Jul 24, 2014

Business or Hobby? by BeadtopiaVintage

So -- you are selling on Etsy, or “thinking” of selling there.  Will you be dipping your toe into the water, or plunging in full force?  I knew when I joined Etsy, I wanted to have a business, and having had experience on another website for over five years, I knew the business could happen.  However, I was skeptical to start on another venue and knew what it takes to have a real business -- so I started out by putting just ONE item on Etsy.   It took about 3-½ MONTHS, but someone found it, and it sold!  These Isadora Duncan etched glass drops were the first item I sold.  I figured if they could find my “needle in the haystack”, if I really poured on the items for sale I could soar.

A hobby, by definition means “an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure”.  If this is your goal, then you may not be interested in learning the ins and outs of having a business.  There will be no reason to fuss, worry or calculate how you prepare your listings and how many sales you will make.  And that is just fine.

A business, by definition means “the practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce”.  If you do decide to “kick it up” to a business here are some tips that have helped me…. and have made my shop one of Etsy’s top ten vintage supply sellers.

Ten Etsy Business Tips  (in no particular order)
1.  Clear, sharp pictures.  If your picture does not look good to you, it does not look good to anyone else either.  You are selling on-line.   Make sure your picture looks like the potential customer is seeing it “in person”.
2.  Make your listing title unambiguous.  In the world of SEO, “blue glass antique necklace” will be found by a potential customer much quicker than “Emily’s blue dream fantasy necklace”.
3.  Use those tags!  Make sure you use a tag for every aspect of the item you are selling.  A vintage iron pan can translate in “tag language” to:  vintage cooking, vintage pan, iron pan, antique cookware, vintage cookware, antique fry pan, frying pan, iron fry pan, antique pan, iron cookware…..etc.   Use as many words that relate to your item that can be found easily in a random search.
4.  Answer convos quickly.  And friendly.  What may seem like an innocuous question can turn into a sale -- and even a big sale.
5.  Mail your items quickly when sold.  Speaks for itself.
6.  Put new items on as often as possible.  You will establish a customer base, and believe me after a while they will jump like a shark on your newest listing.
7.  Network.   Use social media…. tell your friends.   Use everything available -- most of it is free.
8.  Keep your shop fresh.  Rearrange the items.  Move stuff out that has had no views or that has sat there for three months with hardly a view.  Keep it moving.
9.  Customer service is #1.   Without my repeat customers I would not have the business I have today.
10.  Don’t give up!  It take time to establish a business, and you have to be self motivated.  
Yes, I work at least 40 hours a week.   This is my job and I love it.  Whether you choose to have a business or hobby, Etsy is a real platform for opportunity.

Written by Beadtopiavintage

Jul 9, 2014

Fun with Board Games

Board games transcend generations, they allow adults to relive their childhoods and give them a vehicle to create bonds with their own kids. Board games are a chance for people to unplug and relate to each other while having fun! As a seller, my family and I are sure to test drive every board game I sell. Sometimes, we end up keeping them, it happens….

Board games have been around for thousands of years. The oldest known being an Egyptian game called Senet. This game has been found in tombs dating back to 3500 BC. Although the rules of the game are long gone… lost to time….some historians have pieced together the game. There are a few different versions; however the objective is the same, be the first player to move all of your pieces from the board following a few basic rules.

Board games have always been a popular part of human history, but for Americans they really boomed during the depression. Families were painfully poor and entertainment was definitely on the list of expendable expenses. This was when a lot of board games really gained their popularity, one of the most well known of course being Monopoly. It was also a common practice in this time for families to create their own board games. My family did not have a lot when I was a child in the 1980’s and I believe this led to my love affair with games. We always had board games as they were a way that during Christmas, instead of buying 2 gifts, one for each kid, my parents only had to buy one.

As an adult, my love of board games was rekindled with vintage games. I am particularly drawn to the games from the 1950’s to the early 1980’s. The graphics are incredibly fun and the games range from very simple like Mastermind to incredibly complex like Microdot.  My personal collection started about 10 years ago while at an estate sale. I found 3 flawless vintage games, “Clue” from 1959, “Booby-Trap” from 1965 and “Microdot” from 1975. I love collecting, so the only way I keep from moving into hoarding is by having designated areas that my collection fits into, once it over-flows, it is time to cull! When it is time to sell a game or two, I often start by posting on my personal Facebook page to give my friends the first shot. This way I can avoid the photographing, posting and fees that go along with my shop.

There are some things to look for when buying board games. The very first thing is to ensure the pieces are all there. Even one missing piece and your game has little to no value to a collector. Most games will have a list of contents in the first paragraph or two of the instructions, you always want to make sure that the instructions are present as well. How does the board look? Is it firm? Are the graphics still bright? The condition of the box is also relevant when taking into account the resale value, particularly if the corners are split.

