Thursday, March 5, 2009

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT ~ Lisa's RetroStyle

Well...this isn't the first time I've been caught talking to myself...however, I must say, it is the first time I've ever interviewed myself. This should be interesting. So lets get right to it...shall we...

Today, I'm pleased to introduce...Me...Lisa B. I am the author of the blog Lisa's RetroStyle and I sell an eclectic and sometimes creative collection of vintage goods in my shops...Lisa's RetroStyle Vintage, Lisa's RetroStyle Vintage Craft & Supply and Lisa's RetroStyle BlogShop. I also run periodic auctions on ebay.

Vintage AMF Bowling Bag Blue White

How long have you been in the business Lisa? you know...Lisa...I've been dabbling for about 5 years now. Over that time I've sold on ebay and had a booth at an antique mall. I really started in earnest last spring when I began selling at antique flea markets. This past winter I have been able to devote more time to building my online shops. Although I'm relatively new to selling...I've been a life long collector.

What made you decide to start selling online?

Well, I really liked the reach of the online marketplace. Being able to sell to customers around the world is a big plus. I also liked that I could work it at my own pace...when I wasn't working at my "real" job. (Lisa was/is an RN...who...WooHoo..was able to leave that career of 22yrs last summer.)

Vintage 1930s Red Wing Pottery Belle Kogan Fan Vase Chartreuse Gray

What are your favorite ways to find items for your shops?

I love thrifting! That has to be my favorite way to find things. I've been doing it since I was in high school (30 years!). It really is like "treasure hunting" to me. It takes a certain eye to see thru all the junk, clutter and often dirt to find a real gem! Thrifting is shopping adventure! I also tend to find the best things when I am alone and most focused. I enjoy thrifting as a solitary sport.

Garage sales are another fav….much more social. I often make a day of that with like minded friends. It isn't always time/cost effective...but you just never know...I would say one in 20 turns out to yield real scores. That's what keeps me stopping at them. And I enjoy visiting with the "neighbors".

Curbside shopping has to make the list too! Nothing compares to FREE treasure! Well...except for the cost of a little dignity! lol. A lot of people still just don't get "dumpster diving" or swiping others trash. Oh well...more for those of us who do!

I also look for finds in antique shops and at antique flea markets. I often find at least a few things that are undervalued. Either the dealer doesn't know, doesn't care or it's just an item that they can't move at the venues they sell at. Since I enjoy the hunt...I always look.

Estate sales...are kind of love / hate. Although they often yield more immediately resalable things...prices tend to be much higher and there is a lot of competition. Where I live dealers often spend the night on the street in front of the sale waiting to be the first in....and the competition can be fierce to snag those great items.

What types of items can usually be found in your shops?

I have quite a variety of different types of things. I try to keep it balanced, fun and interesting. I look at inventory from the perspective of what kinds of things do I use/enjoy in my daily life. I like things I not just be old and cool…but useful! So I buy clothes, purses, house wares, home decor, things to re-purpose for craft projects, ect.

I love 1930's-1960's so many of my things tend to be from those decades. As far as specific items it varies from "shop to shop". In my craft and supply shop you can find items that I've made from bags and hats. I'm working on a new line of hats for spring right now. Those should be available soon.

Up-cycled From Vintage Barkcloth Bag

Of course for my shows I have lots of bigger items like furniture and architectural salvage. For my online shops it's mostly smalls. Although in the future I hope to add a section to my blogshop that has items available for local pick up where I will list some of my salvage and furniture.

What are your goals and plans for the future?

As far as my business...a lot. I would definitely like to have my own web store. But I suspect that is a ways off for me (I am sooo computer illiterate). We have been talking about moving to a warmer climate and I would love to have a "bricks and mortar" store wherever we end well as continuing my online ventures. I always bite off more than I can we'll have to see where the future takes us. For now I am very happy doing what I'm doing...learning what works and what doesn't.

If you could give one piece of advice to a seller who is just starting out, what would it be?

Sell what you love...and have fun doing it!

Wow sure talk a lot!
I've heard that before.
It was great talking to ya.
Yea you too, thanks. Did I mention I'm a Gemini? that explains a lot. Okay...well drop in on Lisa anytime...anywhere. She loves having people to talk to other than herself.


Mitzi said...

hahaha, gret job interviewing yourself Lisa - no small task but you passed with flying colors! ;)

I wish I could stop looking at your bags - I want one of each! lol

Katie said...

LOL! I thought about interviewing myself on my blog, but thought it might be a bit odd. I'm going to do it now!
Great interview.
Your shops are amazing. I saw the barkcloth bag and my eyes almost popped out. I love barkcloth and remember the days when it was easy to find in whole panels for pennies. :)

Katie said...

I forgot to mention, you should write to the Storque about doing a 'Quit your day job' segment. It would be cool to have a vintage seller in the spotlight!

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Oh.....another Gemini!

Move to Sarasota!! ; )

Lisa B. said...

You're funny Cecile! I didn't know Sarasota was a mecca for Geminis?!

Hey Harriet said...

You crazy Geminis! That was a fun interview Lisa/Lisa! When you move to that warmer climate, be sure to consider Australia. Then I can help you run your b & m shop...

How fun would that be!!!

The Summer Kitchen Interiors said...

You....are nuts!

That's why we like ya!

M.Kate said...

Hey Lisa, that was a FUN interview, now how do you know what question to ask Lisa, Lisa? dont listen to Tracy, don't move to Australia..they still have winter there, move's summer holiday all year long. Have you ever considered vintage from the east? Happy weekend Lisa :P

whimsicalpam said...

Great interview Lisa!...and a great read to start my day:)
I love the upcycled bag - gorgeous!

Jill said...

Great to get to know you better!--interesting that you were/are an RN. Lots of medical people in our family. I'm still a PT but haven't worked in quite awhile (kids).