Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Like Your Dress, Featured Vintage Clothing Seller

Today we are going to be talking with Lee Ann Reynolds, vintage fashion collection and owner of the online clothing store I Like Your Dress . Lee Ann is a Tennessee native and loves vintage clothing and dresses. Read on to find out more about her business and passion for vintage clothes! All of the dresses in the article are for sale in her online shop, plus there is a Facebook link and a coupon code for a discount at the end. Let's hear what Lee Ann has to say about her Etsy shop and living in Tennessee!

I live in White House, Tn which is about 25 minutes North of Nashville. I'm not really a crafter, per se. I do hunt for fabulous vintage dresses, skirts, and rompers and have them repaired & revived when needed. I guess that could be considered being “crafty”, just not in the making something with raw materials sort of way. 

As a child, my favorite thing to do at my grandparents' house was rummaging through the closets to find old clothes to try on. As I got older, I started using these pieces to create “real” outfits. Some of my most memorable finds were a 40s sheer nylon purple floral dress and my mother's 70s jumper dresses, jeans, and woven sandals.  Now, I hunt through estate sales, thrift stores, and yard sales to find great vintage garments. I started out buying only for myself. Then, I found myself buying in all sizes because I couldn't leave a good find behind. I specialize in dresses because I've always found them easy to style and I love the quality and styles of the dresses of the past. 

When I realized I had enough clothes to start selling I listed some items on Craigslist and Ebay. I had heard of Etsy, but had never checked it out. Once I did, I saw my product would fit in nicely there. I opened my store, i like your dress, on July 7th of this year. It is a very new project.  I have sold at the Nashville Flea Market and will continue to sell there in the future. It is a fantastically huge place to spend a weekend. If you haven't been, you are missing out on a great time! 

I have a “look” visualized for my shop and I am continually working on Etsy in order to realize this shop vision. I am also currently searching for a vintage camper to use as a mobile shop. Once I find the perfect round “canned ham”, I plan to travel to various flea markets and vintage fairs to sell my pieces and meet other wonderful vintage lovers! As far as future projects go, I am just focusing on developing my store into a streamlined, aesthetically pleasing, and fun place to shop for vintage fashion!

Yesterday my friend and I went on a 3 hour trip to view a camper I had my eye on. During this trip we heard “Rocky Top” on the radio, blasted it, and sang our hearts out. We are total geeks sometimes and we definitely love TN. It's the only state I've ever lived in. Tennessee is home. If you are looking for vintage clothes in TN, I would suggest going to as many rural area estate sells and yard sells as you can. 

I would absolutely adore it if your readers would drop me a line on facebook. I would love to hear from them and visit their pages as well! www.facebook.com/i.like.your.dress 
I am also offering a very special 50% off coupon code to use on any item under $40.00 in my Etsy shop for your blog readers only! The code is HALFOFF and my shop can be found atwww.etsy.com/shop/ilikeyourdress .

If you are thinking of opening an Etsy store my advice is to just do it! Then, get active in the forums and research all that you can about how to improve your shop and connect with your market. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Buy Local, Build Local" At The Artisans Marketplace in Mount Juliet

Handmade Goods For Sale At The Artisans Marketplace
Who's looking for a fun, new place to shop for authentic Tennessee handmade goods or a venue to sell your own creations locally? Thanks to Kathy Morgan-Thompson and her husband, Dave, The Artisans Marketplace has arrived in Mount Juliet! Kathy was so kind to answer questions about her shop and to give us some background on the community and the products they sell. She has also included information about what types of vendors they need and the terms of consignment for handmade items. Read on to see what Kathy has to say about this amazing, new shopping destination in Mount Juliet. There are also social media and contact links at the end of the article.

The Artisans Marketplace is a shop featuring local artisans’ handcrafted items. Our goal is to not only to support the local artisans, but also local businesses and the community. Our vision is "Buy Local, Build Local". Our store is about 350sq ft. and is a quaint space for a boutique-style artisans shop.The beautiful boutique style shop is filled with one-of-a-kind jewelry, shabby chic furniture, home decor, unique gifts & more!  We currently have room for more vendors and welcome additional vendors and their handmade/handcrafted items! The Artisans Marketplace is a business nestled in the community of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.  We are located at 11870 Lebanon Rd., Mid-Way Center, Mt. Juliet, TN.  It is located in a plaza with some antique shops, hair shops, other boutique style shops and some other merchants.  

