Interviewed by: MySelvagedLife
How did you get started collecting and selling vintage?
It actually happened in a bit of a roundabout and unexpected fashion, and it all began with a foray into the world of handmade. I was feeling incredibly unfulfilled in my boring 9 to 5 job where I sat in front of the computer all day, and I was having strong urges to MAKE something with my own hands. I started doing some sewing and crafting, and had plenty of other ideas in my head, but I was finding myself drawn to unique materials that had character and history. Feeling no inspiration from the craft store on the corner, I started going to estate sales and looking for vintage materials to use in my crafts: vintage fabrics, buttons, old books to turn into journals, paper ephemera for collaging, and all types of other goodies. And in my treasure hunts, I was coming across so many amazing items that weren't suitable for repurposing, but I couldn't stand to leave behind. So I started picking up some cool and unique things here and there, tried my hand at selling them on Etsy, and it really took off. Now, my vintage business keeps me so busy that I have very little time for my handmade lines, but I've discovered how much I really enjoy selling vintage, so it's okay. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
What was your background in prior to vintage?
Pretty typical and boring -- working a 9-5 job in the Human Resources field. After getting laid off, I couldn't bear the thought of going back to another "real" job, so I decided to pursue The Fancy Lamb full-time.
How did you first get started on Etsy?
I think I started backwards compared to most people. I had been feeling these strong crafty urges and making a few things here and there, and then I heard about a local craft show focused on eco-friendly indie-style crafts. It seemed like the perfect fit for the repurposed vintage crafts I had been toying with, and it was just the kick in the pants I needed to get cracking. I cranked out a massive amount of inventory in preparation for the show, and when it was all over, I decided to try listing some of my leftover stock on Etsy. I had my first sale just a day later, and well...the rest is history.
What is your favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
I find it incredibly rewarding to be a small business owner, with full control over my own destiny. I fully believe that if it weren't for Etsy, I would not have had the platform to build and grow my own small business. Not to mention all the wonderful friends I've had the opportunity to meet and learn from. THANK YOU ETSY!
What is your least favorite part of being a shop owner on Etsy?
Other than some administrative headaches, I seriously have no major complaints. I love Etsy!
What challenges have you faced during the process?
My biggest personal challenge has been finding the discipline to keep myself focused and task-oriented. I have to constantly keep myself on track day-by-day and minute-by-minute, because that's the only way that I'll ever achieve the bigger successes I strive for. I've had to create a lot of structure for myself because without a boss looking over your shoulder, it's really easy to burn the day away chatting with friends on Twitter, making a bajillion treasuries, or lurking in the always-entertaining Etsy forums. But business has to come first.
What inspires you?
History. I love thinking about who might have used one of my vintage cameras and what types of photos they took. Or what travels a vintage suitcase went on in its heyday. Who might have worn a fantastic vintage dress and what romantic rendezvous it experienced. It's so fun to imagine the past!
Describe your average day in one word
Describe your style in one word
What is your favorite season?
Fall, before it gets too cold.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like spending time with my family, seeing live music, and eating sushi. I like taking naps, cooking fancy breakfasts, and driving with the windows down. My 3 dogs are my partners in crime, and my husband is my best friend. Life is good!
What advice would you give to sellers new to Etsy?
Make friends with other people in the Etsy community. Find your niche, develop your own style, and run with it. Help others out and karma will take care of you in return. Enjoy every minute!
Visit TheFancyLamb's Etsy Shop!