When we created our vintage Etsy shop in 2014 we never expected it to be our sole source of income; much less support a life of fulltime traveling. Here we are – two years later – roaming around North America, living off of our Etsy revenue.
This week our Q&A series will answer the question:
How do you operate your Etsy shop from the road?
Making it Mobile
In the beginning our Etsy shop sold all things vintage – clothes, toys, books, furniture, and everything in between. We operated a corresponding booth at the local flea market, and also dabbled in selling items on Craigslist.
Once we began preparing for “life on the road,” we knew we’d need to downsize our shop if we wanted to keep it up and running. We created a rule to operate by; if we want to sell it, it must ship in a standard rigid-mailer envelope.
This rule eliminated 90% of our items and shifted our focus to antique maps and prints.
Storing our Products & Materials
Since maps are thin & flat, it doesn’t take much room to store our items. We keep all 3000 of them protected and filed in a moisture-proof plastic crate. We use a second crate for our shipping materials.
These two crates are heavy, but not in the way.
Taking high quality photographs of our products is a necessity. Our camper has many windows, creating a controlled natural lighting environment. We use a wooden backdrop to give the images warmth. If we find a rustic table at a campground or park, we’ll take the pictures outside to add some variety to the backdrops.
Listing our items is the most time consuming process of our shop. We like to do this task in small bursts once a month. If its a rainy stretch of days, we’ll hunker down and list 200 items so when the sun comes back out we can enjoy the outdoors.
We have orders come in everyday and like to ship them as quickly as possible. Because we don’t travel with a printer, we write all of the envelopes by hand and mail them at the post office counter.
Every town, even the smallest desert community, has an easy-to-access post office. We enjoy visiting the post offices across America; it gives us a great sense of the area.
This is, by far, the highlight of our job. We love hunting thrift stores, estate sale, and auctions in search for the perfect vintage finds.
As we travel America, we’re always discovering new thrifting opportunities. We’ve found bundles of 1960s Playboys in Yuma, Pee Wee Herman memorabilia in Desert Hot Springs, and car advertisements from the 1940s in Joshua Tree.
Etsy Lets Us Be Mobile
Overall, Etsy has helped us create income as we live a nomadic life. The success wasn’t overnight, and it took hundreds of hours of work, but the result has created location-independence!
Thanks for reading our blog. Help support our mission – to live freely and deliberately – by checking out our Etsy store or shopping Amazon through our link.
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