So today we are hearing from the folks behind Hoof & Antler, an Etsy shop out of Philly. What drew me to this shop was their obvious sense of humor and masculine selection. Their shop reminds me of my Grandpa’s garage, which makes me happy. One of my weird quirks is that I am grateful to people who appreciate vintage as much as I do and it makes me doubly happy when someone sees things that I don’t see. What I mean by that is when I am in a thrift store I have a certain set of things that catch my eye. The things in this shop are not things I would shop for, but I am really glad other people do because then those things will be appreciated, too. See, I told you it was quirky. I want all the little vintage things of the world to get equal love ❤ Yes, I'm crazy, the secret is now out!
Anyway, on with this wonderful interview:
Can you introduce yourself to my readers?
H&A is made up of the the boyfriend/girlfriend combo of Ronnie Gouger (32) & Jennifer Candeloro (29). They live together in a South Philadelphia row home along with their two pups, 14 year old Pug/Chihuahua named “Pugslee” and their 3 year old Morkie, “Basil.” In addition to running Hoof & Antler, Ronnie also manages a team of systems analysts for a major telecommunications company and Jena is a freelance graphic designer.
What sparked your interest in vintage?We’ve both always had an interest in hunting for treasures at local flea markets, thrift stores. etc. When we started dating (and eventually moved in together) our collectieve interests intensified, resulting in an apartment stuffed to the brim with fun and unique vintage items. Eventually we realized that we had a pretty good eye and decided to turn our hobby/obsession into a business!
Do you have any collections of your own?
Ronnie – I absolutely love antique late 1800’s Circus Freak & Sideshow act cabinet cards. This is a relatively new interest for me so my collection is relatively small, but steadily growing. I also am a huge fan of antique books, vintage anatomy charts & maps, and antique quack medicine bottles.
Is etsy your sole source of income?
No. As noted above we both have jobs. Additionally, we’ve begun selling or wares in “real life” at the Brooklyn Flea Philly market (a spin off of the popular Market in Brooklyn, NY ( http://www.brooklynflea.com/philly/ ) and can be found there most Sundays.
Do you use social media to enhance your success on Etsy and if so, how?
Yes, we have a pretty decent following on our FB page (https://www.facebook.com/HoofAndAntler) which we use to post information on promotions, newly listed items, etc. We also have recently begun using Instagram quite a bit (hoofandantler) to post fun stuff and have been surprised at how quickly people notice you through that venue.
What has been your biggest Etsy success and your biggest Etsy fail?
Our biggest Etsy success was our first sale, which took place a few weeks after we opened the shop in April of 2011. We can remember it like it was yesterday…someone with the ID of “PukeSkywalker” bought a pretty great vintage flannel shirt which he said was exactly like one that he had worn for years until it fell apart and was no longer wearable. PukeSkywalker will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
What are your favorite places to score vintage treasures?
It’s funny because we get asked this alot and it’s always a tough question to answer because we are always on the lookout. When you go to a flea market or estate sale you expect to come home with some fun stuff, but the more rewarding finds are those least expected, like coming across a random yard sale or yes, we’ll say it, finding an amazing piece of vintage on the curb nestled within someone’s trash. One man’s trash really is another man’s treasure.
What is a typical day like working for yourself as a seller on Etsy?
A typical day is commonly spent photographing,doing research, responding to customer inquiries and listing new items. One of the keys to Etsy is keeping active within your shop to continue to drive customers there, so we try really hard to list a few new items 4-5 days a week.
What have you learned about photography as an Etsy seller?
Lighting is key!!! Lighting can make or break a photo. A clean white background also helps quite a bit!The better your pictures are the better chance your items will make it into treasures which generates traffic to your shop.