o.v.e.r.

My little one goes back to school, tomorrow, and the the summer seems like it was swallowed up, almost like it didn’t exist! She was only off for 8 weeks and while I do feel like I jammed it packed with fun stuff, I still feel like I should have done more, savored it just a little bit better? She does better with the structure of the school day so I hope this year is as good to her as the last.

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Talking Shop: Charlotte Lucas of LaStarlette

lastarlette

I hope you are ready for some full. on. GLAMOUR. Because today’s interview is with Charlotte Lucas of LaStarlette on Etsy and her shop is devoted to and dripping with total unabashed glamour. So fun!

Can you introduce yourself to my readers?
char
My name is Charlotte Lucas. I am an artist, musician, and shop-owner on Etsy. My store is called La Starlette. The name conveys the idea behind what we aim to offer our customers: classic, glamorous, old Hollywood, dazzling fun! I live in Sacramento CA with my husband and our three cats.
matt&Char
What sparked your interest in vintage?

I have always loved vintage clothes. I think it started at the age of ten. Courtney Love and her Band, Hole, were popular at that time. I was mad about Love’s vintage baby doll dresses. As I got older, my taste became more refined and I started looking to my mother and grandmother for fashion ideas. My Mom has an edgy, ahead of the curve, style, and my Grandmother is classic but with a sparkle of fun and unusual.

Marian Woodcock Hughes, Charlotte’s Great Great Grandmother.


Charlotte Hughes Bateman, her Great Grandmother.


Pamela Bateman Masse, her Grandmother and creator of Bags N Bloom Handbags


Heather Greenlee, her mother.


And Charlotte, herself. the 5th generation of lovely ladies!


Do you use social media to enhance your success on Etsy and if so, how?

La Starlette has a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/LaStarletteBoutique


What are your favorite places to score vintage treasures?

My Grandmother’s closet!


What is a typical day like working as a seller on Etsy?

A typical day involves photographing new merchandise and keeping up with the details of the site store and the Facebook page. My Grandmother makes all of the floral handbags we carry. The collection is called, “Bags ‘n Bloom.” I make the picture frames and although, they are not up yet, holiday ornaments. The fun thing about La Starlette is that it is only limited by one’s imagination. We plan to expand our hand-crafted selections in the future (clothes, art, home décor, etc.)


What have you learned about photography as an Etsy seller?

You need three things: good lighting, a creative spirit, and patience. My mom was a model for years. She learned a lot about what it took to make a good photograph. I offer my models the same advice. If the position is an uncomfortable one, it will probably look great on film. Look at the camera like you are looking at your best friend OR if I’m trying to capture a certain mood, I’ll have the model imagine a situation in her mind that matches it and try and capture the expression of it on her face. Finally, In general, only one out of 20 photographs is going to come out well. Its hard work and with any luck, magic!


What is your favorite era for vintage things? Why?
Every era had its share of beautiful and remarkable innovations, paired with the recycling and updating of older ideas. It’s fun to review, watch (and predict) what is going on in the fashion world. Too difficult to choose!

Thanks so much, Charlotte, for sharing your world with us!
Rachel

decorating a friends house and how you can get the look, too

decorating with friends All last week I was hard at work on a big re-decorating project I am doing with my bff in her home. She is fresh off of a summer-long renovation and was itching for the fun to begin. We spent the entire week running around the greater New Orleans area chasing furniture like you wouldn’t believe. And yes, I mean chasing! The things we wanted were in hot demand and apparently flying off of the display floor but we managed to secure everything she needed so far as actual furniture is concerned.
As far as design goes she has a very clear vision of what she wants to do with the space. Her colors sit firmly in the beige and blue zone. She doesn’t really like to stray, and that’s ok. I happen to really like that color combo as well. I actually painted my living room/kitchen an icy blue, called ‘Smoke’ by Benjamin Moore, this past Winter and then bought a taupe couch. I guess birds of a feather flock together.
It has been fun working on this project with her. We have been friends literally our entire lives, 32 years of togetherness. We have kids that are a year apart and little tiny bffs which is about the cutest thing ever. So there is some parallel influence in the things we are drawn to. But then I am always going to be a smidge funkier than she is and she will always lean toward the more refined and classic choice. We compliment each other and agree a lot.
As we have worked on this project the vibe, the over all image, has turned out to be one part beach-y, one part French provincial and one part New Orleans Uptown.
I thought it would be fun to show a first glimpse of the space, it’s not done enough for the full tour, and then some images of spaces that embody the general vibes we are shooting for and some accessories from Etsy that would spruce up any blah space to achieve this pretty look that we are creating in her home.