If you are going to sell vintage games, there are a few things to keep in mind besides condition. When listing a board game, you want to talk about condition, graphics and objectives. If you have played the game, it is good to relate your experience. Photographing board games can be very challenging, but they are definitely rewarding photos. Some of my game shots have been my very favorite of all time in my shop. You can create some really interesting angles and compositions. When thinking of pricing, you of course want to take into account what you paid, condition and what the market reflects. There is an amazing site called BoardGameGeek.com where you can find all things game. I do not think there has been a single game that I have not been able to read about there. The final thing to take into account is shipping. Many game boxes are quite large. If the box is very firm, to save the buyer shipping cost, I will often reinforce with some cardboard and wrap in a few layers of bubble wrap paying special attention to the corners. 

Now go play a game!

Jun 7, 2014

How to Clean Vintage Pottery & Dinnerware

By Mary Wald of



Back in Jane Austin's time tea cups were so valuable, that the lady of the house would wash them herself instead of entrusting them to the servants. While we don't have to worry about being that careful nowadays, antique and vintage items sometimes require a little extra care. Today I would like to address pottery and china dinnerware. They are my first loves. Join me for some tips at restoring and maintaining your fabulous vintage finds and treasures.

Some times a great find will entail a great deal of work. Maybe your grandmother was like mine, and fried everything. Not fun things like twinkies, but chicken, and chops, and other meals . She was not so great at the cleaning the film that developed on everything sitting in the kitchen, bless her heart. I learned early on that soaking is wonderful. Soaking china and glassware in a plastic tub of dish detergent and water can do wonders. Leave it for a few hours, or overnight, and the grease will slide away. Add a few cups of vinegar to the bucket, and it will work even better. For extra delicate items it is nice to lay a towel in the bottom of the tub or sink. That way they do not clink against the bottom. Do not soak any painted items, or pieces with wood parts.

The parts of the pottery and china not covered by the glaze may be a little harder to get clean. Scrubbing with some "Barkeepers Friend" works wonders. Barkeepers Friend is fabulous. You can scrub on glaze and glass without hurting the finish. It can even get out the brown baked on stuff from kitchenware, and gray marks from rubbing against metal.

Keep in mind that it will rub off anything that is not under the glaze. This includes gold and platinum trim, actual paint, and the prints fired onto glassware. If you do not know whether a pattern or decoration is safe to use it on leave it alone until you ask someone. Better safe than sorry.

One of the most common things to deal with is lime build up. It occurs in vases, pitchers, and up around the inside edges of planters. There is a magical, mystical, non-toxic substance that will dissolve it, vinegar. Yep, plain old vinegar. I buy it by the two gallon jugs, because it so handy.

If an item has heavy lime, as vases often do, fill it with vinegar, and soak it for awhile. If it has heavy build up you can even leave it for hours. You can fill the bottom of a bucket with vinegar, and place a planter upside down in it in order to get up around the edge where the buildup often is. If you forget it overnight, or even for days that is just fine. Again, do not soak items that have paint, metal, or wood parts.

Those of us who actually drink tea are stuck with the chore of cleaning out our teapots. Tea leaves a residue and stain on the inside of teapots. If you pick up a vintage teapot somewhere, and the insides are brown, you know why.

Here is my handy dandy trick for getting rid of it. Efferdent tablets! Pop a couple in at night after you have filled it full of water, and wash it out in the morning for your morning cuppa. Make sure that the soaking pot is out of reach of pets and children for safety's sake. I am not sure whether Efferdent tablets are safe for items with crazing, so check first before using them on crazed items.

What is crazing you ask? It is the fine web of lines in the glaze that appear in many vintage and antique items. Items with crazing are fine to use for decoration and dry storage. Vases with crazing are fine to use also. Simply be aware that anything you put onto, say a crazed plate, will seep down into those cracks and stain the pottery or porcelain underneath. Crazing is irreversible. There are myths that you can melt it back together. That is not true, and an oven may make it even worse. Putting vintage pottery and dinnerware in the dishwasher can cause crazing, so just don't do it. Your auntie may have gotten away with it, but is it really worth the risk? Another myth is that you can bleach the stains away. While it may lighten some for awhile, the bleach actually starts eating the pottery away right under the glaze. Sounds scary right? Don't bleach crazed items, it is simply crazy.

What if there is a box of the most adorable orphan, shabby chic tea cups and saucers at a flea market, that would look oh so cute at the next party, do you use them? Of course! Unless, there are cracks. Cracks can not be fixed, sorry. Add some steaming hot tea, and they could pop right apart, burning someone in the process.

However, they are absolutely lovely decorations. In fact I have been known to snap apart a cracked tea cup, just so I could glue it back together to put a teeny tiny plant in it to grow.
Glued items can be unsafe for food use, especially if you do not know what kind of glue was used before the item came to you.

There you go. You have washed and polished, and earned yourself a nice cup of tea. Unless of course you simply do not have time for cleaning and that sort of thing. In which case head on over to etsy.com, and search under "etsyvintageteam".  etsy vintage team china There you will find all sorts of quality vintage pottery and dinnerware items, that reputable sellers have already cleaned up for you. No fuss, no muss!