Thursday, June 23, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: DeLaBelle

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Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Delana and I am a seller of vintage. I live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada with my husband Matt and although I was born and raised here I never tire of the amazing beauty of this island. Besides vintage I absolutely love food, art, music, animals and beautiful things. Oh and did I mention I have the cutest Boston Terrier named Hugo?

Vintage 1970s Macramé Tote Bag Purse in Honey Wheat (1)

Vintage 1970s Macramé Tote Bag

What do you do when you are not working on your shop?
We have a great network of friends that keep us busy with meeting at coffee shops, lounging on the beach, strolling the markets and eating delicious meals together. Actually I am known as the grandma of the group because of my love for old things, gardening and going to bed early. I really love my bed.

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Vintage Shoe Clips "my favorite color is light tan" Neutral Bows

What is the inspiration behind your Etsy shop?
I initially was hoping to sell art on Etsy but was struggling with the idea of actually parting with paintings as well as ways to be commercially successful in the art world while staying true to myself. I have always loved collecting vintage for myself and one day while I was at a garage sale I somehow squirreled my way inside and was offered an opportunity by a retiring vintage seller to buy a large amount of her stock. The idea hit me like a brick “why couldn’t I sell vintage on Etsy?!” and being the impulsive gal that I am I ran home to fetch all the savings I had (which was quite meagre mind you) and traded it for two large garbage bags of clothing. I have never look back since then.

Vintage White & Blue Polka Dot Blouse with Ascot Tie - M (2)

Vintage White & Blue Polka Dot Blouse with Ascot Tie


Please describe your process.
To me old things are precious. My absolute favourite part is going out searching for treasures and discovering amazing pieces that were generally cast aside and unappreciated. I take every single piece that I find and restore them to the best of my ability which includes washing, mending, steaming and ironing. It’s not unusual to see rows of dresses that I am working on flapping in all the windows of our home.
Then, along with my husband, we set up photo shoots to take pictures for the shop. We try to keep the feeling light-hearted and can get pretty silly sometimes as you can see from some of our sold items.

Vintage 1960s Scooter Dress Romper – M L (5)

How do you decide what kind of items to put into your shop?
My mom who is my best friend comes with me often to find vintage clothing and I always find it hard to describe to her why or why not I choose certain things for the shop. Let me tell you not all vintage is good vintage! I am very led by feeling and I generally know instantly if I like something or not. I definitely have a love for dresses and other feminine things. The problem I have is actually parting with everything. What you see in the shop is only a very tiny fraction of the stock I actually own!

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What is your favorite item currently, and why?
My favourites are clothing from the 1920s to the 1940s so these pieces I tend to shamelessly horde to myself and rarely do they make their way to the shop. I would have to say my favourite item in the shop at the moment is the fine art photo my husband took of our dog Hugo. We only put it in because we found if you are not Etsy savvy and just put your request in the search bar then it automatically defaults to things that are only handmade, because of this we were getting constant feedback from friends and family that they couldn’t find us. We solved this problem by adding Hugo’s photo and tagging it with our shops name. Ever since Hugo has been put to work leading people to our shop with his irresistible cuteness.

Vintage Strapless Sweetheart Party Dress in Kelly Green - S (4)

Vintage Strapless Sweetheart Party Dress


What specific steps are you taking to grow your Etsy shop?
I am trying my best to develop a regular routine of listing new items every day. I find when I do this simple thing then it grows fast. Something else that has been on my to-do list for a long time is to build my own website, furthering my business as a brand and showing more effectively the feeling that I am trying to convey.

Vintage Sandy Shores Biltmore Fedora Hat (5)

Vintage Sandy Shores Biltmore Fedora Hat


What advice would you give to those who are new to Etsy?
I would tell them to plan and research everything before starting out and then give it all you’ve got. One thing I regret is starting my shop so slowly. I had it for months with nothing in it and then when I did, just a handful of items. I think to make Etsy work you have to start out running by filling your shop as much as you can, staying present by listing or renewing regularly and immersing yourself in the forums and teams which are chock-full of advice and support.


How do you promote your shop?
This is one thing I have to work on and have been trying certain things out here and there to see how it works for me. So far I have been using twitter and Facebook fairly regularly and then some experimentation with advertising on private blogs as well as bigger sites focused on helping etsy shops.

Vintage 1950s Sky Blue Tiered Chiffon Lace Half Apron (3)

Vintage 1950s Sky Blue Tiered Chiffon Lace Half Apron


In ten years, where would you like to be?
Being a dreamer I would like to be living in the countryside of Southern France somewhere, but more realistically I would be happy to have a bigger space where I can have my own art studio overlooking the garden as well as a large room to organize all my vintage lovelies more beautifully…and maybe own a goat.

You can win this amazing psychedelic scarf from Delana's shop!!

Vintage 1970s psychedelic square scarf
To enter:

1. Visit Delana'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 DeLaBelle
4. Follow DeLaBelle on Facebook
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 June 28th using random.org

And the Winner is...

Masha!

Congrats to you and thanks to all who entered

14 comments:

  1. You are adorable, and I just wanted to let you know, that I JUST got the Nacho Libre reference!! hahaha :D

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  2. Wonderful interview! I too have a deep love for old things. Especially antique ephemera and items that may be of genealogical value to someone, somewhere who is searching for their lost ancestors.

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  3. Love this post! Great to hear a bit more about Delana and her beautiful vintage shop.

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  4. Delana,

    It's easy to see that you love what you do, and it shows in your beautiful shop. I love the light hearted, but professional way you run your shop, and really enjoyed getting to know a little more about you, your home life, and the way you got started. Love Hugo too, of course!

    A little vintage chat: I used to live near a Salvation Army that was so cheap, before they realized what they could charge for things, and would stop by every day after work. I found so many treasures there, including a lot of vintage slips, in different colors, that must have come from the same person. They looked like they could be from the 30's or 40's, appeared unworn, and were only a few dollars each. I felt like the cat that got the canary. I've had them for years and only wear them on special occasions, but when I do, even if no one else knows what I'm wearing under my dress, I feel a little more feminine and pretty. Even when I don't wear them, I love glancing at them hanging on my clothes rack. I think when it comes to vintage, slips are my weakness.

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  5. nice, i love Vintage 1970s Woodland Mushrooms Knit Sweater Top :)

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  6. so wonderful!!! thanks for sharing!

    PS I love that scarf!

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/69840265/vintage-strapless-sweetheart-party-dress One of my favorites in your shop.

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  7. blogged
    http://laura-johnston.tumblr.com/

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  8. So great getting to know you better, Delana! My favorite in your shop right now is Hugo (he is awesome).

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  9. You are so adorable! I have to say I love Hugo too. Thanks for sharing. It's awesome to learn more about you!

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  10. Love your shop! Thanks for sharing. :) I love Hugo, he's such a cutie. From your vintage things, I think the black party dress with roses is great.

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  11. Great article, and what a cool idea with your Hugo picture to ensure you are found via the basic searching!

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