Monday, October 31, 2011

Thrift Haul: My Scariest Finds...Ever! + Easy Thrifty Costumes

Thrifting; the perfect hobby for the horror-genre obsessed. Exploring clandestine corners in haunted mansions for prized antique relics..that's the build up for a distinguished horror flick. I've never encountered ghosts or tomes full of mummy's curses, but I've collected truly frightening finds! Let's take a look....

Who could forget this guy? The eyes! My god, what have you done to his eyes!? And to paint him with a devious pet bat, too? What mad man is responsible for this creepy vintage clown on velvet? I'll never know, but a friend found a companion for him....

My friend Nicole scooped up this creepy-cute matching clown on velvet for me. He's not as menacing at bat clown but admit it, you wouldn't hang him in your bedroom to watch you as you dress with that haunting gaze. Need to dilute the horror? Just imagine he's a benevolent David Bowie in a clown outfit. (See, now he's sexy.)

These clowns seem whimsical, but the jaunty colors are merely a cover. They're plotting something, oh yes, I can feel it. I hope this one sells soon, it's definitely a What Was I Thinking purchase.

This trio of owls appear cute and innocuous at first glance. Then, beyond your control, you're sucked into their soulless gaze. Transfixed, you can't look away from their hypontizing stare, until you see...

The scariest find of all! This tiny figurine is two inches of pure evil. Hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband, this thing is raping your innocence! No eyes. No soul! You'll see this image your nightmares!

Happy Halloween! I had a beautiful pre-Halloween weekend full of horror flicks, treats, and candlelit crafting with friends. Tonight I'm going Trick or Treating with my niece, some friends, and their offspring. And getting my party on! What are you getting into this evening?

By the way, it's Not too Late to Make a Costume. Here are easy & thrifty costumes you can assemble after a trip to the thrift: 10 Easy Thrift Store Halloween Costumes  / detective & femme fatale / retro playboy / superheroes & alter egos / teacher / vintage housewife

Have Fun Tonight! What did you find this weekend?

Linked to: [Thrift Share Monday] [The Penny Worthy Project] [Flea Market Finds].
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Promoting Your Site and Products this November

It's already nearly November! Have you started your Christmas Crafting and shopping?! I'm clearing up my weekend so I can get as much done as possible before the busy months begin. If you need extra help promoting your products and website this Holiday season I'd love to assist. There's advertising space available on Thrift Core and I'm still scheduling giveaways for November and December.

Simply contact me if you have any questions or drop me a line on twitter if that's easier. I'm responsive and friendly, just ask my current sponsors. :)

Now let's tackle Holiday messes like advertising and crafting early so we can actually relax this December...
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Small Business Inspiration Hunting: Get Inspired Everywhere


This weekend I received a free pass to attend EXP Con, an anime and video game convention in St. Augustine, Florida. I attended for business inspiration and wasn't disappointed, even better, I laughed until I cried more times than I could count at a couple of the panels. I left with a lifted spirit and inspired to draw and craft up a storm.

When it comes to running your own business, it's easy to become burned out. It requires more hard work, and more of your soul, than working for a business you don't own. I keep energized and working hard by taking my camera with me everywhere to snap inspiring scenes and taking ample notes at every opportunity.

There are many more luscious details I'm plotting to make my shop extra special, and seeking inspiration around every corner is helping to make that happen. Take this cute tea room for example, I've always wanted one of my own. When I saw it a thought hit me, "That's right, I'm starting a shop of my own! I can put a tea room in it and serve quality tea if I want. Yay!"

I'm going to keep traveling, attending free conventions and shows, and having adventures to keep my creative energy ignited. Buying nice art bits like the ones pictured above and rearranging my apartment and workspaces doesn't hurt, either.

What do you do to keep your creative mojo flowing even through the tough times with your creative projects?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Uprinting Business Card Giveaway: You Could Win 250 Cards!


Business cards are important for networking for and marketing your freelance and reselling business. I write for and help small businesses as a freelancer, so I'm excited to offer 250 custom business cards as a giveaway from

Prize Details: 

250 pcs Die Cut Business Card for one winner
Size:  2” x 3.5”, Rounded Corners, 14pt Cardstock/ Matte
6 Business Days Turnaround, *Free shipping
Restriction: Limited to *US residents 18 years old and above only

In order to enter to be a winner you must...
  • Leave a comment on this post with your NAME and E-MAIL address. Must include both.

For Additional Entries... 

I'm not paid to host this Giveaway. I will be provided with 250 free business cards as a consolation prize, but I'd have hosted the giveaway anyway. :) Yep. I'm a sucker for online printing services.