sofa
The image above is of her new sofa that goes in the formal dining/sitting room. It is creamy and slip-covered and exactly what she was looking for. We got it for a steal. The pillows are from Marshall’s and TJ Maxx, sshhhh! We actually found lots of amazing stuff from those two stores, it was like we hit the shopping jackpot last week. The mirror, chest, side table and lamp were all things she already had.
lr
The slipper chairs sit across from the sofa and are new. We found the small pillow at Marshall’s, too. It is covered in navy blue glass bugle beads so it’s very pretty and sparkly.

This picture was taken on a shopping trip to a gorgeous store in New Orleans called Sofas & Chairs. We both fell in love with this grouping. I think it runs parallel to what we are going for in the formal area.

This is another picture from the same shop and I feel like the more casual look of this grouping matches with the feeling we are going for the living room/kitchen area.

The funny thing about the images above is that in the more formal space at my friend’s home we have added in the navy blue and in the more casual area we are using the softer palette.

One last pic from Sofa & Chairs. My bf has a lot of this blue and white pottery that we can incorporate into the spaces and I personally don’t think any home is complete without at least one Foo dog!

Below are some spaces that I love and feel like capture the vibe of this color scheme perfectly.

Chair covers by Bemz

Don’t know where this image originates from but if you do please don’t hesitate to let me know!

image found on Houzz.com

I don’t know where this image originates from but if you do then please don’t hesistate to tell me.

I don’t know where this image originates from, but if you do please let me know.

From Houzz.com

Talking Shop: Devan Lutz of MidCenturyShoppe on Etsy

talking shop

Can you introduce yourself to my readers?

HI! My name is Devan Evangeline Lutz and I am the owner of the vintage store MID CENTURY SHOPPE on etsy.com: http://www.etsy.com/shop/midcenturyshoppe
I am 27 years old and I’m from Sylvania, Ohio.

The “Anthony Wayne Bridge” or locals call it the “High Level Bridge” in Sylvania, Ohio.
What sparked your interest in vintage?

I grew up watching Audrey Hepburn movies, which sparked my interest in the by-gone eras. I also used to beg my parents to get me Elvis CDs (especially his Christmas album, I used to fall asleep to it on repeat when I was like 9 years old) which is hilarious because none of my other family members were Elvis fans! Haha! So I’ve just kinda always felt very drawn to the past. Not to mention my Mother is a historian and always taught me the importance of appreciating and preserving history!

Do you have any collections of your own?

Haha well of course I have my own collections!! My ever-growing collections is actually what gave me the push to finally open Mid Century Shoppe……but to name a few of the types of things I collect, I LOVE vintage books, various vintage glass items, (Toledo is “The Glass City”… home of “Libbey Glass”;)) and vintage clothing (I’m a fabric freak, I love nice fabrics, especially the vintage ones) 🙂


Is etsy your sole source of income?

Well, I am a fairly new seller on esty, Mid Century Shoppe just opened at the end of April, so as of right now etsy is not my sole source of income….yet!! 🙂 That would be a wonderful feeling to be able to support myself solely from a passion I love and enjoy so much!

What have you learned about photography as an Etsy seller?

Well, thanks to my Father, I’ve been instructed in photography since a very young age. It’s always been a huge passion of my Dad’s and I guess it just rubbed off on me! (I have a cat named Ansel Adams if that says anything! Haha ;))

But posting on etsy has taught me how important lighting and correct angles can be, and how different product photography is. In my book, great listing photos makes all the difference in the world!

