Happy Vintage Treasure Hunting!!!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Happy Vintage Treasure Hunting!!!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Vintage sellers on Etsy.com are coming together One Day Only to hold a VINTAGE MARKET - Sunday, August, 31st to raise awareness of fabulous vintage sellers and the vintage selling community on Etsy! Purchase quality goods, reuse whats already here, and get into fab vintage style!!
Find more information and a frequently updated list of Vintage Shops that are participating in Sundays radical event! Find out more!
Check the list and visit Vintage Sellers on Etsy to find out details on individual shop sales, specials, and even giveaways!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Red Bank offers a variety of places to shop and embodies the best of all worlds, from art galleries and clothing shops to casual and elegant dining.
Stop for a taste of the past at Backward Glances.
Open since 1985, this shop attracts shoppers with its variety of vintage items, said Cindy Ciullo, manager and owner.
Clothing, footwear, sunglasses and jewelry are some of the items found in the store.
"Vintage is something I always loved, and we have authentic vintage clothing and things you remember from your childhood; that's what's so interesting about it. We have clothes that range from the '40s to the '80s for reasonable prices," Ciullo said. "It's like having a little piece of the past, something unique that people can wear and they won't see other people wearing the same outfit."
Backward Glances, 43 Broad St., is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.backwardglances.com or call (732) 842-9156.
The Antique Center
The Antique Center has been the destination for dealers, decorators, stage designers and collectors since 1964, said owner Guy Johnson, 57, of Red Bank.
"My mother started the business, and I got in full time in 1970 after I graduated high school," Johnson said.
"It's worth the trip to discover and find that special something," he said of the shop.
The Antique Center offers unique glassware, china, furniture, silver, art, pottery, custom jewelry, vintage coats, hats, clothing and many collectibles and antiques.
"There's a little bit of everything," he said. "We've got two buildings — one carries the big stuff, like the furniture, and the other one carries the small stuff, like clothes and jewelry."
Johnson said people from all over the world come to see the shop.
"Mostly Japanese and Germans come to buy antique artifacts, and then they send them to their countries. People are just fascinated with all the different, interesting items the shop offers," he said.
The Antique Center, 226 West Front St., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
For more information, visit www.redbankantiques.com or call (732) 842-4336.
Sunshine Daydream was opened by Amy Jones, 34, of Island Heights and Erin Galante, 33, of Toms River. These sisters always shared a passion for jewelry and business, Jones said. Over the years, they designed and created unique jewelry and sold it to various stores across the United States, Jones said.
"My sister and I designed jewelry for about 10 years, and we exhibited our work at festivals all around the northeast," she said.
"We decided to open our first retail store, also called Sunshine Daydream, four years ago in downtown Point Pleasant Beach, and we opened the one in Red Bank about a year ago," she added.
The shop offers jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings and hair accessories, and has a bridal department in the back of the store where they sell bridal shoes and veils. The jewelry comes from all over the country.
"I think we really stand out because we're very affordable, and we have people come in, they can buy a gift for under $20 and they can have it wrapped for free. I think people really enjoy that factor of it; they come in and they feel like they're buying something that's worth $60 dollars, and it only costs $20 dollars. People just love it," she said.
The shop has a very no-pressure type of atmosphere, she said.
"In the store people come in, they shop and look around," Jone said. "We're always here to help them."
The shop, at 80 Broad St., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.sunshine-daydream.com or call (732) 741-0060.
New York Trends
Opened in 2008, New York Trends offers a unique selection of clothing with Manhattan style for reasonable prices, said owner Patricia Keating of Edgewater.
"I bought the store in 2007, however, it's pretty much the same store, same name, and we tried to keep the same products targeting the trendy. We focus on young teenagers all the way to older, contemporary women in their 40s," she said.
The shop's most popular items include a variety of dresses, handbags, jewelry, tops and shirts.
"A lot of our clothing comes from California. We have prom dresses, cocktail dresses, sun dresses. Prices are very affordable, and that's why we kept the name, because it's known for trendy, contemporary fashion clothing."
Keating loves the fact that on a busy day, the shop sees a mix of patrons, from young teenagers to older women.
"It's a universal store," she said.
The shop, 43 Broad St., is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, call (732) 345 8222.
The Bees Knees
Kristen Winter of Rumson and Megan Deo Priore of Fair Haven are the owners of The Bees Knees, open since 2004.
This boutique offers preppy yet funky women's clothing at reasonable prices, Deo Priore said.
"We have been best friends for many years, and we both always shared a passion for fashion and we love shopping," she said.
One of their favorite things to do was to take trips together to see what new boutiques they could find and what new designers clothing they could bring home with them, Deo Priore said. "Since we were both raised in Red Bank, we knew the lack of boutique shopping here, and we wanted to really make a difference," she said.
The shop offers dresses, ties, jackets, footwear, accessories and jewelry.
"People love coming here because we only have a few . . . of one item, so everything is very unique," Deo Priore said. "People do a lot of gift shopping, and we wrap for free."
The shop, 24 Broad St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.thebeeskneesboutique.com or call (732) 758-1900.
Red Bank has a variety of shops to choose from; these are only some shopping suggestions. The borough's shops include those that sell footwear; cards, flowers and books; clothing; artwork; gifts and collectibles; health and beauty items; jewelry and accessories; music-related items and electronics and video equipment.
For more information, call the Red Bank Chamber of Commerce at (732) 741-0055.
In today’s fast-paced society, the Hillbilly Housewife Web site — with its traditional recipes for making cornmeal mush and tips for turning leftover rice into breakfast pancakes — would seem to be a relic of a bygone era.
But with food and gas prices rising at a faster pace than most paychecks, the site devoted to frugal ways to feed a family has recently seen traffic increase by a third, to about 300,000 unique visitors a month. Susanne Myers, who took over the site from a friend about a year ago, says she’s been deluged with e-mails from people looking for cheap ways to fill their families’ stomachs.
“Especially toward the end of the month I get a lot of e-mails from women, (and) they’re pretty desperate,” Myers said.
They come from all walks of life, she said. One day, it might be a woman who has $20 left to feed her five kids; the next, a woman who was able to give up her pricey Starbucks habit after stumbling on Myers’ recipe for homemade mocha drinks. When milk prices surged, she got a lot of questions about using powdered milk, a cheaper alternative that the site advocates in many recipes.
Until recently, food was considered so cheap in the United States that many families rarely bothered with the type of serious, cost-saving home economics common a generation or two ago. Now the skyrocketing cost of everything from cereal to eggs is prompting some Americans to turn to traditional techniques for stretching a dollar or a meal.
The change comes as overall food and beverage prices have risen 5.8 percent over the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and some household staples have notched even bigger gains. Americans paid a whopping 12.1 percent more for cereal and bakery products this past July than they did a year ago. Fruits and vegetables are up 10.1 percent over the same period.
Many expect grocery prices to continue to rise as global demand increases and farmers and ranchers pass on higher costs for everything from chicken feed to fertilizer.
The food inflation is clearly affecting American lifestyles. An April survey by market researchers NPD Group found that more than half of adults who described themselves as “financially challenged” were trying to use up leftovers more often and prepare more meals at home than they did a year ago.
Harry Balzer, a vice president at NPD who long has followed U.S. eating habits, said Americans are still eating out but are choosing cheaper restaurants or skipping desserts and side dishes. To save money at home, he said, more people are choosing grain-based foods, such as pizza and pasta, over meat-based meals.
He doesn't think they will spend a larger percentage of their paycheck on food.
Grocery chains are reporting similar trends.
Supervalu Inc., whose brands include Albertsons, Cub Foods and Save-A-Lot, is seeing more customers redeeming coupons, taking advantage of sales and buying store brands as they grapple with rising food prices. Spokeswoman Haley Meyer said the retailer also has noticed more shoppers swapping out pricier items for cheaper alternatives, such as ground beef instead of steak.
“We’re seeing consistent customer numbers — we’re just seeing a shift in what they’re buying,” she said.