Good Luck! You have until November 1, 2011 to enter this giveaway. I will announce the winner on that date.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thrift Haul: New Thrifting Survival Tactics


You're overwhelmed!
If you're a reseller like me you're drowning in vintage. I'm slowly going through ample stock, satisfying my quest to be pedantically organized. New thrifting rules are required to survive:

Van's Four Thrifting Rules to Preserve Sanity and Make Mo' Money

1) Perfection: Be highly selective, I won't buy anything but the best.
2) The List: Stick to stock & store necessities on my personal thrift list.
3) Set Schedule: Work regular thrifting breaks into my schedule.
4) Act Now: Avoid clutter; clean & store or sell items ASAP.

I hit the fleas market twice this weekend and spent $3 on four beautiful items. (I broke one while taking a picture. At least it was only 50 cents!) With my Antique Store Sales slumping I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and focus on re-branding my shops, putting in my existing stock, and utilizing my resources to create a beguiling booth and ample small ticket merchandise.

This was a busy, thrifty, and inspiring weekend that reignited my passion to work on my upcoming shop and continue drafting plans and dreaming big. I'll share photos of my adventures with you soon!

What did you find at the thrifts this weekend?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thrift Jobs: Drew of Kitsch Café Fits Reselling into a Busy Schedule


Drew is a busy guy. He works multiple jobs that take up many of his weekends while still managing to thrift up a storm, maintain an awesome blog, and run a successful and beautifully designed Etsy Shop, Kitsch CaféLuckily for the rest of us mere mortals, he's sharing the secrets of his success today!

1.Hi Drew! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I'm Drew! I'm the owner of Kitsch Café Vintage. I currently operate two Etsy shops where I sell vintage housewares, art, clothing and accessories.

2. When and why did you start your Etsy shop, Kitsch Café?

I opened Kitsch Café in the summer of 2008. I have always loved to thrift and would always see lots of great vintage items that I didn't want for myself, but I knew other people would love... so I opened the shop as a side business, just to see what would happen.

3. When did you know it was time to focus on your Etsy shop and switch away from your full-time work?

It became more of an source of income when I left my full-time graphic design job in the spring of 2009. It's still not my main source of income but it does provide about a third to a half of my yearly total.

4. What is the top thing you feel helped you make sales and stand out on Etsy?

At first, I took a different approach with styling my photos. As everyone knows, Etsy has a certain style and look. I took the opposite approach and made my photos wild and colorful. It help me to stand out the first few years. I've since changed my photo styling, but I think those first few years helped put me on the map. Also, the fact that I am a guy in the mostly female dominated online vintage category helps set me apart.

5. What is the top tip you would recommend for a novice Etsy reseller?

Work your butt off. Put hard work in to every aspect of your shop... photo styling, editing your merchandise to only the best, listing and renewing items daily, taking advantage of social media and creating an online personality, creating a blog and updating it weekly... It's a lot of hard work, but customers will see that you love what you do and will respond by purchasing your items.

 Drew and Flamingos!

6. What do you like best and least about reselling on Etsy?

I love that it has a built-in audience and customers. I've recently done some research and found that 90% of my customers find my shop through Etsy, as opposed to coming to my shop from an outside link. This was news to me and has changed my approach to marketing. The thing I like the least can be seen as both good and bad... the coolness/hipness factor of Etsy. It sometimes makes it difficult to stand out if your shop and products are considered uncool by the online style elite. However, I also like the fact that the site has a ton more style that a place like Ebay.

7. What role does webmarketing play for your reselling business?

I try to be as active as I can with social media... Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Etsy forums. You never know who is out there listening/watching and who might feature you on their website or blog. Being genuine and friendly online has led to many blog features such as this one, features on the Etsy blog and recently a house tour on Apartment Therapy. (Van's Note: See it here. Dear god, I want to clean my apartment now...)

8. How often do you thrift for merchandise?

This depends on how busy I am with other areas of my life. But, generally, I go once a week. It's the part of the process that I love the most, so I see it as a treat and will make time for it even if I am very busy. When I travel regionally (like to Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis) I will make a point to thrift in those cities as well.

9. What's your most successful method for obtaining merchandise?

I mostly go thrifting for merchandise. I only buy items that really speak to me and try not to buy items to "pad" my shop which means I often leave thrift stores empty handed. I have gone to some estate sales and found some good items. Although, it has been difficult to go to estate sales because of the schedule with the high school group that I teach since most of my weekends are busy teaching.

