What prompted you to become an Etsy seller?
We started out selling vintage clothes on Reincarnations Resale as an extension of our brick & mortar shop. Vintage clothes is tricky, you have to have a bunch of things match up:
- the right person
- with the right style
- who loves the item you have in stock
- who loves the color of the item you have in stock
- who is also the right size
When those things match up, it’s magic! The problem is getting all those things to match up for people coming in the brick & mortar shop. We decided to get our treasures in front of the whole world using etsy instead of waiting for the whole world to come to us!
Reincarnations Resale, your first shop opened in Nov of 2011. Reincarnations Roost followed about 2 years later. How did that evolution play out?
We learned a ton in those couple years. The brick & mortar shop morphed from a antiques consignment shop into an antique mall where we rent space to dealers. This freed up a ton of my team’s time and really helped us refocus on things we loved to do, and things that made us money instead of pricing, research and the business of consignment. After we worked through the changes in the B&M business, that allowed us time to focus on getting the household things on etsy too.
How do your shops tie in to your brick and mortar store?
The etsy shops are a great appetizer /sneak peek to our antique mall. The etsy shops are a good sample of the things we have in the “real world” shop. ++++Shameless Self-Promo Coming Up+++++ You can take a look at our shop and our antique dealers booths on the facebook page: facebook.com/reincarnationsresale. +++Promo over+++
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How would you describe your Etsy success so far?
I don’t think we will ever be an etsy power-broker. We love coming to the shop in the morning to find 2-3 new orders. Of course, we would love to come in to even more orders!!! I would say we have had modest to good success. Through this amazingly cold and snowy winter, we have been extra grateful for our etsy customers.
How do you decide what to sell?
There is a team of four of us working in the b&m shop and the etsy shops. One full-timer, three part-timers. I am the one who usually photographs and adds items to the -Resale shop. As we have time throughout the day, the whole team adds items to the -Roost shop. We just focus on things we can safely ship, and try to add 4-5 things each day. We do a lot of tag-teaming, where one person will do the photographs, another will do the listings. I do most of the shipping.
How do you connect selling vintage with sustainability or going green?
I am very proud of the work we do in the b&m shop as well as online. Almost every item in my shop is on it’s 3rd, 4th or 5th owner. We try to recycle or repurpose everything. From our shipping materials to our furniture, housewares and clothing. There is such history in everything around us. It’s always fun when someone comes in with an item for us to buy and the story about it. Often, we write the story on a card and make sure the items history goes to the new owner. New stuff doesn’t have stories. We are really geeky and excited about these things. I’m not sure it comes across online – it sure does at the shop.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start an Etsy shop?
It’s a lot of work, and a long – though not difficult – learning curve. Join some teams – to help with photography, writing descriptions, keywords/tags, and promotion. Be ready for an all new alphabet-soup of acronyms. SEO, BNS, etc. Be patient for your first sale, it won’t happen right away.
Here’s a list of the people included in “We…”
Michele Ingalls – owner of Reincarnations Antiques – the b&m shop and the etsy shops. I did computer support for ten years before my kids were born. SAHM until both kids went to school full time, then with my amazing and patient husband, took the leap into becoming a small business owner.
Robin – dear friend of Michele’s who has been working at the b&m shop since our very first day. She has a daughter in her freshman year of college. Robin keeps me and the shop organized and beautiful.
Kathy – we met through a mutual friend, and Kathy has been helping me with the shop since our very first day. Kathy is an amazing mom with a special needs daughter. She keeps the shop welcoming and clean.
Samantha – the newest member of our team. Sam is a college student, and my niece. She is one of our techie nerds. Sam keeps our facebook page updated, as well as our online presence on many different sites.