Friday, August 30, 2013

Etsy Business Profile: Rambling Vintage Gypsy

Today we're chatting with Nickie and Ashley from Rambling Vintage Gypsy about their vintage family affair!

Rambling Vintage Gypsy is comprised of the totally fab sister duo of Nickie Feddersen and Ashley Vassilakos. Jointly they scour the mammoth city of Dallas, Texas and beyond searching for vintage items that are extraordinarily unique. They thrive on the straightforward philosophy of buying pieces that draw them in. They do not bother with trends or fads, but know if they connect with the pieces they discover, others will too. The girls are always in pursuit of items that have soul, which to them is defined as a piece that has a history or a story to tell. In short, “Unique Vintage Soul” defines their brand, gives nod to who they are as individuals and how they were raised.

Nickie and Ashley are from a humble, farming community just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Their mother, a recently retired fourth grade teacher, and their dad, a wheat and cattle farmer, continues to teach them the importance of family, relationships, education and loving animals. Their mom and maternal grandma also illustrate the seriousness of marathon shopping! Both sisters have premature memories of loading up in the car, each and every Saturday morning, for all day shopping events with their mom and grandma. Nickie and Ashley also have memories of being dragged to garage sales and auctions, as well as working at their own garage sales every summer. Nickie recalls making her first auction purchase at 8 years old! Even now, in the big city, they both still carry with them their small town values that make them who they are today.

Ashley, 33, is a registered nurse and also holds a business degree in marketing, but her foremost role is being a new mother. She lives an organic lifestyle by cultivating food in her backyard, organic garden and line drying her family’s clothes. Nickie, 36, is an architect and interior designer of high-end hotels throughout this country and beyond. She has a true passion for design and centers her life around feeding her creative spirit. Specializing in the use of mixed media on canvas, Nickie is also an artist. Her artwork is displayed for purchased at a small Dallas gallery that caters to local, modern artists. It has always been true that Ashley is the sister that imparts brains and logic, whereas Nickie is the irrational visionary.

Each sister had very different interests growing up. Ashley was the eternal tomboy and athletic sibling; Nickie was into fashion and creativity. Because of their clashing interests, they lived unrelated lives. Although they attended the same college, age difference did not allow as much bonding time as they would have liked. After college their interests began to align more than ever, but they were separated by an entire state of highways. Three years ago, Nickie received a call from her sister saying that she and her husband had made the decision to move to Dallas. Not long after, RamblingVintage Gypsy was born!

The creation of Rambling Vintage Gypsy joins these sisters in a way neither of them thought possible. They use their differences to their advantage, by each contributing diverse qualities to the business. They spend a myriad of hours together, rambling around the city, laughing, discovering treasures and bonding over their love of vintage. They are appropriately together, furthering the brand that is Rambling Vintage Gypsy.

Orange luggage - Fiesta mini pitcher - Folk art tray - Beaded necklace - Cloisonne dish

Friday, August 23, 2013

Etsy Business Profile: Water Between Stones

Today we're chatting with Weslee, owner of the vintage shop Water Between Stones.

My first name is Weslee. My middle name is Evan. My last name is spelled Supper, but we’ve always pronounced it “Super”. My initials, you see, spell my name, W.E.S. My parents claim un-intentionality but I find that hard to believe!

I currently work as the Office Manager at Hocking Hills Canoe Livery in the Hocking Hills region of south central Ohio, happily married going on 20 years. Born and raised in Dayton Ohio, I have spent most of my life as a Summer Camp Director, spending a few years in Charlottesville Virginia, (where my daughter Shyla Bamboo was born in 2000), and a few years near the Delaware Water Gap region of New Jersey.

Solo cozy cup set - Jar of glass pieces - Fiesta cups and saucers

My shop name “WaterBetweenStones”, was named for the header picture, taken as a small creek deep in the wilderness of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area. The complete picture helps to see why it is so named.

Handmade German wooden peasants - Vintage Teddy bear - Pass the pigs travel game

I started selling vintage after I was laid off from a Camp Director gig because all the grant money dried up. So I started selling off some of my stuff, which because of dozens of pets and pure laziness, never really got the attention it deserved. I discovered I enjoyed collecting old things to sell much more than I ever enjoyed collecting old things to put in storage! In all honesty I was never really into the vintage / antique scene all that much, until I opened my Etsy shop, and I suddenly found reason and purpose to the auctions and thrift shop adventures!