10. What's your personal favorite thrift find?

Thank you for sharing all of these amazing tips with us, Drew! He's achieved so much and in his own words he's: "working part-time doing graphic design and started taking web design classes at a local community college. As well as running my business and teaching my high school group." Dayum, guy! Is anyone else feeling re-energized and ready to thrift and resell up a storm?

How are your reselling and thrifting efforts going? Any tips to share?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Buy Nothing New Follow-Up: My New Retail-Free Life

This January I announced my pledge to Buy Nothing New for 2011. Nearly 10 months in, it's time for an update on my new retail shopping-free life. Here's what I've learned during my Buy Nothing New Challenge. 

 I'd always wanted a yellow bar cart. One "came to me" this past week at the flea market.

Thrifter's Patience:
I used to get impatient and rush to a retail store if I thought I needed a supply. (For example, last year I gave in and bought bookshelves from Walmart.) Now I know to wait. Be patient, make hunting and thrifting your routine and the items you need will find you, eventually.

Retail Lust is Gone: Sometimes I would prowl retail shops and lust for items; especially furnishings from Target and World Marketplace! Now when I visit these stores on supply runs nothing interests me.

Hooked on the Thrift Adventure
: Retail shopping is boring compared to the hunt and challenge that comes with thrifting, flea market hunting, curbside seeking, and dumpster diving. I live a beautiful life on a dime!

Rare Retail Purchases are More Special: Okay, I confess. I bought one new thing. I was asked to meet friends in an alien landscape; the mall. While waiting for them at Forever 21 this dress screamed to me. It reminded me of arcade games like Pacman. I had to have it. I guilted over the purchase for days, but this turned out to be my favorite dress. I get many compliments every time I wear it.

A funny side affect: Twice while supply shopping at Target I nearly haggled on the already-discounted merchandise! (Inner thought: "This $4.00 calendar is old, I should ask for $2.00...oh, this isn't the flea market...")

You can definitely see my Buy Nothing New challenge has me buying less, being more patient, and spending consciously. I rarely even shop at thrift stores now, I can't wait to challenge myself even further!
Could you go a year without retail shopping? What thrifty challenges do you take?
 Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hardcore October: Setting Goals, Getting Organized Giveaways...

 Photos from the "Mad Tea Birthday Party" I hosted this weekend.

14 days until Halloween, and as I write this, 67 days 15 hours and 45 minutes until Christmas! September positively flew by and I didn't have a chance to make Christmas presents liked I'd planned, so I have to get on it these next few weeks so I can have a dreamy stress-free December!

Goals for the rest of October...

My buddy Fenna sets awesome goals each month blog, and as a fellow ambitious goal setter I'm following suit with my own Hardcore October. Here are my big goals...

  • Organization: My work flow is ruined by lack of organization; this is a priority!
  • Christmas Gifts: Get a head-start on Christmas gift making, plotting, and scheming.
  • Rebranding Thrift Core: Working on rebranding, writing content, and much more!
  • PR Plans Written: I'm offering freelance PR services for a fair price. More info soon.
  • Make Cat Toys: My new animal mischievous and needs an outlet!

Celebrate Halloween!
This is a big one. I haven't been able to slow down to celebrate my favorite time of the year. I want to sit with my family around the Halloween tree and sing Halloween carols while watching horror flicks and making Halloween crafts. 'Tis the season for Resident Evil playing zombie-loving horror genre geeks like us!

Advertise/Giveaways on Thrift Core: It's nearly time for the Christmas shopping blitz; the perfect time to advertise and host giveaways on Thrift Core. Go here for advertising information. Or contact me. I'll respond immediately so we can work something out, I'd love to help you get Christmas shoppers!

And about that kitty...

I loved all of your name suggestions. Especially Mochi, O-Ren-Ishii (Ishii-kitty), Yuki, Pangur, Kahini, Guinevere, hell, every name suggested is perfect. The right name hasn't come to me yet. I'm considering Lydia because it's pretty and I love Tim Burton/Beetlejuice. I chose a winner for last week's giveaway and announced the winner and the prize on Facebook.

What are YOUR goals for the rest of the month? Let's hit it!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thrift Haul: Busy Birthday Weekend Thrifting


I had a busy week and an even busier weekend. I hosted a fun "Mad Tea" birthday party. I hit up the flea markets and found some things I've desired for a long while (I've wanted a yellow bar cart like the one pictured below for years!) And fun surprises like the scary-cute owl above and the Noah's Ark cookie jar and vintage horn boat below.