What is your favorite era for vintage things? Why?

Well I’m sure it’s not surprise that the Mid Century is my favorite time period for vintage. But to get a little more specific, I am IN LOVE with the Atomic/Eames Eras aka “The War Years”. I love the classic style, the cars, the men…haha…I also loved the colors that were popular back then and especially the Starburst, Sputnik, and Mid Century Modern designs! I just have this really strong connection to the “housewife” era that I can’t explain.

Favorite fashion icon?

Absolutely without a doubt, Audrey Hepburn, as well as Grace Kelly. To me, it’s all about full-sweep skirts, cinched-waists, opera gloves and cat glasses! If only we still dressed like that!

Thanks, Devan!
Rachel

thanks

I have always been big on mail. Sending and receiving mail is just one of life’s simple pleasures. But I have found that with my poor college student status I have had to cut buying stamps and cards off the list and I miss it so much! I need to find a way to squeeze it back in. Here are some super lovely cute choices from Etsy.

Sonja and James of Capsule Vintage & the Dream Dress Project

dream dress

capsule
Can you introduce yourself to my readers?

J: Hi, hello! I’m James and my boo calls me goose. My neck is of normal length and I don’t honk. I’m just silly 😛 Sonja and I have plenty of mutual passions, yoga being one, but the most exciting has been our shared love for vintage goodies. Between holding hands and sun salutations you’ll find us at any number of local vintage hotspots––probably holding hands. I love graphic design and art in general, so all the design elements of CV come from my whimsical imagination. When I find enough time in my busy life away from a demanding teaching credential program I escape to a favorite hidden beach and surf on my sea green vintage twin fin. The ocean is my final frontier.
sonya and james
S: Hello sweet readers! I am Sonja and my better half likes to call me his boo. The two of us are inseparable, down to the moment we are vintage shopping and one of us finds a perfect item; we know we agree just by looking at each other. However, as our collection of vintage goodies continued to grow, we found ourselves cramped for space in our little Berkeley apartment. I was at a crossroads with what to do with my future career, and decided to marry these two issues and try selling clothes on Etsy to see how it might go. Now we are totally committed to the shop and cannot wait for what the future holds in store for us on our new Etsy home.
c v
I was drawn to one listing in your shop in particular, the dream dress project, can you explain what it is and how it came about?

S: The inspiration for the dream dress project has always been present for me since I was a tiny tater tot pursuing my mother’s capsule wardrobe, fantasizing the day I’d fill out a women’s size dress. Although I was only 9 years old, the desire for the most perfect dress for myself never disappeared. Through the years I always imagined how lucky I’d be to, by chance, stumble across my dream dress. Of course my vision of that dress changed and evolved over the years, in terms of style, color, material, etc. but the same basic desire remained— I always wanted to fill my closet with dresses from my dreams. Eventually what I realized is that it’s not luck as much as it is hard work, and time that goes into seeking out dream dresses. I am stubbornly determined and after endless toiling for a decade in the pursuit of a perfect ensemble I realized something simple yet magical––with the help of vintage-obbessed friends I could take a much needed vacation from the incessant work of dress hunting. Vintage Broker Project was created to meet the needs of our perfectly reasonable expectation of one day (ASAP) finding our dream dress. At Capsule Vintage we have assembled a ragtag team of Vintage Brokers (work colleagues, friends, family, professors believe it or not, and others who want to participate in the movement).

J: They can all participate to help find a dress per request of the buyer. We intend to expand the team and if all goes well hopefully one day result in an iPhone app and a global movement all contributing to make your dream a reality!

What sparked your interest in vintage?

