Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thrift Core July Sponsorship: Increase Your Blog & Shop Traffic


Hello again! I just wanted to let you know that there's still openings for July Sponsors for Thrift Core! An ad on Thrift Core is an excellent way to increase traffic and sales for your blog and online shop, and I'm super responsive and helpful. I would love to help you reach your business and sales goals! Here's what you receive as a Thrift Core Sponsor:

  • 24/7 Support: Call or e-mail me any time!
  • Helpful Newsletter: Helpful marketing tips that I learn from industry leaders.
  • Free Ad Design: No ad? No problem! I'm make the perfect one for you!
  • Website Analysis: If you're lost and need help getting traffic and sales, contact me!

I can't wait to talk with you about running an ad on Thrift Core. Check out my new, and improved Sponsor page for more information or simply contact me! (See this post for testimonials and additional details.)

For everyone else, I have exciting promotions and giveaways planned every Tuesday in July! I'll be back to posting regular content now than my June Summer Business Goals month is finished, but expect more interviews with successful creative thrifters, thrift and antique store owners, and more!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thrifter Profile: Comic Book Artist and Haiku Writer Birdie

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My friend Birdie is a haiku-writing, comic-drawing, crafting, thrifting machine! He's my go-to drawing and thrifting partner in crime. He keeps two comics updated and just  released his first book of comics, Manly Bubble Baths! Today I talk with him about how he stays productive and share photos of his thrifted collections!


Tell the readers a little bit about yourself, Birdie!

I'm a poet/cartoonist.  I try to relate everything I do in life to those two things, making something funny, or making something beautiful.

Goodies from our Craft Night group!

Who influenced you in your life of thrift?

I learned about thrifting through my mom.  She was a single mother and had to stretch a dollar for two growing boys.  I was comfortable with getting hand-me-downs but getting stuff from a thrift store or garage sale was amazing for me as a young kid.

I could get as many G.I. Joes as I wanted, I could have new clothes for school and my mother could afford to feed us without a problem.  She's still an avid garage sale visitor and we always talk about what we found and how much we paid for it.



What do you look for when you thrift, any cool collections?
I used to look solely for clothes, now I look to find a variety of things, a few things I collect are children's books. comic collections (like Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot or anything you'd find in the papers), and cartoon jelly jars.


I like drinking wine out of them on occasion, and it always makes me giggle when I am drinking and I can see bulbasaur or Tom and Jerry peeking back at me.

You maintain two comics, The Haiku Life and Frog Vs. Toad, on a consistent schedule while publishing daily doodles and haikus, too! How do you keep on top of it all?

I'm drawing constantly.  Luckily Frog Vs Toad updates only five days a week and I can plan ahead on that comic.  The Haiku Life can only be updated after the day happened (It's my journal after all).  My daily doodles are really just me doing warm up pieces before I really start drawing.  I've noticed that my art looks cleaner if I just goof off for twenty minutes drawing Spiderman or Little Red Riding Hood.

This first appeared in my Epic Thrift Trip post last year.

What's a typical day productive day in the life of Birdie?

I like to be awake before 8:00am.  I'll pour myself a cup of ice cold coffee, or an energy drink and check my emails and Facebook and start scouting for ideas.  I'll sit at the drawing table for about two hours while listening to NPR or various podcasts and then I'll take a shower and have something to eat.

I'll draw again for another hour or two and then I'll lay down and either doodle in my sketchbook or just watch tv so I can bounce a few more ideas.  I keep this up until I'm exhausted or until 5-6pm.  Some days I can crank out up to 10 comics, and then I feel like I accomplished a lot.


What keeps you so motivated?

Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote "ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?"  he then goes on to say that if you know in your heart that you must that you should build your life accordingly, and if not, don't ever attempt it.  I live by those words, I don't draw comics because I'm trying to be funny, or I'm trying to be rich and famous (I'd be happy for either).