Dave and Kathy moved from Connecticut to Tennessee in September 2008 when Dave accepted a job as an engineering manager here.  Kathy is a Certified Professional Home Stager and brings her creative expertise to the business.   Kathy has been crafting and making handmade items for 30+ years and has an online business making and selling hemp and macrame jewelry and accessories for people and pets.  Between us, we have three children and five grand children. In their spare time, the couple volunteers for Greyhound Pets of America (GPA).  GPA promotes the adoption of retired racing greyhounds. They currently have three greyhounds, and two whippets.  Yes, it’s a full house!  Also, they host a monthly greyhound meet & greet at the new PetSense store in Lebanon where they bring some of our hounds for people to meet and promote greyhound adoption.

If you are new to Tennessee, Mt. Juliet is a city located in western Wilson County, Tennessee.  A suburb of Nashville, it is approximately 17 miles (27 km) east of downtown Nashville. Mt. Juliet is located roughly between two major national east-west routes, Interstate 40 and U.S. Route 70.  Mt. Juliet's official city slogan is "The City between the Lakes", reflecting the city's proximity to Old Hickory Lake (Cumberland River) to its north and Percy Priest Lake (Stones River) to its south, both of which are man-made reservoirs. There are also plenty of activities to do and things to see. Of course, shopping at The Artisans Marketplace is destination number one!

A new, large-scale commercial and residential development called "Providence Marketplace" is located on the city's southern side near Interstate 40. Tenants include Target, Belk, JCPenney, Best Buy, PetSmart, Old Navy, Kroger, and a 14-screen multiplex operated by Regal Entertainment.  Here is their website:  http://shopprovidencemarketplace.com/

•    Charlie Daniels Park (named in honor of the musician who makes his home in Mt. Juliet) is home to tennis courts, a large children's playground, the city's youth football fields, and the Mt. Juliet Community Center (a public meeting place and gymnasium). The city also recently constructed a band shell at the park for the purpose of hosting musical festivals.  Here’s their website:  http://www.cityofmtjuliet.org/charliedaniels.cfm

•    Long Hunter State Park consists of approximately 2,600 acres (11 km2) managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The park includes two boat launch ramps on J. Percy Priest Lake, several miles of hiking trails, several group campsites and one back country campsite, a meeting facility, and a visitor center. Non-motorized boats are allowed on Couchville Lake.  The 5.5-mile (8.9 km) Volunteer Trail follows the lake shore, connecting the Couchville and Bakers Grove sections. Two back country campsites are located at the end of the trail. A flat, paved trail circles Couchville Lake, and includes a 300-foot (91 m) bridge spanning the eastern end of the lake. The Jones Mill Trail, in the Bryant Grove section, leads to the top of Bald Knob, a clear hilltop that overlooks J. Percy Priest Lake.  Here’s a website for the park:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Hunter_State_Park

•    Here is a website for Wilson County and Things To Do and See: http://www.visitwilsoncounty.com/things-to-do

The Artisan's Marketplace would love to have a large variety of handmade/handcrafted items available for customers to select from in our shop.  Right now, they are specifically looking for someone who makes pottery, stained glass, and children's toys, but they have room for other handmade/handcrafted items as well. Kathy says, vendors can contact us by emailing us at:  theartisansmarketplacetn@yahoo.com to request our Vendor Packet.

