Thursday, May 31, 2012

the long weekend

I don't have a smartphone, so I don't do Instagram, but if I did, the long Memorial Day weekend would have looked something like this.

This shot is kind of typical of our summer weekends--Andy and me headed south into downtown Grand Rapids, laughing smugly at the cottage-bound traffic jam headed in the opposite direction (in this case, they were lake-bound).  Since we live on a lake already, there's no mad rush north or west for us.  (Do you like the crack in my windshield?  Keeping it real!)

Michigan beers and pinball at the Pyramid scheme.

Quality couch time with Lucy the dog.

We visited an out-of-town friend's chickens to feed them and collect eggs.

This little lady is also named Lucy, and I'm nearly as obsessed with her as I am with the canine Lucy.

Look!  She just hatched a baby chick...who did not want her photo taken, and tried to hide herself up in Lucy's wing.

Lucy the dog had, surprisingly, zero interest in the chickens.

We decided to give gardening--on a small, manageable scale--a go again.  Tomatoes, basil, rosemary, cilantro, petunias, marigolds, and a tiny lavender, pink, and white ground cover-y flower whose name I can't remember.  The lady behind the cash register was all, why are you taking a photo.  I thought the cart was cute.

Cobb salad season!  Well, salad season, period--but Cobb is the best!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

shop preview

Leaves, vines, plaid, dots, flowers...there's only one "plain" (solid color) item in this shop preview.  Here's hoping you like prints!

1960s trumpet vine print cotton shift dress (already in the shop).

1960s deco dots print knit top.

1930s white eyelet lace summer dress with stripes.

1960s pink and yellow floral print blouse with Peter pan collar.

1960s coffee bean brown plaid dress, by Nancy Greer.

1950s dirt and moss gingham print full skirt.

1960s swirl print dress, by R&K Originals.

Moss green patchwork print bathing suit, by Lee Swimplay Suits.

1960s abstract peacock crepe dress, by Countrywise/Macshore Classics.

1950s fern green gingham shorts.

1950s yellow cotton sundress with a full skirt.


Monday, May 28, 2012

minimal bling

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend...a long weekend for those of us in the US.  Andy and I started it out with pinball, cocktails, and dinner out on Friday.  I wore this cute, new-to-me thrifted 1950s dress. 

I love this old doorway I posed in front of. 

The only flaw on this dress?  One of the little rhinestones is missing.  I love how in the 1950s just a few rhinestones were bling enough.

No bling for Andy--just the cool novelty print on this shirt.  (He has a pretty great revolving collection of men's 1940s and 1950s shirts.  I say "revolving" because he keeps selling them.  But then he finds more.)

At first glance, I always think this print has an Irish theme.  It's the green, and those little floral bits that look a little like clover.

But if you look closely, you can see they're rickshaws.  And the shirt is silk, too--I guess that's kind of blingy.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

shop accessories preview

Here is a first look at the shoes, bags, and other goodies (I'm very fond of the vintage postards set!) coming to the shop shortly.

1970s blue Famolare oxford wedges.

1970s platform sandals, by QualiCraft.

1980s oxblood bow wedges, by Turf.

1950s white beaded linen purse, by Soure Bags.

1960s moss green vinyl purse.

Soft black 1950s evening bag.

Large tooled leather purse.

1950s striped fabric-covered notebook/portfolio.

Early 1960s Vera Neumann chiffon autumn foliage scarf.

1979 Irish setter belt buckle, by Raintree.

Adorable vintage boxed set of postcards.

Vintage circus animal hooked rug wall hanging.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

street style roundup

I just realized I haven't done a street style round-up since mid-March.  I went to look through the images I'd collected since then--and there weren't that many.  I had houseguests in April and May and not as busy on the internets, so that may explain some of it. 

Kiev street style / Face Hunter
What an amazing skirt--shimmering stripes of bronze and silver!  But I also like the pops of neon yellow and the cute cardigan.

1. Kater / All this Happiness  2. NYC / The Sartorialist  3. London / The Style Scout
Fabulous coats always make me happy.  I especially love Kater's pattern-mixing here, and the colors on that Londoner's plaid coat.

1. garconniere   2. Milan / The Sartorialist
Trenchcoats--a little less wintry, a little more springy.  I love garconniere's earthy green and brown color mix and that fab hat--so great with her flapper-esque hair!  And that outfit on the right...can I have it all please?  Including the amazing tights and t-straps, and that bag?  Thank you.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

behind the scenes

Andy and I have been selling vintage together for 14 years now, a little over three of those years on Etsy.  Time for a behind the scenes post!

