Monthly Archives: December 2011

Beat the brrrrreeze

Standard

After two days of “serious” postings, I need a fashion fix. 

I really like my new winter coat, but almost didn’t buy it because it lacks a hood.  I’ve had a hooded coat forever so was always able to skip the hat and rest the hood ever so gently on my perfect braid, leaving my ears warm and no hair out of place.  Wearing the new coat today, naked ears, waiting for the El that seemed to never come, I would worn a trash bag on my head to cut the wind.  brrrrrr. 

Now that I have regained feeling in my ears,  lets take a look at some chic option that will keep out the chill and won’t undo the do for $50 and below:

$25.99 Michael Kors

$21.82 ASOS 

$24.00 Youleena Boutique

 $35.00 a Cats Nest

Okay, I admit it, the headbands may take some careful placement to avoid a day long hair disaster, but they’re so cute and worth making style choices to fit the piece!

How do you stay warm and “cool” in the winter?

 

Give your online buyers confidence

Standard

Frequency Vintage is up and running. I currently have 28 killer  items in the shop, with about 10 more to list.  I think they are all really great pieces.  Unique, colorful, amazing vintage condition, priced right…should be flying off the shelves.  BUT, sales have been slow, only 4 since October 31.  So what’s up?

Improve Etsy Shop

One reason is that Frequency Vintage is new to Etsy.  I have read many forums that have said people only buy from shops with a lot of sales and feedback.  I have also read that it doesn’t matter how many sales you have, if someone really wants something from your shop they will buy it.  Not sure where that leaves me.  I am an Etsy and Ebay buyer and have bought from shops with no sales, but always feel much more confident buying from shops with 100s of sales and positive ratings.  And that’s it right there, my biggest problem: giving buyers confidence in what they are buying.

Ways to give online shoppers confidence in your shop
1. Lots of sales and positive feedback.
2. More descriptive listing
      a. Better/eye-catching photos
      b. Clear, specific description
      c. Detailed sizing/measurement
3. Variety and season

I’m actually going to skip #1 for a while, since I’m guess 2 and 3 will have to happen first.  

Let’s be honest, I am not a patient person.  I get so excited when I get a new piece that I will try to get it in the shop before I have all the details together.  Fast photo shoot with a dress form, few quick measurements, 3 sentence description, and booya!  Big mistake. 

2a. Better/eye-catching photos:
I know the piece, I have felt the fabric, seen the stitching, know how vibrant the colors are, but my buyer doesn’t. I need to go back over every one of my listings and take pictures that are full of life and show off more detail. 

Many/most of the pieces in my shop are not my size and have ended up on a dress form.  They look limp and lifeless.  This is the perfect opportunity to show the buyer how to wear a vintage dress in a modern way.  Make it a piece they can’t live without.

Great pictures can also show the texture and movement of fabric.  If the buyer can’t feel the item in person, they need to be shown what they can expect.

Etsy has a great video that gives suggestions on how to improve photos for the beginner.  Check it out.

And they have this great list on their Quick-Start-Guide:

Top 10 tips for perfect product photos:

  1. Shoot against a plain background that will complement your item. Large pieces of drawing or watercolor paper work well.
  2. Use the macro mode (flower icon) on your camera when shooting close-ups or small objects. If the photo is blurry, try adjusting the zoom, or getting closer to or farther from your subject.
  3. If you’re shooting small items like jewelry, simple props can help show scale.
  4. For larger items, look around the inside of your home for good locations. Think interesting architecture, beautiful natural settings, walls with interesting textures, or even plain white walls. Is there a location nearby — perhaps a church, library, or abandoned building — that would capture the mood of your items?
  5. If you sell items that can be worn, always use a live model. Adults, babies, and pets all draw in the shopper and help them imagine these items in use.
  6. Use soft natural lighting. Either morning or early evening light works best. Avoid direct sunlight and harsh mid-day lighting. Set up your shot inside, near a window, or outside (but not in direct sunlight).
  7. Never use flash.
  8. Go beyond the overhead or straight-on shot. Make your photos more dynamic by taking the shot from a variety of angles and distances, and then choosing the one that best complements your item.
  9. Edit your photos to make them brighter, crisper and the colors truer. You’ll also want to crop in interesting places to create movement in the photo. It may allow you to get closer to the item for a detail shot.
  10. Use all 5 spots for photos in your item listings: show the item in use, show your creative packaging, place the item near a complementary prop to show scale.

2b. Clear, specific description
Right now, I don’t think my descriptions are bad, they just aren’t good.  They state the basics and leave much to be desired.  If I was a buyer, I might skip right over the most awesome dress because the photos are okay and so is the description.  This makes the buyer think the pieces is okay.  Gotta sell the piece, make it GREAT!

Here’s Ety’s advice on how to write a GREAT! description.  Check it out.

2c. Detailed sizing/measurement
This could be grouped with 2b, but I am separating it out because it is a very important step that I often sweep under the rug.  Measurements are especially important in selling vintage.  A size 6 from 1940 is not the same as a modern size 6.

Since the buyer does not have a chance to try the piece on, being clear on the measurements gives the buyer confidence.  An example: Many people won’t know their jacket size, but they can grab a tape measure to see how long their arms are or the distance across their shoulders.  This will help them visualize the fit and feel of the piece. Beyond typical bust, waist and hip measurements, letting the buyer know the size of the buttons, or distance between belt holes will help make the product more 3D in their mind. 