At Wal-Mart Stores Inc., spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien said customers appear to be substituting chicken for red meat and buying more pasta.
Wal-Mart also is seeing a brisker business in its ready-to-eat items, perhaps because people are choosing to buy items like a pizza from Wal-Mart rather than going out. Aiming to capitalize on that switch, the company recently launched a television commercial promoting its take-and-bake pizza.
Still, don't expect all Americans to start baking their own bread and preparing bean dishes from scratch. While the price spikes have prompted some people to try their hand at those things, and to say they will give up restaurant visits, Balzer said most Americans just aren’t willing to give up the time savings and convenience of prepared food.
“We love eating,” he said. “It’s the shopping, the preparing, the storing and the cleaning up. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that Americans will be willing to do this more.”
For those people who are trying to shop and eat more like their grandparents did, the change in behavior isn’t just a matter of time management. Accustomed to years of drive-through restaurants and pasta in a box, many simply don’t know how to cook from scratch.
The Hillbilly Housewife site assumes that its readers have only basic knowledge and offers detailed instructions including recipes, grocery lists and a step-by-step strategy for feeding a family on $45 or $70 per week. Another menu is specifically geared to families who are receiving a subsidized food box from the nonprofit Angel Food Ministries.
The site also recommends scouring grocery ads for sale items and planning meals based on what you can buy cheaply. And it counsels its readers to avoid items that might be marked up during high demand times, such as cranberries around Thanksgiving or condiments before the Fourth of July.
The site, one of many similar homegrown communities that have popped up on the Web, also is rife with tips for substituting traditional ingredients with cheaper ones, such as margarine instead of butter or beans instead of meat. Families are counseled to stretch orange juice by heaping glasses with ice cubes and to cut hot dogs into thin strips so they last longer.
Leftovers, which in many homes are forgotten in the back of the fridge, are assiduously incorporated into future meals under the Hillbilly Housewife’s guidelines. Myers, who lives in Rock Hill, S.C. and has a 5-year-old daughter, can stretch a whole chicken into several meals.
“I call it the rubber chicken,” she said.
Carol McManus remembers well the strategies for making a chicken into dinner one night, sandwiches the next and then a soup stock. Years ago, when her five children were young, she made a game out of seeing how much money she could save at the store while still making good family dinners, she said.
Spaghetti and meatballs might be repurposed the next night for pizza sauce, while pot roast might show up one night with potatoes and the next night with vegetables. She tried to shop as infrequently as every two weeks, since multiple trips to the grocery store often translate into higher bills.
McManus, whose children are now grown, runs a restaurant on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard and recently completed a cookbook, “Table Talk,” focused on easy recipes for family meals. If there is an upside to the down economy, she said, it might be that people will re-embrace things like sitting down together for a meal each night.
She said she learned the value of a family dinner — as well as some of her frugal strategies — from her mother, who was a child during the Depression.
“Putting a meal on the table every night was like the most important thing to my mother and I think a lot of people growing up during the Depression,” she said. “That showed love, doing that.”
By Kaori Shoji
TOKYO: The story about vintage clothes in Tokyo goes like this: A Hollywood actress, after a successful crash diet, sold her size 6 wardrobe to a thrift shop in Santa Monica. Three months later she came to Tokyo to promote her latest movie and one afternoon wandered into one of the city's landmark vintage clothing shops, called Santa Monica. What should she find there but her own shorts and several party dresses, unobtrusively displayed under a sign that read: "Santa Monica Style."
The story is credible for the simple reason that Tokyo has now reached a point where it's safe to call it Planet Vintage. Among the 400-plus shops scattered over the city, myths like this abound.
The good news is that it's not all rumor and folklore - according to a fashion stylist, Keiko Okura, "the quality of Tokyo vintage products are unmatched."
Okura, who habitually combs the racks of thrift shops to collect extra items for fashion shoots, said, "Nowadays, even in Paris and London it's no rare thing to walk into a vintage clothing store and come out disappointed. But in Tokyo, where the vintage market is fiercely competitive and the customers knowledgeable, it's always a challenge to go in there and see what's going on, check out what other people are wearing."
Vintage clothing first took hold in Tokyo during the postwar years - young men, eager to emulate the ways of American GIs striding through the city wearing their confidence like medals, began buying U.S. military clothing on the black market.
After the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the demand for American casual soared - and in 1966 a store called Chicago opened its doors to a Levis-hungry public, the first bona fide vintage shop Tokyo had ever seen and now the most trusted name in the business. According to a co-director, Tsutomu Iizuka, "customers coming in were all asking for jeans and flannel shirts. Back then, no one had the means or distribution network to bring these in, so we shifted our focus from imported merchandise to used and vintage."
Chicago now has five outlets in Japan and operates a warehouse in St. Louis, Missouri. At its main store in Harajuku, Tokyo, old clothes are displayed like gallery pieces: an embroidered circular skirt from Guatemala, 1960s surfer shirts from Maui, natty suspender belts from Japan, circa 1957.
Some vintage enthusiasts say it's not enough anymore merely to hunt and purchase. Professional buyers like Shinichi Kotani, who travels Europe and South America for five vintage shops, said, "The problem has always been with size. The fact is, clothes made overseas are just too large for the Japanese body."
This is where the "remake" comes in.
The successful pioneer company in this field is called Taos, which collaborates with a vintage wholesale retailer. Taos remakes and refashions old clothes in a way that makes them undistinguishable from new. Shirts are taken apart and sewn together again, re-emerging with a tighter, more fashionable silhouette. A pair of woolen pants may turn into a vest, a chef's shirt into a sleeveless summer blouse. A linen bed sheet becomes a button-down shirt. Almost all the work is done by hand. The end-product bears the Taos tag and is sold for a higher price than what people expect to pay for vintage clothing, but as Kotani points out, it would be "unfair and inaccurate to call Taos products vintage or recycled products. What they're creating is something completely new."
The vintage remake trend is also changing the designer brand world. The designer Michiko Suzuki, head of "Y's Red Label" brand for Yohji Yamamoto, has come out with a collection based on remaking deadstock, or never worn, bomber jackets. By taking the jacket seams apart, dissecting its parts and then reassembling them into elegant dresses and skirts, Suzuki is pushing the envelope on design and recycling. He's also caused a sensation on the runway.
"I think we'll be seeing a lot more of this trend," said Takako Yokomizo, a fashion industry analyst. "Remaking things and breathing new life into what had been unusable or uninspiring is alternative consumerism," which "matches the times."
Buying vintage pieces is a cheap and rewarding way to augment your wardrobe, allowing you to build an individual look and a unique personal style. However, vintage shopping is not for everyone.
If you are not someone with the time and patience to sift through loads of someone else's cast-offs or if you are not someone who is able to catch a glimpse of fabric and know that it is something worth looking at, then it's an arduous process, one that often doesn't seem to be worth the hassle.
But there are ways to make it slightly easier, and there are some helpful hints that I can give the novices that will make vintage shopping in SA a little less stressful.
Second-hand versus vintage?
It's really only in the last five years, since vintage clothing has reached mainstream popularity that we have started to distinguish between vintage and second-hand clothing. Unlike furniture, clothing actually reaches the stage of vintage in only 20 years.
Currently anything from the 1980s or before is considered vintage and is therefore more desirable, collectable and expensive.
While you can still achieve the objective of augmenting your wardrobe with individual and inexpensive signature pieces from your average charity second-hand shop on the corner, it is much, much easier to come across the real quality finds in a store that is specialist in authentic vintage clothes and accessories.
Why is vintage shopping so difficult?
There are a few key reasons why it is so much more difficult to acquire a great piece at a vintage store:
- People were generally much smaller in the mid-century, meaning for anyone average sized or larger, it is very rare to find clothing that fits today.
- Vintage stores only really stock one-off pieces, so a search for what you want means looking at every individual item in the store. Often stores are very crowded, with packed rails and shelves, making it even harder to search.
