Jennifer, the owner of opalessence, has been an Etsy member since September 2006, establishing one of the site’s most successful vintage shops, noted especially for its fabulous vintage jewelry. The EVT Blog recently caught up with Jennifer for our Member Spotlight.
Q. What’s the very first vintage item that you remember buying for yourself? Do you still have it?
A friend of mine said she had some jewelry that belonged to her mother and asked if I wanted it. Immediately I thought okay, maybe I could put it on eBay and make a few dollars, since she didn't want it. I waited for the items to arrive in the mail and when they did, I sat at my table and opened the box. I honestly lost my breath when I pulled the pieces out! The first thing was a charm bracelet with small charms on it, like a roller skate, small house, Girl Scout insignia, and so on. The next item was so beautiful! It was a sparkling necklace and earring set with the name "Kramer" on it. I called my friend on the phone asking about the items and she said the bracelet was her 12th birthday gift (she is near 55 now) and the necklace and earrings were her mother's wedding day jewelry in 1952!
Well I don't think I need to say anymore, I was hooked! I still have these precious pieces and cherish their stories. I started going to auctions and estate sales and collecting pieces that were unique and beautiful; some pieces have stories, others tell stories themselves!
Q. What are your first three rules for success?
Selling vintage items can be tricky, but these are some things I think are very important. One, be honest about the items you find. Two, take the best pictures possible. Three, treat your customers as if they just walked into a boutique. By this I mean be respectful with questions and WOW them with the presentation and packaging when it arrives in their home.
Q. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Well hopefully I will be like 100 and something, but I would LOVE for God to say to me, "Jennifer we have been waiting for you, I am so proud of the person you were on earth. As your reward, you will spend eternity with Kenny Chesney and Bret Michaels."
Q. Name one item in your shop that you really want to keep.
To be honest, I would love to keep everything! I would close off a part of my house, deck it out in beautiful glass cabinets, and display everything! Ahhh, to be surrounded by beautiful things--now that's the good life.