3. Variety and season
I am a summer girl, I am drawn to dresses and bright colors.  Half of the products in my shop are that exactly.  Which is awesome for those lucky enough to be headed somewhere warm on vacation, or live in a tropical environment year round.  But for the rest of us, some cold weather options might be nice. 

Variety in a shop is a search engine bonus on Etsy.  Someone searching for a clutch might be driven to your shop and end up seeing a brooch they can’t live without.

So there you have it.  Great advice to improve an Etsy shop, which will boost your sales and feedback, which will boost your sales and feedback, and so on.  Success!  Now, I just have to take the advice myself. 

Goal for 2012: All new listings must be complete: great pictures, description and measurements.  Improve currently listings, at least 3 per week.

Any buyers or sellers have any recommendations for improving Etsy listings?

Back on Track: Business Plan Day 1

Standard

Starting this blog has been fun.  It’s great to spend time putting together graphics and themes based on the clothes and designers I love, but with the new year approaching, I realized I need to be pushing towards the ultimate goal of opening that shop, right? 

So here we are, back on track and trying to find some footing.  Over the past three months I have done a lot of research on how to open a physical store front.  What it really comes down to is having the ability to stay afloat for a year(or longer) before turning any profit.  I originally thought it would take around $40,000.00 to open the doors, but it’s looking to be more around $100,000.00 (or more).  Scary at first, but all this does is add another step to the journey: online vintage store on Etsy, to an e-commerce online boutique, to a physical store front.

The first step of opening an online vintage store has been taken.  Frequency Vintage is on Etsy.  It’s been slow going, but a great learning experience.  I will be commenting more on how I plan on making improvements to the shop in tomorrow’s post, but today I would like to talk about the next step in the process: e-commerce online boutique.

Frequency Vintage took only a small financial investment to start, so although a business plan would surely make the shop more successful, I thought it was something I could skip.  An online boutique on the other hand takes a much larger investment which has led me to the first my first goals of 2012: Writing a business plan.

Ever hear the saying “I went to art school and all I got was this attitude”?  Well, I went to art school and as far as business goes, it is very true.  Luckily, there is a wonderful website for all us beginning our path to owning a small business: www.SBA.gov.  This is a really great reference site.  The following is their outline for a business plan, and my jumping off point:

Elements of a Business Plan

  1. Cover sheet
  2. Executive summary (statement of the business purpose)
  3. Table of contents
  4. Body of the document
    1. Business
      1. Description of business
      2. Marketing
      3. Competition
      4. Operating procedures
      5. Personnel
      6. Business insurance
    2. Financial data
      1. Loan applications
      2. Capital equipment and supply list
      3. Balance sheet
      4. Breakeven analysis
      5. Profit and loss statements
      6. Three-year summary
      7. Detail by month, first year
      8. Detail by quarters, second and third year
      9. Assumptions upon which projections were based
      10. Pro-forma cash flow
    3. Supporting documents
      1. Tax returns of principals (partners in the business) for last three years, personal financial statements (all banks have these forms)
      2. Copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor (for franchise businesses)
      3. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
      4. Copy of licenses and other legal documents
      5. Copy of resumes of all principals
      6. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.

As I start to write my plan, I will breakdown what I learned about each section and give you an inside to what to look forward to yourself. 

Now for a cup of coffee and diving into finding a niche.  Check out this little blurb from the SBA on finding your niche market: Finding a Niche

Perfect Pairs for the Perfect LBD

Standard

Got that perfect little black dress that needs an extra little something? 
Here are some great ways to style that dress for all of your holiday parties.  
All pieces $50 and Below!

BAG: $38.40 Global Elements
SHOES: $49 Michael Antonio

SHOES: $17.48 Target
CLUTCH: $43.51 April and Me

SHOES: $44.95 Fergalicious
CLUTCH: $32.00 TopShop

SHOES: $45 Endless
CLUTCH: $24 Kooter and Flos

 

 SHOES: $37.50 Endless
CLUTCH: $37.60 Panache

SHOES: $14.99 Charlotte Russe
CLUTCH: $35.00 Nangates Design

 

SHOES: $24.99 Rocket Dog
CLUTCH: $39.95 Lulu Townsend

BAG: $21.99 Tillys 
SHOES: $35.50 Charlotte Russe

 

SHOES: $45.00 TUK
CLUTCH:  $45.00 Bag Boy

Funky Friday: Leather Weather

Standard

Lovin’ the Leather everywhere on the Spring Runway.  It’s the perfect fabric for winter, so you don’t have to wait for this trend to come into season.  Layer and Funk up your look with these great leather finds.

Had to flash this one at you in case you missed yesterdays post. Kick it in this awesome vintage leather coat, $125 Frequency Vintage.

$50 & Below Funky Friday Leather

$39 Urban Outfitters 

 

$49 Kohls 

$32 Kristiana Rose

 

 

Steps to the Shop & Frequency Vintage on Twitter

Standard

Never tweeted before, never thought I would, but here I am with two accounts. Something else to get hooked on. Twitter here I come!

Steps to the Shop: https://twitter.com/#!/stepstotheshop

Frequency Vintage: https://twitter.com/#!/FreqVintage

So let the following begin!

A friend of mine sent me a little user guide on Twitter terms: http://www.greeblemonkey.com/2011/12/twitter-glossary-top-terms-used-on-our.html  I’m sure I’ll be referencing it a lot.

Also, you can send her a thank you tweet here: www.twitter.com/homemadeawesome.  She posts about all awesome things from cooking to home decor.  Check out her blog as well http://homemadeawesome.wordpress.com/ No posts yet, but would recommend following her to be prepared for some really funny, helpful, truthful writing.