- Most people in the mid-century used to wear their clothes until they wore out, rather than replacing most of their wardrobe every year to two, so there are far less garments in circulation than what we are used to.
- Clothing from the '40s and '50s has been collectable for many years now, so the best of these was purchased in the '70s and '80s and are now the treasured components of someone else's wardrobe.
What is good to buy?
There are a few items that will be easier than others to acquire in a vintage store. These are also items that really can work as worn-in pieces.
Great jeans age like fine wine, often improving with age and wear. Before the classic American denim began to be mass manufactured, the looming process in the US allowed for a much higher quality of fabric. Therefore old jeans are simply better jeans. If you do buy vintage denim, I would strongly advise that you dry clean it to preserve the cotton-based fabric.
A beautiful beaded cardigan will fit most sizes even today so it is a great key piece to search for. It can make a ladies outfit very feminine and a little boho, especially when worn with the tea-dresses that are available in store these days. Chaps should also look for good-quality wool cardigans from the '70s and before.
Bags and accessories
Ladies can find some of the most beautiful beaded evening bags and clutches in the vintage stores. Prepare yourself to pay more for them, but they will be totally worth it and last you for the rest of your life. Look out for '50s hair clips, art deco brooches and shoe clips and '60s evening shawls to use as scarves.
Gents with vintage you can find a really good-quality waistcoat that will last for ages and really smarten up a casual outfit in quite a rock 'n roll way.
Leather belts and bags
Leather ages well too, so look for your classic gents' belt in a vintage store rather than trying to get the same quality brand new. Be careful that the wear and tear is able to be buffed away with some elbow grease and polish. Ladies fringe bags from the '70s are big news again for SS09 so head to your vintage store to find a great individual piece.
Keep your eye out at all times for the classics that will last a lifetime, including Chanel and handbags and suits, Dior evening wear, Halston disco clothing and Hermes scarves and handbags. You just never know what you will find.
Top tips in-store
There are some general guidelines that make the actual process of sifting through all the goodies in the vintage stores more bearable.
- Make friends with the store owner and manager. This will allow you to ask for special favours — and they are more likely to alert you when a specific item that you are looking for, comes into the store.
- Give yourself plenty of time. This is not a speed process; it requires patience and diligence so that you don't miss anything in your search. Stick with it and remain interested and excited about all the items you are uncovering as you never know what will really transform your particular wardrobe.
- Make sure that the garment is clean and does not smell too badly of moth balls. It is also sometimes very difficult to get out old swear stains and smells, so choose your vintage wisely and ask about a returns policy.
- Check your fabric labels. You want excellent quality items, in natural fabrics. Fabric engineering and technology 50 years ago was not as advanced as it is today, so stick with the natural fibres and you can't go wrong.
- Make sure that the garment fits you. It sounds obvious, but it is unlikely that you are ever going to wear it if it doesn't fit comfortably in the store. Match your body shape to a time in history when clothing was designed for it, for example, tall thin ladies should be looking for '60s mod clothing and ladies with curves are more likely to find what they are looking for in the '50s section.
- Ask the shop manager or owner about the history of the garment you are interested in. Ask when it was from and how it would have been worn in those days. This will allow you to tell its story when people compliment you on your item.
- Trust word of mouth for your choice of vintage store. Ask around and people will tell you where the best store is, one that you can trust to stock authentic vintage and with helpful and interested staff.
Vintage is a great way to express your own personal style while referencing your ancestors, so don't forget to start at the source. Often the best vintage shopping is your very own parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or crazy godmother's wardrobe. It is as good a place as any for your entry point into vintage.
For more information on Robyn and her personal styling services, go to: www.robyncooke-styleguide.co.za
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Unless someone told you where to find Irene Suchocki's shop, you'd never know it was there. The photographer has no sign or storefront, yet she's got a steady stream of clients coming in to buy prints - nature and landscape photographs that she digitally edits into dreamy, poetic works of art.
As far as she's concerned, the location couldn't be better: It's on the website Etsy.com, a bustling international bazaar for handmade goods.
Suchocki, a technical writer who lives in N.D.G., opened her shop there about a year and a half ago.
Brooklyn-based Etsy has been around three years and already it has blossomed, attracting about 185,000 artisans from 172 countries.
Many Montreal artists and crafters are hooked: 800 shops based here have registered on the site, selling funky clothing, art, handbags and jewellery.
Artisans in other major cities have hopped on in even greater numbers: 1,630 New York shops are registered, 1,150 from Toronto and almost 1,000 from Vancouver.
Suchocki could be an Etsy poster child: She sold a print to a buyer in the U.S. the day after she opened her shop (irenesuchocki.etsy.com). Business has grown to the point that she quit her job in May to focus full-time on selling her prints.
"The speed with which it happened is phenomenal," she said. Although she might supplement her income with writing contracts, it's not bad for a digital artist whose only business goal was to cover the cost of her camera equipment. "Eighty to 90 per cent of my sales are from Etsy," says Suchocki, who also sells prints off her own website (www.irenesuchocki.com). "Without Etsy, this would just be a hobby."
Most of her Etsy buyers are in the U.S., but she also ships prints as far away as Europe, Australia and Singapore.
The site opens doors to a global market of individual buyers, boutiques and galleries. She was once contacted by someone who saw her work in a gallery in Brighton, England.
As an Etsian, she is also part of a virtually infinite network of artists. Suchocki's prints caught the eye of a jewellery maker in California, who now makes pendants out of them; both artists sell them from their Etsy shops.
"I don't think I would have gone into a creative career really young," Suchocki says. "I didn't train for anything artistic but, even if I had, I don't think I would have had the courage to pursue it ... (Before the Internet) it was a lot of knocking on doors and begging, and trying to get into galleries, and that's not for me. Whereas this ... the intention wasn't even to become an artist or to leave my day job, it was, 'Oh, this is fun.' "
The site is a dream come true not only for artists who don't like the idea of starving, but also mothers who are trying to fit a small, creative business around children's schedules.
About 95 per cent of the site's users are women, an Etsy survey found. The average age of sellers is 35; buyers, 32.
The vendors are only part of the story: The site is a magnet for anyone who loves browsing unique, handmade products. There is a quirky new avenue of Montreal talent on Etsy, but it certainly doesn't have the profile of St. Laurent or St. Denis Sts.
"I kind of like that it's my secret place," says Virginia Champoux, co-owner of Mortimer Snodgrass boutiques, which are located in St. Lambert and Old Montreal. Through her artistic and retail connections, she's been aware of the site since its beginning and "could spend hours" on it.
A die-hard crafter, Champoux has bought handbags, children's clothing and stationary on the site; she loves supporting creative, indie businesses. "The more people who buy from Etsy, the more people who get to make a living from something they're passionate about."
Pierrefonds resident Lysa Wierzbicki, who runs a jewellery shop on Etsy (opusandtoula.etsy.com), likes that buyers can often personalize orders. For her son's baptism, she had the invitations designed to include a photograph of him by a graphic designer in Chicago. She also used an Etsy feature called Alchemy, where buyers post requests for custom-made items, and artisans bid on the opportunity to make them. Wierzbicki posted a request for her son's baptism set (including a cap, onesie and towel) to be embroidered with a design appropriate for a Greek Orthodox ceremony. She says about 10 vendors bid on the project, and the end product came out looking even better than she expected.
Champoux also sees the site as a gauge of retail trends. For instance, jewellery made from old typewriter keys and Scrabble tiles was hot on Etsy before they became much more widely available.
Stuffed monster dolls are another popular Etsy item, and Champoux says they were everywhere at the recent Toronto Gift Show, an event for gift retailers.
While Etsy's Montreal vendors say many people they talk to are typically unaware of the site, it is grabbing mainstream media attention.
Etsy has shown up on the Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray shows, and is on the trend radar of fashion and decor magazines.
Indeed, there are people employed on the site to track and establish trends, says Etsy spokesman Adam Brown. "Owls are very popular now for some reason."
