Isobel Vintage Jewels is a new Vintage Jewellery shop on Etsy. Owner Sophy tells us why she started the shop, what she is learning, and her challenges. She is at the beginning of her vintage jewellery journey. We at Vintage Jewelry Team wish her well. She certainly has a good start.
Margie: How and why did you get started collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Sophy: I only started selling vintage jewellery here in the United Kingdom about 6 months ago. Before that, I was selling Swarovski crystal jewellery. I wanted to be able to sell at more craft stalls during local craft fairs. So, I started selling vintage jewellery in order to be a seller at the Antique and Collector’s Fair. And then I realized I love vintage jewellery because it’s made so much better than most modern jewellery. Quite frankly, it’s gorgeous!
Margie: Why did you open Isobel Vintage Jewels on Etsy?
Sophy: I’ve had a shop on Etsy since 2007 selling clear stamps for the card-making industry. In March, I opened Isobel Vintage Jewels so I could have another online presence. I am continuing to sell at local craft and collectors fairs as well.
Margie: Selling at a Fair or Market can be exhausting, unpredictable, an earning burst or very profitable. Sophy, Do you have a funny or interesting story that happened to you while you were at a craft fair?
Sophy: I recently sold to a lady who is going to wear an Audrey Hepburn dress to a hen party. She chose earrings, a bracelet and a necklace to match her dress as a bespoke order from me.
Margie: What is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? Why does it inspire you?
Sophy: For designers, Miriam Haskell has got be one of the best collectible vintage jewelry designers. Also, I love anything blingy like Eisenberg and Trifari. Coro does beautiful designs and J J Jonette is my current fave! Although I am inspired by a bit of Monet 1980s stuff too. I love it all!
As far as a period of jewelry history, I love the 1970s since there were a lot of quirky items then. For materials, I’m rather partial to pewter! Although I do love a bit of bling too like the really high-end Trifari rhinestone pieces.
Margie: What is your favorite piece of jewelry in Isobel Vintage Jewels and why?
Margie: When you look for an item for Isobel Vintage Jewels, what are you looking for and where do you look?
Sophy: I am always looking for top-notch quality, signed and gorgeous items in charity shops, online and with my main middlewoman. I met my wholesaler by going into a vintage store and asking if there was any way I could buy items in a bulk order. The owner recommended my middlewoman supplier.
Margie: Are you happy with the look of Isobel Vintage Jewels? If so why? If not, what would you like to change?
Sophy: I am still building my shop and it is getting better. Some of my photos are too dark but I am learning how to improve them. I am also spending time getting the SEO’s right on my listings. But I know the buyers look with their eyes first, so the quality of the photographs is important as well.
Margie: What items do you buy that you have to keep for yourself?
Sophy: At the moment, It is a J J Jonette little pig brooch, so cute!
Margie: What do you like about having Isobel Vintage Jewels on Etsy?
Sophy: I like the concept that I can make a living as a self-employed person rather than having a regular 9-5 job. Being self-reliant and a positive example is very important to me. My hope is to make a living from Etsy or at least a steady income so I can support my daughter’s future.
Margie: What or who first got you interested in vintage jewelry?
Sophy: First, I noticed the vintage jewellery in charity shops and was taken by the high quality and workmanship of the pieces. Then I started reading books to understand it better. Judith Miller’s book is pretty cool, but my favorite book is the DK Collector’s Guide to Costume Jewelry. It is beautifully laid out and shows gorgeous pieces.
Margie: It is hard to develop good customer service online. Is there something you do special for your customers and if so, what is it?
Sophy: I think it’s pretty easy as I’ve been doing it for years, treating customers with respect, caring and kindness. Building up the customer base in the first place is what is hard! To help find customers, I regularly updating my items and playing with the SEO. I use keywords and Etsy Rank which free and is very useful.
Margie: What is the best advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items?
Sophy: There is a LOT of competition in vintage jewellery. You have to get your SEO spot on and use Etsy promotions! You need to stand out too with your own style of photographs and top-notch customer service.
What is the best advice anyone gave you about selling vintage items?
Sophy: Keep your prices at a good profit. Don’t sell cheap! It just doesn’t work in the long run. You don’t need to be outrageously over-priced either. Sell at what you feel items are worth rather than by a set markup. But make sure the profit is at least double!
Margie: Do you have a hint that you are willing to share with the team about buying for or selling on Etsy? If so, what is it?
Sophy: Watch loads of YouTube videos by Kara Buntin! She’s amazing and thorough with her advice. I learned a lot from her about how to use SEO. She is also easy to understand. I believe if you follow her advice to the letter, you will see your shop grow.
Margie: How do you market your shop?
Margie: Do you have any additional shops on Etsy? If so, what are the shop names and what do you sell?
Sophy: Yes! Isobel Collection has been open since 2007. I sell clear photopolymer stamps for card makers
Margie: What other things would like us to know about you and/or Isobel Vintage Jewels?
Sophy: Well, I intend to build up to ONLY having signed designer pieces in my shop. I want to specialize in a few designers but do them well. I would love to have a shop full of Eisenberg and high-end Trifari. Watch this space!
Sophy, we will be watching your shop. We think you have a really good start. You are keeping your eye on your goals: SEO, effective and attractive photos, making a profit, and a bright future.