspired. Side Note: if you've been lurking and not commenting, please come out and say hi, I'd love to say hi back and thank you.
1970's Polka Dot Blouse - op shopped
Cardigan - is modern and op shopped
Capri Jeans - op shopped still with orignal tags on $2 (bargain)
St Michael's Scarf - gifted from fabulous Misfit 
Belt, Wedges and Bag - all retail buys on sale

So this post is to say I'm back with style posts. How often and how these posts will look, I'm not sure yet. I'm going to go with the flow and see what new pattern and ideas develop. One definite idea I have though is to show you some of the outfits that I wear that aren't necessarily vintage but how when mixed with other pieces give a "vintage look". I was asked recently if I only wear vintage.

The answer is:
I do own and wear a lot of vintage. When I say a lot it's certainly not a lot that I own in comparison to the likes of Vix, Helga and Sarah. But a large of amount of clothes I own are vintage. The other considerable portion of my wardrobe is thrifted from all sorts of places, eras and styles. I look for pieces that are unique to mix and match with vintage and the occasional retail purchase. So the answer is no, I don't only wear vintage, it is one of passions of course but what I love more than anything is creating outfits that make me feel uniquely me. Let's face it I'm not a mainstream trend follower or setter, I'm me and if I feel great that's what counts.

So there we go, getting back to rebooting the style posts and seeing what happens.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Greazefest 2014 - Cars, Pin Ups, Dancing, Vintage and Fun.....

We had a wonderful day out yesterday at the GreazeFest Kustom Kulture Festival in Brisbane at the Rocklea Showgrounds. The festival is a three day event filled with cool cars, rockabilly music, fashion and pinups, vintage bikes, pin stripers, tattoos, markets and so much more, including fun for the kids.

From the moment we walked through the gates, the kids were excited and were calling to us to look at the cool cars, all the colour and girls.

We walked through the market stalls and vintage sellers sites. Ben looked for old style bowling shirts and Cohen couldn't help but check out hats.

We stopped by our favourite Celia's stall and ogled Kittys Vintage Kitsch wares.

I stopped this mother and daughter and asked if I could take their picture because they looked so lovely together, dressed for the occasion. The young girls' grandmother made the dress for her and one in another print for her sister. They were impeccably well made and it was a delight to see mothers and daughters dressed so lovely and enjoying the day together.

Cohen and Sarah got inked......well airbrushed and then proceeded to show them off to all who would look their way. 

We stopped by to see the fuss at the Trash Monkey kissing booth and saw that photos were being taken of the newly crowned Miss Burlesque - Miss Dolly Cakes along with other Pin Up models. When I looked down I saw my wee Sarah copying the poses of the girls. She was in awe of them and thought they were so pretty and despite being the shy type at times she was even keen to talk with them when I suggested she could say hi. The girls were so sweet and attentive to her, they really made her day.

Finally before leaving we listened to some music and admired the dancing (how I wish a stuck with Rock 'n' Rock Dancing....maybe again one day) and enjoyed watching the sheer delight on the kids faces as they hammered up down an inflatable amusement ride slide, before heading home.

It was a wonderful day at the festival and it was great to see so many families out with children and all the generations represented. Everyone was so happy, chatty and positive, and being our first time having a chance to attend in recent years, we had a such a great time we will be looking forwarded to attending again next year.
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