EstatesinTime Shop Owner Bruce: The Man Behind This Blog

EstatesinTime Shop, a vintage online store is owned by Bruce, a member of the Vintage Jewelry Team’s leadership and the administrator of this blog. The team was ecstatic when Bruce said he would be willing to be our blog administrator. We were happy for good reasons.

Bruce brings a lot of experience in computers, writing blogs, owning his shop and an active collector of vintage items including jewelry. He also believes that through the VJT blog we can promote our team, our members and their shops. The blog is not only for the Team, but it is to share the Team and their shops with the public and potential customers. We share Bruce’s vision and hope you enjoy meeting the man behind this blog.

Margie: Bruce, I have been admiring your EstatesinTime Shop for a while. How and why did you start collecting Vintage Jewelry?

EstatesinTime Shop Bruce: When I started my shop, I really wasn’t into jewelry as much as I was into antiques. I had always loved history and collected things to furnish my home over the years, but when my mother passed away I inherited way more than I could ever use.

So I started out selling things I had stored in the closets. Well, one thing led to another, then I ended up going to my first Estate Sale. Somewhere along the way, I obtain some jewelry from a sale. Being a history guy, the researching came naturally before I listed the items on Etsy and from there I was hooked.

Margie: Bruce, what did you find in your research that interested you?

Bruce: I find some of the stories about the vintage jewelry designers fascinating. One of my favorite ones is how Eisenberg got into the jewelry business, because of the fact their clothing wasn’t selling.

So they created promotional jewelry to be given away with the clothing. But the jewelry was so popular women were actually taking the jewelry off the dresses wanting to buy them separately. I think I read somewhere that women even started stealing the jewelry when it wasn’t for sale. The company saw an opportunity. Eventually, Eisenberg started a jewelry line and eventually closed their clothing line.

Margie: Equipt with stories like that how could you not start collecting jewelry? What lead you to open your EstatesinTime Shop on Etsy?

Bruce: I actually started EstatesinTime Shop to sell things from my mother’s estate which I couldn’t use. I have a log cabin I built back in 2001 / 2002 that is furnished with a lot of the antiques my mother and father owned. But there was so much more in storage I just didn’t have room for.

Then in 2014, I decided it would be better for someone else to enjoy those things rather than them to stay in storage collecting dust.

Margie: Most of us have jewelry we are always looking for. What is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? And why does it inspire you?

EstatesinTime ShopBruce: Really I have a few. I love Native American Jewelry, There is just something special about an artist hand working silver. I mean when you think about some of the older pieces starting out as a silver coin and the artist working that into a piece of jewelry it’s just amazing.

However, Eisenberg by far is my favorite costume jewelry designer group. Their work is always so elegant. Also, I like the story of how they got started.

But I also like the Edwardian lacy metal works with such detail.

Margie: We all have different reasons for owning an online shop. What hopes and dreams do you have for the EstatesinTime Shop?

Bruce: LOL, well, I’m not sure I have any big hopes and dreams. I’ve had a long career in electronics and computer operated machinery. After designing and installing material handling equipment across the US, I’m starting to look forward to retirement.

I guess I see my online sales as more of a hobby and as a supplemental income than anything.

Margie: Which came first: your love for vintage items or the dream of having your own business? 

Bruce: Oh, this is an easy one. By far my love of antiques and vintage. Like I said before I traveled on my job since I was 19, installing factory equipment throughout the US. And when I was off work, in those different towns, I always took in the local history and shopped the local antique markets. It was a great way to past the time.

Margie: Bruce, LOL. Traveling for work is never as much fun as people who don’t travel for work think it is. Glad you found a way to pass the time and find cool things!

We all hear stories of great finds, kind of that Antique Road Show type of moment. Have you ever found any surprises after you bought something for EstatesinTime Shop?

Bruce: LOL, oh yeah. Once, I bought a bag of jewelry at an estates sale. I thought the grab bag would be mostly junk. Nothing really stood out as special. Oh, there were a couple nice Monet and Coro brooches. But there was this gawd awful flower brooch that I first thought would never sell. It was huge and tacky to me. But then I saw the designers mark. It was a Givenchy brooch so I started doing some research. It turned out to be one of the most expensive pieces I had ever sold at that point. And it sold quickly. LOL

Margie: Well, I have had some ugly pieces that turned out to be a gem in its own right.  Is there a special item in your EstatesinTime Shop that speaks to you and why? What is your favorite?

EstatesinTime ShopBruce: Well, I’ve actually had a few favorites over the years, and one of my most favorites sold just a few weeks ago. It was an Eisenberg Original bracelet. Man, it was chunky and sparkled like no tomorrow.  It always amazes me when I see a piece of costume jewelry almost 100 years old in like new condition.

Then there is the Hematite Intaglio Ring I have. I don’t really wear rings but if it doesn’t sell I wouldn’t mind keeping it.

Margie: When you look for an item for your EstatesinTime Shop, what are you looking for and where do you look?

Bruce: I look for different things at different times. I sell a wide variety of items in my shop from jewelry to housewares and collectibles so I have to be on the lookout for all the time.

Margie: Now for some practical questions. Do you keep items in your EstatesinTime Shop until they sell, or do you cycle them in and out?

Bruce: Well until just recently I have kept items in EstatesinTime Shop until they sold, but I started to notice a drop in interest and sales so I started cycling older pieces out and moving them to my website or donating them to Goodwill.

So now I’m starting to restock my store with fresh vintage items slowly but surely.

Margie: How do you market the EstatesinTime Shop?