My favorite pieces tend to have an interesting back story, even better if there is some connection to history. I enjoy learning, so items that offer some mystery and intrigue also fascinate me. One of my personal favorites is the collection of Apollo newspapers.

1969 newspaper Apollo missions

I acquired them at an auction, down in a dark dusty basement, wrapped up in paper bags in the corner… for one penny! Frankly I’d be happy to sell them, but equally happy to hang on to them for a while.

Perhaps the best story involves a yellow bear dish from the eighties, which did get some blogging attention here: The bear bowl.

I have easily received more inquires about this item, even after it sold, than any other item. It’s intriguing story is a reminder for us that when we find homes for the items we sell, we are connected to those people, and sometimes that seemingly random find can make a positive impact down the road!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Etsy Business Profile: Recycle Buy Vintage

Today we're chatting with Recycle Buy Vintage about the philosophy behind their shop.

Tell us a bit about you and your shop.
We are RecycleBuyVintage, the place where you can find unique and familiar vintage items. This shop has been open since 2009, but we've been on Etsy since 2005, working out of Akron, Ohio.

Is there a story behind your shop name?
Our shop name came about when my husband and I were picking. When we were looking at all of the items for sale, and we found something we liked, one of us would say, "recycle" and then the other would chime in with, "buy vintage". It just seemed appropriate when we opened this shop to name it "recycle... buy vintage".

Pottery owls from top to bottom, left to right: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

How did you end up selling vintage? Is it your full time job?
Originally, I had been on Etsy selling handmade items under the shop name "kittyBcreative". I made all kinds of things, but had a hard time getting noticed. It was about then that I meet my husband, who used to sell vintage on E-bay. It was his idea for me to sell some of my vintage treasures on Etsy, which really became a big hit, so we went with it. I had originally started out selling part-time, but soon our vintage sales became a full-time endeavor.

When we were children, both my husband and I's families shopped at yard sales and flea markets. We both grew up knowing vintage as our new stuff. It was a wonderful way to spend the day with our families, and a great way for us to have new stuff. Our families didn't mind buying used, since it was a deal. And we learned to appreciate something used. Who would have ever known that this time would also train our eyes for our future business. It is easy for us to spot what era items came from, since we were living it.

Round vintage Murano paperweight - Teardrop vintage Murano paperweight

Do you have a favorite era?
One thing that I really appreciate about vintage is the quality of the products. My favorite eras are the 50's and 60's, with their classic styles and looks. You can always incorporate something from that era into your modern decor and it will be fabulous. If you notice, you will find that many of today's style trends are based off of the 50's and 60's.

Collection of vintage brushes - Brass figurines - Vintage clothespin

Do you collect anything (vintage or not)?
Along the way, we come across some very gorgeous glass and pottery. Which has become the one thing that we hold onto instead of selling right away. We have quite a huge selection of beautifully colored glass, in all shapes and sizes. My kitchen window is full of glass birds and other animals, that I can't quite part with just yet. And in our bedroom is a shelf as long as the wall stacked full of pottery vases and flower pots in all different shades.

Personal pottery collection

Is there a special story about any of your sales?
Over the years we have had some wonderful people purchase from us, but sometimes there are the ones that you will always remember. We were selling a 1930's royal typewriter, a petite little manual typewriter in it's own little case. The woman that purchased it was buying it as a gift for her 12 year old son who wished to be a writer. It touched my heart deeply that a mother was showing her support for her son's dream in such a warm way. I will always wonder what stories will be written with that little typewriter.

Etsy Business Profile: Sparkles and Sass

Today we're chatting with Michelle, owner of Sparkles and Sass on Etsy.

Hello, my name is Michelle and I am 40 years young :) I’m the owner and photographer for SPARKLESandSASS, my Etsy shop full of vintage finds.

I live and work in Garden City, Michigan where I’m incredibly lucky to work with autistic students right here in the city I was born and raised. Although this is a fulfilling and rewarding job, with the economy money always seems tight.

I have a large wonderful family, and God is my hope, without my faith I would not be the woman I am today. I am the mother to 16 year old twins Jake & Nick, and a lovely daughter Chloe who is 18. I am also a twin!!!! My twin sister has 2 sets of twins, and also works for the same school district as me.

One of my sons is special needs which can be very stressful and worrisome, thus began the therapeutic antiquing. It is the thing I can do alone, which brings me much joy! The hunt to find special vintage items was an outlet for me. I so enjoy searching for and finding special items that hopefully will bring back cherished memories for someone!