But building a happy, healthy marketplace for handmade goods has always been Etsy's mission. "We don't do a lot of traditional advertising," Brown says. "We feel it's better to have a vibrant community that will sell itself."
Building mostly on word-of-mouth, the site went from 13,000 sellers after its first year to 60,000 sellers the second to about 185,000 sellers now. (See story on Etsy's beginnings, Page J2).
The site strives to make it as easy as possible for artisans to open shops. There's no startup fee, but sellers need to post digital pictures of their products, and to have a credit card for billing purposes. Sellers pay 20 cents for each item listed in their shop, plus 3.5 per cent of each sale.
Etsy cultivates the feeling of a warm, fuzzy community that's all about helping shop owners succeed. It's packed with guides on photographing products, the art of pricing, customer service, as well as legal information and articles with names like Pimp Your Store for 2008.
Its forums allow Etsians to bounce ideas off others, report bugs or suggest ways to improve the site. Of course, not everyone plays nice: Some vendors copy others' products and some may try selling things that aren't within the site's definition of handmade. Users can anonymously flag stores that don't seem to be following the rules, and can contact Etsy's legal counsel about resolving these issues.
Success stories like Suchocki's "are a happy byproduct" of the site, says Brown, but not everyone will be able to ditch the day job.
All of the resources on the site make it clear that vendors can't just open a shop, sit back and wait for sales; strategy and marketing is required. With thousands of vendors opening stores daily, existing shops quickly get buried.
To remain visible, Suchocki and other vendors re-list (or repost) their products on the site several times daily so that they remain high in up in their categories. The site's home page changes often, featuring "treasuries," or galleries, of users' favourite products. Suchocki says that being spotlighted on the home page fairly often has boosted her traffic.
Many vendors build up their profiles and contacts by staying active on Etsy forums, blogging and networking online.
"Etsy buyers like to see that there's a face and life behind a product; that's what they're buying," says Suzanne Gerrior. She silk-screens children's T-shirts in the garage of her N.D.G. home and sells them on her Etsy shop, Hip Kid
(hipkid.etsy.com). Gerrior says that maintaining a personal blog (www.hipkidtshirts.blogspot.com, where she talks about everything from her T-shirts to the kind of day she's having) on her own website has helped drive traffic to her Etsy shop. Buying an ad for your store or product doesn't work, Gerrior says. "What brings people to your shop is when another blogger recommends it."
Starting her Etsy shop has opened many doors and been a life-changing experience; a Beverley Hills-based online store called 90210 Organics now carries her T-shirts. For now she's happy operating "this little lemonade stand," on top of working full-time and being a mom.
"It's not really the sales that give me validation, it's the emails I get from people." Her first sale was to a woman from Spain. "She emailed me quite a bit; she was really lovely and then she sent me a picture of her son wearing his T-shirt; I get that all the time with my cowboy T-shirts."
There's also a personal connection for Beaconsfield resident Celia Cruz, who sews every stitch of the handbags and pillows she sells through her Etsy shop, Paco+Lupe
"Each bag I send out, I tissue paper it, and say, 'Goodbye' ... I'm always thinking, 'Are they using it?"
For her, it's crazy to think "there are about 200 Paco+Lupe bags running around in the world right now."
The former IT consultant says she's been selling non-stop since last November, and she wishes she had known about Etsy before she spent a lot of time building her own website. "I don't think you can get any bigger exposure than the international exposure Etsy has."
While Cruz has used the site to pursue her lifelong passion for sewing and fabrics, many mothers are finding Etsy is a haven for a home-based business after having children.
Julie Pedersen is a case in point. The N.D.G. resident, who makes spice racks, gourmet spice kits and other housewares, started her business, Purpose Design, in 2004, selling to bricks-and-mortar shops in Quebec and Ontario. Now she sells only online, mainly through her Etsy shop (purposedesign.etsy.com) because she's got two young children. "Sales come in when they come in." But she no longer has to travel to each store and no longer has to pay a middle man. Buyers come directly to her and the profit margin is higher. "I'm out tonight and I've probably made sales while I've been gone," she says. "I love that about it."
While Etsy is helping many artisans set up shop, it's still a good idea to establish a local presence, says Valérie Parizeault. The graphic designer and jewellery maker is one of three women behind the Montreal Craft Mafia, whose goal is to support and draw local artists out of their basements. The five-month-old business (www.craftmafiamontreal.com) is the local outpost of an international organization of Craft Mafias. It held a craft fair that featured 60 artisans during this year's Fringe Festival. The plan is to hold marketing seminars and networking events. She has an Etsy store herself (wittyworkshop.etsy.com), but Parizeault believes it will become more difficult for artists to rely solely on the site as it gets bigger: "You have to be known in your community ... and have something tangible."
Triangle artisans create a community and drum up business through an online mall called Etsy
It has no walls, no fixtures, no employees.
Of course, if you go there -- knitwrit.etsy.com -- you'll find there's not much of anything at all right now. But there could be, just as soon as I dream it up.
The "mall" where my shop is goes by the name Etsy. It's an international online sales venue, started in June 2005, that deals exclusively in hand-crafted goods.
Buyers can browse without those sweaty blisters you get roaming crafts markets. Sellers need not pay for the infrastructure -- rent, utilities, hardware -- of traditional stores. And they can sell a single craft item, something an actual store can rarely support. They focus on what they do best: crafting.
Etsy encourages its crafters -- or Etsians -- to locate their sales base so it's easy for buyers to stay local. Etsy also encourages networking among local crafters through the formation of "street teams," which have the power to turn a virtual community into an actual community.
"It's the world's best-kept secret," says Meg Finn, proprietor of VintageScraps.etsy.com. "The team is really cool."
Finn, 45, a former middle school teacher who lives in Apex, opened her shop Jan. 24 and has joined two street teams: Boomers and Beyond (for age 40-plus Etsians) and NCTriangle.
The NCTriangle Street Team is made up of about 125 Triangle Etsy crafters. Formed in September 2007, it meets about four times a year to brainstorm ways to market members' crafts locally, and it meets monthly to make a craft. Online, team members take turns writing a Friday blog, to give exposure to individual crafts while sharing the work to keep the site vital.
Many of the team members spend hours alone creating. Through the team, they not only network in real time, expanding business opportunities, but also find a support network of like-minded people who find their greatest joy in creating.
Some Etsians aim to make a living from crafts; others are indulging hobbies. A wide spectrum are simply augmenting their income and exploring their craft.
Craft in real time
In May, about 20 NCTriangle Street Team members convened at Karen LeRose's North Raleigh home. On the business end, they floated ideas about actual crafts venues -- North Hills Farmers Market, Designers Downtown Market, Rock & Shop Market, all in Raleigh -- and about how to find low-cost, effective advertising. They swapped business cards and brainstormed about crafty marketing.
Then they learned to make candles, one of LeRose's crafts. As the wax was melting, minds were melding as the Etsians scoped out LeRose's basement workshop.
Though the Etsy shop does not require walls, it does require some infrastructure at home. A clear, dedicated space is ideal. Especially important is a place to take studio-quality pictures; product shots can make or break sales.
LeRose repurposed a workshop area with pegboard and work tables for Karen's Soaps (karenssoaps.etsy.com). Her soap molds are organized in bins, as are her completed soaps. She has packaging material and a small stove for heating her soaps and candles. Her aromatic oils are arranged in bottles on a shelf. LeRose gets all the scents for her soaps and candles online.
"Took six tries to get the right pear," she said. "I don't want to sell it if they don't smell good."
And for product shots, she has a light box -- a white canvas cube with a light -- that allows close, well-lighted images of her products.
LeRose has a full-time job, so she spends two to three hours a day filling orders and making the products. She enjoys the craft and the extra income.
"If it gets to be a chore, I'll stop," she says.
Jenn George Burt, 33, works full time as well, but all three of her jobs are based in her Raleigh home.
"Most days I never go out," she says. "I sit around in pajamas a lot."