Bruce: I really don’t have a large marketing strategy. I use Pinterest some and occasionally post on Facebook. But most of my marketing is done on my own website and the blog I have over there.

Margie: What is the best advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items?

EstatesinTime Shop
Really, my advice could be for selling anything online. That is to answer questions promptly and to give the best customer service you can. I watch my shipment tracking closely, In fact, I have contacted customers about shipping problems, even before even they knew there was a problem. I also ship extremely fast.

A few months back, I got an order on Saturday morning I had it packaged and took it to the post office when they opened. When I got back home, the customer had emailed me that they had accidentally posted the wrong address in their account.

So I called the post office and drove back to correct the mistake. Then I let the customer know I had taken care of it. Needless to say, they were very happy with the customer service and mentioned how I had helped them in their review.

Margie: What is the best advice anyone gave you about selling vintage items?

Bruce: Well I guess the best advice I ever got had more to do with buying things to sell rather than selling them.

That was to start early, whether your shopping yard sales, flea markets, or estate sales always try to be there when they open before the good stuff gets gone… but at the same token if your there right before the venue closes you can get some deals because the vendors would rather sell that pack the stuff back home.

And also don’t let the weather stop you. A rainstorm is a buyer’s friend you can find some good deals if the crowds are small.

Margie: Bruce, what other things would like us to know about you and/or the EstatesinTime Shop?

EstatesinTime ShopBruce: Well, let’s see, I’m a transplant here in Eastern North Carolina straight out of the mountains and will always have that laid-back mountain attitude. But I’ve seen just about every state in the union. I traveled on my job for 37 years and I’ve spent time in Canada, Australia, and Haiti as well.

I’m also a big history buff especially anything in the 1700s and 1800s.

Margie: Now I’m switching to some Team questions. How do you think the Vintage Jewelry Team can help you with your success on Etsy?

Bruce: Wow, I’m not sure where to start. Since I joined this team everyone has been great and sooooo helpful. There is a lot of knowledge here! I’ve never had a question someone on here couldn’t help me answer. Of course, a lot of the things the team use to do to promote each other isn’t available on Etsy anymore. Which is really kind of sad.

Margie: Bruce, as our Blog Adiminastor, is there anything you would like our readers to know about this blog? What are your goals for this blog?

Well, I would like for the members to use the blog as the tool it truly is. From a place to advertise their shop’s sales as well as a sounding board to draw attention to the team’s collective knowledge.

By linking their shops to the blog and vice versa linking the blog to their shops we are creating the type of relevant content Google loves. This can only increase each shop’s position on Google search. After all, we have all seen that we can’t depend on Etsy search alone in the past year.

For a goal, I would like to see more members step up and take an active role in the blog. We are publishing 4 articles a month. Margie, you are taking on the biggest part of these articles publishing on the 1st and 15th. I am writing one article a month publishing on the 23rd. That leaves the article for the 8th open for member articles, Which is a great opportunity to showcase each member’s knowledge and passion. As well as the chance to add yet another link back to their shop.

Margie’s Conclusion:

Bruce, I think you touch on several things most of us who like vintage items and jewelry could agree on. Rather if it is the style, art, glitz, design, the thrill of the hunt or story that catches our imagination, we always want to look for more.

Thank you, Bruce, for your leadership on this blog and the opportunity for members to share their knowledge, their stories and their shops. Thanks for sharing yours.

Read about other members of the Vintage Jewelry Team: Carol-AnnDarlene, Sophy Carol, and Abbey

EstatesinTime Shop Owner Bruce: The Man Behind This Blog - The Vintage Jewelry Team : The Vintage Jewelry Team introduces Etsy vintage shop owner Bruce of the EstatesinTime Shop, blog adminstrator and member of leadership team
Margie Homan

9 thoughts on “EstatesinTime Shop Owner Bruce: The Man Behind This Blog

  1. Sharon says:

    Such a fabulous blog, Bruce and Margie! I absolutely love that you Bruce are so into the researching and finding out the history of your items! I feel the whole passion and interest of collecting and selling antiques and vintage is to find out who made it and possibly who owned it. Your advice and tips on great customer service are spot on! This blog was so enjoyable to read.

    • Bruce Barnwell says:

      Thank you, Sharon, Yes I enjoy the research and history very much. It is something that I use regularly in writing this blog as well.

    • Bruce Barnwell says:

      I take several things into account, What the items cost me when I purchase them, the condition of the item, What others are charging for similar items, etc. Then I price mine accordingly… If you don’t mind me asking how do you price your items?

  2. Darlene says:

    How interesting to have been able to travel as much as you have Bruce, albeit for work yet still being able to take in the local history and antique markets! and it must be neat to have a log cabin home.
    Our team is so fortunate to have a leader like Bruce! Super article!

    • Bruce Barnwell says:

      It was very interesting in my younger years, but now I’m happy to sleep in my own bed each night, LOL. And taking in the local history was a big plus. 🙂

  3. Greg DeMark says:

    Bruce you are a great asset to our team. It was a great pleasure reading about your evolution from your longtime career into doing something new that you are passionate about .

  4. Marirose Ziemba says:

    Bruce I loved reading your interview. I too share a great passion for history and antiques. How wonderful that you got to travel and find things in so many different places. Thank you for this wonderful blog! I am a bit late reading a lot of it, but so glad that I’ve finally had the time to do it!

    • Bruce Barnwell says:

      Thank you, Marirose

      Yes, I really enjoyed traveling on my job in my younger days, but now it’s nice to wake up in my own bed every morning. 🙂 And don’t worry about catching up on reading the articles that is the nice thing about a blog… The articles are always here to read or look back at for reference.

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