Lady Loves Treasures vintage jewelry shop owner Cathy is a new member to the Vintage Jewelry Team. However, she has had her Etsy shop since 2013 and been a collector for many years.
A passionate collector, Cathy’s story is a good one and her shop has many interesting, wonderful items.
Margie: Let’s start with, how, why and who got you started collecting Vintage Jewelry?
Cathy: I never had an interest in collecting vintage jewelry. However, I did always have a lot of store-bought jewelry. Thirty years ago I met a man named Joe who got me interested in collecting vintage jewelry.
Anything vintage or antique interested Joe. He spent his time off from work going to thrift stores, yard sales, auctions, and flea markets. Joe showed me jewelry that I would have labeled junk and told me that it was worth money. We looked at pieces with rhinestones, art glass stones, and other various stones. I thought they were beautiful. He also showed me unusual and whimsical pieces that I did like and bought. I started going with him to these places and before I realized it I had an interest in all of it and began collecting it for myself.
Soon, I was buying books on antiques and on vintages and period jewelry. Gold, platinum and silver jewelry interest me. It amazed me how some collectors could pick up a piece and know what kind of metal it was made of without it being marked. At night I read all I could about different kinds of jewelry. I studied how to tell a topaz from and an emerald, about the different designers, and about the value of the jewelry. I was always excited when I found a piece I had bought in one of my books. Then, I would see how much it was worth!
Joe got me interested in vintage jewelry. Now I can’t get rid of him or the jewelry! Just kidding, I never regretted and won’t regret the things Joe has taught me about antiques and vintage items. Nor will I ever regret collecting all this jewelry. It has been quite a journey!
Margie: Cathy, as a passionate collector, why did you decide to sell part of your collection and open Lady Loves Treasures on Etsy?
Cathy: Well, after 30 years of collecting, I was getting overwhelmed with jewelry and running out of room to store it. It was time to get rid of some. Ebay was my first try at online selling and that didn’t go so well. My sister told me to try selling on Etsy since she was familiar with the site. After looking over Etsy’s fees, policies and how to get started, it looked good to me. I decided to set up Lady Loves Treasures on Etsy and I have not been sorry that I did.
Margie: Obviously, you are a lady who loves jewelry but is there more to the story of your shop’s name?
Cathy: Yes, I just love any kind of vintage ladies things such as compacts, perfume bottles, and purse trinkets, wallets, purses (especially beaded purses), and hankies along with the jewelry. I love all these items that remind me of my mother and her generation. I named my shop, Lady Loves Treasures, in honor of all the lovely ladies who love treasures.
Margie: Which came first: your love for vintage items or the dream of having your own business?
Cathy: My love for vintage and antique items came before ever having a dream of having Lady Loves Treasures. My parents always had antiques. They hung onto things from when they were kids, through the war times and even now. It was always fun to see something from our past whether it was my parents or we saw it someplace else.
Margie: Cathy, what is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? Why does it inspire you?
Cathy: My favorite type of Jewelry is Victorian because of its intricate and ornate designs and beauty. I also like whimsical jewelry that will put a smile on my face. Two of my favorite designers are Coro and Delizza and Elster. Coro because of its old fashion colorful designs and Delizza and Elster because of its unique use of all kinds of colored stones and their beautiful, unusual and glitzy designs. Oh, and I do love whimsical and animal pieces, especially any kind of J.J. cat pins.
Margie: Having a shop on Etsy is not always easy. What challenges do you have? And what delights you about Lady Loves Treasures?
Cathy: It hasn’t always been a smooth journey on Etsy and my sales aren’t at a level that I want. When you are depending on your shop to help support you it isn’t easy. What keeps me going and encourages me with my Etsy shop are those customers who have been truly happy with their purchases.
But I do have fun with my shop deciding what to put up next, and watching what sells. Some may say I might be a bit of an eccentric with jewelry. I love to throw people off with a really unusual and odd piece of jewelry. Though I am interested in all types of jewelry, most of my knowledge is in vintage and some antique costume jewelry.
Margie: You mention costume jewelry as your knowledge base. What is it about costume jewelry that got your interested in learning more about it?
Cathy: Actually, when I got interested in jewelry and started buying price guide books, I couldn’t believe how much vintage and antique costume jewelry could be worth. The items listed had sold by a retailer or at auction. I found out that some costume jewelry could sell for more than a piece of gold jewelry. Well, I couldn’t afford the gold jewelry. So by learning about costume jewelry, I could buy a higher value item at a lower price. It made growing my collection a little bit easier to afford. Also, it got me interested in what it was that attracted people to pay high prices for costume jewelry.
I found this to be so true when one year Joe and I were set up at an indoor flea market. Near our booth, this lady sold beautiful glass items and gorgeous jewelry. She had a stunning bracelet and earring set. The set was loaded with beautiful navette stones, round crystals and was in the colors of purple, fuchsia, and shades of pink. It literally took my breath away. I wanted to buy it badly but didn’t even have the money. I asked this lady if she would take payments on it and she agreed. It was a month before I had it paid off. It was one of the prettiest sets I ever bought.
I held on to this set for about 10 years or more after buying it. I would take it out now and then and admire it as it just made me feel rich. LOL!
Margie: Okay, Cathy, you got our interest. Please tell us more.
Cathy: It wasn’t until I had been on Etsy for a few years and was doing a search on another piece of jewelry I wanted to list. I came across a necklace that resembled my bracelet and earring set and found that this necklace belonged to a product line called Juliana by Delizza and Elster. While doing research, I found so many beautiful pieces; I couldn’t believe how gorgeous and glitzy the designs were. Also, I found out the name “Juliana” was a combination of the names of two women connected to Delizza and Elster designers. At this point, I knew I had to find out more about these designers and their beautiful jewelry.