In addition to her Etsy work, Burt is a Web designer and an online technician for the N.C. State University math department. Burt has three shops on Etsy. Her main shop, jenngee.etsy.com, developed from a longtime love of quilting, from which she happened upon her main sales item: the coffee corset, a band of fabric that laces around a coffee cup and looks just like a corset. She has sold 672 Coffee Corsets at $12 each since opening in August 2007.
"Who knew!" she says. At another shop, SmallWonderful.etsy.com, she makes and sells clothes for Blythe dolls, filling a cultish need to attire the bigheaded Barbie-ish figure. At isupply.etsy.com, she sells craft supplies, "stuff you didn't even know you needed," such as fabric yo-yos and tiny straw hats. A whole floor of the home she shares with her husband is a dedicated studio.
"I don't think I could go back to a normal job," Burt says.
The pottery and the power
Michele Marlin, 44, devotes her whole workday to her craft.
After getting a degree in production pottery about 20 years ago at Montgomery Community College in Troy, she sold her work in galleries and at shops. She also worked for eight years at Amazing Glaze in downtown Raleigh, until it closed.
She opened up her Etsy shop in January 2007 and slapped up a bumper sticker on her pickup truck: memekiwii.etsy.com. Her Etsy shop provides more traffic than her Web site (www.funkyfolkartpottery.com), she said.
In addition to selling wares, she is developing a network of animal-loving friends through her buyers. She "batches" photo shoots, taking pictures of her products in the kudzu field outside her Angier studio.
"Etsy has helped make me a better potter," she says, by allowing her to work in her own time. She will throw for a while, fire the pots, then close up shop and paint for two or three months.
"I like to stay behind the scene," she says. "I love to be creative, and I love mud, and I love fire."
Most important, she says, Etsy empowered her to really think of herself as an artist.
This empowerment fuels all the crafters.
"Etsy saved my life," says Tina Jett, a Carolina Rollergirl (Red Mojo) who has a lot of crafty urges -- pendants made from manipulated Scrabble tiles, felting, photography -- and hasn't quite settled on a single craft.
In August 2007, she opened scatterbox.etsy.com and added photobox.etsy.com in February. She has a degree in advertising and has worked grown-up jobs, but at age 34 all she knows is: "I don't want a real job." On Etsy, she saw: "You know what? People actually do this for a living."
Jett, like many Etsians, sells wares at craft shows as well. The Street Team gave her support in person and online to get her crafts together for her first craft market: July's Designers Downtown Market.
"On our message board, when there's an upcoming show posted, we usually ask who is planning to be in it," she says. "I mentioned that I was thinking about it and heard from some well-wishers and from a couple of others who were pretty new to it, too. ...
"I had been reading some other posts on our forum a few months prior where people talked about what to expect at shows and tips on preparing. So by the time I signed up, I had a lot planned out."
The real-time craft sales gave her enough money to cover her entry and material, with a little left over. But more important, it helped her focus her craft. She found out what people were interested in buying, perhaps more quickly than she would at Etsy.
"I had really good feedback, especially on my photography, which was inspiring," she said. "Between the two faces of my store, photography vs. arts and crafts, it's the one that has more of a defined direction."
Some Etsians join the team just for the networking.
Aggie Stachura (linguafranca.etsy.com) of Chapel Hill has an Etsy shop, but she doesn't sell a product. As a buyer, she is interested in keeping her craft local, purchasing supplies such as roving, the processed wool used for spinning yarn. Stachura loves the forum and virtual community on Etsy.
"I've spent the past two months exploring Etsy and gradually figuring out how to navigate the site," she said.
Etsy helps with navigating, including a video to help buyers. It's possible to hop on the site and find what you're looking for pretty quickly. But it's also possible to spend quite a bit of time threading through the forums.
Active Street Teams help buyers and sellers by making their presence known locally. At the group's July meeting at Scrap Exchange in Durham, the NCTriangle Street Team created sample crafts for Scrap Exchange in Durham.
Finn brought her daughter, Amy, 12.
"She's our test market," Finn says. "She's going to tell us if people can actually make all these things."
Finn started her sales in an actual shop: Out of the Kiln in Apex, where she first brought her cards, made of vintage paper products she inherited from her grandmother. At the shop, she was tipped off to Etsy.
She calls this post-retirement foray into crafts "basically a big midlife crisis."
"I'm having a ball," she says. "I can't believe I get paid for it."
Together, the team members create a pile of crafts, write up directions on file folders and leave it all to inspire shop visitors.
The final touch for the items is a sign that says: Made by the Etsy NCTriangle Street Team.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Local stores offer wallet-friendly shopping that is easy on the environment
Published: Sunday, August 24, 2008As students are faced with the blank slate of new dorms and new apartments this week, many will run to Target or Wal-Mart to fill their rooms with colorful and affordable items.
But before purchasing the same green chair or pink rug owned by five other people on your floor, consider the local alternatives.
On Government Street — a few miles north of campus — sits Honeymoon Bungalow and Time Warp Boutique.
At these vintage stores, they sell only dateable items, not new imitation products termed “retro.” The store’s stock is selected by quality and decade, unlike bulk donations at thrift stores.
From a ’50s table lamp to photographs of campus from the ’20s, the Bungalow focuses on mid-century housewares, and its stock is divided into rooms of a house. For instance, couches and chairs are in the living room area, china and cookbooks in the kitchen.
Marsha Rish, owner of both stores, said she fell in love with the history of used items.
“It has a soul. It has a story to tell,” she said. “We’re like a foster home. We take [an item] in, clean it and take care of it until someone else comes in, buys it and loves it.”
Rish said now that retro is in style, she has more competition from corporations like Old Navy and Urban Outfitters.
“Everybody wants to get on the vintage bandwagon,” said Joshua Holder, Time Warp Boutique manager and University alumnus. “At the mall, it’s all the same styles in six different color schemes. Here, no two pieces are alike.”
Both Rish and Holder emphasized that vintage items tend to be higher quality and better design.
“People buy vintage because it fits better,” Holder said. “You don’t have to fit this box that the store says is a size 4.”
Holder said when many of the clothes he sells were made, women did not walk out of a store until the outfit was tailored to their body.
“A seamstress made your dress, not a small child in Cambodia,” said Holder.
Holder and Rish also encourage customers to customize and alter their purchases to fit their tastes. From cutting the sleeves off a dress to re-upholstering a couch, just because it is old does not mean it cannot be updated.
But vintage is not the only way to go when looking for affordable, used items. Baton Rouge is teaming up with thrift stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Paul’s.
One local thrift store —The Purple Cow — supports the Christian Outreach Center, a combined ministry of several downtown churches. Money from sales goes to help local, low-income families.
Founder Lin Loghran helped start the store five years ago. She said she sees a lot of college students in the store.
“It just makes so much sense,” she said. “It’s obviously better to keep re-using things than to throw them away.”
Loghran said with the declining economy, she is seeing more new people in the store.
“Right now thrift stores are really having a resurgence of popularity,” she said.
The Purple Cow sells mostly clothing, but it also sells housewares, books and records.
“It’s a kind of an inexpensive way to decorate your room,” she said.
Rachel Clark, music education sophomore, decorated most of her apartment with thrift store purchases.
“You spend so much money during college that there’s no reason to spend more than you have to on things you could get for a lot cheaper,” Clark said.
Clark said she was raised to appreciate bargain-hunting.
“Part of it is the thrill of the hunt,” she said. “I enjoy digging through the trash to find the treasure.”
Clark warned that thrift store shopping is not for those that need instant gratification. She said part of it is waiting for items to come in that fit her taste.
Rish has two pieces of advice for vintage and thrift store shoppers.
“No. 1, don’t be in a hurry. Take your time,” she said. “No. 2, if you see something that makes your heart pound, buy it because it might not be there tomorrow.”
Contact Lauren Walck at email@example.com
Thursday, August 21, 2008
By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
AP Fashion Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Ever wonder the difference between a sheath dress and a shift? An A-line and a trapeze?