 Birdie drew a thrifting comic just for you!

I draw because deep down inside I am not myself unless I draw something.  The fact that there is an internet now where I can post these pictures only makes it easier for me to share them.  Otherwise I would just be taping funny pictures to people's refrigerators.

You introduced me to some of the best thrift stops in Jacksonville, which ones are your favorites?

I think my favorite store overall is "City Thrift"  Everything there is reasonably priced, they play great oldies music and you're always hearing happy people singing there.  I almost never walk out of there empty handed.  I do however like "The Thrift Store" on beach Blvd for finding books and CDs, and I like the Goodwill near the beach for finding clothes.  Thrifting should always be done in multiple stores though, because there are always great things to find.

 We found this cool nightstand on a curbside together! Yay, curbside finds! 

What is your favorite thrift store find?

About seven years ago I was invited to go to this Goodwill in Ocala Florida because they sell Vinyl records by the pound.  As I was leaving I found this ugly green chair that looks like Archie Bunker's chair.  It was $3 and there were no holes, no stains and it wasn't worn out that much.  I took that baby home and that is the chair I will keep until I die.... Then I'll be buried in it.

 Holds his toys perfectly!

Where and how can we buy your latest book?


My book is available on my site http://www.thehaikulife.com/ you can preorder it now so I can pay for the printing costs and get a free sketch and haiku in the book.  Personalized for your choosing.


Any parting advice for would-be artists and creatives?

Draw every day!  And read as much as possible.  I like to read other comic strips just to be inspired to do my own.  Or I'll read short stories, poems or other things just so I can keep my brain churning out more ideas.  You are you supposed to write what you know, try to know everything!

A thrifting comic by Birdie from my Murder City Thrift Adventure post.
You can check out Birdie on the web on The Haiku Life, Frog vs. Toad! By the way, I was so jealous taking photos of Birdie's apartment. So much space for the price he pays! If he moves, I've got dibs. You can't have it!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Top 3 Free Reselling Tools You Need to Use!

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Everyone knows that Etsy and Ebay are excellent reselling tools, so I wanted to highlight a couple of  extremely easy to use and free reselling resources. They're great for starting out or for using in conjunction with the Ebay and Etsy shops you've already got set up.


Storenvy Attractive and easy to use, Storenvy has 5,000 stores and was just named as one of Entrepreneur magazines 100 Brilliant Companies.


It's time to update you on my experience setting up a Storenvy shop! It might not have as much traffic as Etsy or Ebay, but listings are quickly captured by Google (I can tell by my Google Alerts) so people can find items in your shop with a Google search. My biggest sale was my beautiful tiki-style siestaware cups, they sold for $70!

A Social Environment:  The main differentiator from other e-commerce sites is that Storenvy gives sellers a standalone online store and social marketplace that helps you get organically discovered. Just like with Etsy, you should interact in the marketplace to get your name out there and make friends!

More Perks: Stores are fully customizable, you can buy a custom domain for your shop, and about 15% of sales come directly from people surfing the Storenvy marketplace.

The Real Deal: Storenvy has so many tools that are excellent for beginning resellers. It prompts you to make item numbers for each item you list, there's a simple checklist you can use to track who you've shipped stock out to, and it's user-friendly and attractive with social media widgets.

I can confidently recommend Storenvy, but remember that it'll be up to you to promote it, just like you have to work a little harder to promote your Etsy shop to make sales.


Krrb The perfect tool for a reseller on Etsy or Ebay, you can add 30 posts in 60 seconds!



Another newcomer, Krrb is another extremely user-friendly reseller tool. The best feature is that it allows you to add posts from Etsy, Craigslist, Ebay, or LeBonCoin (French) in one click. You can literally add 30 posts to Krrb in 60 seconds! See this video and post for detailed instructions on using the 'Krrb it' tool and signing up on Krrb.

