Monday, August 26, 2013

My Etsy shop is open!

I know I must have an entrepreneurial gene.  It sent me around our neighborhood when I was kid selling greeting cards and such and made me consider trying to earn some money sewing when I was first married, but it has mostly lain dormant.  It showed some signs of life in the late 90s when I glazed and stenciled a whole bunch of flower pots and had a booth one year during the Munger Place home tour, at the end of which I stashed the remaining pots in a cabinet along with all the lovely little business cards I made. (The pots have made handy occasional gifts over the years.)  When my friend Linda and I go to art festivals every year we always fantasize about being one of those vendors, selling our creations to the eager throngs. But, frankly, I know I couldn't take sitting there smiling stiffly and making small talk with those throngs for hours on end.  So...what about an online shop?

I've been eyeing Etsy ever since I discovered it, considering what I might make and sell.  Printed and dyed scarves?  Something digital?  Or how about those mini crossbody bags that I made for myself recently?   Possibilities I still might pursue.  But what I am now actually offering in my Etsy shop is vintage: clothes, shoes and sewing patterns.  To be specific, my own clothes, shoes and sewing patterns.

I named my shop All of My Yesterdays because this is my past in silk, cotton, linen, and, yes, in polyester.  This is my coming-of-age in mini-dresses and maxi-dresses, and my career years in a whole range of outfits.  Lots of mauves and roses and lavenders and a predilection toward the feminine.  (Well, I was a woman who came home, donned overalls and stripped paint off of woodwork and knocked down old plaster walls.)  I started out sewing Vogue patterns back when I was young and impoverished, and I kept on sewing even when I worked in department stores and had both the means and the daily opportunity (not to mention the employee discount) to buy ready-made.

So, indeed, I had a lot of clothes.  And shoes.  And sewing patterns.  That is, I still have them, or a good many of them because a large old house has a nice large attic. And then they went to a storage unit.  But now they've come home, and they're filling my dining room and a good portion of a spare bedroom.  I decided that I no longer needed to hold on to this tangible part of my past, keeping them forever packed away.  But neither could I bring myself to simply haul them off and donate them, knowing they would be just more anonymous garments squeezed on racks and pawed over indiscriminately. How sad would they be!  (Okay, I tend to anthropomorphize my possessions a bit.)

Thus an Etsy shop seemed just the solution.  I would get to try my hand at selling something (with all the work done comfortably at home), and my retro wardrobe would have a chance to find its way to happy new wearers.  I hope.  I only opened my shop yesterday, and I'm not waiting for my first sale with bated breath.  Whatever happens, the whole experience of setting up the shop has been interesting.  And labor intensive, but, then, I do tend to do things thoroughly.  Beyond the major tasks of prepping the garments and photographing them, there are also details like shipping and payments to become informed about.  Etsy has reams of info on all the things to take into consideration when writing, for example, your profile, your policies, your About page, etc.  It can be both instructive and overwhelming.  On the daily Etsy Finds email where they frequently feature a shop, a woman said that she opened her shop on a whim one afternoon when her son was staying home sick from school.  Huh?!

Anyway, I'm giving it a try.  So far I only have ten garments listed which seems paltry for the amount of time I've put into it, but I'm now over that doing-something-new-getting-it-right stage, so I think things will go more smoothly and quickly, or so I hope.  At this point I'd need to be charging a couple of hundred dollars or more per garment if I wanted to be justly compensated for my time.  There were certainly a few occasions when I seriously questioned my decision to do this. But once begun, I felt I had to see it through. And I have enjoyed revisiting my wardrobe: examining, cleaning, pressing, photographing and writing about each garment.  Remembering when I wore it, who I was then.   


  1. This is awesome Julia! I hope you add in some of your artwork too. I am going off to look at your shop.

  2. That's great! And it's alright to feel overwhelmed. Etsy may seem intimidating to those who aren't familiar with it. And you're right that it involves a lot of effort in establishing and maintaining an online store, just like any business. Not only do you need to make sure your policies updated, but you also have to market your store consistently so it won't get buried with the many online stores in Etsy.

    Reach for Freedom Pty Ltd

  3. It’s good to read about how you and your business begun. You may have had doubts from the beginning -- which is understandable, as starting a new business can really be complicated sometimes. In my opinion, that’s the common reason why a lot of people don’t pursue starting their own business. Thankfully, online shopping has been invented and is quite popular nowadays. It opens a good opportunity for all to start their business much easier. And it's good to know that it helps you too. How is it now?

    Clint Shaff @ Franchise Match