Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet the Members of Vintage Market Team- Gwen of CollectableSpectacle

1. - Tell us a bit about you?

My name is Gwen. I'm a 42 year old female with a love for vintage eyeglasses. My family consists of an amazing husband named Richard, a great dog named Bo Diddley, and a funny, smart and terribly talkative Cockatiel named Bucky.

I was never the 9-5 kind of person, and in 2007 when the company I worked for moved to Massachusetts, it was a bit of a relief. Now I have several jobs that keep me busy. I help run a nonprofit Arts Organization with a mission to provide affordable studio space to artists in Washington, DC.

I live just outside of the District on the Maryland side, where I am also a piano teacher. Earlier this year I started Collectable Spectacle Vintage Eyewear. I like to keep busy, but sometimes it can get overwhelming.

My husband and I live in a 1954 Cape Cod style house. It has some great vintage construction like swirls in the plaster all over the ceiling. If you look closely you can see that someone made each swirl by hand and each one overlaps the previous one. It has beautiful hardwood floors and a lot of vintage charm with an eclectic mix of furniture. We love it!

Collectable Spectacle came about in a very interesting way. Last December my husband lost his job. We had a few months cushion before we ran out of money. I told him we had to figure out what we could sell in our house to make ends meet. Then I wandered to our basement, and saw the boxes of vintage eyeglasses from my stepfather’s office (Optometrist).

I first became enamored with vintage eyeglasses when I was a child. My stepfather, a second generation Optometrist, used to keep all of the old 50s and 60s inventory in a back stockroom. I used to love getting into the boxes, going through them and trying on all of the old eyeglasses. When my stepfather passed on, his last box of vintage frames came to me -- and they then went into the basement. I broke into that box! I found amazing pairs of old glasses that I remember putting on as a kid, and the light bulb went off to start Collectable Spectacle.

2- What do you sell?

I sell vintage eyeglass and sunglass frames. I am still fairly new to Etsy. CollectableSpectacle had it's first sale on 3/2010. I tried to sell a few glasses on Ebay (to start) and found out that other people out there love vintage frames as much as I do. As I began to sell almost all of my stepfather's stock (except my favorites) I began buying and selling more, and have been having fun with it ever since. A month after getting my shop online, my husband found a great job!

3- Favorite decade for vintage?

I love the frames of the 1950s and 1960s. They have so much personality and intricacies that you just don't see out there today. They are made incredibly well, are seriously Mod and so much fun! Most of the frames from this time period are handmade.

4- Favorite vintage item you own? Or regret having sold in the past?

My favorite vintage item is “Mr. Nobody's house”. It is an incredible lamp that my mother owned since I was a kid. The lamp was made out of an antique Chinese stove and has a door that opens and closes for coal ... When I was very young, I would play with Mr. Nobody, the imaginary friend who lived in this amazing lamp (house). It is now in our living room and we both just love it. My husband loves to tell the story of Mr. Nobody to anyone who comes to visit (and / or ... will listen).

5- Favorite item you are currently selling? And why?
60's Modernist Mask Style Cat Eye Eyeglasses. I love them because they are wild, strange, and unusual. They are in two different collectible eyeglass books. One book features them on the cover.

6- Best advice for newbies?

I would say learn about social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter, Kaboodle, etc. I have found that using these free online tools has helped me exponentially since starting up. I still have a long way to go, but they have really helped so far. Second, join a Team on Etsy. It has been the best thing I've done so far. Everyone is friendly and helpful. I have learned how to be successful on Etsy, how Etsy works, made friends, benefited from the group effort of promotion and love being part of the team. Finally, I would say ... don't give up, don't get discouraged.

7- Favorite web sites? Or blogs? (Clickable links, please.) - my husband's blog

8- Favorite movies? Or TV?

My favorite TV shows are Mad Men, Pickers, Pawn Stars, and Medium.My favorite movie? There are just so many that I love -- and often they are so different in theme. Hard to answer this one.

9- Favorite music?

Well, I love a vast variety of music. From classical to jazz, from techno to hard rock, 80's metal, and I love psych rock like Spacemen3 and Spiritualized.

10- Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself happily married with a thriving vintage eyeglass business on Etsy. Maybe 90s glasses will be the new rage? I can’t wait to see what comes back in style in the next ten years. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, we will have traveled to Europe by that time. I would like to eventually see the world. ☺

11- What else should we know about you/ your business?

I truly love vintage and handmade items. My house if full of vintage and if it's not vintage, it's hand made. I have a passionate love for pottery as well.

12- List your (clickable) links.


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