â€¦But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.Â â€”Billy Joel
A long, long time ago (the early â€™90s), in a land far, far away (Brooklyn), I was a student of design. I suppose I still am a student of design, but back then I was given specific (and sometimes not-so-specific) assignments. Okay, that’s still the case too. But at that time I had full creative control as well as very few design prejudices. And so it was for a packaging assignment that I conceived of a line of aerosol home air fresheners. At a time when the available options on the supermarket shelves were this or that floral fragrance, my line was based on food aromas. Although my entire portfolio of work from that period was lost when I moved to Colorado, I still remember that the two scents I fleshed out were Roasted Coffee Bean and Warm Cherry Pie. And that as part of my idea for a boutique line of higher-end home fragrance, the predominant color of the packaging was black.
I don’t recall my overall grade for the project, but I do remember that my professor lambasted me during the classroom critique for using black on a product that had any relation whatsoever to food. Black, it seems, is not an appetizing color.
Ahem. The following case studies were all gathered via the dielineÂ (a collection of “the world’s best packaging design”). Clicking on any image will take you to a brief article about its product and creative process.
Okay, I’ll stop here. I think you get my point. There were certainly features of my presentation that day which could have been improved upon, but I firmly defended my color scheme. The professor overruled my argument, but I’ve never once doubted my decision. We never got the chance to do a second round of drafts in school, but real life is different. If you believe in a particular feature of your design but the client says no, you may yet be on the right track. What can you do to improve your concept so that the client falls in love with your vision? After all, that’s why the client hired you, instead of The Other Guy.
As many of you know, a buncha weeks ago I’d been involuntarily logged out of my Facebook account, and no longer had any access to my personal profile or my shop’s fan page. The page was still public and visible, I simply couldn’t administer it.
The other day while helping a friend work on her own business page, I asked her to surf over to mine to see a particular app I wanted to show her. Curiously, she was redirected back to her page. I tried viewing it from my own device, and was redirected to the default Facebook login page.
Today I tried from my desktop, and was again redirected to the login page. I figured I had nothing to lose, and tried to log in. I was greeted with this:
I certainly do have questions or concerns, so I clicked on the hyperlink. That brought me to:
When I click on the “contact us” hyperlink shown above, I’m instructed to upload a JPG of a government-issued ID such as my passport orÂ drivers liscense [sic]. Which there is no way I’m doing. Jeepers, they can’t even spell “license” and I’m supposed to trust them to safely store or delete a scan of my passport? PLEASE. But there’s this little caveat lower down on the page anyway:
So I guess Facebook doesn’t want me, or my shop’s fan page, on their site. At all. Access to my government-issued IDs notwithstanding. So, to all of the human admins behind the many pages with which I enjoyed interacting: It’s not you, it’s me. Well, really, it’s Facebook. But the point is, it’s not you.
You can visit tiddleywink.com for easy links to some of the social media sites that haven’t kicked me off.
Last week, I said I’d be posting some charming vintage aprons in the shop.
I didn’t forget. I gave up. By the time I’d steam-burned my hand for what seemed like the 427th time (and I’m pretty good with a garment steamer, seeing as I’ve been using them for something like 6 or 8 years now), I hit the proverbial wall. I’ll sell these aprons for $8-$12 a piece, and for what?
I’m tired. I’m tired of driving the miles to wait in line to push through crowds to paw through filthy, wrinkled piles to dig out the gems.
Tired of inspecting every seam every button every snap, of hauling loads to the dry cleaner, of hand-laundering what I can or have to, of re-sewing hems and re-attaching buttons, of steaming steaming steaming to get every single piece photo-ready.
Tired of fighting with cameras and lighting stands and buying photo bulbs that are NEVER bright enough, of losing half of my basement (and thank goodness I have a basement) permanently to photo studio/inventory/shipping supply storage.
Tired of color-balancing photos, of taking measurements, of researching labels*, of researching price comps, of writing descriptions.
Tired of answering umpteen questions** from potential customers, and so rarely getting a “thanks” in return.
Tired of paying for every listing, paying for every sale, paying for every credit card transaction, paying for advertising space that doesn’t return the investment.
Â Tired of trying to figure out the perfect storm of tags that will actually get my listings to show up in searches in the bizarre and ever-changing world of Etsy “relevance.”
Tired of re- (and sometimes re-re-re-) listing items that don’t sell the first time around, even when they’re in perfect condition, a wearable size, and better priced than my competitors.
Tired of packing boxes and writing out Customs forms and making trips to the post office.
Tired of what a mad nest of paperwork my income taxes have become.
Tired of feeling oppressed by the sheer volume of inventory that isn’t yet photographed/listed.
All of this excess isâ€¦excessive. I am very seriously considering consigning my entire inventory at one of the local brick-and-mortar shops. Tiddleywink Vintage‘s stock (and back-stock) would easily quadruple what Jolly Goods currently has to offer in the clothing area. Or maybe Night & Day Vintage would have room. I could sell off my backdrops, my mannequins, my studio lighting. I’d get my basement back, and some free time. Butâ€¦
I’d miss it. Yes, everything I’ve griped about above is true. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never done this for fame and glory and easy money. (Ha!) I do it because I see beautiful vintage clothing that is potentially destined to become next year’s shredded Halloween costume if I don’t get it in front of the eyes of people who also appreciate its worth.
As other enthusiasts have noted, vintage clothing is getting harder to find. These items are 50-60-70 years old (or more), and they’re aging out. We can take all of the care we can muster, but we wear this clothing. Over time, fabrics deteriorate. Threads break. Buttons fall off. Zippers jam. Drinks get spilled. And yes, some items become next year’s Zombie Crawl*** costume. As time goes on, more pieces get lost to the rag bin. Can I, in good conscience, let it all go?
Time will tell. But time, and my patience, is running short.
*This part is actually right up my alley, but it’s frustrating that I spend hours researching items so that I’m confident they’re properly attributed, and then I see other sellers who so blatantly don’t bother. And we probably have equivalent revenue.
**I don’t mind as much when they’re good, valid questions. I mind very much when they’re stupid, thoughtless questions that could be answered by reading the item description. I understand that the item may not be your size/style/exactly what you’re looking for. I won’t be hurt if you don’t buy the item being discussed. But for goodness’ sake, say “thank you” when I answer your questions!
***Another seller grieved over the vintage piece sold to a customer who then gleefully exclaimed that she actuallyÂ planned to shred and blood-stain it for a Zombie Crawl costume. We can’t always win.