Category Archives: Layin’ it down

FYI, that stitch isn’t supposed to stay

Standard

Everyday, walking up the stairs from the El, I notice at least one women (or man) in a super cute coat BUT the stitching is left over the vent keeping it shut.  The tack stitching is put in by the factory at the vent (and sometimes the pockets) to hold shape in storage and shipping before wear.  Not to make a coat fit awkwardly.

If you are one of these ladies, chic enough to get a killer coat, but unaware that the stitch is short-term, its okay, there are many more of you.  But I  want to put it  on your radar: snip those slits and the fit will be a hit.  (ps: I’m a poet and didn’t even know it.)

Easy how to:  Tack stitching is long and easy to slide a pair of scissors under.  Simply snip and pull threads out of the fabric by hand.  Do not leave dangling from the fabric.

Set yourself free and allow yourself a longer stride.

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

New at Frequency Vintage and What I Learned about Vintage Fur/Faux

Standard

Gonna kick it off with this KILLER LEATHER TRENCH COAT!  If this super slick trench fit me, it would not be on the market.  I mean, there is no way to wear this and not be pretty sure you’re a spy. 
This is an amazing, flawless vintage piece.

$125 Frequency Vintage

And of course, gotta add a few more belts!  How better to mix up a look than with a fun, colorful pop full of vintage flare!

$7.00 Frequency Vintage

$7.00 Frequency Vintage

This belt fits right in with the Must have Monday: Bugging Out  post about the Critters Trend. 

 

 What I learned about fur

 $75 Frequency Vintage

I love this coat.  Just like the leather one at the top, if it was my size, you wouldn’t be seeing it here.  It is so soft, love the big collar, and the lining is beautiful.  I think dressing up a pair of jeans with this would be a great modern twist on a classic look.

It looks and feels real, the lining is luxurious, but!….the label tells it all.  It’s not marked Faux Fur, in fact it says clean by Fur Coat methods.  The give away is actually the label: Mincara.  In fact all Mincara, Intrique, Tissavel, Borgana, Glenoit and Grandella(commonly seen vintage labels) coats are faux, whether denoted on the label or not.  Some vintage sellers don’t take the extra step to research, so the more you know, the better chance of getting a really great piece, faux or fur.

Real does not always mean better.  Seriously, the Mincara coat above is awesome.  Great vintage shape, feel, warmth, look, and beautifully lined.  I have seen real pieces that are just falling apart with a much higher price tag.  So if you are in the market for a fur, maybe faux is the way to go.

Must Have Mondays: Layers

Standard

Ummm, yeah, it’s cold.  And how better to fight the chill then with great layering?  So put away those Uggs and sweats and keep it chic with these great additions.  All $50 and below.

Cable Knit over Button Down

 $45.45 ASOS

$29.90 Forever 21 

Leg Warmers over Tights

$40 Betsey Johnson 

$30 Mia Baggali

Scarves over Anything

$38 Nordstrom 

$44 the Spotted Fawn 

Hope this inspires to layer rather than lounge this winter.  Stay warm!

WAIT!  One more thing, something that has been driving me nuts.  First, I have to say that I am often wrong and make bad style choices and mistakes which is just part of taking fashion risks.  So you can choose to ignore me, obviously, but seriously ladies, leggings are not pants.  I thought the fad would fade, but I saw way too much booty this weekend to think it is true.  Big, small, short or tall, if you make the choice to wear leggings, make sure your top comes down below your cheeks (I know you think they aren’t see through but they are, I promise).  If you want to show it off, wear a tight skinny jean, or shorts with tights, anything but uncovered booty with leggings.

One more time, let’s say it together: leggings aren’t pants!

Uping Your Etsy: Part 2

Standard

As promised in Uping Your Etsy Part 1:Using Your Tags, here is another way to gain views/sales on Etsy.

Offer international shipping!

When I first started Frequency Vintage a little over a month ago I was only offering shipping from US to US.  I thought shipping international would be way to expensive.  WRONG!

You can use a flat rate box and it will ship to Canada , Mexico  or anywhere else  for $13.95 or less!

As long as the package is under 4 lbs, the cost aint that bad.  This is perfect for a dress or belt, even a pair of shoes.  Plus packaging is easy.  So I went ahead and adjusted all my items to reflect that, yes, Frequency Vintage does ship internationally for $13.95.  And voila!  Sold a belt to a stylish gal in Australia that same day.  Success!

Wondering what your packages will ship for?  I found this to be a great resource to help figure out postage for the different USPS zones.  Just fill in your package info and get shipping times and rate: http://ircalc.usps.gov/default.aspx?Mode=Intl_Single&CID=10054  Share your shop WORLDWIDE!

Do you have any tips to help grow an Etsy shop?  Would love to hear them.  Every little bit helps.