More Perks: Every Thursday morning at 11am, an automatic email notification is sent to Krrb members that are near you with any new and re-listed posts within the last 7 days. It's like a free email blast of your stuff! (Other companies charge tons of money for this kind of service!)

The Real Deal: Krrb is excellent for bartering, trading, and making sales online. When you can add all of your Etsy and Ebay posts in one click, it doesn't hurt to make an account and see if something sells!



Antengo Real-time reselling, from your smart iPhone! It only takes 45 seconds to post an item!


To disclose The Real Deal on Antengo, I haven't used this yet! I'm not a smart phone user (I love being disconnected from the web on the go, I'm on it 50+ hours a week for work!) However, the developer emailed me about it and it looks like an excellent tool. I ask him to tell me how it would help thrifters and resellers. He says:

Antengo is a real-time and Hyperlocal buy/sell marketplace.We already have a very high percentage of “crafters” and “thrifters” using the service to sell goods locally. It takes 45 seconds to post an item for sale. Antengo doesn’t take any money from a transaction. Sellers simply use Antengo as the venue to post their content and handle sales offline. It’s actually preferred to the online eCommerce marketplaces because those require shipping across the country, when the motto should be to “live locally.” Antengo is the location-aware, mobile etsy.

Antengo is currently accessible via a free iPhone application or you can post using your twitter handle from here: www.antengo.com/quickpost.php. As of a week ago, Antengo is venture-backed and launching the marketplace in hundreds of college newspaper apps, and much more!


In Conclusion: If you already have an Etsy and/or Ebay store, it won't hurt to try your luck listing merchandise on Storenvy and Krrb. More eyeballs and exposure means more sales! If you try any of the tools above, please follow-up and let me know if they work for you!

By the way, I haven't been paid to endorse any of these tools, I just wanted the share the wealth! You guys can pay me if you want though, here's my tip bucket. Now let me do a little dance for you! With a song, la
alala....

What reselling tools do you use?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Home Office: Welcome to Thrift Core Headquarters

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[ My desktop wallpaper is by Desert Friends. I love the beach at night, the painting captures its magic! ]

Welcome back to my office!
I'm proud to show it off lately because I spent time this month clearing out clutter and rearranging thrifted vignettes and local art collection. Freshening things up has made this a pleasant place to write blog posts, edit pictures, draw, and craft.

Since it's actually a dining room/office combo, it's the most-used room in my house, the spot where friends gather to listen to music and watch silly YouTube videos. I'm glad it's clean now and friends don't have to walk around boxes! Now I just need to stay in the habit of keeping my fridge stocked with ice cold mint tea and beers for them!


Friends and I made faux laminate checkerboard affect on the table together one night while watching cheesy 80s movies! (Tutorial here.) Speaking of all things cheesy and fun, I challenged fellow kitsch-lover Jackie of Let's Go Thrifting to show off her office, here's her reply post. Thank you for showing us corners of your office, Jackie!

This is a close up on the art hanging from wooden hangers that you can see in my previous office tour. (By Old Skool Junk) I love that Beetlejuice toy and appreciate the color palate, see how well it matches the vintage prints below! I bought the dinosaur painting below from the Riverside Arts Market, it's by Michael Regina, you can see the other amazing pieces from his imagination series in The Adventure Shop.


I want to be pedantic and organize this space to perfection. I envision art supplies neatly shelved, the books sorted by genre, and the bits shamefully stashed in my mod hutch categorized... but you have to take it one step at a time. Trying to do it all is what got me in over my head in the first place.  

Confession: I took the "Perfection is the enemy of the done" saying to heart to get my home back in order. I stashed bits I couldn't find a spot for in a box. That box is hiding in bedroom for me organize later. I'll keep dreaming of that day where I don't have boxes hidden away somewhere!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thrift Haul: The Animated Vintage Kitsch Toy Zoo. And More!

