A Word From the Wise

Friends, I first met Jenn a while back when I e-mailed her asking for advice regarding lighting for my shop. She responded right away and was super sweet and helpful, and since then I have enjoyed getting to know her, and let's be honest, wondering how she does it!

This lady is seriously an inspiration to me!

This week, Jenn had her 2,000th sale on etsy! That just blows my mind. She is a vintage-selling super woman, and I am so honored to have her on the blog today to share some of her tips on owning a vintage business and finding bargains! And, you must follow this mama on twitter. She has me laughing out loud several times a day.

Let's meet the owner of Blue Butterfly Vintage, shall we?


Jenn, tell me about yourself. Where do you live? Is selling your vintage your full-time gig?

Hey! I'm Jenn, a twenty-something-or-other, from Jamestown, NY, which is a tiny city in western NY, sort of nestled between Buffalo and Erie, PA. It is the birthplace/former home of some famous people, like Lucille Ball (my idol!) and the original members of the 10,000 Maniacs. Also, a guy who was a judge during the Nuremberg trials grew up here, but I won't geek out and do a history lesson.

Some things I love include my four awesome nieces, Jimmy Stewart movies, old tee shirts, anything written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, politics, cats, the Killers, hot sauce, the artist Man Ray, and teenage soap operas from the late 90s.

I'm a proud graduate of Geneseo University, where I majored in English and had a minor in Art Studio (as you can see, I picked fields where I thought I could make a ton of money). Did I mention I'm a bit sarcastic? I was class clown for my senior superlatives in high school, so yeah, I like jokes, too.

The summer after I graduated, I had some crazy luck with my photography and ended up selling several pieces to some interior designers in NYC and around here for a couple thousand dollars. It was insane. Naturally I thought I would be famous any day, but alas that never happened.

I stumbled into selling online, because I needed some cash and knew that I had some valuable vintage tees in my collection (again, I'm obsessed with old tee shirts). I started on the Bay (fancy term for eBay) and it took off from there. I started on Etsy, probably a year later or so. Now I sell vintage full time, but I do still take an occasional freelance photo or editing gig. I still hope to one day write an earth shattering novel (oh, dreams!).

You just recently had your 2000th sale, which is crazy. Any tips for those of us trying to make it on etsy? Any tips?

Yes! 2000 sales is insane. The best piece of advice I can give for selling is to use a neutral background. People who make the treasuries on the front page LOVE neutral backgrounds. More neutral backgrounds-->more treasuries-->more trips to the FP-->more appearances in Etsy newsletters=more sales! See how that works?


Also, list as many items in your store as possible and if you can't list new stuff, then try to re-list a few items every day. It seriously helps with traffic.

Lastly, be smart about pricing. You don't want to scare buyers away with high prices, but also, pricing items too low will often attract buyers who do not respect you as a seller (or as a human being).

What do you see as the biggest diff. betw selling on etsy v the "Bay"?
The biggest difference between the Bay and Etsy is the sense of community that Etsy has to offer. I actually sell more on the Bay but never advertise it, because selling on the Bay over Etsy feels like shopping at Walmart over the local Mom and Pop shops.

Feedback is annoying on the Bay in that a buyer can leave a negative, but a seller can't, though I do like that you can respond to feedback left. That is something I think Etsy needs desperately.

Also, fees are higher on the Bay, especially if you have a store subscription.

You're all like then why sell over there? Well, they do have more traffic which leads to more sales, especially in autumn/winter months.

Any great tips for us thrifters and general vintage hoarders?

Final tips: my biggest would be never leave something on the shelf. If you walk out of the store regretting the fact that you didn't buy something, go back in it and get it. I have done this so many times and so many times, I have found the item online afterwards to be worth so much money. As a seller, you have a natural instinct for what is valuable, so go with your gut. Sure, you may be wrong occasionally, but it will sting a lot less than if you go back and someone else has purchased the item.


Also, if you find your home more resembles an A&E show than a living space, then do what I do occasionally, which is give yourself a goal and say that you can't buy anything new to sell until you have sold a certain number of items. Not only does it cut back on buying, but I find myself working harder to list what I have so that I can go search for new treasures. [LOVE THIS!]

Thanks for taking time to chat with me, Jenn! You're the bee's knees, and I am so grateful to have met you!

Have a great day, friends!




  1. thanks for the awesome feature, lady!

  2. These are really great tips! I'm certainly not looking to start a vintage shop, but I think that these points can be easily applied to other areas, and blogging in general. Whether you're looking to make a sale or gain a follower, you've got to get people's attention! Cool stuff, thanks Jenn and Amanda!


  3. This was so helpful Amanda! Lighting/background has been one of the biggest issues for me when it comes to selling since my house is surrounded by tall trees and doesn't get much sunlight. I may need to rethink where I set up my mannequin at to shoot. Also, I agree 100% with what she said about eBay. Before I had my Etsy, I was selling vintage and modern clothing on eBay since 2001 and in the past couple years things have really gone downhill there with some of the decisions they've made with raising fees and changing their feedback system. It seems like they do not have the seller's best interest at heart whereas Etsy is all about their selling community. Great interview - I'm going to check her shop out now :)

  4. Great advise! I've been slacking majorly on my etsy shop and I really need to get it going again.

  5. Thank you so much for this interview. Jenn is definitely an inspiration!