Friday, April 24, 2015

Home Tour: Natasha of Halmoni Vintage's Cozy, Earthy Plant-Filled California Casa


Natasha's volunteered to share her vintage world on the blog before, once in my Thrifters Around the World series and again when I profiled her sized-acceptance themed vintage clothing shop in California. This time I'm sharing peeks around her adorable bohemian bungalow. I love how it's comfortable, earthy, and a riot of color! I'm taking inspiration for re-arranging my own pad!

Occupants: I live solo dolo with my main squeeze "Pupperoni Prince" Peanut.
Professions: I am solopreneur behind Halmoni Vintage

Please tell us a little about yourself: I run a vintage shop to fuel my addiction to buying old stuff. I love the hunt, it's a drug. I love polkadots and nail polish.

Apartment History: I had a few friends who lived in this 5 plex a few years back and I remember wishing to live on this street because it is lined with the tallest Palm Trees. One of my friends decided to move out and the opportunity came and I seized it. I've been here for 3 years now. 

Define Your Style: I like to think of my style as urban shabby chic bohemian :)

Favorite Thrifted Home Find: I love my mid-century modern overlapping square display. I found it in the dumpster at my last apartment and was shocked that someone would get rid of it. 

Favorite Home Feature? I love having a deck so I can have a garden. If I couldn't play with my plants my life would be lackluster. 

Yes! Gardening is good for the soul. I'm jealous of your deck! What was your biggest challenge with your home? My landlord has painted it this hideous beige/yellow color and it makes me want to die but I work with it. Painting party in the works.

Visitor's Reactions: They always love it and say it is fits me perfectly.

Biggest Embarrassment: My apartment usually looks like a tornado of clothes hit it.  (Van's Note: Oh dear god, the life of a vintage seller. I just had some buyers and friends visit yesterday and the pile of merch behind my computer desk most times is so embarrassing :P)

Proudest DIY: I rewired a lamp that I have had for 10 years. 

Biggest Indulgence: I've actually downsized quite a bit since starting my business. There are certain sacrifices we have to make to succeed in different areas of our life. I figure I will be able to hoard whenever I want once my business is straight and steady. 

Best Money-Saving Move: Get your boxes from craigslist. When I moved I got a bunch of wardrobe boxes and boxes made specifically for dishes, it was so easy to move clothes and breakables.

I love that tip! It really helps with glass merch to have just the right boxes. Best Advice to share?: Don't get discouraged if furniture placement doesn't work, keep trying. I am so happy with my livingroom and it took me 3 different tries before finding the perfect arrangement. 

Van: Agreed on that one. I'm still trying to get my living room right. Sometimes it takes finding the right piece, too. Takes time!

Natasha: Thank you so much for being so amazing. Thank you so much for wanting me to do this. Thank you for the motivation to clean my house :)  I love that we are connected and I look forward to working more with you in the future. 

/ / / / /

Want To Be on Next Home Tour? I love sharing the homes of creatives, bloggers, gardeners, and you! E-mail me if you're local and would be kind enough to let me shoot your home or drop me a line if you're not and I'll use your photos.

What's your favorite part of Natasha's home? I love all those plants, of course! And how simple and cozy the space is.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Two Houses. Two Types. Are You a Maker, or Buyer? Trailblazer, or Follower?

I adore the area I live in. Riverside, Jacksonville is an eclectic mix. There are 2,120 historic buildings, parks, independent businesses galore, underground scenes and frequent art gallery openings. It's a bohemian shangri-la and I never get tired of exploring the area. I'm especially drawn to the different houses, with diverse architecture and styles spanning decades.

And I stop the photograph many of them, I'd stop to photograph every single one if I had the time. Each one with character, life, and unique quirks. The ones that drawn me in the most are the unfinished ones. The shabby, old ones with cracks, boarded windows, and graffiti. Each perceived "flaw" a story, each odd exterior embellishment a unique imprint telling us about its heydey in history. If I have time I stop my ride or walk and take pictures. And dream.

I imagine excitedly buying the property and first going through and scrubbing from top to bottom, accessing any damage that needs to be fixed post haste and assigning it to the correct contractor, installing a vibrant garden, painting, and turning the property into something new. Back to its former glory, with my personal kitsch-touch. If I had my way and unlimited disposable income, I'd take every sad home, lot or space I could and transform it into something new. I'm a maker. I see potential in the old, neglected, rusted, thrifted, discarded, and unwanted. I think their tales are more fascinating than focus-group curated conventional retail shops filled with object made by sweatshop labor overseas.

