The Blisstiques shop is a new member business of the Vintage Jewelry Team, though owner Deborah has been selling on Etsy since 2009. We are pleased to introduce her and her shop to our members and our blog readers. We want to find out about her business journey and her passion for vintage jewelry.
Margie: So let’s get started. Deb, how and why did you get started collecting and/or selling Vintage Jewelry?
Deb: My grandmother and my great grandmother were lovers of jewelry. I played with their jewelry since I can remember, learning where the pieces came from and why they were special to my great grandmother and grandmother. My mother was a dealer of antiques who took me on buying trips and taught me what to look for in older jewelry. This was back in the 1960s. However, the more I learned from these women, the more I learned to appreciate the style, construction, and design of good pieces.
Margie: What pathways led you to open the Blisstiques shop on Etsy?
Deb: Back in the 1970s, I started selling jewelry, glassware and general line antiques in “The Antique Trader,” a weekly newspaper. Imagine that. It caught on so fast that people purchased Post Office boxes in order to receive the paper before others by just a matter of hours so they could call the seller immediately to reserve an item for sale. Checks then had to be mailed for the purchases. It took over a week to complete a transaction!
In 1988, I was selling in antique malls. I started selling on eBay in 1999 and opened my own antique mall in 2004. I always had cases full of vintage jewelry. One day two wonderful women shoppers told me that I really needed to join the online vintage jewelry group “Jewelry Ring.” I did, and within a year I started selling on Etsy. Then, we formed a separate group from the Jewelry Ring in 2009 called “VJSE” (vintage jewelry sellers on Etsy). From the start, sales on Etsy were astonishing for us!
Margie: Most of us have pieces that immediately get our interest when we see them. What is your favorite type of jewelry, period of jewelry and/or designer? Why does it inspire you?
Deb: Bracelets!!! I LOVE bracelets. Clangy clunky flirty bracelets! They are so much fun to wear and sell. Also, I love humorous, offbeat, weird and fun jewelry.
My favorite styles are Mid-century modern, Art Deco / Nouveau, and Arts and Crafts jewelry. During these periods, there were great changes in science and innovation. All of these affected the designs and styles. For example, in the mid-1950s to the middle of the 1960s, we had the space race and the cold war. The inventions needed for space and defense influenced the designs and products back on earth in a fresh and exciting way. Oddly enough, progress in science profoundly changes attitudes and styles.
Margie: What is your favorite piece of jewelry in the Blisstiques shop and why?
Deb: That is a tough question. Currently, it is the DA Hart Sash Pin / Brooch that is probably my fave. It is so well-constructed and beautiful. This brooch inspires me to think about who first purchased it; what she wore, and the world she lived in. I love the history of each item in my shop. If you think about it, every item is a reflection of a period of time in someone’s life. Every item tells a story.
Margie: When you look for an item for the Blisstiques shop, what are you looking for and where do you look? Where do you find most of your best items?
Deb: When buying for the Blisstiques shop, I look for items, be it jewelry, pottery, glassware or other items, that I like and would use myself. Also, I look for quality in construction and design. It takes a lot of looking to find unique items. I shop estate sales, resale shops, and garage sales.
I’m always on the road shopping and I spend time researching. I use many sources, such as reference books, online sites (especially “Illusion Jewels”), and many sites for specialized hallmarks.
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?
As a buyer, I like to know if my order went through, when it will be shipped, and when I can expect the package. Etsy does send a convo detailing this info. But I like the seller to receive a convo from me. I think it means more to the customer. I think a quick response to customers’ questions is very important.
Margie: Good advice. What other advice you can give to someone else about selling vintage items online?
Deb: My advice is to know what you are selling and take the time to research. The reason research is critical is that it is much easier to sell a Weiss multicolor brooch than it is to sell a brooch with multicolor rhinestone cabochons. Or, Green Cameo butter dish Depression glass vs. green butter dish with a dancer. Being as specified as you can. It can help buyers find your piece through keywords and tags. If you tag your item correctly, it will be found.
Margie: What is the best advice someone gave you about selling vintage items?
Deb: Diversify is the best advice I received for my shop. Now, I bring buyers into my shop with non-jewelry items, like old pottery, farmhouse items, old lp’s, etc.. I stock other kinds of items that I like. One recent sale really proved this concept to me. A woman was drawn to my Etsy shop for a Nippon platter. Before leaving she purchased a mink coat and a beautiful pearl necklace. Diversifying your stock really works.
Margie: So, how do you market the Blisstiques shop? If you use social media for promotion, what practices do you find successful for you?
Deb: I participate in group activities and use social media to promote items. Thanks to this Vintage Jewelry Team blog I am learning how to better use social media for promotion. This is new to me.
As for social media, I have been really happy with Pinterest. I receive lots of activity from Pinterest. I am starting to tackle more promotional sites.
Margie: What other things would like us to know about you and/or the Blisstiques shop?
Deb: We (my husband and I) love life and celebrate the ingenuity of the human mind every day. Because of this, what attracts me to any item is how much thought was put into its creation, the attention to detail, and the quality of craftsmanship. I can admire well designed and made pieces of any period or styles. Clever and quality construction is key to what I sell in Blisstiques.
Margie: Since you have had the Blisstiques shop on Etsy since 2009, what have you learned over the years about being an owner on Etsy?
Deb: I’ve found that belonging to selling groups, such as Vogue Team and VJSE is a fabulous way to promote your shop. Furthermore, without the promotion of others, it is harder to gain viewership in one’s shop.
I have learned that tags are a critical part of the listing process and to pay attention to what I am using. Also, the same goes for photographs. Photos are critical to successful selling. I brought a new camera and found it has less function than my old one. I am having issues producing true color photos. Yet, I am sure I will figure it out.
But, most importantly, I have learned that I truly love selling on Etsy. There is fabulous support for sellers and great buyers. It’s a dream come true for me.
What I found interesting about this interview is the journey Deb has traveled. It took her from the early days of buying and selling on “The Antique Trader” to today with the Blisstiques shop on Etsy. During that time, there were a lot of changes not only in society but also in technology. In the 1970s, computers were only available in large corporations or universities. Now I have one sitting on my lap! Along the way, what was new jewelry in the 1970s in now vintage!
It was how Deborah used her journey and what she learned that make her shop successful today. What fun it was to look and think about the distance she has traveled and the brightness of her future. Vintage jewelry still brings her joy and it shows!