S: I had loved clothes ever since I was a young, young girl! Yet the passion for vintage really emerged as I entered adolescence. Years ago, when I first started high school I was bummed that everyone dressed the same. The uniformity of the suburban community I lived in and the monotony of colors among the clothes I saw every day made me itch for a creative outlet with clothes. I started to go through my mom’s old clothes, loving what she used to wear and started off by wearing her old clothes from the 70’s and 80’s. Of course everyone looked at me funny but I was too happy to have what I considered “art I could wear” to care. The sentimentality of wearing her old clothes further fueled my appreciation for vintage clothing as I could happily fantasize about her old life in Europe long before I was born. Then I got obsessed and started collecting vintage from wherever I could go, daydreaming about pretty dresses and their previous owners from there on out. I was lucky to have a wonderful position as a buyer at a vintage clothing boutique in college and I had an amazing boss and amazing coworkers who taught me how to identify vintage brands, fabrics, eras, styles, and many other elements that I consider invaluable. I now know how to identify a vintage brand by the era just by looking at the seam or fabric, no label required!

Do you have any collections of your own?

S: Absolutely! I have a pretty big closet full of vintage frocks that mean the world to me. I was going through my summer dresses the other day and noticed that I have a hefty collection of ‘Lanz’ Vintage dresses in beautiful floral prints. I love girly, feminine dresses.

J: I have a really small but special collection of high quality, leather men’s vintage shoes ranging from brogues to loafers and they are all perfectly broken in.

Is etsy your sole source of income?

J: At the moment, no, but we are hoping to expand the store to where we can live off of our profits being generated from Etsy. We are certain this is still a few years out, but we are totally committed to making the store bigger and better!

Do you use social media to enhance your success on Etsy and if so, how?

S: Definitely! We have a Facebook page at Capsule Vintage where we post photos of new items, feature pieces, behind-the-scenes sort of photos and other important news to inform our readers with. We also have an Instagram account, capsulevintage_etsy, where we have had even more luck reaching out to people. On there we post lots of photos of our daily life—yummy vegan food, our beloved pug, Oliver, flea market adventures, etc.—which I feel really connects us with our followers in a more intimate, thoughtful way. Posting glimpses into our daily work life brings a fun, human element to the store that Etsy itself lacks in. Plus, instagram customers get 10% off when they shop! So, follow us on there!
mellow yellow
What has been your biggest Etsy success and your biggest Etsy fail?

J: The biggest overall success we have had is simply having such a positive response since opening the store, through feedback, fans, etc. Every time a customer is happy with their order is another success for the store! Luckily we have not yet had any major fails—just a couple silly misspelled words here and there on the listings that sound pretty funny when I go back to read them.

What are your favorite places to score vintage treasures?

S: We love to scavenge for vintage just about anywhere! Vintage stores, thrift shops, flea markets—we are lucky to live in the Bay Area where finding great vintage is almost always within arm’s reach.
dress and steamer

What is a typical day like working for yourself as a seller on Etsy?

J: A typical day involves getting out there and looking for beautiful vintage. We see a lot of vintage pieces every day but it takes more work to find those great gems that I know the Etsy world can love and appreciate. Then we will come home and photograph, edit, and post! Often we get into a creative mood and dedicate a few hours to making cool tags and fun packaging for the sold items as we love to have our customers to get their items delivered in a beautiful way.
cv cards
cv office
Do you get a lot of repeat business and if so what keeps your customers coming back?

S: Being a new store we have only had one repeat customer so far, but she absolutely loves our items and always buys in bulk! We have even done a few custom orders for her previously before we came up with the “dream dress” post. I think having repeat customers involves not only a pleasant experience all the way through the transaction, but also being able to listen to the customer, understand their needs and desires, and communicating effectively. We love to keep the customer informed every step of the way until they have the goodies in their arms!

What is your favorite era for vintage things? Why?

S: I personally love 1950’s dresses, 60’s and 70’s blouses, 80’s leather skimmers and 40’s suits and blazers. So classy and timeless. I have a personal arsenal of vintage frocks and wear a dress pretty much every day. Living in the Bay Area we have chilly weather a lot of the time so a vintage dress, wool cardigan and leather flats are my go-to. I love these eras because the cuts, shapes, quality and fabrics were beyond perfect and that they can survive all this time and still put up with me wearing them into the ground makes me love them even more!

Favorite fashion icon?

S: I love Jackie O, so much. My favorite days are when I put together an ensemble that looks just like something she would have worn. I even have a really special pair of 1950’s Jack Rogers peep-toe sandal wedges that are a very, very similar model to ones she had worn. They are near and dear to my heart. Other vintage loving and wearing ladies are also always a constant source of inspiration.

