Today we are having a wonderful conversation with Diane of Artemis53 on Zibbet. She is an incredible woman who has an enormous love for her life & the lives of others. Join me in getting to know Artemis53, which is the business of Diane Svete-Noxon…
Let’s start with a quick intro. Tell us about you.
I'm a person that wears many Hats. Mother is the first that comes to mind and the most important. Even though my son's are grown and married they keep in touch weekly sometimes just to talk or sometimes for what I hope is 'Sage' advice. They are my greatest teachers and always continue to amaze me. I was divorced when they were young and making it through those days was a 'team effort'. They never let me down. Besides sister, aunt etc., I’ve had the initials of RN after my name for over 20 years. I specialized in ICU and Cardiac and travelled as a nurse. I’ve never regretted my decision to take on that career and am a 'natural born' caregiver. I now work as a Charge Nurse in a Psychiatric Hospital and enjoy each moment and listen intently to the patient's stories. After all, if it weren't for a 'twist of fate' I'd be on the other side of the nursing desk.
I'm an avid gardener and can't get away from the plant section of Wal-Mart or Lowe's. Obsession would be a mild word for it. I'm a historian and glean many stories via oral history from the 'Old Timers' in my tiny, southern town saving them and passing them onto the official town historian. Much of the information was given to me as I supplemented my income doing homecare visits. As I was doing what was necessary, conversations would spring up, old photo albums would be brought out and an incredible look into a word gone by was entrusted to me. It's no surprise that I surround myself with antiques that I’ve restored and have a great interest in Historical Costumery. Becoming a vintage seller was just the obvious next step. I am a child of the 70's So Gunne Sax dresses and vintage jewelry were bound to collide with me someday and collide they have!
NV: Wow, that’s quite the introduction Diane. What a wonderful service you provide to all future generations!
Is this a hobby, or serious business for you?
As I look into the living room and see a pile of packages that are addressed and ready to be sent out, I'm perplexed as to if I have a business or a hobby. Yes. I work full-time but, I list and sell every other moment it seems. If it's a hobby, it's a pretty serious one with 3 rooms of my house being dedicated to it. I would love this as a full-time business but to let go of nursing is something that I can't even fathom. I see no reason to not have them both.
Do you have a special dedicated area in your home set aside where you create?
I have a large House. 1/2 of my lanai is used for photographing. You really can't beat the light in there. One of my bedrooms I’ve turned into a storage/packing room. Since I'm the only one who lives here and the house is more than 1 person really needs, it doesn't affect my life. The computer is in the kitchen on the desk for listing.
When you are busy creating, do you keep track of how much time you spend on each piece? If so, how do you factor this into the cost of your work?
I really don't keep track of the time that I spend in preparing my dresses and jewelry. It's done lovingly and is of supreme enjoyment to me so; I don't consider it to be a task. In my pricing, I base it on the article itself with its rarity, condition (usually flawless), how long it took me to find it along with actual cost and shipping fees. My collection is extensive and I even possess a Gunne Sax dress that was released from a Fashion Museum. Sizing is a big thing with vintage clothing and I always am picking up dresses that can fit today's figure. That, in and of itself carries a price.
Keeping track of inventory is always an ever evolving task for me. With the dresses it's according to style, color and era. The jewelry is a task that is that is far more difficult and I'm always changing my way of categorizing them. I'll soon be just down to Eisenberg and my beloved Weiss and that should simplify it all. It's much easier to specialize in a Brand and less difficult for customers to find me in a search so, I’ve decided to go that route. I’ve finally found that through the help of Zibbet, I'm on the first page of Google when you type in 'vintage gunne sax dress' and on the second page if you put in 'gunne sax dress'. That's a pretty big feat as far as I'm concerned.
Talk a little bit about how you handle photographing your work. How important do you feel quality pictures are to successful selling? What is the biggest mistake you made & what is the most important thing you learned?
Photography is always a work in progress. My digital camera is 10 megapixel and terrific. I do my best to photograph only in natural light. Since the lanai is nice and sunny, it works out beautifully. I enjoy the softness of the overall piece and the crispness of the macro lens when doing detail. I don't like pics that are overly 'shopped'. They dull the item and are not a true representative rendering of a piece. I steer clear of these types of pics on the site.
NV: Natural light seems to be a huge hit for a lot of people I’ve interviewed. I lean to that myself, when ever I can.
Where do you sell? Do you have a favorite venue?
I don't sell at shows and Zibbet is my primary sales arena.
How do you maintain your finances, for your business? Does it involve having a business or merchant account?
My transactions are done through PayPal. Like it or not, It's recognized worldwide, efficient and responsive. Yes. There are fees but, the services that they provide; including the represented integrity between sellers and buyers has enormous value. I, myself have had a dispute with a seller and it was handled entirely to my satisfaction through them. I won't function in a business without it.
NV: It’s good to hear such positive remarks about PayPal.
While we’re talking about money … how do you handle all the dreaded back end paperwork/book keeping stuff?
Through PayPal I can see my transactions of both buying and selling and print them out. This really alleviates the 'keeping track of money' woes.
Ok, money out of the way let’s talk about promoting/marketing a bit. Can you share with us what you do to promote your business, & where?
I do all of my promoting through the tools that Zibbet has given to me. I avidly use Stumbleupon and Kaboodle and post in Facebook. Since what you say in forums or on Facebook is categorized and posted on the net (a double edged sword), I participate in these venues as often as I can. I'm not afraid to 'hawk my wares' because I believe in them! If you believe in your products, that enthusiasm shows through to sellers and they feel more comfortable buying from you. They can't hold the item in their hands but, I'll darned well let them know what it looks and feels like with my words that are specifically descriptive. That wording can only be obtained through a passion for your product. I don't pay for advertising but, I’ve had returning customers from as far as Norway. Customer service can't be emphasized enough!
With so many aspects of running a business, how do you keep yourself motivated to move forward? Do you have a good support system?
My motivation is very simple. I love what I do. Vintage integrates many factors of my character and persona so it's easy to keep it 'out there'. There is another facet to my shop that lies behind every picture that I take and each stroke that I make upon the keyboard. That is my mother. She was a great believer in beautiful things and had an 'eye' for quality that she imparted to me. I’ve dedicated my store to her. To me, it is her legacy. Though she is no longer with me, her grace and inimitable class are exposed and live on in my site. I do it for her since I wish people to know that even in the darkest times there is always light and there is loveliness to be found everywhere if we just look for it!
NV: Wow… talk about some beautiful inspiration there Diane!
What do you feel is your least favorite thing about running a business? How do you overcome/deal with this?
Postage is my moistly disliked part of selling. I'm pretty good with my estimate but have been known to take a boxed item into the post office for an estimate. I don't like shipping & handling tacked onto a piece. I prefer to having them separate. I overcome this dreadful part of the job by concentrating on how much I love doing this and claiming every sale as a 'victory'. After all, there are a million places on the 'Net' that people can buy of similar items. I consider it an honor when they buy from my little shop.
NV: Diane, thank you so much for opening up to us here today. It was wonderful to get to know you a bit better & dig into the business side of things with you. I agree & I think our readers should to, that each sale we do gain from our online shops should indeed be a victory when we think of how big the web is & that they chose us to do business with!
Here is where you can find Diane & her incredible vintage finds online.