|Ilena of corrnucopia|
My birthday is next week and Yikes! I'm going to be 43 and I’m not quite sure when that happened! I have 2 young children ages 5 and 3. I think having them later in life has kept me on my toes and feeling young. At the very least they keep me very busy so that I do sleep well at night! I've done many things since I left college with a degree in psychology including getting my Masters as an elementary teacher and working lots of jobs, including my fair share of waitressing, and even a stint as a cowgirl at a dude ranch. I've spent most of my life living near the ocean but have traded this in for mountains and lakes. I do miss the roar of the sea and a good beach walk after a storm, but I do love the woods and the secrets hidden within.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
|Vintage pair of old metal pulleys|
What do you do when you are not working on your shop?Um... I am thinking about my shop! Seriously though ever since starting this "whole Etsy thing" I am completely obsessed. I even have my children involved in the treasure hunting! With both kids in school though I do try to designate time away from the shop when they are home, then we are playing and spending time together. I do fill in as a substitute at the schools my kids attend as well. It's been a loooong winter here in the Adirondacks (I do have some snow still left in my yard) and I am looking forward to getting the garden going, hiking with my children and working on conquering the high peaks as a family!
|Vintage Handsome Fellow cake topper|
What is the inspiration behind your shop?After my son was born I found myself without a job. I am a quilter and my mom had told me about Etsy. I really liked what I saw and opened up a shop, corrcreations. I am a self taught quilter and loved sewing and creating things with fabric. I was able to put my creative energies into sewing and it was exciting to see myself growing as a quilter... then my son learned how to climb out of his walker! I really felt I needed to be home with my little guy which turned out was important as he wound up having some special needs. Not being able to sew, I decided to give a go at vintage. I had noticed how well some shops were doing and thought "I can do that". With an eye for old things that were waiting to be loved again, I began packing up my kids early on the weekends and hitting local estate and yard sales. This has been a really perfect opportunity to be with my children and take them to work so to speak.
Please describe your process.
|Vintage Red Duck Bobby Pin|
|Ilena in Vintage Bonnet|
How do you decide what kind of items to put into your shop?
Personally I have a fondness for kitschy and retro things. I am a sucker for a vintage kitchen apron and swoon over old Pyrex patterns. My love of sewing gives me a fine appreciation for old buttons and sewing notions. As a little (and maybe not so little) girl I imagined myself to be Laura Ingalls living the prairie life. I really do feel an attachment for certain things from the rustic, country, farmhouse genre. These are the things I seek out, items that speak to me. Books, toys, and other "artifacts" from my childhood also hold a special place in my heart, it’s a great feeling to be able to touch them and just remember. Now I can't possibly keep them all, but being the proprietor of a vintage shop, I can have them and hold them dear ~ until I find someone who hears their promise.
What specific steps are you taking to grow your business?
|Vintage Linen and Lace Bread Basket Liner|
Another way I feel I can grow my business is to stay on top of the monthly merchandising report. While I do seek out items I love and believe in, I do try to keep the monthly report in the back of my head, as well as bring in things that fit the current trends. This really has helped me to keep some focus and provide me with added exposure as these items are often chosen by treasury curators.
|Vintage Potato Ricer|
Pictures Pictures Pictures! Great pictures are essential to selling something on a venue where the buyer cannot touch or really examine the item. Get close up, really close up. My favorite product shots show are my close ups. These along with some fun angles really help to make my products stand out and be noticed. My advice to improve your photos would be to seriously study the front page as well as look around at other great photos both on Etsy, style sites and magazines. What makes the photos stand out? What grabs your attention? You will have a much easier time of getting that sale if the buyer feels they can connect with your product by its images.
I would also stress the importance of connecting with other sellers. Join a team, become active with other members in the forums. Find like-minded individuals whether they share your location, beliefs, art, or goals. It's a great way to be able to share and learn, bounce ideas off of other minds, and develop friendships. I love Etsy but most of the people I know have never even heard of this place. Without teamies I wouldn't be able to share the excitement of an awesome sale or join in on the Front Page dance!
|Vintage Mid-Century Metal Ice Cube Tray|
How do you promote your shop?I am constantly adding new items or at the very least renewing. This keeps me "fresh" and on top of searches. I use twitter to promote my listings, I do have a blog that I have been less than faithful with, definitely something to work on though.
In 10 years...I'd love to be successful enough to continue working on my own and seriously (aka profitably) be full time. I really love the thrill of the hunt and would love to continue on this vintage road. As my kids grow and are more independent I hope to have the time and energy to devote to creating new things from my ever growing stash of vintage books, fabrics, buttons, and other notions.
It's hard to believe that in 10 years the late 90s will be considered vintage! I hope to stand by my creed that if it has a barcode it doesn't belong in my shop!
You can win Ilena's Vintage Lotus Bowl Collection
1. Visit Ilena's shop and leave a comment below letting us know which piece is your favorite.
2. Blog/Facebook/Tweet about this giveaway
3. Purchase something from Ilena's shop.
You can enter in as many different ways as you want!
Leave a separate comment below for each entry.
I will select a winner at random on May 3rd using random.org
And the Winner is....
Visit Ilena's Etsy Shop!
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