Discovering Vintage

We decided to go on a vintage hunt, and, taking advice from some local thrift store owners, headed to a place dubbed “Retro Row” on 4th St. in Long Beach, CA where the street was filled with vintage themed shops and thrift stores.

As we drove, we saw the store fronts shift and the culture of the area change from normal street corners to vivid buildings and beautiful window displays. Colorful vintage store fronts and clever names filled our view.

We began with a store entitled The Feed Store; a beautiful vintage store that had unique vintage items ranging from wedding dresses to small cowboy hats in boxes. It was a store filled with items that anyone could fall in love with instantly. (Check out the Feed Store here.)

As we continued to walk 4th street, we saw how these shops brought life and diversity to what would normally be just another street. A sense of pride was displayed in the street colors, signs and even bicycle racks. This same pride can be seen with vintage sellers on Etsy. Although we don’t have a physical storefront, our virtual presence, and everything it encompasses, should be just as inviting and sensorial. Do your photos give the customer an experience akin to holding the item in their hands? Do your descriptions paint a picture?  Our photos allow our customers to see the item and the description is their contact with the feeling, smell, and connection with the item. Our shop names draw people in, and our About pages give people glimpses of the person behind the counter.

We realized the more we treat our vintage shop like it’s a member of “Retro Row” in Long Beach, California the more customers will be able to experience a vintage shopping experience. Our passion can be displayed as people discover our vintage, and we discover theirs. So, keep hunting and always remember that your shop is really a vintage shop on 4th street in Long Beach, Ca.

Check out our vintage store here!

What Disneyland Can Teach Us About Branding

Let me start with a disclaimer. I am by no means an expert in branding. I am only a student and in kindergarten at that, but I have always been detail oriented, and it seems to me detail is at the heart of branding. 

 When it comes to opening a shop on Etsy, anyone can doodle a banner, create a product and open a shop. What seems to be forgotten, however, is the details. The realization that your virtual store is a representation of what a physical store should be. What should your Twitter bio say or what should your Facebook profile picture be? What about these small but important details? 

 My wife and I are proud Disneyland annual passport holders. Sometimes we go just for the Gibson Girl out-of-this-world ice cream or explore areas of the park one-day park-hopper passes don’t allow time for. The amount of detail Disney puts into every square inch of their attractions is astounding! Their attractions are, after all, what the theme park is known for. Their entrance is their Etsy banner, and their attractions are their products. It goes without saying that everything is detailed and cohesive, but what about  small, forgotten areas like first aid? 

 On our recent visit, the tiniest toe on my left foot suffered a sudden blister. I needed a band aid and fast. My wife directed me to the nurses office hidden in a section of Main Street, USA that I was unaware of. The first thing I noticed were these beautiful frosted glass windows. They were soft and welcoming as if a doctor from a Norman Rockwell painting was waiting for me on the other side. 

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 Once inside, I immediately noticed the illustrations of famous Disney characters as doctors and nurses, assisting other Disney characters who were patients. The atmosphere was similar to a doctor’s office but this extra touch kept the fantasy alive, even in a place where Advil and Pepto-Bismol call home. 

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 I was so impressed with these details, I almost forgot why I was there, until a kind nurse asked me “Good afternoon, sir. Is there anything I can do for you?” I explained the predicament of my tiny toe. She took the matter very seriously and began to display a series of bandaids in various sizes, unsure of the girth of my tiny toe. She made sure that we knew there were extra bandages we could take just to be sure that my little toe would remain safe. I took the smallest one, thanked her and sat down on a bench with my wife while she performed the operation. 

 She opened the bandaid and placed it gently on my wounded appendage. I look down and what do you think was staring back at me? Mickey Mouse! He had a big smile on his face as if he was saying “All better now.” 

 

Image This tiny detail made me feel like a little boy going to Disneyland for the first time. In Etsy, tiny details such as status updates, bios, or even pictures can be forgotten or put aside. Disney is an example of how even the smallest attention to detail can bring people and keep people in their world. They understand something as simple as a Mickey Mouse printed on a bandaid designed to rescue a little hurt toe could make their customer feel special. They understand the heart of branding is in the details. 

 So let us take a lesson from Disney. In our Etsy shops, let us pay attention to the details of our branding, treat every customer like they are the first customer, and create cohesive beautiful shops that display our talent and finds.

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What’s Your Favorite Thrift Store Find?

I began my obsession with thrift shopping at a young age. My grandma, the original bargain master, used to take me to every Goodwill in Los Angeles County. I used to rummage through the men’s suit collection, hoping to find a beautiful three piece pinstriped suit. It didn’t matter if the lapels could double for airplane wings or even if it was made of polyester, if it fit me I wanted it.

It took several years of growing before I finally found that suit. It fit me like it was made for me. It had a tag in the interior pocket dated 1936 (my favorite year) and it was adorned with the most beautiful pinstripes this boy had ever seen.
It was, by far, the greatest thing I ever found at a thrift store, until eight years later…
My wife and I are on a routine hunt for new products for our Etsy shop. We stop in a bargain store we’ve never visited before. For those of you who have hypoglycemia you can understand the sensation we experienced the moment our eyes rested on this store’s bounty. It was a Hipster’s paradise. Our paradise.

I couldn’t believe the amazing things I was finding. Every find seemed to outdo the next, but all fell silent and bowed in reverence the moment my wife tapped me on the shoulder and handed me the greatest thrift shop find of all eternity; a Universal Studios E.T. piggy bank! Copyright 1982! Four times a day every day, I watched this masterpiece. It made me become a filmmaker! This was my childhood. This was my life!   My life for only $4. Sorry grandma, my wife is the new bargain master.

That was my favorite thrift shop of all time! What is yours?

Please share your favorite find story in the comments below!

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Simple Leaves of Paper

We take pride in the items we have from our shop. From swap meets to local thrift shops, we search for unique, lost items and bring them to you. We take our time with the pictures, but we also take our time with packaging. Every purchase is important to us, and we show this with our simple but personal wrapping.

Package ready for shipping!

Package ready for shipping!

Remember the days when brown paper packages would come in the mail? Every time you buy from us, you will to be taken back to simple times of brown paper and carefully made products. Every item we post is cleaned as best as it can be without ruining the product. If it is breakable or needs cushioning, we encase the item in soft cotton for shipping. A simple brown tag with our name and a thank you for supporting GEMS is then placed around your purchase. The item is finally wrapped in recycled brown paper and tied with jute cord. This gives a simple but personal feel to this item.

Our favorite stamp.

Our favorite stamp.

When you receive your package, we want you to be excited and delighted with your beautiful products. As you open it, you will see that paper autumn leaves have been sprinkled around your items.

We hope you love it and continue to support GEMS as they fight to end trafficking in the United States.

Paper leaves of autumn.

Paper leaves of autumn.