We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the tenth in our series, an interview with Jody-Ann (J'Ann) of JAnnsBoutique.
Your Etsy profile refers to your obsession with vintage purses. Give a bit more detail on that - how long has it been going on?!
I believe my etsy store J'Anns Boutique is a glimpse of my experiences as a child. My obsession (healthy love) of vintage purses comes from my childhood days of playing dress up with my mom’s accessories. Stomping around in her patent pumps, lips covered in her classic red lipstick, beaded necklace a must, and clip on earrings to match…
Then there was the purse, ever so neatly tucked between my little elbow fold, providing the grace and poise I needed to make my fantasy of adulthood complete. My mom was (and still is) the DIY dressmaker in our family (too bad her daughter missed the sewing gene), and always had magazines with patterns and outlines of various outfits being modeled around the house. I was always fascinated by the purses the models carried and just how elegant it made them look. So it is only natural that I am still fascinated today by the handbags of yesteryear. However, today they are no longer “mommy’s handbag” but rather “vintage”. It is this love that you see today in J’Anns Boutique and also what I try to bring to my blog.
What is your day job? Do you have a design or arts background?
By day I am a librarian, and by night a femme fetale…
No seriously... My day job is actually a tad on the serious side, I work as a Legal Assistant/ Event Coordinator. Not a very artsy job when you think of the legal aspect, however being responsible for the coordination of corporate events does allow me to get a bit of creativity in, so it balances out (I think). I do not have a design or arts background, but I am usually quite smitten by those who do and the amazing things they can create.
Your blog is delightful - with all the glimpses of gems you find along the way. Is it a key promotional tool for you - or a labour of love? In what other ways do you promote your business? Which do you find the most effective?
Thank you! My blog is actually a bit of both. I originally started my blog at the suggestion of a friend, who thought it might be a great idea to give current and potential visitors to my store, a glimpse into the “mind behind the bag” so to speak. Although started for a different reason, I have found my blog to be a great promotional tool, as visitors to my blog who were not aware of my etsy store before finding my blog have become customers and vice versa. In terms of promotion I honestly do not do a lot, however, I usually try to buy at least one etsy showcase spot per month, and these have proved to be a very effective marketing tool for my store.
How do you see your business evolving in the short and long term?
At the moment my store can be considered small scale in comparison to some of the other vintage stores on etsy. I would love to expand significantly the number of vintage purses offered through my store, and this is something I am currently working on. I am also exploring the possibility of acquiring carts at vintage shows in my city, to be able market my items to a more direct customer base. My next focus is to revamp my marketing strategies, which at the moment is pretty much non-existent except for a few etsy showcases. Advertising on blogs I frequent that might bring traffic to my store is something that I am currently considering.
As a relatively new Etsy seller, what are the most helpful tools Etsy offers? Are there other tools you would like to see that you would find helpful?
Etsy offers an amazingly comprehensive marketplace. I used to sell on ebay, and listing, renewing and cancelling an item is much easier and user-friendly on etsy, and let’s not forget the lower fees, a welcomed bonus! I recently discovered the etsy teams and I find this to be incredibly helpful, as it allows interaction with other sellers with similar interests and/or locations, which can be a great resource for new sellers. I cannot get enough of the Etsy success, Quit your day job, and Featured seller series, great for getting ideas of what may or may not work for your store. Coupon Codes! I am beyond excited about this new tool, before this great tool my method of getting discounts to my customers were by emailing them a coupon, and then refunding the discounted amount on paypal, so I am very excited about this new feature. One tool I would love to see on etsy is a shipping cost calculator. As a relatively new etsy seller, I find depending on the product I do have to keep adjusting my shipping rate. There have been the cases where I’ve charged a customer an amount for shipping and was charged twice as much when it was calculated at the post office. But overall etsy is amazing!
Interviewed by LD of GoodYarns in November, 2010.