The fashion world uses insider lingo like, well, insiders. But fashion is more democratic than that: We all have to get dressed and should know if we're wearing a cowl neck or a halter.
Here are some ABCs of the style lexicon:
A-line: Skirt that is narrowest at the waist and then flares out along a straight line to the hem like a triangle _ or an A.
Anorak: Hooded jacket first known to be worn by Eskimos of the Arctic. It's often a pullover silhouette so it doesn't leave potential for a draft along a zippered or buttoned closure.
Boatneck/Bateau: This neckline is named for its similarity in shape to a skimmer boat. It's a narrow opening in its width but extends almost shoulder to shoulder.
Bias cut: Fabric cut on approximately a 45-degree angle to create a clingy, draped effect. Madeleine Vionnet was considered queen of the cut in the 1920s, and it's still used today.
Cowl: Draped, loose neckline with a cascading effect. It's possible to also have a cowl as the back of a dress _ a very sexy look.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971): One of the most famous names in modern fashion. Chanel's skirt suits _ with collarless jackets and braided chain hardware _ are still instantly recognizable and often imitated.
Dolman sleeve: A sleeve that's wide at the armhole and narrows as it moves toward the wrist. It often creates the effect of a dropped shoulder.
D'Orsay: Shoe style resembling pumps but with a high vamp on the front of the foot and cutout sides, exposing the arch of the foot.
Epaulet: Fabric tab that sits on the top of the shoulder; sometimes it's functional and can hold a rolled-up sleeve. It's a detail often found on military uniforms _ and military-inspired fashion.
Empire waist: This "waistline" hits well above the natural waist, sometimes right under the bust, creating an ethereal silhouette. It's popular for baby-doll tops, evening gowns and maternity clothes.
Flannel: Soft, brushed-finish fabric, typically made of cotton or wool. It can be as tailored and refined as it is relaxed and outdoorsy.
Fishnet: A fabric, often used in lingerie or hosiery, with an open-mesh weave that resembles a fishing net.
Madame Gres (1903-1993): The Parisian couturier considered the master of the bias cut is credited with adapting the modern goddess gown. Madame Gres was born Germaine Emilie Krebs but created her professional name based on an anagram of her artist husband's first name, Serge. He signed his work Gres.
Gauchos: Mid-calf length pants with wide legs fashioned after the South American cowboys who were also called gauchos.
Haute couture: The French term for high fashion specifically refers to one-of-a-kind clothing produced by design houses that meet criteria established by the French Ministry of Industry. It's a protected appellation, similar to Champagne. However, the term is used colloquially to mean fancy, expensive fashion.
_Halter: Neckline to a sleeveless garment that leaves the shoulders _ and often the upper back _ exposed. There are different halter silhouettes but most either tie or have a strap that goes around the back of the neck.
Ikat: Printed fabric based on a weaving technique native to Uzbekistan, in which a pattern is created from tie-dyed thread.
Indigo: Blue dye originally derived from plants in the pea family often used to color denim. The fashion world has adopted the word to describe deep blue colors with purple overtones.
Jabot: Ruffled, sometimes-detachable neck collar that hangs down the front of a shirt or blouse. Historically men wore it on dress clothes, but it is now more common to women.
Jewel tones: Deep shades inspired by gems, including ruby red, emerald green and amethyst purple. No pastels here.
Keyhole: Peek-a-boo opening that could be found on the neckline, front of a garment or the back. It's an oblong shape, as if to fit a key.
Knife pleat: Fold in the fabric that creates almost a fan effect. Knife pleats, versus more complicated accordion, box or inverted pleats, are the basic pleating technique in sewing.
Le Smoking: Menswear-inspired outfit for women created by Yves Saint Laurent. The tuxedo silhouette was long and lean, and proved the beginning of an era of sexy, androgynous clothes.
Ralph Lauren (born 1939): One of the most successful U.S. designers, Lauren ranked 64th this year on Forbes' list of the richest Americans _ the same calendar year he celebrated 40 years in business. The polo pony logo is his signature, but his elegant sportswear look is almost as recognizable.
Ali MacGraw (born 1938): Actress whose career heyday was the late 1960s-early '70s but has become a longtime _ and unlikely _ muse of the fashion industry. The preppy-meets-free-spirit style of "Love Story," her most enduring film, is repeatedly cited by designers as inspiration.
Mule: A backless shoe. This shoe style can be dressy or casual _ a pointy-toe high heel or a clog _ but the key is the open back.
Nehru jacket: Fitted, single-breasted jacket with standup Mandarin or band collar. It's named after the late Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
New Look: The 1947 ladies' silhouette by Christian Dior that ushered in a completely different post-World War II style.
Ombre: Effect created by dip dyeing fabric with various gradations. It's sometimes called degrade, and the color will appear lighter in some spots and darker in others. It can be done with more than one color, but shading a single color is more common.
Organza: A sheer and delicate _ yet stiff _ fabric that is a signal for femininity and a certain level of dress.
Portrait collar: An open neckline that is wider than it is deep. It provides both a frame and blank space around the face, drawing the eye upward.
Proenza Schouler: One of the first 21st century fashion labels to make a splash. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez sold their final project for Parsons School of Design to Barneys New York, and in 2007 they were named the best designers in womenswear by the Council of Fashion Designers of America alongside Oscar de la Renta.
Queen Victoria: The British monarch who saw from her throne the first traceable global fashion trends. Victorian style morphed from oversized crinoline-cage garments of the early 1800s to a sleeker, elongated shape.
Quilting: A sewing technique, initially used for bedding, that has found its way into popular fashion. Quilted garments have three layers, two pieces of fabric as well as insular batting inbetween. They are sewn together with visible _ and often artful _ stitching.
Riding pants: Pants style with roomy hips but otherwise tight-fitting legs started as a practical silhouette for equestrians. Modern fashion has interpreted them to have an exaggerated shape. They're also known as jodhpurs.
Ruching: A detail of gathered fabric _ often at a seam and, in particular, on the sides of the bodice _ is considered a highly flattering touch because it creates intentional unevenness in fabric and camouflages what's underneath.
Sheath: Dress silhouette that's long and lean with a nipped waist _ and usually without a waistband _ to create an hourglass shape. Its fashion opposite is the boxier, shorter shift dress that hangs from the shoulders and has a loose waist.
Spectator: Style of two-tone shoes. Men's spectators are typically wing-tips and women's are pumps with wing tip-style perforation and details.
Tulip skirt: Skirt shape that highlights the hips, albeit with soft swaths of fabric. This skirt mimics an upside-down tulip, with a waist and hemline that are similar widths, and a bell effect in the middle.
Trapeze: A typically short dress style with narrow shoulders and a bodice that progressively flares out from there. It's a trapezoid shape, hence the name.
Unitard: Tight-fitting body stocking covering legs, torso and probably arms _ essentially an all-over leotard. It's worn mostly by athletes and dancers, although it did have moments as a fashion item in the 1980s and '90s.
Utilitarian: A style of clothing that's actually practical, or at least inspired by practical clothing. Cargo pants, ripstop nylon and even hoodies are utilitarian details that have become fashionable.
Versace: Milan-based fashion house known for super sexy styles _ worn by its jet-set fans. It was founded in 1978 by Gianni Versace; his younger sister Donatella took over as creative director when he was murdered in 1997.
Vintage: Term to describe clothes from another era. Antique clothes need to be more than 100 years old; vintage clothes are generally assumed to be newer but older than the most recent decade.
Anna Wintour: The editor in chief of Vogue since 1988 is largely considered the most powerful person in fashion, making or breaking trends and careers. The British-born Wintour has recently committed to boosting young talent _ despite her reputation for being aloof.
Wash and wear: Clothes that literally can be cleaned with soap and water, dried and worn without ironing. It might not seem such a novelty now with high-tech fabrics, but that wasn't the case a generation or two ago.
