Kool Cat Collectibles is a labor of love for Etsy shop owner Carol. An avid collector of vintage jewelry and other cool things, Carol turned her passion into a business.
Carol is a member of the Vintage Jewelry Team Leadership and an Editor for the Team’s Facebook site. We appreciate her enthusiasm, her hard work and her devotion to her Team Members. We are pleased to introduce her to you.
Margie: How and why did you get started collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Carol: I actually got started out of necessity. I loved jewelry so much that when I was at flea markets and yard sales I brought all I could. My first piece of jewelry I got in 1980 at the Aloha Stadium Flea Market in Honolulu, Hawaii. I caught the fever; you know that never-ending fever that resulted in constantly needing more jewelry. I collected so much that I had to start selling some of it. This brought me into my first business venture of selling at flea markets. I then progressed to Antique Malls, and when the internet opened I was one of the first sellers on eBay. As soon as I heard of Etsy I opened an account there also. And I have not slowed down yet.
Margie: What pathways lead you to open Kool Cat Collectibles on Etsy?
Carol: A friend of mine sells jewelry making beads, findings, etc. She told me to look into Etsy and see about selling some of my jewelry. I am so grateful she sent me there and I have maintained Kool Cat Collectibles for almost eight years now. I started out very slow though; because I had a hard time letting loose of my precious jewelry.
Margie: What is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? Why does it inspire you?
Carol: My favorites have changed through the years. The first piece I purchased was a gorgeous red Bakelite bangle. I bought every piece of Bakelite I found for a long time. Then I switched to Art Nouveau; I love the flowing flowers and the beautiful ladies they use in their designs. I think it is still and may always remain my favorite. But I am now, looking at the 1970s jewelry. The jewelry of the 1970’s is like going home for me.
Margie: Speaking of the 1970’s, I remember it well. Why does the 1970s jewelry intrigue you?
Carol: Vintage jewelry from the 1970s era was both fun and unique. I enjoyed wearing the long beaded necklaces, peace sign earrings, and chokers. Yes, I am dating myself; I was a young lady back then and can remember I thought it was so groovy to wear my grandmother’s clothing with my hippie love beads. I fit right in with many of my friends. Of course, we had those who looked at us really strange, but hey, we were doing our own thing and enjoying it.
I think most of all I loved the way that men and women broke away from the traditional attire and wore what they were comfortable in. The jewelry matched the outfits, or not, the clothing could be very colorful and loud to soft and flowing. Yes, we had the attitude to match what we were wearing. What a great time it was to be alive, what freedom we brought in with the changes.
Margie: What other things would like us to know about you and/or Kool Cat Collectibles?
Carol: After suffering through chemo and radiation treatments and two major surgeries, I began to realize that I needed to enjoy each and every minute of every day. And I have done just that. I look at each day as a blessing and enjoy everything I can about it. I don’t take things too seriously anymore. Twelve years later I am now going through more difficulties due to the radiation they gave me. I do however feel much more equipped to handle this and conquer it. I run two shops on Etsy, one is Kool Cat Collectibles and the other shop is bead supplies. They are both fun and somewhat profitable. I enjoy the hunt for merchandise, probably always will. I think it is best said, I have antique pox.
Margie: What is your favorite piece of jewelry in Kool Cat Collectibles and why?
Carol: Actually I love Art Nouveau Jewelry. My favorite peace has sold and I have regrets about selling it, however, I need to sell some of the goodies as I have no more room and want to buy more. Wait, did I really say that. Yes, I did. More…. It is never ending with me. I love all jewelry, vintage to modern.
Margie: Have you ever found any surprises after you bought something for Kool Cat Collectibles?
Carol: Boy, have I found out I really need to pay more attention to what I am buying. I have had pieces fall apart in my hands or be so rusted they were not worthy of resale. Then, on the other hand, I have bought a couple of beautiful rings only to find out they were genuine solid gold and genuine stones. My husband came home from a yard sale and handed me an old rusty coffee can. He said, “I took a chance and bought these for you, I paid a whopping fifty cents for the whole can.” I took it anxiously into the kitchen table and poured it out. It was all Art Nouveau brooches. Wow, what a score and what a man. He actually had no idea what he was buying for me he just thought they might be of interest to me.
Margie: Do you keep items on your site until they sell, or do you cycle them in and out?
Carol: I will keep an item in Kool Cat Collectibles for one year and if there is no interest I put in into another venue, I have a small space in an antique mall where I sell. Also, I sell online in two other places; this gives me ample opportunity to move items around and find the best market for it.
Margie: What items do you buy that you have to keep for yourself?
Carol: I collect jewelry, bottles, beads, and tube radios. Isn’t that enough already? Actually, my husband collected antique bottles when we lived in Hawaii, I saw some that I thought were really nice and found out later they are called ACL’s. This is labels that have been painted on the bottles. We have a beautiful collection of bottles, however, you can just imagine how much room that took up. We really have to limit our purchases at this time. I keep telling my husband that jewelry and beads are small. A whole lot of them can fit in the same space as one of his cathedral radio takes up.
Margie: Where do you find most of your best items?
Carol: There is no set place. I look at yard sales, thrift stores and I buy a lot online. I can spend hours looking through pages of goodies and generally can find something worth buying. How could I not with all the stuff available. With my illness, I am not able to go out of the house much so I depend on the purchasing online. It is still fun but not as much as going on the hunt outside my house.
Margie: Which came first: your love for vintage items or the dream of having your own business?
Carol: My dream was always having all the vintage items I could have. But I just didn’t have the room for everything and that is where the business came in. I had to find a way to be able to buy and yet have a venue to sell so then I could buy more!
Margie: What have you found is your best source for information when you are researching an item?
Carol: My Vintage Jewelry Team. Between all of us, we have a wealth of resources and information to share. There is a lot of information on our team page. One only has to go there and read or ask a question and almost instantly you will get a very informed answer.
Margie: What is the best advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items?
Carol: Don’t keep them all until you have no more room in your home. I will give them a home. LOL!
Margie: Do you have any additional shops on Etsy? If so, what are the shop names and what do you sell?
Carol: I have a bead supplies shop. Carols Bead Store. I love my beads as much as my jewelry, I have a hard time selling some of the goodies I have purchased through the years. I have at least 25 banana boxes full of goodies and only a fraction online.
Margie: Where will you like to see Vintage Jewelry Team in a year?
Carol: I would so much like to see a bigger participation from our members. I know everyone is so busy, but I think if we all ban together and help one another, our team and our shops can do well. We need to rely on one another to get the job done.
Margie: What do you think, currently, is the best thing about Vintage Jewelry Team?
Carol: It’s our members of course. Everyone is so helpful and giving. They share their world of knowledge as well as helping out with those who just need to talk. I am especially appreciative of those who help someone like me figure out how to use computer programs and social networks. I need that help desperately.
Kool Cat Collectibles may have grown out the need for more space, but it is now an activity online shopping experience. Carols joy at collecting each item shows through in the items she list and her shop. I would love to have a look at the items she doesn’t list!