Talking Shop with Sandra Tierney of Puddles N Rain Bows

puddles n rain bows

sandra

Can you introduce yourself to my readers?
My name is Sandra and I am a mother of two living in Austin, TX. I grew up in a creative home assisting my mother with all of her arts and crafts. Not only was my mother creative but she had an amazing sense of style. My wardrobe is made up of all of her amazing Vintage pieces. I’m a lucky girl!
My favorite truck is my 1974 Vintage Bronco and I hope to start incorporating some of her vintage ribbons into my new rain boot line.

How did you come to make/sell the items you have in your shop?
My idea for Puddles N Rain Bows came about when I was wanting a unique pair of rain boots for a festival, here in Austin. Austin is known for its festivals and live music. One year it rained all weekend and every shop sold out of boots. That’s when I created my first pair adding the bows so I would stand out in the sea of rain boots 🙂

How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I have been selling on Etsy for about 4 years. I started with my shop Rescue Vintage and now have my Puddles N Rain Bows
that I started this year.

Is Etsy your sole source of income?
When I am not running my Etsy shops I am a Creative Assistant for Vintage Ware by EMD. We create leather cuffs from unique vintage items found all over the world. All the pieces are hand made here in Austin, TX.
cuffs

Do you use social media to enhance your success on Etsy and if so, how?
I have used FB ads to promote my shop as well as well as pinterest and advertising through Etsy.

What has been your biggest Etsy success and your biggest Etsy fail?
My biggest success on Etsy has been receiving messages from my buyers telling me how much they love their purchases and being featured in several Treasuries.

What is a typical day like working for yourself in this field? Do you own your own equipment for this sort of work? Do you have a studio?
My typical day includes finding time to create once the kids are fed and taken to school. All my work is done in my small office at home.

What have you learned about photography as an Etsy seller?
It is very important to get a good photo of your items so the customer can see the true colors. Another reason you want a clear photo is so people are drawn to the item for treasuries.

What is your education or background?
I majored in Art & Graphic Design.

Coolest place you’ve traveled for your work?
I have traveled all over the Country but for work my favorite was NY on a buying trip.

Favorite artist/artists or artists who have influenced your work?
My favorite artist is Jerry Cabrera, a local TX artist Jerry Cabrera his work is beautiful and the colors are so vibrant.

Painting by Jerry Cabrera


Dreams for the future?
One day when the kids are older I hope to start my own business.

….I think she already has! I don’t know about y’all, but I just think these boots are so cute, the perfect way to take something practical and add a mega-dose of style.
Thanks Sandra!
XOXO

Sandra Ramirez of Fruitful Feet on Etsy

Sandra

I have an interview today with a bubbly and vivacious woman who makes her living customizing shoes. I found her shop on Etsy when I was doing a round-up of TOMS. I am so impressed by her entrepreneurial spirit and success. So here is Sandra Ramirez in her own words.

I paint shoes (mainly TOMS) for a living! Never thought I would say that. Seriously…never. It has been a crazy journey, but I have loved every step of the way.

I went to college to become a teacher (I THOUGHT that was what I wanted to do with my life). Well, actually I had always wanted to start my own business doing crafty things and have my own line of awesome goodies like Martha Stewart (minus the jail time) and have my own show on HGTV or something. But, I thought…”yeah right. That will never happen…so teaching it is!” I guess you could say that I started with my back up plan! Ha.

So immediately after graduating, I received a job as a high school English teacher. I was so young and it wasn’t what I imagined it to be…I sort of hated it. (Props to all of the teachers out there!!!) So I started painting shoes on the side (because I’ve always been super artsy–I minored in Art and Majored in English in college). I taught for two years and then I was let go from teaching (blessing in disguise).

So I was jobless and really wanted to start my own business. I started painting different designs and blasting social media. I didn’t sell anything for about 6 or 7 months and then I sold my first pair! I almost died! I thought, “Wow, seriously? Someone wants to buy something that I made?! OMG!!! This is AMAZING!!!” And then I did a little victory dance…for about a week.