X-Ray (aka Social X-Ray): Term author Tom Wolfe coined for fashionable socialites who could never be too rich or too thin in his book "Bonfire of the Vanities."
X: The shape made in an argyle pattern as geometric diamonds are lined up in rows.
Yohji Yamamoto: One of the most respected names in Japanese fashion, with his signature being skewed proportions. Considered influential in the industry for years, he was introduced to the mainstream via his Y-3 collaboration with Adidas.
Yoke: A line, commonly across the shoulders or hips, that creates a more fitted shape to offset a potentially voluminous silhouette.
Zoolander: A 2001 movie starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson that parodies the fashion and modeling businesses. There are cameos by real-life fashion stars, including Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Heidi Klum.
Zebra print: Print that mimics the graphic black-and-white stripes of a zebra. It joins cheetah and leopard prints as trends that blossomed in the 1960s but have been used so often since then that they've become classics.
(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Find Sideshow Kitties @ Etsy: SideshowKitties.etsy.com
and even more about Sideshow Kitties @ http://sideshowkitties.com/
Here's a few of my favs:
Saturday, August 16, 2008
* TIME IT RIGHT: Go at the beginning of spring and fall. That's when most people clean out their closets and drop off unwanted pieces.
* SCOOP IT UP: Clothes with broken zippers, long hems, or missing buttons are cheap--and easy fixes!
* PASS IT UP: Cracked leather, items with rips not on a seam (they're hard to sew), and anything smelly.
Stores that are so worth a road trip:
BOSTON: The Garment District, 200 Broadway, 617-876-5230 Everything downstairs is just $1.50 a pound ($.75 on Fridays!).
LOS ANGELES: Buffalo Exchange, 131 N. La Brea, 323-938-8604 Bring in your old clothes to see if they'll accept them for cash or store credit here!
CHICAGO: Land of the Lost, 614 W. Belmont Ave., 773-529-4966 Find everything from "hippie" printed dresses to costume jewelry.
ATLANTA: Junkman's Daughter, 464 Moreland Ave., 404-577-3188 Cute hipster tees and Halloween costumes. For super deals, check the sale racks!
PHILADELPHIA: Retrospect, 534 South St., 267-671-0116 Stop here for amazing finds for as little as $10!
MIAMI: Fly Boutique, 650 Lincoln Rd., 305-604-8508 Reasonably priced clothes from every decade.
SAN ANTONIO: Texas Thrift, 6776 Ingram Rd., 210-521-3336 Great jeans under $20!
NATIONWIDE: Goodwill (800-664-6577) and The Salvation Army (satruck.org) Ask about family discount days and student discounts!
Friday, August 15, 2008
A few years ago, it was still a subject of regular outrage. Jobs were headed to Mexico. Factories moving to China. Everybody hated globalization, without quite understanding it. But with a flood of news coverage — the slightly nauseating peak being an all-too-popular book about the world being flat — people finally figured it out: The manufacturing jobs were gone. Get a job banking, or flipping burgers, but don’t expect to be building cars or making clothes.
The idea is that we should switch to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy. And Silicon Valley, for one, long ago pinned its hopes on brains over brawn. Just take a look at the companies that get funding. But now that everyone’s getting used to the knowledge economy, manufacturing may make its comeback.
Here are the primary factors driving a manufacturing renaissance: The rapid growth of middle class consumers in countries like Brazil, China and India; a shrunken dollar and the loss of economic pre-eminence by the United States; less easy credit for overseas goods for consumers in the US; and, potentially, rising transportation costs that cut into cheap goods sent from overseas.
Those details are outlined by the CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance, Thomas Duesterberg, in this Industry Week article. There are a few more that could be added to the mix, though.
The first is our bid at shifting energy usage at home off foreign oil. Companies like Ausra, Nanosolar and Tesla are basing not only their research, but their plants in the United States. They have plenty of reasons to do so. States, eager to win back jobs lost long ago, are offering hefty incentives. Materials like solar mirrors and wind turbines are expensive to ship, and solar panels often break during long voyages. And for Tesla, there’s an additional prestige to having a car manufactured in the U.S., even if some parts are made overseas.
Another good example is Infinia, a solar company that is reducing its own startup costs by using existing manufacturing capacity in the country, much of which has been idle for years, to builds its solar dishes. And finally there are the many biofuel startups, many of which have no choice but to place their plants near the sources for their fuel. As the market for renewables grows, more will certainly be built here.
The need for specialized work will also become more prominent with the rise of next-generation materials, especially nanomaterials. Although fabless manufacturing in the semiconductor industry proved that high-tech work can be done overseas, the first generation of manufacturing will be at home. And with costs for overseas labor rising, the new nano industry may choose not to move elsewhere.
There are also opportunities for less commercial production. As the online marketplace Etsy has shown, there’s a nascent industry of crafters who are are eager to sell their goods. Ponoko, for one, wants to help those people create their goods, with online tools and a relatively inexpensive production process based on laser cutters.
And for the professionals, the small design firms and build shops of the world, cheap rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing technology are on the rise, a subject that I wrote about a year ago.
Whether physical production can ever dominate the American landscape again is doubtful. But the conventional view into the future, which suggests that we’ll make our way as a pure knowledge economy, is likely also off the mark. The future is never quite what you expect.
August 14, 2008
Make money with your craft online
Kim Komando, Gannett News Service
Are you a budding musician or photographer? Do you have a knack for handicrafts? Then why not make some money off of your talents? You can, thanks to the Internet.
Selling digital downloads has always been difficult. Complex e-stores have been needed to manage sales and deliver the goods. If you sell crafts, eBay and Craigslist may seem like your only outlets.
Well, a bevy of Web sites are here to help. You can sell music, photos and crafts online. There's no messy e-store to manage. And getting started is simple.
More people are buying music digitally. That levels the playing field for small, unsigned musicians.
At Last.fm, sign up to promote your music. There is no sign-up fee. Last.fm is an Internet radio site. Once you upload music, others can play it. Unless you're the next U2, your earnings will be slim. You get a portion of advertising revenue generated when your music is played. Plans are tiered. Expect to earn 10 percent of advertising revenue, starting at fractions of a penny. The more people listen to your music, the more you can make.
Amie Street also promotes up-and-coming artists. You begin by uploading your music. Songs are initially offered for free. But prices can hit 98 cents. This is based on how often a song is purchased.
You take 70 percent of the money earned after $5. The $5 covers storage, bandwidth and transaction costs.
Getting music on big retailers' sites is challenging. It helps to have record label backing. But, for a small investment, you can get on iTunes, Rhapsody and Napster.
TuneCore puts your music on 10 major music sites. You pay 99 cents per track to upload and 99 cents per store per album. You also pay $20 a year for storage and maintenance. You keep all the profits.
Also try CD Baby. There's a one-time-ever $35 charge to set up a new CD in their store. CD Baby distributes your music to major download stores like iTunes and Rhapsody. You keep 91 percent of profits.
Arts and crafts
Etsy has made a name for itself for its handmade goods. You can buy clothes, art, furniture and more. Sellers set their own prices.
An Etsy shop is free. You pay 20 cents to list items, plus a 3.5 percent sales fee. Listings last four months.
Handmade Catalog is much like Etsy. You can sell a variety of handicrafts.
You can start out with a basic shop for $4.95 monthly or $40 annually. You can list up to 50 items and pay a 15 percent commission. There are more advanced tiers that cost more and charge less commission. You'll also get promotional tools.
Imagekind specializes in artwork. You can get started with a free account that allows you to offer up to 24 images for sale.
You upload digital copies of images. Imagekind makes prints from your uploads. Buyers can purchase canvases, prints and greeting cards. Imagekind charges buyers a base price; you decide what to charge over this.
A paid account lets you upload more images. You'll also get marketing help. Paid plans start at $7.99 monthly.
There are plenty of sites to help you sell photos. IStockphoto, Fotolia and Alamy are three microstock sites.
The photos you submit must be approved before they can be sold. In some cases, you must also pass a quiz.
