Monday, June 4, 2012

Etsy Interviews V.4 // Bessi from On The Prowl Vintage

I have a pretty exciting interview/giveaway to share today with the owner of an Etsy shop I've admired for quite some time!

Bessi from On The Prowl Vintage is so inspiring. I really look up to those who can run a successful online shop and keep everything well stocked, photographed, and organized as well as keep up with orders and still find time for their own life as well. It's really hard work!
Bessi was more than happy to be a part of my "Etsy Interviews" series and I'm so glad because she's probably my new favorite person. Her story is beautiful and so is she!

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Name: Bessi Bruns
Shop Name: On The Prowl Vintage

1. When did you first fall in love with Vintage?:

I remember the moment well, actually. I was about 10 years old and my father and I walked up to a little church rummage sale a few blocks from our house. The sale was what you would expect: old people’s “junk”. Not quite into the toy section anymore, I wandered over to the racks of dresses. However, they were not the kind I was used to seeing at the mall. In fact, they were not like any dress I had known before. As soon as the older ladies working the sale noticed me, they came right over and told me how the dresses had been theirs or their sisters from when the women were in their twenties, dating back to the 1940’s and 50’s. Their eyes lit up as they told me stories of the memories they had with the dresses. They laughed and their voices had so much character as they reminisced date nights with their future husbands, engagements parties, nights at the fair, and so on. I couldn’t believe the history that the pieces of clothing held. And here they were, at a rinky dink church sale, just waiting for someone to come along and cherish them as much as they once were. I could tell the women would be excited to have their beloved dresses get a new home with a young girl and although I was only 10 and just discovering fashion, and really had no use for the dresses, I didn’t have the heart to not get at least some of them. Just before I walked out the door with my new garments, the women told me that someday, when I was old enough to wear them, the dresses were going to make me feel beautiful. And they couldn’t have been more right! That day changed me. I had fallen in love with the uniqueness and the romantic history embedded in vintage clothing.

2. What inspires you?:

The way the sunlight hits at different parts of the day, shadows, shapes found in nature, music, hard workers, migrating birds, patterns, quotes, historic houses, old illustrations. These things inspire me in life and on a personal level. When it comes to design, my biggest inspirations are colors and the way they play amongst each other. When styling an outfit for myself or for Prowl color is the number one driving force behind each outfit.

And sometimes when I’m in a big work rut and all inspiration has run dry I just open up an old Vogue Magazine from the 60s. That always does the trick. :)

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3. What are your all-time favorite Vintage items that you own and/or that you've sold?:

Hahaha I have too many favorite items. Some of my family and friends think I love inanimate things too much, but I just don’t think they see the artistic beauty things carry. Haha. But my favorite items are ones that were given to me or passed down to me from relatives or family friends. The more of the story I know about a vintage piece, the more attached I become to it.

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And of course anything with a novelty print (especially animals). One of my favorites is a 50s skirt with the story of the Owl and The Pussy Cat illustrated throughout. (Owl and the Pussy Cat is also one of my favorite fairytale poems) I have it displayed in my bedroom so I can see it everyday.

4. Has Etsy become your full-time job? If not, would you like it to be?:

In 2009, I became very ill and diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Cogan’s Syndrome. The illness causes those affected to go deaf and have loss of balance. I have lost all hearing in my left ear and have some hearing loss in my right. To combat the illness and to try and hold on to the hearing in my right ear, I am on countless amounts of medicine. So when all this came about I made the decision that Etsy full time was a great fit for me as I could work from home. Since sometimes I have bouts of sickness, I can simply put my store on vacation mode. I can work at my own pace and set my own schedule. Etsy really has been such a great and positive anchor in my life. And the Etsy community is awesome!

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5. Any advice for others trying to be successful on Etsy?:

Just go out there and do it – arms open wide. Be confident in yourself but be open to constructive criticism. Do your own thing and be unique. Follow your instincts but listen to what others have to say, and if your gut says still do it, then by golly do it. I think the VERY most important thing is just to not give up. That’s instant failure. Success is in the journey and the courage to say, “I kept going.” I have wanted to give up on Prowl 3,432 times, but at the end of the day I always went back to it and said, “Well I guess I’ll try this again tomorrow.”

6. Have any personal or business goals for 2012?:

Yeezz, I have so many! But my biggest business goal is to be more present in the online social media world. Naturally, I’d rather sit in the grass outside with a pencil and notebook, count clouds, and keep to myself, so it’s hard for me to be facebooking, tweeting, and blogging. I really look up to you bloggers and social media mavens out there. It’s a lot of dedication and hard work. I just bought an iphone this past week (after nearly 3 years without any kind of mobile phone) so I think I’m on the right path. Haha. Baby Steps.

7. Have a fun fact or anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your shop?:

I’m the proud mama of two kitty cats, my favorite FroYo toppings are jackfruit and lychee, and I play a mean game of Rummy. : )

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Not only is Bessi happy to participate in a giveaway, but she's also offering my readers 20% off all orders with the coupon code: LTBLOG. Isn't she the sweetest??

The giveaway will run from today through Tuesday, June 12th.
This is my first giveaway hosted through Rafflecopter, so here's to hoping it all goes well! Good luck!

10 comments:

  1. What a great post and giveaway! I was just looking at her shop, it's so cool :) My favourite item is: the Vintage Symmetrical Floral Pussy Bow Secretary Dress. xx

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  2. this is such a beautiful story and I'm glad you shared it with us ;) It is absolutely inspiring to hear such things and even though I haven't been that much into vintage I'll definitely keep an eye out from now ;)

    And I'll definitely have a peek at her shop :D

    xoxo

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  3. What a lovely interview, and very inspiring as an Etsy seller myself!! Can't wait to head over to her shoppe! Great giveaway!! Thanks and having a wonderful day! xo Heather

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  4. I love the top pink pussy bow blouse! This is a wonderful giveaway (and story)!

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  5. What a beautiful story and shop :) I LOVE the vintage 80s floral revival shirtdress. Such a wonderful giveaway, thank you! x

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  6. i love the shop. so gorgeous!!

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  7. This is an amazing idea for a feature! I really love bloggers who support other bloggers or etsy sellers (especially since I am one myself)! She sounds like a sincere and inpsiring girl and I will definitely be keeping a lookout for her added online presence in the future!

    On a completely unrelated note, I love your blog header, it is adorable! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    xo Hannah

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    1. Thank you! It was designed by the lovely Oana Befort - check her out! She's a wonderful artist.
      http://oanabefort.blogspot.com/

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  8. Great story and Etsy shop!

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