Otherwise I'm still working things out at home, trying to get my freelancer schedule together and training a beautiful but frisky kitten (you still have a chance to name her!)

What did you find this weekend? 

Linked to: [Thrift Share Monday] [The Penny Worthy Project] [Flea Market Finds].
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Pick Trash, My Comrades: Live on, Picker Revolution!

I've been doing more interviews and public speaking gigs recently. As I talk with creatives in my city and TV executives internationally a common theme emerges: They are shocked that we dig in the trash and they can't believe that we bring items from the curbsides into our homes.
This is the beautiful tableaux outside my window right now:

My upstairs neighbors are moving, and like many people who move, they are downsizing. They have placed a large amount on the curbside. As I sit in front of my computer working, I've watched numerous people retrieve items from the pile. There are pickers with their trucks full. There are pedestrians filling carts. There are cyclist pulling over for a closer inspection. We are not alone.

We are intelligent people who simply choose not to buy particle board furniture at Walmart when we know all it takes is a little patience, a walk around your neighborhoods, and a talk with your friends ("Hey guys, furniture to spare?") to outfit your entire home without spending a dime.

I found this game and two DVDS in my neighbor's the trash. I paid $50.00 for it when it was new!
Watch my video...this is the Q&A session after a recent presentation I did, Pecha Kucha at the Five Points Theatre. I talked about Thrift Core's big message; that I've connected with thrifters globally from the Australia to the Arctic.

I wanted my speech to inspire the audience to live to their full potential, so I was surprised that the audience of creatives focused on the dumpster diving aspect of my speech:

By the way, I loved being a part of this, and I'm not hating. Everyone's response was invaluable. I loved the audience's honesty. In fact, I'm not hating on anyone who doesn't understand our cause. Just informing you that they're out there.

You're a revolutionary. You choose not to pay high prices for inferior products when you can get the real deal for free. Viva La Picker Revolucion, comrade! Remember, if they don't want it, that's more picking for us. And there's more than enough to go around...
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Antique Store Wisdom: The September Sales Update


September really flew by! I wasn't able to stop by my booth as often as I wanted,  but I beat my August Sales in September thanks to a big ticket sale! (I finally sold the beautiful viking ship in this post.) October sales aren't going as well but I'm pumped to find creative ways to improve them.

September: The big sale saved me! Don't reduce your prices.

Sub Total of Sales $218.00
Grand Total: $175.50

The Next Step...

Last month I learned some lessons.  I've re-learned another this October. Like I wrote about in 10 Actions Steps to Improve Your Booth Sales NOW!, rearranging your items and adding ample new ones 2-3 per week is necessary to make sales, and my October sales are lousy because I couldn't make it there. Today I'm focusing on rebranding, taking out much of the inventory and replacing it with all-new stuff! It will be fun!

Past Antique Store Wisdom Posts:

[2/02/2011] Don't Underprice Your Items
[2/10/2011] Should You Rent a Booth at the Antique Store?
[2/16/2011] Stage Your Booth Like a Pro and Increase Sales 
[3/03/2011] The Answers to Your Antique Store Booth Questions
[5/03/2011] The Four Month Update (A Candid look at my Sales)
[5/11/2011] Finding the Best Antique Store
[6/02/2011] The Vintage Cabin's Expert Reselling Tips
[6/09/2011] 10 Action Steps to Improve Booth Sales, NOW!  
[6/07/2011] Antique Store Wisdom: The 6 Month Update
A Frank Look at the Sales Numbers
[7/21/2011] Sales Trends and Surprises

A Bigger Booth and Increasing Sales

[8/23/2011] A Late August Check-in
[9/15/2011] The August Sales Report 

How are your reselling efforts going? 
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Know You're Ready to Quit Your Day Job + Freelance Update


Last week I announced my departure from cubicle-hell. I'm now a full time freelancer (PR Assistant/Web Marketer/Copywriter/Photographer/Reseller/Blogger/Aaah I'm still busy!) I sold my soul to the man for years so I know your pain; you're sick of the day job and you want to quit and make reselling/being creative your career.

Here are some ways to know you're ready to quit your day job...

1.) Your Business Plan is Solid: Bills Will Be Paid, You Will Survive!

Draft a solid five-year business plan. Plan for your transition months in advance. I spent two years slowly preparing. I paid my rent in full for a year, have enough saved to pay for another year's worth of rent, and already have income coming in. I was prepared. You must be, too.

To Do: Solve the tough issues first. Like how will you pay rent, insurance, and taxes? If you need help try Brittni's Track This workbook, it guides you through hard questions.