Microstock sites sell photos for commercial use. Prices for the photos start around $1, depending on the resolution.
Your commission will vary among sites. Expect to earn from 28 percent to 65 percent.
Getty Images is a traditional stock photo company for professionals. But, it recently announced a partnership with Flickr.
Getty plans to search images posted on Flickr. If it likes your photos, you could land a licensing deal!
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim's free e-mail newsletters, sign up at: www.komando.com/newsletters. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
August 12, 2008 - 12:21PM
Conspicuous logos and white frames a-la Victoria Beckham are on the way out but oversized sunnies, aviators and mirror glasses are hot, hot, hot.
Any self-respecting fashionista can tell you sunglasses are about more than protecting your eyes against the sun.
Your sunnies can hide tired or red eyes while adding glamour, mystery, elegance and impact to any outfit.
And as Bono has shown, nothing screams "rock-star" more than a cool pair of sunglasses worn indoors, at night or when there isn't a ray of sun around.
Here are a few upcoming trends in these perennial fashion faves.
Big and round: Oversized sunglasses are still very in, according to Dawn Klimaszewski, marketing director for Maui Jim sunglasses. "In fashion, the big thing is the big frames. But it's evolving. More rounded, smaller."
Logos on the outer: Longtime luxury brand lovers are looking for a way to differentiate themselves from their flashier counterparts with understated elegance.
Old-school classics: Vintage-inspired remains hot, says Melanie Martin, spokeswoman for the New York-based Sunglass Association of America. "Some of those vintage glasses used to have a flat lens. But new lenses can have a full wrap with details inspired by Jackie O, but wrapped a little more around your face, which gives you more protection."
Aviators still flying high: Aviators are still big for men and women," Martin says. Klimaszewski adds, "Oversized is fashion but aviators are hot everywhere else."
Haute hues: Shiny black is No 1. From the vintage trend, tortoise shell remains popular and champagne shades are gaining fast. White sunglasses are fading, while navy continues to be strong. Fluorescents are said to be on the ascent including those from names like Dior.
A little bit of sparkle: Jewellery lines like Tiffany and Bulgari are huge right now, says Barry Kay of Hollywood Eyes. "They copy their jewellery designs on the sides of the frames. They sell well because of the uniqueness." These glasses can get pricey, though. A limited edition design from Fendi, loaded with hand-placed Swarovski crystals, goes for around $US1,000.
Mirror, mirror: What goes best with your metallic dress or your foil-effect T-shirt? Mirror-like materials are beginning to shine again, especially with high-tech metals and colourful plastics from the likes of Jimmy Choo and Dior.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/08/12/1218306850683.html
|RUNNING A BUSINESS|
Irked by February's changes in fees and the feedback-rating system, merchants who once sold wares exclusively at the online-auction site can now be found on a number of smaller alternative sites that have sprung up. With names like Wigix, Silkfair, Etsy and Oodle, these sites aim to offer more hand-holding for sellers -- and charge lower fees -- than the behemoth eBay.
|Web retailer Cristinajewelry sells a jewelry-making tutorial on Silkfair, a Web site with specialty items.|
Some of these new sites target niche markets, such as Etsy, which focuses on handmade crafts, where small sellers say their products can stand out better than they do at a soup-to-nuts-to-carburetors site like eBay. And many offer free features, such as how-to videos and blogs designed to improve communication between merchants and shoppers. Some sites are even tapping into the social-networking trend -- where items for sale can show up on sites like MySpace or Facebook.
"I don't need a million people to see my things, just the right people who have hopefully good taste to buy my things," says Cathleen McLain, a 58-year-old jewelry maker who began selling her handmade necklaces on Silkfair earlier this year.
Shoppers must beware when buying on newer Web sites. It's hard to know the merchants' track record, whereas eBay displays sellers' positive and negative feedback ratings. And some of these sites don't offer buyer protections, such as Amazon's "A-to-Z" guarantee, which covers buyers for up to $2,500 each should their purchases be defective or incorrect. Shoppers who use PayPal on eBay are covered for up to 100% of purchase price.
"You're always taking a risk with sellers from sites like these," says Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Unless there are guarantees or some seller ratings like the ones eBay has accumulated over time, there will always be some bad experiences."
Alternatives for eBay Inc. sellers have existed for some time. One of the best known is Amazon.com Inc., which offers several services for merchants. But sellers are increasingly gravitating to these newer and smaller e-commerce sites. Ms. McLain switched to Silkfair in part because she found it increasingly hard to compete with cheap overseas merchandise. She says it didn't help that eBay instituted a policy that allows only buyers to rate sellers -- a change from its traditional system of letting buyers and sellers mutually rate each other. Also, when a buyer searches for an item, the results are weighted to show the highest-rated sellers first, a system that smaller merchants argue hurts mom-and-pop operations. Finally, sellers who use PayPal, the online-payment service owned by eBay, may not get their funds for as long as 21 days. It's an effort to protect buyers from transactions eBay considers "risky" or "suspicious" -- mostly big-ticket items or transactions with low-rated sellers.
These recent changes have made the use of eBay "questionable" for small retailers like herself, says Ms. McLain. She says she hears about Silkfair on eBay-seller online-discussion boards. The site, which started operating in March, showcases her handmade jewelry with large images -- larger than those on eBay. Still, fewer people will view her merchandise. "It's never going to be as big as eBay," says the Hartford, Conn., resident.
An eBay spokeswoman says that the company is no stranger to competition from other Web sites, and that it expects many of its savvy users to sell on multiple sites. The company says its recent changes are designed to offer competitive pricing and the best overall value for merchants. For now, though, only eBay offers the volume of auction-style and fixed-price listings, which generated second-quarter transactions valued at $15.7 billion, and audience of users, with 84.5 million in the second quarter.
Entrepreneurs have been trying to displace eBay for years and haven't managed to do so, says Ms. Mulpuru of Forrester Research. She estimates that nearly one in every five dollars spent online goes to either eBay or Amazon.
Besides Silkfair, there's Etsy, another site that attracts artists who want to display and sell handmade goods. Here, shoppers can see large images updated every few minutes with the most recent products listed for sale -- eBay doesn't offer promo slideshows on its home page of newly listed products. The site also offers online workshops for crafters and instructional articles on topics like woodcarving and crocheting.
|A mustang named Spider is listed on Oodle.com.|
Another site drawing sellers is Oodle, a classified-ad site started in 2005 by former executives of eBay and Excite. Oodle aggregates classified ads from more than 80,000 Web sites and publishes listings on its Web site network. Merchants can advertise their listings on Oodle's network and choose different payment options, mostly commission-based. Some sellers say they prefer to list items on classified-ad sites because their items, like secondhand mattresses or strollers, can be picked up in person by local buyers.
Wigix targets shoppers who like fixed-price transactions, not auction-style trading. Co-founded March 2007 by James Chong, who helped develop Charles Schwab's original Web-trading application, Wigix is trying to offer easier navigation. On eBay, for example, prospective buyers looking for an iPhone must scroll through individual listings that might run over several pages to see the prices offered for various models of the phone. Wigix designates one page for a specific iPhone model where all individual offers to buy and sell the device are posted in one place. The site also allows sellers' items to appear on social-networking sites.
Wigix's system appeals to online merchant Jerod Husvar, a seller of used-car parts for sport-compacts. He's moving his e-commerce operations from eBay, partly because of the customer service he got.
Mr. Husvar says eBay only recently started offering phone support. Before, he was such a small seller he didn't qualify for personalized attention through an eBay account manager. He often searched to find an eBay person to call and would be put on hold 30 minutes or longer just to speak to someone.
"We built our business around eBay," says Mr. Husvar. "They lost focus. All their money comes from sellers. Buyers are what drive the market, but you need quality and protection for the sellers or else they don't even want to deal with the buyers."
An eBay spokeswoman declined to comment specifically about his complaint but said that the company tries to balance the needs of buyers and sellers for the overall good of the entire community.
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