Every time I see one of these houses I think there are two types of people in the world. I have a dickish, snobbish, arbitrary way of diving the population, obviously. The people who see the potential with me, that see the junk piles as an opportunity are fellow makers, often trailblazers. They work hard to find their own path. They see the beauty in the ugly. The others who see an old house as a pile of crap are the buyers. They support the Gucci luxury retail stores of the world, they believe the $1,200 purse crap-carrier, is the sum of its parts. They may live in those condominiums that are located in or directly next to shopping centers that are clean and cookiecutter. Blander than saltine crackers (hold the salt).

If you're here, you may have found me from a google search about crafting, reselling, or thrifting. If you've been here long enough you're likely creative and you see the potential in the rubble. So what are you waiting for, if you're not already blazing your own trail?

Do what you want for a living, buy where you want, live where you want, shop where you want, but don't do it based on a preconceived notion of what you "have" to do. Of course, buy Gucci if you want, there's nothing wrong with it. Buy the big new house if it makes you happy. But I often encounter people working on a proverbial life checklist (new car, nice clothes, new house, family, kids, degrees, debt) that doesn't make them happy at all. They work job they hates to satisfy the list, they work on the list because it's what they're 'told' to do. Why do it if it doesn't satisfy you? "New" isn't the only way.

I believe everyone is creative and yearns for expression. Express. Make. Paint. Write. Be you, do you. Don't hold back. If the office life isn't for you, skip it.

You only have one life. Are you the maker or the buyer? The trailblazer or the follower? Do you see a beautiful historic home with potential here, or a pile of junk? Yes, this is what crosses my mind nearly every time I pass a gorgeous, neglected home and engage in fixer-up fantasies. Thanks for listening to me sharing it; even if it's judgy, hypocritical and dickish. (Because after all, I do buy new things too.) This is just something that's been swirling around in my head lately as I explore my dizzyingly beautiful old neighborhood these days.

By the by, I'm actively working behind the scenes on the blog. Making a new archive system, changing subpages (about is evolving) and forcing myself to let loose more with posts. I have a strict, stifling system. I'm working at it. Expect to see little changes pop up in the next couple of days.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Badass Biz: Kimberly, Published Writer, Mom Turns eBay into a $3K/Month Gig

Does anyone feel secure with work these days? From my chats with people from all walks of life, universally, the answers is no. There's less work, and every employer is asking more out of employees because pliant applicants are ripe for the picking in this economy. We're all over-worked and under-paid. Many are losing jobs. It's hard when you're a single person, and even worse when you're supporting a family. I am walking away from reselling, but I will always promote it as a powerful source for making an income that anyone can learn. In a world where jobs are less certain, I'm grateful for the internet and reselling as a tool for people in need to earn a flexible living.

Today I'm chatting with Kimberly: wife, mom, teacher, and former children's book writer about how she turned eBay into a $3K per month gig.

1/ Hello Kimberly, please tell us about yourself.
Hi, Van! First of all, thanks for the invite. I'm a long time follower and admirer of your blog, so it's an honor for me to get the opportunity to share with you and your readers. I'm a 41-year old wife and homeschooling mom to three teenagers. In addition to that, I previously wrote children's nonfiction books. But with the new Common Core Standards, publishers are looking to certified teachers to write their nonfiction books instead of writers. So, now I'm enjoying a career as an eBay Top Rated Seller, and frankly, making a lot more money in my new line of work :)

2/ Thank you for sharing all of this info with us! And I really appreciate your feedback on the blog over the years. How long have you been thrifting?
I've always enjoyed the thrill of finding a bargain, but I don't think I gained a true appreciation for all the treasures that could be found until I began to get serious about my eBay business. Now I hardly ever buy anything new.

3/ Can you share your top three thrifting tips?
Be consistent. Do your research (make sure you're going to make a tidy profit when you re-sell). Seek out more than one avenue for thrifting. I started out just hitting up thrift stores. Then I discovered garage sales and flea markets. Eventually, I discovered my favorite- auctions! There are frugal treasures to be found everywhere.

4/ How long have you been selling items on eBay?
I listed my first item just over two years ago.