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After a long "Thrift Break" I hit the thrift stores hard this weekend! I meandered in and out of the thrifts and flea markets, checking every crevice to satisfy my need for vintage kitsch. Hours later I'm thrift spent and gratified. Was it good for you, lady thrift? 'Cause you put out so good!


Vintage perfection! I found this playful vintage chalkboard at The Bargain House of Fleas for 50 cents, along with a couple of vintage children's and cook books.


And speaking of kitsch, UNICORNS! Unicorns, bitch! There's nothing more I can say here, moving on...


Religious paint by number finds. I love the colors. Also, be sure to admire the beautiful "Home Sweet Home" sign and cute dog decanter.


Vintage tablecloth and dress! I love the pattern with kids at play, looks just like a vintage storybook.


Vintage hangers! I'm getting closer to replacing all of my hangers with vintage wooden ones. And these will come in handy displaying art prints, too. 16 for $5!


Toy boat! $4 is more than I wanted to pay for a toy that I didn't need, but giant toys are irresistible! It has wheels on the bottom so I can push it at visitors and trip them if desired! This ship happens to have a damn fine captain, too(!) ...


90s hair lego man!
I'm going to name him Leon Scott Kennedy after the video game character he strongly resembles. I found one at a thrift store near the beach and the other at a flea market across town, but boat and Leon were just meant to be together.


Vintage 60s "Distinctive Gifts Wrap", it was still in it's original plastic sheath when I bought it. Gotta think of what I'll do with it!


And my favorite find for a mere $1.45, this beautiful vintage boat carving. Oh, those details! It's like it popped out of one of my art history wet dreams, and it's all mine. Can anyone ID this piece?

Thrift Core Shop Updates!

I've added a few goodies from this weekend to the Thrift Core Shop! Here's a couple of my favorites:


Groovy mushroom coffee pot set I found this weekend. Get it before I decide to keep it!


Cute fox glasses! These are perfect for cold tea in the summer for you and your friends, yum! Go get 'em!

Adorable owls to adorn your kitchen counters! You know you what them! They look like they came from a Don Bluth cartoon! I saw them singing in the background in one scene, I'm sure of it!


Ridiculously cute and playful black kittens. All of the fun of having kittens but without the litter box. You Need Them!

Fourteen huge photos later, I'm sure you've experienced the same thrift-gasm I did. And I didn't even fully capture every bit of beauty I found this weekend! 'Twas exhausting, but well worth it! Now to leave you with a final bit of whimsy, here's a comic I made based on a flea market find I encountered this weekend. It's naughty, but I couldn't help myself.

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ismoyo's Etsy Reslling Tips: And Going From Blog to Published Book

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Ismoyo has the cutest blog and etsy shop of vintage treasures, Ismoyo's Vintage Playground. She's a successful reseller living the dream; she had a publisher approach her to turn her crafts into a book! She took some time out of her schedule to answer some questions and give us tips for success!

Tell the readers a little bit about yourself, Ismoyo!

I'm Ismoyo Green, recently turned 35. Born and raised in Amsterdam, currently happily living in New York. 
Married to my Love who lets me bring in way too much cute and pretty vintage items!

Your Etsy Shop, "Ismoyo's Vintage Playground" is filled with cute vintage treasures. Where do you find them all?

I love discovering undiscovered thrift shops, but also scour yard sales and flea markets. New York has a lot of churches and a lot of them hold rummage sales once or twice a year.

What is your system for keeping your "Vintage Playground" stock organized?

With my stock growing, keeping it all organized can be a struggle. I dream of a super duper organized space, a separate stock room full of shelves and numbered boxes. But in NY space is scarce, so there are a bunch of large plastic containers in a corner of the living room next to my desk and our kitchen doubles as shipping center.


You released 100 Appliqué Motifs in 2008, and owe your blog to be discovered. Can you briefly tell us the story of your book? 

(Also, it's one of my favorite craft books. I checked it out of the library the maximum amount of times like a crazy person (I'm a big sucker for the kawaii aesthetic!)