Milk glass lamp - Hobnail lamp
While Etsy is not my full time job, it is a full time passion! I have met so many beautiful people and artists on Etsy, I feel blessed just to be part of such a big wonderful family, and the new friendships I have made are priceless! The name of my shop (which I am not to fond of anymore) but have put too much work into, came about when I started crafting and making jewelry with my autistic students, and my maiden name was Sparks... "Sparkles" and who doesn't have a little bit of SASS...or in my case a lot :)

Brass deer figurine - Brass unicorn figurine - Brass mouse figurine

I do not have a favorite era. My tastes revolve and change so much! I love everything vintage. Mid century is a favorite of mine, as is Art Deco, Vintage Bohemian, lets just say I am an old soul and love it all! I collect all things vintage! I am always a little sad when wrapping up a sale, because all my purchases are special to me and are something I would have in my own home, but the happiness I get in feedback and messages make up for it, making others happy is my goal.

Vintage girls figurines - Vintage poodle figurine - Vintage parrots figurine 

I’m also proud of the fact that I am able to support other small entrepreneurs through Etsy. When you are a small business owner yourself, there is nothing more meaningful than supporting someone else. The most inspirational feeling is being around passionate, productive, enthusiastic, loving people. My dream will be to one day quit my day job and put all my time and efforts into my Etsy shop, until then my spare time is spent hopefully making my shop bigger and better while also enlarging my Etsy family! Loving God Loving people is my motto.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Etsy Business Profile: The Heirloom Shoppe

Today we're chatting with Sue, owner of The Heirloom Shoppe on Etsy.

Tell us a bit about you and your shop.
Well, let's see ... my name is Sue and I live in Elgin, Illinois and have all my life. My husband and I have one daughter, a cat and a horse. My daughter is the horse back rider; me, I just write the checks.

Is there a story behind your shop name?
I named my shop The Heirloom Shoppe because most of what I'm selling belonged to my grandparents or parents. I can't keep it all, you know?! Some of it is hard to sell, but keeping it means it continues to sit in a box and that's no good.

Lavender sachets - Heart ornaments - Quilted bear

How did you end up selling vintage? Is it your full time job?
I don't know, one day it just occurred to me that it's the best thing to do, and I'm really enjoying it! I love to create things. I also have a photography shop on Etsy, First Light Photography, so taking and editing the photos is fun for me. This isn't my full time job, I work at our school district as a part time secretary, but this vintage thing has certainly taken over my home. I try every day to clean things up, but there's always something I want to list, so it's sitting around.

When and how did you notice your love for vintage?
My home if filled with primitive antiques so it's always been in me. Some of my listings are even displayed in my home until they sell.

Vintage Mexican basket with berries - Vintage Mexican basket in colors

Do you have a favorite era?
No I don't think so. I know I don't like the stuff from the 70s. I grew up then and styles from then are just a wash for me - ugh!

Do you collect anything (vintage or not)?
I love the old quilts, there are a few hanging on the walls in my home. I even have one hanging on the wall in my office at work. I also love coffee and have way too many coffee cups to my daughter's dismay since she's the one who empties the dishwasher.

Sterling silver bracelet - Florenza necklace - Sterling silver and obsidian bracelet

Is there a special story about any of your sales?
I've got a few of them. I had a Norwegian doll my mom had kept in a closet as long as I can remember. Someone from Norway bought it and I told her I was so glad it was going "home." Someone else bought a suitcase and sent me a photo of her baby posing it in (loved that). And another bought some brass India bells for her sister to hang on her new bookstore door. I just love knowing that these heirloom pieces are being appreciated instead of sitting in boxes in closets because I can't keep everything, you know.

Classic book collection - Vintage sheet music and old book pages - Vintage books

Anything else we didn't ask?
I can't seem to stop creating. I also make things from the cutter quilts I buy...I just sold a bunch of framed quilt pieces and I look forward to making more. My mind is spinning with ideas for Christmas projects already.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Garden School

As gardeners, it is always a joy and delight to see others begin to take their first steps to having their own garden. For this blog, I'd like to take a step away from tips and ideas on gardening and show you how gardening can inspire, change lives and bring fresh food to much needed areas.

Stephen Ritz is a teacher in the South Bronx and sees the potential in each of his students that come through his door. He realized that his students needed to see that their area can be changed for the better and no one should have to move from their community to live healthier and learn more. From this belief stemmed what are now known as 'edible walls' or 'garden walls'.