 I took a walk to the antique store to deposit my basket of vintage. 'Twas lovely!

2.) You've Put in Hours & Hours of Work: You have to pay your dues.

When I  created Thrift Core two years ago I worked 55+ hours per week at the office as a webmarketer, then 30+ more hours on creative projects. I worked myself sick, but it was worth it.

To Do: You have to put hours of preparation into your transition. Start now. Create your blog, network, and research. Work, work, work! If your creative job is your passion, it should be easy.

 I didn't have time to cook at the day job. As a freelancer I can prepare healthy lunches!

3.) You're Spinning Your Wheels at Work: Cannot...go...on...

You feel like a bird that's outgrown your nest. You've learned all you can. Passion for your assignments has fizzled, and all you can think about is your creative work. It feels like you can't go on.

To Do: It's time to put that wasted energy toward your creative endeavors. You can transition slowly. Ask for less hours so you can focus on creative work. Schedule time for it after work and make it happen.

My new coworker is fuzzier than my old ones. By the way, it's up to you to name her.

Passion is still important...if you're not passionate about your creative business, you will crash and burn. Stay inspired, stay positive, and let the love for your creative work keep you energized. When you're passionate, you'll be successful.

There's never a "right time" to leave a comfortable job, it's always scary. Life's too short not to try; take the risk and be brave!

Freelancers: What are your tips for making the transition?

I also wrote a detailed post on whether it's time to leave the day job on Papernstitch: Leaving the Nest: How to Know it's Time to Quit Your Day Job
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giveaway: Name the Kitten, Win a Vintage (Kitten) Surprise


My workflow has been slowed down by a furry new roommate. My niece's cat had kittens and my overwhelmed brother begged me to pick one up. My niece named her Daphne, which isn't too bad, but I was wondering if you could come up with something better?

Giveaway: Name the Kitten & Win a Vintage Surprise!

In order to enter, simply leave a comment with your name suggestions for the cat and include your e-mail. I'll select a random winner 10/18/2011. To help you decide on a name, here's a little bit more information on this charming creature:

She has three light-gray spots on the top of her head that make her look like a snow leopard's cub. She's antsy and clingy right now because she's lived in one room with her mom and brother he whole life. Yep, she came from a litter of only two kittens. (Her brother also has three spots on the top of his head, his are more opaque.)

When she's not sleeping she's not content to let me work. She crawls on my keyboard, messed with my keys, get into my paperwork. She's asleep now; this is the only way I'm getting a temporary reprieve. (Work at home moms, I finally feel a degree of your daily struggle!)

I'll reveal the mystery prize for this kitten giveaway on the Thrift Core Facebook page soon, and I'll reveal the winner on Facebook one week from now!

100% Pure Giveaway Winners: I used a random number generator to select Danielle (comment #6), Amber (comment #24), and Krisan (comment #4). I've e-mailed you all to gather your mailing addresses so 100% Pure can send you a body lotion and mascara each!

Help me think of the perfect name for this feline, and have fun!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thrift Haul: Estate Sale Haul of Vintage Goodies


I was rained out of the fleas this weekend, but I did get some thrift hunting in on the way home when I spotted an Estate Sale sign in the morning. I never had much luck with vintage at Estate sales because I always arrived late. This time I beat the crowd and found lots of vintage for a good price.

I deliberated on this vintage Ronco Tidie Drier, but with all the pieces in place, I eventually took it home with me. I hope there's a market for it, because it feels like I was simply enchanted by the retro and ridiculous art on the box alone!

This sale had an abundance of beautifully crafted art like these birds, most of it was large and perfectly executed needlework. The prices were a bit high for me ($35 each) and I was tempted to buy a stunning with golden feathers against a gold sky with a burning red perfect-circle sun, but settled for these lower priced birds and a special needlepoint piece for my mom's birthday.

These two are not really my style, but I thought I'd try them out. Their small, grandma style, and kitchy. I hope they sell soon!

And I've been having a lot of luck finding huge hauls of vintage wooden hangers lately. I use them to hang artwork like you can see here. I have enough that I can hang some clothes with these pretties, too!

And I found an nice stack of pretty vintage McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazines. I love the illustrations, colorful ads and styling, and vintage styling and crafting ideas within.

This cover is my favorite. I love the mix of patterns and it prominently features my two favorite colors, orange and teal. Almost Thrift Core colors!

What vintage did you uncover on your hunt this weekend?

Linked to: [Thrift Share Monday] [The Penny Worthy Project] [Flea Market Finds].

I had two hauls last week, check out the Flea Market one if you missed it.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

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