Sunday, August 9, 2009

Etsy Shop of the Week: Skinnie and Bernie

This week, I'm interviewing Kirsti, owner of the Skinnie and Bernie shop on Etsy. She not only collects and sells awesome vintage items, she's also an artist with a degree in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design - a fantastic design school. She enjoys creating assemblage box sculptures, block printed and hand sewn cards and collects decorative papers and unusual vintage fabrics for use in her many card designs. She lives in a cabin in Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats; ahh that sounds so relaxing! Read all about Kirsti below...

How did the idea for your business come about?
I've always been a collector of old parts and pieces for the assemblage artwork I create. Collecting vintage clothing is another one of my passions. I really enjoy the hunt for unique pieces. I'd been considering my best options for selling these items and my artwork when my sister in Brooklyn sent me a link to Etsy. She gave me the nudge, and I jumped right in! So far I've been quite happy with my vintage shop, and one of these days I'll get my artwork out there too....

What inspires you to keep at it here on Etsy?
I have an insatiable appetite for collecting vintage items, which is probably not completely healthy, but I do enjoy it! Etsy provides me with the outlet. The environment at Etsy is so welcoming and supportive that it really makes me happy to be a part of this community. My customers are awesome as well, and I really appreciate their continued support!

To what do you attribute your success?
Well I still feel pretty new here at Etsy. My business is just 6 months old, but hopefully I am gaining a following. I think part of my success comes from taking decent pictures (so the items are well represented) and in being as accurate as I can be in describing an item. I think my customers have a right to know everything about the items, flaws and all, since they are vintage and have been previously used and loved. Being honest about an item will gain customer satisfaction and bring people back to potentially buy again.

Best advice for fellow Etsians aspiring for success in our marketplace?
Be true to yourself. Pick something that you love to do and do it well. Your success will follow. Also doing research is immensely helpful. I spent a lot of time researching different shops, seeing what was working for them, and it made me a much more informed seller once I set up my shop.
How do you go about marketing your business?
I rely solely on listing new items as much as possible. I think keeping your shop visible by always listing new items (or renewing old ones) keeps you viable in the marketplace.

I've fallen in love with Kirsti's shop, and I know you will too. I can't wait to see her artwork!

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