Stephen is passionate about this project and pushes his students toward being innovative and creative when creating these beautiful garden walls. Not only has he successfully been able to build this architecture with his students, but now, the gardens are able to feed up to 450 students in the school! He did not stop there, though. He began to spread out this idea of urban farming and getting his students to come and help, too. They built gardens on houses, on walls, on top of buildings, and in more schools. Edible walls began to pop up everywhere, and students were learning not just gardening, but life skills such as architecture and applying it to these garden walls.

Soon, Green Bronx Machine was born from these garden walls. The goal of Green Bronx is to not just make the community green, but America. By growing gardens in a urban society, you can not only change the lifestyle of living in a community but the mindsets of the community itself.

Stephen Ritz and his class are starting a new movement for gardening. Urban cities can potentially rely on the food they can grow rather than fast food and processed foods. Stephen is bringing food, life and change to urban areas and changing communities with a simple tool: gardening. Check out the video below for more info about what he and his class have been doing.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Etsy Business Profile: forgottenPLUM

Today we're chatting with Jeanne from forgottenPLUM about her vintage shop on Etsy.

Tell us a bit about you and your shop.
My name is Jeanne Focht (pronounced Foke). My husband of 29 years gave me that difficult last name! We have lived in Nappanee, IN since 1986. It's a town of about 6,500 people at the crossroad of U.S. Highway 6 and State Road 19, in the heart of conservative, practical and hard work living/farming/RV manufacturing and the Amish. We are English, as the Amish call anyone not Amish. :) We have 3 grown married daughters. In the past 8 months we've married off the youngest and added two granddaughters to the family. We are in love with 8 month old Emerson and 2 month old Coralynn!

   Our backyard                                                                             With my grand daughters

Is there a story behind your shop name?
The name forgottenPLUM came from a brainstorming session to help my middle daughter start her own Etsy shop. At the time I was helping run another shop with a friend. All of us girls in the family enjoy antiques and vintage items and don't want to see them forgotten or discarded. We love hunting and finding the 'plum' or special treasure that needs re-discovered and re-used. The Etsy adventure seemed like a low-risk way to offer the things we love to others.

Vintage German dog figurine - Dog figurine - Vintage Terrier figurine

How did you end up selling vintage?
When Joslynn went on to being a new mom, I took over the shop. And I love it! I work part-time at our local high school, but would love to do Etsy full-time. I also have a booth at our local antique mall. I like rustic farmhouse items, '30s and '40s dishes, wooden boxes, pottery bowls, luggage. I also like simple cottage/garden decor. My husband has caught my obsession and now goes on junking trips with me. Amazing.

Vintage metal frames - Vintage wooden blocks - Vintage creamer and sugar set

When did you notice your love for vintage?
My grandmas and great grandmas fostered my love for vintage and antiques. My great grandma gave me old tea cups for birthday gifts when I was a kid. Kinda weird to get a tea cup when you're 10 years old for a birthday present. But I appreciate them as I've grown. I loved growing up in a farm family, loved the history of the land where we were raised, loved playing with my grandma's old dresses, loved looking at old photos and hearing the stories of their own childhoods. My parents and aunt and uncle still live in the houses that my ancestors built over 150 years ago. That's pretty cool.

Me and my sisters with grandma Sarah. I'm the one on the right... with the awesome bangs. LOL

Do you collect anything (vintage or not)?
Green is one of my favorite colors, so I'm very attracted to jadite and some of the green McCoy planters. I have a small collection of planters beginning with the McCoy frog and turtle from my grandma's auction years ago. My jadite collection is growing slowly. I'm very cheap! LOL And right now I'm very attracted to a set of luggage that I should be trying to sell!

Is there a special story about any of your sales?
I love hearing from buyers, telling how they plan to use the item they purchased from forgottenPLUM. Like the lady who bought an old wood recipe box stuffed full of vintage recipes, writing to tell me she just received it in the mail and was having a cup of tea as she sat down to read through them. Or the serviceman who bought a vintage copy of Wuthering Heights to give to his fiancé when he arrived back home. I just love when vintage and antique items get another life to live!

Vintage sewing supplies in tin - Belgium Art Deco tin - Antique container

Anything you would like to add?
When I'm not working Etsy, the booth, babysitting or visiting grandkids, or working my real job, I play piano for the high school choir functions and programs and also play piano/keyboards in the worship band at our church. My husband is the administrative pastor, one of 10 pastors on staff there. Its a big congregation that is known as the "miracle in the cornfield." There's no earthly explanation for the growth and expansion this congregation has experienced over the past several decades. We feel very blessed and grateful to be able to witness God's hand working in so many ways.