If there is any one member of the Vintage Jewelry Team that deserves a standing ovation I would have to say it is the owner Of the Etsy shop ColorfulMe Vintage, Margie. To be honest, I’m not sure where this blog would be without her. Thanks to Margie’s tireless efforts in greeting our new members and posting the articles on the team membership. Then recently she took on even more by resurrecting the Team Facebook page. Which I have to say her and Carol are doing a marvelous job.
Through it all, Margie has also put together a wonderful Etsy shop with excellent vintage finds. While describing herself as a jewelry maker, artist, poet, and generally creative person.
I must say it has been a pleasure sitting down with Margie to discuss her outlook on the Vintage Jewelry Team, her shop, ColorfulMe Vintage and her love of vintage jewelry in general, Here is what Margie has to say about these subjects.
Bruce: Hello Margie, you sure do keep yourself busy, don’t you?
Margie: Hey Bruce, really, I have to stay busy. Both my husband and I are mostly retired. and we haven’t been able to travel as much as we would like. I guess for me it is not really a retirement. I would say it’s more being in control of what I choose to do with my time.
The team and the blog are both things I can do while at home. I really believe we either succeed together or we fall apart. Volunteering, whether it is for the team or for the art community in my town. As I see it these are gifts I can give which also help me. You see, I have worked my whole life and couldn’t bear to just stop.
Bruce: Yes, I can relate to that. So what drew you into collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Margie: Well, like most things in my life, I just kinda fell into it, head first.
I had lots of work experience and education but I could not find a job. What I did find was a huge bag of bits and pieces of polymer clay left over from an art project. So I started making beads and jewelry out of the clay. With a startup fund of $275, I named my business “ColorfulMe! Jewelry and Accessories, LLC.” In five years, I made over 100,000 polymer clay beads and sold most of the jewelry I made.
When I first started, I was selling my jewelry at a year-round market in Dayton, Ohio. Then in 2012, I moved the business to a studio/retail shop in an artist community in my hometown. At some point during this time, a customer left a bag of her “mother’s old costume jewelry” on the knob of my studio. So I guess you could say I was instantly into the vintage jewelry business.
Bruce: Ok, so what made you decide to open an Etsy store?
Well, first I opened up a handmade jewelry shop on Etsy.
By that time, I was also making jewelry out of vintage copper sheeting and embroidery thread. Very unique items. But selling handmade jewelry online is very hard, just to figure out the tags was a nightmare.
I was selling tons of my jewelry in my studio. But the internet market just didn’t work for me.
Vintage jewelry, on the other hand, was a totally different story. The tags could be anything from a brand name to a period jewelry or the name of an animal or another descriptive tag. These were tags that people could use to find the items they wanted. So I opened ColorfulMe! Vintage and closed my other Etsy shop.
Then in 2016, I retired from my studio/shop and now just have my vintage store.
Bruce: That’s cool! But getting back to your volunteering and the Blog, tell me a little about the challenges and successes you have had working on the Blog.
The blog has specific writing requirements that are different from the way most of us over 50 learned to write.
Then there was the HTML programming, which you were so kind in explaining to me. I was really happy when you didn’t just do the coding for me, but rather encouraged me to learn how to do it for myself. Yet I am still learning to say the least.
As for the successes I would have to say those have to do with learning more about our members and their shops. Their stories are so wonderful, worth telling and sharing.
Oh, and I have the personal joy of virtually shopping all these terrific shops.
Bruce: LOL, and I bet you’re having a blast doing all that shopping. 🙂 But tell me do you think working on the blog has helped you in any way with ColorfulMe Vintage?
Margie: Oh yes, Because of working on the blog, I am currently remodeling my entire shop. I am digitally correctly my photographs until I can retake some or all of them. Plus I am doing a complete inventory and putting all my items on an Excel spreadsheet.
Also, there is the fact that I have a lifelong speech learning disorder which has caused me to have poor spelling and grammar problems. (Don’t feel sorry for me though.. It hasn’t slowed me down. I graduated from college and have had a successful business career. I now can even do public speaking.)
Something that really helped is the free app Grammarly.com for spelling and grammar corrections you told me about. Right now I’m currently scanning my whole shop using Grammarly.
Bruce: Getting back to your shop ColorfulMe Vintage and vintage jewelry, do you have any favorite eras or designers?
Really I am more partial to handmade, artist-made jewelry from around the world. In particular, I like primitive, folk and tribal jewelry. Jewelry that is made out of what the artist has on hand. Whether it is wood, bamboo, paper, shell, stones, copper or silver.
How an artist works with what they have fascinates me.
Bruce: So what is your favorite piece you have in your shop right now?
Margie: Currently, it is a handmade, artsy style Mid Century style copper and enamel leaf motif brooch. It’s just a good design.
I also like a Danish silver filigreed brooch in my shop. When I first got it I didn’t have an idea what it was, I posted it in the Vintage Jewelry Team identification thread and a member helped me out. It’s just so different and elegant.
Bruce: OK, This is a good question. What is the funniest, or most heartwarming thing that has happened since starting ColorfulMe Vintage?
Margie: LOL, Well, it is more interesting than anything. I once sold a Monet bangle to a movie production company on location in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Nothing too special about that, but the movie is just now coming out, “The Old Man and The Gun”. It’s Robert Redford’s last movie before he retires and my husband and I are going to go see it.
I want to know if the bangle actually the made the cut. LOL, I just hope I don’t get kicked out of the theatre when I yell and poke my husband in the ribs, with “there it is!“, LOL
Bruce: LOL, I know we always hear about customer service and how important it is, but is there anything you do special for your customers?
Margie: I believe in customer service and I always do my best. Personally, I believe It’s the main thing a small business has in its pocket. Also, I think it is the one thing that sets us apart.
I try to be very clear in my descriptions, especially on the condition. My goal is no surprises when someone receives something they have bought from ColorfulMe Vintage. I also watch the tracking and try to ship quickly. It is important to me that my customers have a great shopping experience.
A few years ago, I was on a discussion panel with other women business owners. One of the women said, “When you own a small business you are always on the job. How you act in public and online can either have a positive or negative effect on your business”. I completely agree with this.
Bruce: This is true! So if someone was to ask what would you advise about selling vintage?
Bruce: So tell me, Margie, where would you like to see the Vintage Jewelry Team within a year?
Margie: I want to see more participation by our members. Also, I would like to see more active discussions on the team’s thread.
We are working hard on building marketing tools. But we need to continue welcoming new members and let them know how VJT can be a help to them and their shop.
Bruce: I have to say I agree 100% and finally is there anything else you would like us to know about yourself, ColorfulMe, or the Vintage Jewelry Team?
Margie: Well let’s see, I have a degree in Fine Arts, with a painting major. While I have always been an artist, I use to work in corporate American for 30 years.
Then when I opened the studio/store, I started drawing and painting regularly. But the highlight of my artist career, so far, has been as an artist-in-residence at Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, Nebraska.
It was two weeks of working on art every day and talking to park visitors. I was living my dream. 🙂
Now, my favorite thing I do is teach drawing to High School students at a nonprofit art foundation. My claim to fame as an art teacher is that I don’t let my students use easers. I want them to own their marks.
As far as the team I just wish everyone understood how much help is available from this team. All you have to do is ask.
Also, we need to help other team members by participating. It really doesn’t take much time to write a comment in a thread or on the blog, to share a post or to pin on Pinterest. Your teammates would appreciate it.
Thank you, Margie, for the interview, and thank you for all that you do for the team! I hope everyone enjoys reading your story about ColorfulMe Vintage as much as I did doing the interview.