{Thank you, so glad you like it!} I was fortunate that the publisher approached me. My blog is to thank for that mostly. Before my focus was on vintage, it was mainly a crafting blog. The editor of my book liked what I did there and contacted me. They had a couple of ideas for books that they thought I would be good at. For them it was a big plus that I did a broad range of crafts. After a couple of brainstorming sessions and looking at what was already out on the market, we ended up with the idea for the appliqué book.


 What was the process of creating your craft book like?

When I started working on the book, I had recently moved to NY. And instead of designing our new apartment, I started designing appliqué motifs! It was a huge undertaking, but a lot of fun also. Every evening my hubby came home finding me in surrounded by sketches and fabric swatches. One of our walls was turned into my project layout wall, covered in pictures of all finished projects. Temporary crafty art as you will.
 
Any tips for would-be craft book writers?


Do it because you love it. Be true to yourself, be determined and prepared to work hard. Spend time in the bookstore, read the books in the craft isle, know what is already out there before you pitch your idea to a publisher.


In addition to running your Etsy shop, are you constantly crafting and coming up with appliqué motifs and other craft bits?

With my vintage shop getting more successful, my crafting hours are getting more and more limited. I do still have a little notebook on my desk to jot down ideas and every now and then i do make time to work on craft projects. Lately my crafts of choice are needle felting and embroidery. I got some cute wall art that i'm working on and might put up in the shop soon.

How do you stay motivated and inspired to keep going with your shop and with crafting?

I stay motivated because it is what I like to do most. I think that's the 'secret' of running your own business, being passionate about what you do. Give me a day off and I will be most likely on a treasure hunt or creating something craft-wise. My work is also my hobby.

[Van's Note: So in love with the vintage chick mirror. Love!]

What about tips for consistently making sales on Etsy?

There's the practical, like keep adding new items to keep your items close to the top of the search results on Etsy. And there is the personal touch. In your customer service and the curating of your shop. I try to pick and list items that i truly also love myself. This way my shop gives loyal customers something new to look at every time they come back. Plus they know what to expect. If they love my style, they love my shop.

You're a long-time thrifter, what are your top 3 tips for finding groovy vintage treasure at thrift stores and yard sales?

1. If you like something, buy it! It probably won't be there next time and a missed treasure can haunt you for ages.

2. Don't be afraid to get a little dirty. Sometimes you have to get under that table and dig through that dusty box to find the best treasures.

3. And be friendly to the sales persons, they can be a wealth of information!


I love Ismoyo's advice. Follow your heart, craft, resell, and do it because you love it. When you're passionate about your hobby and turn it into your work, you can be successful! Ismoyo let her voice and style shine and devoted followers (and a publisher!) embraced it. Don't stop creating and selling, incorporate it into your everyday life and keep reaching for your dreams!

By the way, Ismoyo's Vintage Playground is offering has a 10% off discount for Thrift Core readers until August 31, 2011. Use THRIFTCORE10 at checkout! (1 per customer)

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thrifters Around the World: Thrifting in the Arctic with Mali of Arctic Mum

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Mali generously shares her experiences thrifting in the Arctic with her blog Arctic Mum. I've always lived in tropical places, so Mali's story strikes a chord with me. I'm so pleased she's sharing her thrift story from a location that's so exotic and fascinating to me, and surely, you too!

Tell us a little bit about yourself, Mali

I'm 38 years old, soon to be mother of three (baby soon here) I work full time as a web editor in the higher education public sector, but now I'm in maternity leave for a year. Good timing, since we're moving into a new house that will be filled with vintage treasures. (I may have to negotiate a bit with my partner for that one.)

The Arctic is so far away and exotic to my tropical palm-tree heart and soul. Tell me about where you live and what it's like!

