Vintanthromodern Vintage recently collaborated with New Haven’s Cut Cloth and English Building Market to create The Gilded Mirror – See yourself in vintage this season, a lookbook of luxurious vintage pieces perfect for the holiday season. This collection features furs, velvets, silks, sequins and more and will be available for only two days at a trunk show on December 1st & 8th in downtown New Haven. More information can be found on the Facebook event page. Please join us for this not-to-be-missed vintage fashion event!
One of my oldest and dearest friends, Elaine of Elaine Melinda Studio offered to design my business cards using the Vintanthromodern Vintage logo that Emily created. Elaine and I have been friends ever since high school. That she is a successful lifestyle photographer in Arkansas and that i’m running my own online vintage clothing shop isn’t suprising. We met in our high school art room and our love of art and all things creative has kept us kindred spirits for almost 20 years! After several phone and email exchanges, Elaine and I came up with a business card and matching sticker that embodies Vintanthromodern Vintage’s whimsical aesthetic. In this case, the shop logo that Emily created , along with another promotional graphic she created for our ad on the blog Oh Hello Friend, has insprired an entire branding suite. We’ll be ordering the business cards from Miller’s Lab and I can’t wait to see the finished product! In the meantime here are screen shots of the business card (front and back) and matching stickers.
UPDATE! Here are the finished products:
Price Tags – Hang Tags
Even though all of our price/hang tags are different, they all have the same text stamped on them. In addition, they all have a similar color and vintage aesthetic that ties in with the shop. I used vintage school books – phonics workbooks, children’s dictionaries and other vintage paper for the tags. Plain white sheets of sticker paper were adhered to the back and I used a custom stamp on the back.
Whether its online or at a brick and mortar shop – customers LOVE packaging. When considering packaging for your shop it’s important to consider cost, the branding suite you already have in place, and of course saving the environment! In other words the packaging you use shouldn’t be too expensive, should complement your shop’s logo, business cards and price tags, and should be either recycled or recyclable. Perusing Pinterest is a great way to get great affordable DIY packaging ideas for your shop. Having already created price tags, I had a general ideas about the look I wanted my packaging to have: bright yellow, school or vintage themed, and a bit quirky. I love the look of brown craft paper – and a lot of people are using this material in tags and such but after searching for it online, I found that it can be a pricey option. I also love the look of old school vintage manila envelope with the tie closures but I learned that tie closure manila enveloped were phased out long ago in favor of metal closures. Manila clasp office envelopes are almost a dime a dozen. A box of 100 10×13 manila enveloped is less than 10.00! With a few small alterations – and using a colorful piece of string and one of my business cards or price tags, I’ve created a budget friendly, colorful and cute bag to pack items in! Below is a quick tutorial of how to create your own manila tie closure bag. Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- A manila envelope (any size)
- Colorful string
- Business card, price tag or similar item made from cardstock
2. Punch a hole in your business card or heavy card stock shape ( You can also use price/hang tags)
3. Extend the metal fastener arms and stick the card over it and close
4. Wrap string string under the card and around the fastener
In part 1, I talked about how I acquire my vintage stock. In this post, it’s all about organizing and editing.
Organizing new items
Once I get my gems home, they get washed, inspected, and put into a large basket awaiting introduction to the rest of my items. Luckily, I have a room that’s pretty much dedicated to this purpose – I affectionately call it the warehouse #1 (after being photographed they go to warehouse #2 – my finished basement). From here they’re put into piles by style: rocker, western, ethnic, boho, mod, etc. It’s during this stage that I begin to see patterns and themes emerging. I hang similar clothing together on garment racks and similarly styled shoes and accessories go into baskets together right underneath. I’m always thinking about an upcoming collection. A full collection consists of 24 items while a mini collection is 12 items, so I see which themes have enough items for a collection. Seasonality is really important, too; the nice thing about Etsy is that it’s worldwide which means that even though its summer in the US, it’s winter in Australia!! But since most of my sales are from US customers, it’s important to focus on seasonal items. Right now, new fall/winter inventory takes a backseat to summer items.
Photographing new items
Items are photographed in groups by style. This is also helpful for styling because items already fit together aesthetically. It’s important to photograph items with the same background. My current background has evolved through trial and error. If you look at older items in my shop you can see this evolution — I’ve tried different fabric backdrops and mannequins as well as different settings. The first image is an old shop photo – I’m embarrassed to notice than the shoes aren’t even in left/right order! Aside from that – the backdrop is WAY to busy, the lighting is awful, and the angle is horrid. The photo below it is the exact opposite – the natural lighting, non-distracting background, and well-balanced composition make the new photo more successful.
In the end, (thanks again to Emily) I’ve come to realize that in order for the shop to have a pulled together, cohesive look, EVERYTHING must be photographed as consistently as possible. Backdrop, angles, lighting, and props must all be consistent over time. I photograph items on a mannequin next to a window in a bright room full of natural light. Ideally, a white wall makes a perfect backdrop; my dining room walls are a Tiffany blue , but luckily it’s light enough that it doesn’t detract from the photos and still appears clean. My mannequin is pretty aged, but I like the look of that combined with my vintage brass “V” stencil. (Because “V” is for “Vintage” … AND “Vintanthromodern”!) Shoes and accessories are photographed on an ebonized wood desk top, also near a source of natural light. The dark wood provides good contrast for most items. I’ve also learned over time that because of the way Etsy crops items in listings, it is essential to take at least one horizontal shot for each item. It’s also important to utilize all five of the photos Etsy allows in each listing. Capturing the details. I prefer not to have to spend the time to edit items in Photoshop so taking the photos the right way is pretty important. I’ve looked at thousands of Etsy shop photos as a shopper and a shop owner and I think it’s important to note here that I try to achieve a “quirky” not sterile aesthetic in my shop and of course, its photos. I want the pictures to have personality rather than just being a straightforward documentation of the item. As Emily mentions in a future post – telling a story about the items goes a long way and pictures can certainly help with this.
Another challenge I face here is what to do with the listings with the old backdrop once they expire. Re-photographing them is a drag, but they have to fit in with the look of the shop moving forward. This is also a good time to reevaluate which items should be added to clearance or discarded (donated back to charity or consigned locally). This editing process is a large part of developing a curated shop. It also keeps me from buying things that I know aren’t going to sell.
Up next : The Magic of Managing Inventory Online – Listing new items!