5/ What led you to become an eBay seller.
My writing gigs were drying up, and my oldest daughter had been accepted into a very prestigious summer ballet intensive program. Readers of my blog know that ballet is her passion, and my husband and I really wanted her to have this opportunity. The only problem was, the cost was going to be over $2,000. We didn't have this extra cash, so we started brainstorming. My husband had several boxes of toys from his childhood in the basement. We decided to look them up and see what they went for on eBay. We were shocked! We sold all of his toys, my daughter went to her intensive, and my new business was born.

6/ If you don't mind telling, how much do you earn monthly and yearly selling items on eBay.
My inventory has continued to grow, and my eye for better quality has continued to develop. Over the last several months, I've consistently made $3,000-$4,000 per month after fees but before expenses (inventory and shipping shipping supplies). I usually spend between $750 and $1,000 on those items.

7/ What did you do in the past before selling on eBay?
I was a nonfiction childrens book author. I have 26 published books to my credit.

8/ How has selling on eBay changed your life?
I work incredibly hard- probably harder than I have at any other job, but I've never been happier. I love the freedom. If my kids have activities at a certain time, I can change my work schedule around to accommodate that and be there for them. Ebay has also given me a greater appreciation for buying used, recycling, and re-purposing. I had no idea how many quality items were being tossed away to thrift stores and garbage cans.

9/ What's your daily work schedule like?
I'm usually up by 6:00 a.m. I get myself ready for the day and have breakfast with my hubby. I wake my kids. While they're getting ready for the day, I answer emails. Around 7:00, I get the kiddos going with their school assignments. They're all old enough now that they work pretty independently. I just explain new topics, hand out assignments, and answer the occasional question. While they're working, I start listing. I set a goal of 10-15 new listing each day. Once my listings are done, I take pictures for the next day's listings. After lunch, I pack up anything that has sold and research and price the items that I will be listing the next day. My work day ends around 3:00 or 4:00.

10/ You're obviously a productive lister, any productivity tips to share?
Try to list like items on the same day. Using the sell similar feature and only making a few minor tweaks to each listing, it's much faster to list 15 coffee mugs then to list 15 items that have nothing in common.
Also, discipline is key. I have favorite tv shows I like to catch up on during my lunch hour, but I don't get to go to lunch until I've reached my listing goals.

11/ How about tips on staying focused?
Make a list and tackle one task at a time. Mix in the fun tasks with the not-so-fun tasks, but work in order and don't move on until the previous task is complete. Also, listing can be boring. To keep myself going, I listen to podcasts that interest me. One of my favorites is Scavenger Life.

12/ What would be your top 5 tips for selling on eBay successfully?

1. Consistent listing. At least a few listings everyday. If you want to take a day off, schedule a few listings ahead of time.

2. Find a few successful mentor sellers that sell the kinds of things you sell. Follow their stores and pay attention to their photographs, descriptions, pricing, etc. Learn from them.

3. Treat your business like a business. Leave emotions out of it. If you screw up, take ownership and take care of your customer immediately. Don't get worked up over returns. It's part of the business. Most regular stores have a 2-3% return rate. It's the cost of doing business.

4. Take the time to pack your items well. If it's breakable, wrap in bubble wrap, double box, and float. You have the sale- don't lose it because of poor packaging.

5. Be open to change. I see so many sellers get worked up every time eBay announces any changes. Instead of getting angry (totally unproductive), put your business hat on and figure out how you are going to make the changes work for your business.

13/ Very agreed on the breakable items. It's the worst when something breaks. How do you store all of your merch?
We have a 500 square feet addition built on to the back of our house.

14/ So lucky! It's so much easier to resell with real, dedicated storage. What types of items do you seek to sell?
Anything that I can make a nice profit on :)

15/ Haha, I feel you. I'd probably still be reselling if I could do that, but I curated for a certain aesthetic. Much harder to make money that way! What's the future hold for your business?
Hopefully, continued growth. Hubby is getting more involved. There is a possibility that his employer will be offering an early retirement buy-out. If that's the case, he's seriously considering joining me full-time in the eBay biz. In any case, I'm grateful to have found something that I truly love doing that provides a nice income :)

 / / / / / 

Kimberly blogs about her reselling adventures on the Garage Sale Haven blog. Thanks so much again for sharing this helpful information with us! If you're an indie business owner or maker or any kind, I'm dying to tell your story. E-mail if you'd like to be featured on the blog or share your experiences in the comments.

Any reselling questions and/or tips to share? Let us know in the comments! Yep, my super-detailed reselling ebook is still forthcoming!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.
Related Posts with Thumbnails