modeljvintage.com is on it’s way!

I am in the process of linking this blog to my new website which is www.modeljvintage.com. Right now all you will see is the name at the top of the page and a bunch of ads on  GoDaddy.com, where I bought my domain name, so don’t get too excited yet! This site will be a WordPress.org e-Commerce site that will be the basis for my new online vintage store! This blog will be a section of the new site. This is quite a daunting task to do on one’s own with limited computer knowledge. I was constantly consulting Wikipedia for definitions of programming terminology as well as reading tons of reviews, ‘best of’ lists and watching youtube video ‘how tos’.

I chose HostGator as my hosting site after looking at 3 or 4 possible hosts. They have great reviews, excellent customer service, are accessible for help 24/7 and have a plan that will grow with me and my business.  Isn’t this exciting?! I am soooo looking forward to having my own site that houses everything under one roof. This is as close to having a brick and mortar store as you can get on the web. The site will get my personal visual style as I am doing everything myself.  The site is being created with Joy, both figuratively and literally 🙂

Banner Image for Etsy Shop is Da Bomb!

Ok. This looks good. I have to admit it.  Check it out here. Whew. That was a lot of photoshop cutting and pasting. Lots of lovely photos to choose from. I’ll have to keep updating it and switching photos in and out. I have more lovely model photos than I could fit in one banner. Special thanks to the discerning eye of my artist friend John Unger who kept reminding me to keep it simple. I really needed to hear that. It made all the difference. Thanks John!

Adjustable dress form

Ooooh, the dress form is sweet! All put together and playing with putting clothes on it and checking out the adjustable parts.

This is actually an old post I found that I never published! I’ve had this dress form for a while and love it. Easy to use, great to lay out alterations or create something new. It is a little lightweight but I expected that. I think higher end versions might have a little more heft and hence stability. This works just great for my needs 🙂

Photo Shoot a Big Success!

With the help of Makeup Artist Lani Barry to make the models even more lovely than nature I was able to photograph a lot of the vintage clothing that will be put up for sale. You can’t really see the clothes, how they fit, how they move without a person in them. Some of these unique outfits came alive on the models as I had imagined them in my head. What a world of difference to see them in motion on a live human. It points up the flaws in my current mannequins as well. I’m sure there are better ones out there but nothing does an outfit justice as well as a live body.

Many thanks go to the models I used; Emily DeWan of Emily DeWan Photography, who took time out from her own portrait photography of the models to model for me, Lani Barry, my makeup artist who modeled my one Victorian outfit at the very end, my sister-in-law, Kim Grad and her daughter Amanda, who I was able to photograph together for some sweet family portraits, and to New York City swing dancers Elaine Silver, Mimi Liu, Laurel Carpenter and Jeri Lynn Astra Herbert who brought a lot of sass and dancerly grace to the shots.

The models will get copies of their photos as well as a piece of clothing from Model J Vintage. Mimi picked out a wonderful retro 1950’s style jacket with an enlarged herringbone, almost puzzle piece pattern.  Jeri picked out a black velvet dress that really flattered her figure and is also great for dancing.

Most of this clothing will go up on Facebook and Etsy.com but some might be destined for eBay so stay tuned!

Learning to blog, Star Trek and potato chips

There is a learning curve to all this blogging software. And I have not even upgraded to a more sophisticated template that I know about called Thesis. I figure I will learn the ins and outs of this simpler version here before I know what more I need.

My newest blog tweak is the links section. I figured out how to get them on my blog but not in the way I want. They are there at the bottom of the main page on the right but I would rather have them in a separate page that I already created up at the top right that is nice and homey and chatty, instead of just a list on the main page. Up to now people have been clicking onto this page and finding only a little blurb instead of something interesting.

Sometimes I wish I had a photographic memory with perfect recall. Not only would it help with learning all the little commands and keystrokes here, but perhaps it would mean I only have to make a mistake once instead of twice before I change my ways. Once is bad enough but it seems that my brain really needs the emphasis of a second go to really get the picture. Like the time in college when I ate waaaaaaay too many potato chips…and then lived to do it again! Without any gory details let me just say that after much nausea, a salt scarred palate and many burps (for the second time), I have never done it ever again. (Patting myself on the back now)

That was one of those times I bring out one of my favorite quotes “Brain and brain. What is brain?!” from an old Star Trek episode. If you don’t know it go look it up here.

Hee hee. I will remember that quote forever! As for blogging, I see an instructional book purchase in my future. ‘Book and book. What is book?!”

Dress shipped to Greece

Whew, first item out the door and in the mail. Filled out customs form and shipped it via First Class International Mail in a nice soft envelope to keep costs down for my customer. I am putting my faith in the USPS and the entire country of Greece to get this package where it’s going.

One small step for Model J Vintage. Yay! I am looking forward to divesting myself of many of the larger items around the house now that I know what I am doing. These clothing items are great practice as they are easy to photograph and ship and don’t take up that much space. But, big items, I am coming to get you! And get rid of you! (maniacal laughter)

Photo Sizing and New Male Dress Form

Turns out eBay wants my pictures to be larger. I am going to go with this size for the first listing but will increase it for the next ones.  Turns out there has been a change since the advice listed in my second edition eBay Bible which is from 2005. That’s when I first started thinking about selling all my collections. I assume the increase in storage capabilities and in processor speed are accounting for the increased size recommendation. At least 1,000 pixels on the longest side of each photo. No problem…for the next items. Not re-doing the current listing.

Picked up a new male dress form yesterday! Although it is unfortunately too large for the men’s shirt I want to sell currently, it is quite nicely shaped with a  silver color metal plate atop the neck. It is a bit more elegant than the female forms I bought and I look forward to using it.

Photography figured out!

After much experimentation I figured out how to make some great shots of clothing. I experimented with a Donna Karan silk purple dress I picked up at a thrift store that will be my first item I place on ebay.  I tried a ton of settings on the camera and different lighting angles, also playing with varying amounts of lights. I finally settled on four lights, two clip lights from the front but off to the side and two larger photography lights from my light box on the sides but slightly in front.  Ebay’s book on selling is a great reference filled with tips and guidelines for photography. I am using my Nikon Coolpix 4500, a great little camera I originally purchased for its wonderful macro lens. It has quite a lot of manual and semi-manual settings, as well as automatic and scene settings.  All the advice I read about not using a flash is completely true. It really washes everything out. Despite all my maneuverings I still had to do some editing in iPhoto. Mainly cropping, but also on the color. I was pretty happy to find that I could easily adjust the saturation to get rid of some pink tones and show the true purple tones of the dress. I am still not 100% happy with the results but I think it is good for my first listing.

From there I took two of the main photos into Photoshop (I have CS2) in order to create my main ebay image. I put both images side by side to show a full-length and a close-up view in one image, and then layered my logo on top of them.

Donna Karan Purple Silk Dress

I am pleased with the way it came out. The next step is for a better backdrop than my homemade version. This is on order and should arrive soon!  I think a little more fiddling with camera settings and color correcting is all that is needed. Overall, I am pleased.