2021 Reflection and Looking Forward

I’ll be frank, I’m glad 2021 is over. It was a hell of a year. Sadly we had four deaths in the family–all non-Covid related which seemed to defy the law of averages. Some of these dear relatives I only saw once a year when I traveled back to my hometown in New York–like my dear cousin Shirley. She was 30 years older than me, but spunky and funny with a smile that lit up her whole face. I looked forward to our time together with pleasure. And of course the recent death of my brother has me awash with fresh grief.

On the plus side, my youngest daughter and youngest brother both got jobs in December. Each had been looking for over a year and came close several times only to lose out to other candidates. Thankfully they were the chosen ones this past month and I am so happy for both of them! It is scary to be out of work when you need it. I remember those anxious and tedious days of job hunting and interviewing and endlessly wordsmithing my resume. So glad that’s behind me.

Now my job is my Etsy store, Lion & Lamb Vintage, and I’m coming up on my 10-year store anniversary! And what an interesting time I’ve had with it. Truth be told though, I thought I’d be making a bit more $$$ at this point. And true, there are things I could be doing differently. I could use paid advertising, do more on social media, list every day, run more sales, accept offers, buy more on-trend items, have a lot more items, buy less expensive items, improve photos and keywords, etc. So many things. But overall I am happy with how I run my business and the items I buy. It’s been wonderful growing my knowledge and hunting for items is always an adrenaline rush. And yes, seeing my finds go off to new homes is a delight. It’s not all “beer and skittles,” still I love that I am in the driver’s seat. I can ramp up or scale back as I want and need and set the direction…

2022 will be about buying fewer things,
but keeping focused on
quality, age, uniqueness, beauty, quirkiness, patina.

I haven’t done much sourcing the last few weeks, but the four times I went to my neighborhood thrift store I came back empty handed. And strangely I’m happy because I realize I am getting pickier and not buying just to buy or settling. I’ve said NO to Jim Shore resin angel figurines, ubiquitous Holland delft ceramic items and pretty, but common etched brass vases made in India. I turned down run-of-the-mill trinket boxes, kitschy figurines and a print by artist Amram Ebgi that was just too faded. When I first started I likely would have bought all these things. But not now. Not now.

So what am I looking for? What will I buy in 2022?

How better than to show you with a picture. This October 2021 haul from my neighborhood thrift store illustrates my ongoing focus perfectly. Though each item is dramatically different from the others they all had more than one of my key foci.

An antique silver-plated Adelphi sugar shaker (paid $6.19, sold for $43), a stunning signed Eickholt feather glass perfume bottle (paid $4.99, sold for $90) and an MCM brutalist ceramic pot (paid $3.09, listed for $48).

Like the silver-plated sugar shaker. It’s old, pleasingly worn and even a tad quirky as it’s not something most of us own any more or have even heard of. And the floral repoussé design is over-the-top fabulous. (It didn’t take long to sell.)

And this December 2021 flea market find of a small framed antique funeral print also ticked several of my buying boxes: old and quirky. We’ll see how long it takes for this to find a home!

I bought this crystal dish last month because it was so heavy and lavishly cut and ticked the quality, age and beauty boxes. And the best part I believe it was made in the American Brilliant period!

Paid $3.09. It has a tiny bit of damage which is to be expected given its age. (I haven’t listed it yet.)

Here in the U.S. the heyday for crystal was the 19th century with American Brilliant pieces.

From about 1876 until the advent of World War I, American cut glass craftsmen excelled all others worldwide, and produced examples of the cut glass art that may never again be equaled….Cut leaded crystal (or cut glass) has three distinguishing characteristics: a bell-like ring when gently tapped with the finger, a clarity and brilliance unmatched by pressed or molded imitations, and weight noticeably greater than the same sized piece made of unleaded glass. America’s Brilliant cut glass is appropriately named, for that is literally what it is. The cutting is brilliant because it is sharp and deep, reflecting light from highly polished surfaces.

John Roesel, American Brilliant Cut Glass, 1876-1917

This bit of older Barmen (machine made) lace trim (beauty and quality) grabbed my attention in an antique store this summer. Definitely a long-tail item, but something I keep an eye out for.

24 feet of beautiful lace trim, listed for $40.

Well, the only thing I’ve bought so far in 2022 is this stunning Katherine Page Porter Madonna serigraph from an eBay seller. This one is for me…at least for now!! It is unframed, but I will be looking for a thrift-store frame which admittedly may take some time. (I love having things professionally framed but it costs and arm and a leg and sometimes another arm.)

I’m looking forward to keeping on the straight and narrow with my buying focus this year and putting all kinds of good great stuff in my store.

Wishing you happy hunting in 2022!

Karen

One comment

  1. Oh, I know what you mean about framing costs! I buy a lot (some might say too much) thrift store art, and some is unframed, or so poorly done I keep a list of measurements in my purse. I buy nice frames too, to keep “just in case” they turn out to be right some day! I buy for myself, and still find it hard to find bargains now that my stores look up online auction prices (listings, not sold, so that isn’t accurate worth), it must be difficult for you to find things to make enough of a profit to make it worth it. They most often miss original art though, and price things with nice frames way too high for what’s in them. Still, as you say… framing is expensive.

    Like

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