It was slow for a while and didn’t really pay the bills. And I didn’t really want to go back to teaching. But after lots of prayer and tears…Christmas hit! I sold around 40 pairs of shoes and my life has been forever changed! This past Christmas was my second year selling on Etsy…and my orders had…wait for it….more than QUADRUPLED! I hired not one, not two, but THREE employees to help with all the orders. I was SWAMPED…in a good way.

Now my orders are pretty steady and I am making more than I was when I was teaching…crazy blessed.


I definitely use social media to promote anything and everything! It is a gem! I didn’t realize how much Pinterest actually affected traffic flow until I saw the numbers piling up in my Shop stats (great source to check btw–to see where your traffic is coming from). Most of my customers are actually referred from Pinterest! So Pinterest, Wanelo, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, etc. are all great sources that should be utilized. How will someone know about your store if you don’t tell them? So post away! Just don’t be annoying about it. 😉

I just started my own website (www.fruitfulfeet.com) so I am not selling purely on Etsy anymore. Etsy takes a huge chunk…I paid thousands…yes thousands…to Etsy last year. Yuck. Don’t get me wrong, I love Etsy and I am still selling on Etsy…and will probably always sell on Etsy, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own site as well, right? Just make sure you don’t have your personal website link on your Etsy…or you WILL GET SHUT DOWN. Probably not a good idea because Etsy’s SEO is phenomenal and will take a while to build SEO for your personal website. 🙂

I currently don’t have a studio because I really don’t want to pay the overhead (I’m a cheapskate) and I purchased a really nice house while I was teaching (and I can write off part of my house on my taxes–yayy!). I use two of the rooms in my house (I’m single, so I only have one roommate). One room is devoted to painting. I have all of my art supplies and whatnot in there. The other room is solely for storage. I buy a huge shipment of TOMS at a time and have several bookshelves where they are all nicely stored.



Photography is definitely key to selling online! I can’t emphasize that enough! No one will buy your product if you have horrible pictures. I know when I am searching for something, I won’t buy it if it looks like the picture was taken by a 5 year old (no offense). So make sure you have lots of lighting–natural lighting works best. I’m no professional at photography and I use a simple point and shoot camera, but I still try to make it look presentable. The picture is the only way that your buyer can see what they are buying. They can’t touch it or hold it. So you have to sell it with merely a picture…and maybe a quirky description (I don’t have interesting descriptions, but I’ve seen some great descriptions out there that make me want to buy the product–maybe that’s my English major side coming in to play).

I have a ton of repeat customers because of communication and quality. I take pride in my work and I don’t want to be given a bad name. Yes, it takes 4-6 weeks to receive a pair of hand painted shoes, but I communicate and let them know. I do a TON of weddings and several customers even send me wedding photos! It is seriously so rewarding! 🙂

I don’t really have a favorite artist, but I’m obsessed with Martha Stewart! Haha! I love cooking, crafting, and creating…and that pretty much exemplifies Martha. Haha…first name basis. Plus, she has her own line of pretty much EVERYTHING you can think of…that’s going to be me! Watch out, world! 😉

The lovely and extremely talented Ms. Martha Stewart.


Dreams for the future? I definitely want to have several employees and my own line of stuff…maybe even create my own line of shoes. Who knows? I’m still young (just turned 27) and I have the world at my fingertips! 😉

My best piece of advice to give (I know it sounds corny and super cliche, but…) is to follow your dreams/passion! When you love what you do, it shows. People will want to buy into whatever you are trying to sell. Take pride in your work. So what are your dreams/passions…make a list. Do it. Right now. Go!
_______________________________________________
Such a great interview, such honest and real advice!
Here are some of Sandra’s links if you want to check em out:
http://www.fruitfulfeet.com
http://www.facebook.coim/fruitfulfeet
http://www.fruitfulfeet.blogspot
http://www.youtube.com/blogspot
http://www.instagram.com/fruitfulfeet
http://www.twitter.com/fruitfulfeet