I am really excited about today's feature... I love Mitzi and Will's shop Vintage Goodness! I advise that you head over there pronto (but only after reading our interview here, of course) to check out their fab array of vintage treats! If after reading (and shopping) you are hooked on their goods you can always find out what the latest is from these two by bookmarking their site vintagegoodness.com.
Vintage Goodness seems to have a heavy focus on housewares and pottery. It seems that your location (Columbus, OH) would really lend itself to finding great stuff like that. I have always heard it is a great region for antiquing. Is this true? What are the venues? Flea markets, estate sales? Is there stiff competition out there for laying hands on the good stuff?
Yes, I am in a great spot for finding old dinnerware, kitchenware, glassware, and pottery... Columbus was home to Lustro Ware, who made plastic kitchenware in the 50's, and Federal Glass, one of the larger glassware companies from that era. Ohio was also home to most of the large pottery companies - McCoy, Hull, Shawnee, Roseville, Weller, Hall, etc. I focus alot on dinnerware, especially on eBay but I have also listed some on Etsy too, I tend to find a lot of dishes from companies like Homer Laughlin, Royal China, Taylor Smith & Taylor, Universal Potteries, etc.
I get most of my inventory from garage, estate, and church sales, and also Craig's List and thrift stores. I am hoping to try some different avenues this summer, like live auctions and flea markets. In fact I am going to attend the Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market at the Clark County fairgrounds in May, it is only 45 miles from here and from what I have heard it is HUGE! I am going to cover my trip there on my blog as well... http://vintagegoodness.blogspot.com/
There is competition, but not to the point where there isn't enough out there for everyone. No one can be everywhere all the time, and every dealer specializes in different types of items, so it's really just a matter of shopping until you find what will work for you. For me time is the biggest factor - there is so much other work involved in selling online that I can't be out sourcing inventory every day! I tend to hit the sales on Friday and Saturday mornings, and the thrift stores once a week or so.
I am trying to broaden my inventory into different areas, especially on Etsy - jewelry, clothing, books and magazines, greeting cards and other paper ephemera... I have a lot of those kinds of things waiting to be listed. I am actually considering opening a 2nd shop devoted to vintage children's items - books, toys, games, dolls, etc. I also make jewelry from vintage components, I have a few of those for sale in the store now with a lot more left to list, but I am holding off until I decide if I want a separate store for those also. That's the great thing about selling vintage - there is a huge variety of things you can get into!
What do you personally collect or covet for your own design style in your home? Do you have a favorite piece?
Becoming a seller full time has really changed my collecting habits - I have to sell the things I would normally have kept for myself! What I tend to keep these days are the things that aren't worth selling - my house is kind of like the Island of Misfit Collectibles!
I would say I have always had a love of old kitchenware, so I have a decent collection of vintage drinking glasses, a Lustro Ware bread box and canister set, some Corning Ware casserole dishes, and we use the Corelle dishes my Mom used when I was growing up... I am a huge fan of Corning and Pyrex, and Fire-King!
Another aspect of having the business is what it has done to my house - I used to pride myself on having a cute house nicely decorated with fun vintage things... That all changed once I started the business! We rent a half double, and the downstairs is now the office - incoming inventory, the shipping and photography areas, and of course my desk which I call Command Central. The basement is full of shelves holding store inventory, and we are basically living in the 2 bedrooms upstairs. It's tough, everything is cramped and cluttered! That keeps me from buying for myself also - I don't have room for it! I'm hoping things go well and in the next year or two we can afford to buy a house. A big one. ;)
What is the most rewarding aspect of selling vintage for you?
Getting items into the hands of people who love them, who have been looking for them forever, who are looking to replace lost or broken pieces, things from their childhood or that they remember from Grandma's house... it is so satisfying to know that I rescued something and found it a new loving home! I also love that buying and selling vintage is often a transaction between individuals - no cheap, low quality, overseas mass production, environment harming nightmares - just people trading quality items that they really love!
I think I am a bit biased because I lost my job as an ad designer for the newspaper that I worked for for 10 years because they outsourced our department to India. That is when I decided to go into business for myself, so I am in control of what happens to me! I am more aware now of how big money corporate interests are harming our country, and I am more dedicated than ever to shopping secondhand and supporting independent businesses - the vintage trade offers the best of both of those worlds!
You and your partner Will run the business together right? Do you have the same taste in collecting or does each of you bring something different to the table?
Yes, he does all the packing and shipping, and a lot of the photography. I don't think I could do this without him - there's just too much work for one person to handle!
We do have different tastes - his interests lean more towards collectible toys, older video game items, comic books, sci-fi, things like that. He has definitely contributed to my knowledge of those areas, and I don't overlook those things like I would have before. There is a big market for that kind of stuff!
Would you ever consider running a brick and mortar shop or do you love the freedom of online selling too much to make that change?
I have always loved the idea of having a store - but I realize the expense involved, and even with the fees to sell online, I think a store would still be more expensive. Rent, utilities, not to mention the time to run and maintain it... Maybe some day, but for now I think I will stick to selling online!
Thanks Mitzi! Vintage Goodness is offering a special for blog readers only... you can receive 25% off one item in their etsy shop. Just mention the 25% off Blog Coupon in the notes to seller when you make your purchase and Mitzi will send you a revised invoice.