According to Kathy, here is an overview of the basic information for vendors:

"Each vendor pays $35 per month for rent. The Artisans Marketplace also keeps 20% commission on anything that sells. However, we are currently running a Grand Opening special for vendors.  For the first 25 vendors, we are offering a Grand Opening special of $25 per month rent for the first 3 months (plus 20% commission on sales) with a 3 month contract.  That’s more than 28% off the standard monthly rent!  We provide the physical storefront, including the many costs (lease, electric, water, sewer, insurance, etc.) associated with having a physical location.  This allows the vendor to focus more on their handcraft and less on the business end.  Plus, if a vendor participates in craft fairs, we like to share with them the cost of craft fairs vs. vending at The Artisans Marketplace. The total of the 3 months of rent at our shop is $75, which is on average the cost of a 1 day craft fair. When a vendor works at a craft fair there's a lot of work involved (as artisans may already know).  When a vendor consigns with The Artisans Marketplace, for their $75, they get an average of 90 days, not just one day, and we set up their display, man the store, sell their items and advertise. When a vendor thinks of it that way, the investment of $75 (plus 20% commission on their sales) for 90 days is much better than the same price, or higher, for a 1 day craft fair.  Keep in mind, our store is like an indoor craft fair all year long! "

Kathy also says that holiday items will be coming in soon for seasonal shopping and, "We have a future surprise coming, hopefully soon.  We are also planning on holding workshops and classes in the shop.  We currently have a couple of vendors who are interested in teaching classes and Kathy is planning on teaching a class on painting shabby chic furniture.  We are also planning on having an Artisans Showcase where we will feature an individual artisan (vendor) for a Saturday or evening.  This will allow customers to actually meet and talk with the artisan."

Here are some social media links to follow the exciting new developments at The Artisans Marketplace


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fresh From The Kiln, Fused Glass From Featured Artisan, Jonna Vaughn

Today we are going to talk with glass worker and owner of the online shop Tennessee Glass Stains , Joanna works with both fused glass and stained glass. Her shop is filled with amazing handmade pendants, right from her kiln. Please read more in her shop About Section , if you are interested in the process of making fused glass. It is truly a fascinating read! Here is what Jonna says about her business and art:

My name is Jonna Vaughn, and I am a Cincinnati native transplanted to the small town of Fairview Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. I am a glass artist specializing currently in fused glass, although I got started in stained glass windows when I first moved to Tennessee in 2000,

Although I do love my little town (we just got our second traffic light wootwoot!), it is about a 40 mile drive to "town" (Nashville). There are no real source for supplies locally, so I do all of my ordering online from reputable glass companies but I wouldn't trade the country living, the quiet outside, wildlife, and friendly front porch waves for anything.My full time corporate job left me with weekends only to market my glass doing festivals and art shows. After several years I knew I had to find another way and the ETSY shop was born!

Being an ETSY rookie, I underestimated the amount of time that I now know should have been dedicated to my ETSY shop. Not long after the shop opened, I was discouraged by the lack of sales (although my first sale was to Johnny Cash's daughter!). I guess I must have just thought that if I listed it, they would come. Well....they didn't... and somewhere in there I was learning the world of fusing and the commitment to my shop crumbled. Fast forward a few years...I had learned a new level of glass artistry to share, gained some confidence and stopped poking my lip out so I was back to the ETSY drawing board. I blew the dust off of my shop, set out my new pretty things and open the doors once again.

With the holidays coming, I am feverishly stockpiling finished pendants like a little squirrel. I typically take a break from festivals and shows during the hot summer months and spend that time preparing inventory for the fall festival season. Once I make it through the holidays, it's time to take the winter hours and start preparing for the springtime shows. It took me a few seasons to get out of the "oh my gosh I don't have enough stuff to take to this weekend" mode, where I stayed up like a vampire and ran the kiln so much I got a holiday card from the power company.

My current goal is to get to and keep my shop inventory level at about 300 pieces. One step at a time, right?

I try to keep people engaged in the shop and Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/Tnglassstainsdichroicglass 

Fans of the FB page get a discount code for 10% (hey, it covers shipping!) as do repeat customers. You will also find a monthly dichroic pendant giveaway on the FB page. Following the entry rules is like falling out of bed, and the winner is selected and posted on the page the 1st of every month. Best of all, the winner gets to select their own prize from anything in the shop!

If I had to give any advice to an ETSY newcomer, it would be to learn from my mistakes.....engage with ETSY- participate in the forums and teams. You will get lots of support, make some great friends, gather best practices from others and get the sales going. Treat your shop as you would a physical business and commit the right amount of time to grow it. It won't all come in a day, a week, or a month. But mostly...don't get discouraged and keep finding ways to improve. I am still doing all of these myself!