So I went in search of any books on this jewelry. I found three books but they were very expensive: all over $100 per book. I kept searching and found one for a price I could afford for way under $100. Well, I ordered it all the way from China. It took over a week for me to get the book. I started leafing through it and couldn’t believe the kind of prices on this jewelry. Juliana jewelry had started showing up all over the internet. Anyways, I came to a page that had the bracelet and earrings that I bought over 10 years ago. It belonged to a five-piece set that listed for over $2100
Margie: Wow, what a surprised. What happened?
Cathy: I asked Joe if I should put my bracelet and earring set up for sale and he said that it was up to me. He added that if I did list it should be for least $1000 as the bracelet was considered a main piece to the set. Well, I finally decided to sell it as it was getting close to Christmas and I could use the money. I hesitated to list it for that much money as I had only paid $35 for both pieces.
I listed it for $1,000 for a while then brought the price down to $800. Still getting close to Christmas and not getting many sales, I finally got a bite on it. The lady who wanted it asked me if I would take $600 for both pieces. I told her no. Finally, weeks went by and I still had it. Then I got a message from the lady who had messaged me before. I told her the lowest I would go was $700. Well to make my long story a bit shorter, she talked me into I think $650. So as sorry as I was to see it go I sold it. I was happy with what I made on it though I know if I had held out I could have made a bit more. But let’s face it, I made a generous profit!
Margie: And what did you learn?
Cathy: I once had some experts in the field of antiques tell me if you know it is worth something don’t ever lower your price too low. Yet, I think we all make these judgments on a daily basis. So I have decided to stick to selling costume jewelry due to this sale and a few others I have had. I continue to research and price the best I can.
However, if I come across a good deal on gold and have the money, I may buy it.
Margie: Cathy, that is a wonderful story! What is your favorite piece of jewelry in Lady Loves Treasures and why?
Cathy: An antique Bakelite rose carved necklace is one of my favorite pieces. I love the uniquely carved Bakelite rose. It has a Victorian look.
Margie: What items do you buy that you have to keep for yourself?
Cathy: I collect salt and pepper shakers, cat jewelry and some music boxes. When I buy them, I am more likely to keep them.
Margie: We all have our personal collections. What do you like about having Lady Loves Treasures on Etsy?
Cathy: I love having Lady Loves Treasures on Etsy due to the fact that I can sell my items for a little more than flea market prices. Plus I love the wonderful people I have met while on Etsy both customers and sellers.
Margie: It is hard to develop good customer service online. Is there something you do special for Lady Loves Treasures customers?
Cathy: For the most part, I do not find it hard to develop good customer service online. But there are a few times when a customer can make your blood boil. But as a seller, it goes back to the old saying ” the customer is always right”, even if they aren’t. I have had some really great customers who have been happy with their purchases and let me know. Most important to me is to know that my customers are happy and love what they have purchased from Lady Loves Treasures.
Margie: Cathy, I agree with you about wanting happy costumers. Do you have advice that you are willing to share about selling vintage jewelry on Etsy?
Cathy: Be patient when selling vintage items. The right person will eventually come along if they don’t you have other options. Sometimes, I bundle my non-selling vintage items together into jewelry lots and list them under one price.
Also, be kind to your customers and be aware of scammers.
Make sure you have good clear pictures and use the 10 that Etsy allows. I do know when I am buying the one thing that irritates me is when the seller does not post a picture of the back of a piece of jewelry. It isn’t always easy to photograph jewelry. But get the best pictures you can. I sometime retake photos 3-4 times before I get pictures that would be appealing to my customers. Always remember, a picture tells the story.
The other advice I have for Etsy sellers is to try to have fair prices. I know this is hard and depends on a lot of different factors. But please, try not to price so low that you are giving it away or price so high it will never sell. This can hurt the shop and also the rest of the shops. Being competitive helps us all. I understand that we don’t all have time to research every vintage piece we own and we all can make mistakes on prices. But if you know it worth money or even think it may be, find time to do the research and pay yourself for your efforts.
Margie: Also, do you have any hints for jewelry collectors?
Cathy: Actually, I have two suggestions. Invest in a good gold tester and a Gem checker. For gold, I don’t use the acids but an electronic gold tester. This tells me that the metal is most likely platinum, gold or silver. A couple years ago I found out about Gem Checkers. Not a CZ Checker but Gem Checker. These are so very useful. I have found jewelry that I thought was costume only to learn it had rubies in it. There was another piece that turned out to be a diamond. It will also tell you if you have precious or semi-precious stones.
Margie: Do you have another shop on Esty?
Cathy: I do have another Etsy shop. It’s J and C’s Treasure Box which specialized in vintage, antiques, and collectibles items.
Margie: What hopes, dreams and goals do you have for Lady Loves Treasures?
Cathy: Though I love to sell on Etsy, it is still challenging. Three years ago my sales just took a dive to only one or two a week. I am working to get my sales back up to get at least five sales a week or more. My dream is for my Lady Loves Treasures is to perfect in every way I can make it.
Someday I hope I will be able to give back to other Etsy’s owners who may be struggling with their shops. So many people have helped me including team members, teams, captains, leaders, and Etsy support.
Cathy, It has been quite a journey for you. Lady Loves Treasures has grown out of your enthusiasm and experience. Keep going.
I found it interesting that your story showed us how you got into collecting and selling with very little knowledge or upfront business cost. Your work, dedication, research, customer service, and passion paid off for you. We wish you continued success as you seek to reach your highest goals.