I live on the Norwegian coast, at almost 70 degree north, in a small town of 70,000 called Tromso. We have dark, long winters and Midnight Sun the whole summer. Not much spring and a short autumn. We have a university and it's a vibrant city that people like and enjoy, even though it sometimes feels a long way from everything. I usually leave by plane to go somewhere, since we don't have a train and it takes about 36 hours in the car to Oslo the capital...

When and why did you start thrifting?

I collected things as little, and I've always loved flea markets. When I got together with my partner ten years ago I dragged him around to flea markets, and I've just continued, and the thrifting interest has grown.


What do you think makes thrifting in The Arctic different than thrifting in the United States or other places in the world?


The Arctic - or the Norwegian coast - has a strong history of fishing culture, and people were quite poor. You don't find many antique objects here - like in France, but rather more steady objects like teak and respatex tables - things in everyday use for the fishermen or farmers. I see a lot of Pyrex on American blogs, but never spot it here. I think the American housewares were a bit more sophisticated at the time.

What are the names for "thrifting" in The Arctic? Any special nick names?

"Fretex" is the Salvation Army shop, "Loppis" which is slang for Flea Market, "garage sale."


Is there a large thrifting/junking/second-hand shopping culture in The Arctic?

No, I wouldn't say that, but you certainly spot the same people at fleas! The market is not big, since the range and selection of objects is small. I'm always surprised to find great things, because that doesn't happen every time. And the competition for teak objects has sharpened.

Is there a stigma against second-hand shopping in The Arctic? Is it seen as something dirty or something for low-income families?

Not at all, even though my vintage thrifting is met with both curiousity and laughter. But maybe there's a difference between those who must buy clothes at the Salvation Army, and those who go there for vintage thrifting? I have bought all the baby gear this time second hand, and no one lifts an eyebrow.


Are there any flea markets in Arctic? What are they like?


Not that many, and usually not that good. Usually organized by school classes that need to raise money for trips. But I always find something! And we make it a family outing, have waffles and the kids get to pick one thing each.

Are there many dumpster divers and curb-side hunters in The Arctic?

Oh, I think those dumpster divers are non-existent. I think they may be a myth here. And it's not common to set things aside on the street for others to pick up, I've never seen it happen. The renovation people would probobly ring their door bell and tell them off!


Is there a large thrift and craft culture in The Arctic?

I think garage sales have been seen like something not-to-arrange, but lately I've seen more and more ads for them in the newspaper. But I don't think it's that vintage related, it's more to get rid of furniture when moving etc. I've only been to one estate sale here, and that was crazy! Sooo many people. Usually professional dealers clean estates, but I don't know what happens to everything.


What are thrift stores like in The Arctic?

A little...mix of everything. You really need to have an eye for things, because for most of the part it's not interesting.

Your home and thrifting finds are clean, colorful, and playful. What are your main inspirations when it comes to thrifting and home decor?

I like 60s and 70s decor, mainly 60s. But the house shouldn't look like a museum, but have a contemporary vibe with some thrifted objects - that's not taking over. Mad Men is a huge inspiration of course, and thrifting must have gotten a whole new meaning for ordinary people after that series!


What's your favorite thing to collect from thrift stores?

I have a weakness for old plates of Norwegian manufacturers like Figgjo and Stavangerflint. I think they exported lots to the US in the 50s-70s so you can find it there too. But here that's one of the more common finds, and not rare. I like 70s objects that are colourful, and of course teak objects like my beloved cabinet that I fought for at the estate sale I attended. And lamps!


Other thrifted related bits: Late at night I usually persuade my partner to watch Cash in the Attic US or UK with me, when we really should go to bed. I think I may have managed to grow a thrifting interest in him too! Women can be smart.

* First photo from This Arctic Mum Post on Svalbard, the Northernmost populated place on earth!



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  If you would like to be featured in Thrifters Around the World, shoot me an e-mail.  I would love to interview you and chat about thrifting where you live.

Past Thrifters Around The World Interviews:
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.
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