I was prompted to write this post by a couple things.  First, awhile back (a long while back--last August) Maria of Adelaide Homesewn wrote a post about a dress she saved--how she found it in a dank warehouse and brought it back to life with cleaning, mending, and new buttons.  It was such a great post, and I've been wanting to do something similar since I read it.  Second, I started getting lots of messages--more than ever before--from folk on Etsy asking me to give them deals on items.  My prices haven't gone up, and I realize these requests are at least partly due to the economy.  Selling vintage is our sole source of income, and things like the high cost of gas definitely affect me and the business, too. 

On the left is a lovely dress from Anthropologie called the Ephraim, that retails for $194.00.  On the right is a 1950s dress from my shop that is priced at $68.00.  I sometimes wonder if the person who is asking me to mark something down for her is willing to pay double or more for a new, factory-made (likely not as well made, quite possibly in sweatshop conditions) dress from a retailer like Anthropologie.  I wonder whether the person asking for the discount realizes just what goes into the work I--and so many other fantastic vintage sellers on Etsy--do.  (I realize lots of sellers do give discounts on request, and I have no issue with that!  Everyone does business differently, and you need to be aware of that to successfully be in business.  Most people on Etsy ask politely, and that's entirely fine and doesn't offend me.)  

At any rate, I decided I was long overdue to show you a behind-the-scenes look at Small Earth the items in my shop get there, from start to finish.  

The first thing a vintage seller has to do is source product.  That's a full-time job in itself.  And I'm not giving away any secrets, so you'll just have to trust me--it's a constant expenditure of time, work, and money.

Pretty much every piece is hand-washed in a basin of lukewarm water with Woolite, then hung and air-dried.  A majority of items also require stain removal--single or multiple spot treatments, and/or soaks in Biz or Oxyclean.

Next--mending.  It is rare that I have a dress or blouse in perfection condition with no seam separations that need to be fixed.  I can't pass up a great item just because it has flaws, so I frequently have dresses with  missing buttons or an unfinished hem.  Those are easy repairs that even a non-seamstress like me can handle.  

The next step is photographing.  This has been one of the most continually challenging (and thus, for me, rewarding) aspects of selling vintage.  I started out taking pictures on our deck.  There was lots of lovely natural light, but also...lots of wind and snow.  (Yes, I did attempt photographing in the snow in the depths of winter.)  Eventually, Andy and I set up a photo studio in the only available space, our basement.  Unfortunately, it's not filled with natural light, but we painted a wall white, set up some lights and screens, and with the help of photo editing, I'm pretty happy with most of my photos.  However, I always feel like there's more work to be done on them and I'm always trying to make them better.

Writing listings--possibly the dullest, but definitely the most important, part of the process.  This means doing any necessary research, and then describing every aspect of the garment, measuring it, and writing an engaging title and tags that will make it easy to find on Etsy and internet searches.  I used to write cover copy for the books I edited, and never enjoyed that particularly, either!

Marketing.  When I first started on Etsy, I'd just list vintage and it would sell.  Bing bang boom.  Now there is a ton of competition and it gets more and more difficult and time-consuming to stand out.  Part of this is keeping the blog, Facebook page, and Twitter well updated without being annoyingly spammy.  For me, it also means being on an excellent Etsy treasury team (TeamT International rules!).  Not only do we promote each other through our treasuries, but the team has been an excellent resource for me on all aspects of business.  And now and then when the company coffers have some extra funds--which, unfortunately, is not very often--I'll pay for advertising on a blog.

And then, finally, at the end of this rainbow of hard work, the pot of gold--a sale!  Sold items are carefully packaged and weighed, shipping is printed out on my computer, and packages mailed from our cute little local post office.  Yes, that's a ping pong table you see in the photo.  I package shipments there, and when poor Andy wants to play some ping pong, it usually involves the removal and relocation of tons of Small Earth Vintage stuff.  Just one of the many sacrifices we make!  Seriously, Andy and I love this work.  I know we both feel very lucky to be able to do what we love for a living.  I hope you enjoyed this post, and hope I'm not just preaching the choir (I feel like a lot of fellow vintage sellers will likely be nodding their heads to much of this!).


Monday, May 21, 2012

in the abstract

While there are a couple regular ole floral and plaid prints here, this shop preview is mostly full of abstract goodness--paintbrush strokes, mid century mod pop fizz bubbles, squiggles and cyclones, and Pick Up Stix!  Have a gander.

1960s orange flower print dress with belt, by Bernard Cowan.

1960s Pick Up Stix boatneck top.

1950s brushstrokes print crepe dress with full skirt.

1960s lime green abstract print latticework top, by Symphony.

1950s brown plaid cotton pencil skirt, by Jantzen.

1950s needlepoint gingham rockabilly dancing dress, by H Bar C.

1970s butterfly tie-waist t-shirt/blouse two-in-one.

1960s fizzy pop candy stripe cotton dress, by Heléne.

1960s gold and pink abstract print taffeta blouse, by Rosecrest.

1940s cyclone print rayon dirndl sundress.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin