To Etsy or Not To Etsy?

(Heard it from the grapevine you can buy vintage goods on Etsy- not just googly eyes and pink furry construction paper) New York, New York

Etsy. We all know Etsy- or at least I thought we did. In polling some people I know, I discovered that 90% of them thought it was simply arts and crafts. Yes, some of the people I asked were professional men, but hey, they’re the ones more unlikely to know, so I was curious in their responses. One remarked that the stock was something I won’t repeat on here.

Arts and crafts?! I frowned. Etsy has such a wide range of products too, I was actually upset to hear that people condemned it as a place for old ladies who have nothing better to do but knit sweaters for their pugs, or moms who are stuck at home all day with three sugar crazed kids. There’s vintage clothes, there’s lovely soaps and useful home products like tables. Tables made by men ! And sold by men too. Fancy that!

What do you shop on Etsy for? There is such a variety of goods, sometimes I don’t even know where to start.

Crafting supplies?

Birthday celebration supplies?

Gifts for a range of celebrations?

Personal gifts?

Home décor?

Home improvement?

Cooking supplies

Clothing?

One of a kind products?

Holiday décor?

Pet supplies?

Vintage collectibles?

Odds and ends?

Beauty Supplies?

I could go on and on. If you can think it up, if it does exist, it exists on Etsy.

Post your replies, or go shop www.etsy.com/shop/japonicanyc for vintage porcelain goods that aren’t cardboard craft paper!

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(Actually, this is not really an example of far-out branding, as Hermes is a sponsor AND makes top quality saddles and equestrian equipment) Hampton Classic, Bridgehampton, New York

Tuesdays Thoughts On Famous Designers Designing Different Things (all in good humor!)

Tuesday afternoon I decided to scope out the Wedgewood website. Not because I was looking to pick up some duck print fine-bone china or a pair of crystal goblets to that cost more then my car. Just idly browsing. I enjoy homewares.

The homepage displayed some nice wares, with the stamp “Vera Wang”. Underneath the block Vera was “Wedgewood”, as if we needed reminding whose page we were on, and then below that in microscopic print: England 1759. Wedgewood, an English institution, who has made china literally fit for a Queen for actual centuries. Using a famous, celebrity-like designer who creates custom wedding gowns? Sounds like an odd… marriage.

I sat there, not clicking away and switching panes, but staring at her big Times New Roman plain font. When did the human race become so gullible that they’d buy anything as long as it had some recognizable designer name on it, even if that designer did NOT gain fame in that field?

What did Vera know about china? I’ll admit, I would give an arm and a leg and maybe a few eyeballs (no, not my eyes. I love my eyes) to be able to don one of her delectable creations on my non-existent wedding.  Her gowns are top-notch; that can not be disputed.

But what does the Queen of satin and silk, tulle and lace know about crystal stemware? I’ll admit, the pairing seems ideal. A fluted Vera dress and matching flutes to toast to your nuptials might definitely appeal to a specific character, with her happily ever after fantasy and colour coordination down to her bridesmaid’s underwear.

Still, the garment industry and the tableware industry are two distinct separate industries, for good measure. Just because you can design a dress does not grant you the authority nor knowledge or ability to design a tea set. Yes, the pottery was quite pleasant, no garish prints (I mean this WAS Wedgewood), but I was still irked.

Even if you can, do you WANT a Vera Wang white porcelain sugar container, at $135 a pop? Does the bride really need to receive all her new china from someone whose name is eponymous with weddings and dresses? Weddings are fun and all, but I don’t think the marital bliss will remain simply because every time I look down at my scrambled eggs the plate boasts Vera’s name.

Just because she was good at gowns, she could just plaster her name on anything and think it would sell? That countless advisories and marketing analysts and financial consultants all agree with this mindset? I know there’s months, years that goes into getting that goblet on the go, but still, couldn’t she leave it up to the specialists, such as Wedgewood? Why did everything have to intermingle? I always felt like products as such were cheapened somehow, even though I’d never utter a word of that nature in direction of her dresses.

I’m not going to even touch in this article about the whole over-saturation of a brand name and how that can drown a company that was previously Titanic –quality in its respect.  I’ll save that for my next post.

In the meantime, for some quality, handmade, unbranded, vintage porcelain made by dinnerware artisans, head over to www.etsy.com/shop/japonicanyc !

Exposing Your (Creative) Bones

(Don’t flat out refuse like this cowboy) New York, New York

Friday musings about being torn between the reluctance to share and desire to protect.

Exposing Your (Creative)Bones

In college, I took an intro to entrepreneurship class. We were required to present a business idea to the class. I, always brimming with ideas (usually as a result of my own frustration with some aspect of daily life), piped up.

“What if someone steals it?”

My professor didn’t miss a beat, even though he often would pause before speaking.

“You will be doing yourself a disservice. Keeping it to yourself will not prevent anything. It is your idea, your passion. Other people may listen, and like the idea, and yes, they could take it and run with it, but it burns brightly within you, with a fire that they do not possess. If you truly believe in it, and work for it,  it will belong to you.”

(I am paraphrasing this, as my memory has not improved with age, fancy that!)

I pondered this. Did I want to divulge my (what I thought brilliant idea) to a group of young eager students all dying to make money?

Reluctantly, I took his advice. Some of their eyes brightened, a few less had a bone to pick, thus of course driving me crazy, and he himself enjoyed it, but had some reservations, as he did with most of the others too. And that’s when I realized.

You need feedback. Secrecy does one no favours when it comes to developing an idea- we humans are not meant to operate alone; most mammals live in packs or groups. Scores of great things never would have been built/achieved/discovered if it hadn’t been for teamwork.

You need a fresh outlook, a different perspective other then your own. When you love something, often you are too close to it to see the imperfections. You overlook the flaws and focus on the favoured.

With the age of technology and social media, a lot of artists put their work out there. I often ponder this with my own Instagram account- I want people to see and like them, but at the same time, with all of the re-posting that goes on, I am so afraid of someone taking credit for my heart and soul as their own.

Yes, there are selfish people, who are in higher positions and may use the ideas of those less powerful, to spin them into something better, or blatantly copy for higher gain. This is a risk, but unfortunately this can’t always be avoided. A creative idea is almost like a child- you give birth to it, you love it; it’s your creation. The pain of having it stolen away is unbearable. Fight for it back; you can’t let them win.

So, do we shield our ideas from view? If you hide, no one will ever know you are any good, and you will most definitely never get discovered. The written word is especially hard- someone may not copy every line, but steal fragments here and there that sound suitable. But, if no  one ever reads your work, no one will definitely ever want to then read your work.

What do you think? Are you hesitant to expose your ideas, bare your creative being? Not for fear of ridicule, but because it will no longer be yours if it is out there? Or are you all for sharing, growing, editing- confident in the fact that it will remain yours?

Nostalgia & Quality

(I think the graffiti only adds to the character, don’t you?) Bushwick, Brooklyn New York

Monday morning musings about the tie between nostalgia and the quality of products

“Antique-design table”. “Retro hand-mirror”. “Converted radio flyer planter”. Every which way you turn, something harkens to days past, when it may in fact be brand new.  Nostalgia for days gone by, your younger years, has always been present. However, I feel more and more, in pop articles and articles generated by the bunch, that people are yearning for yesteryear. Why does this seem more prevalanet? Times were always simpler, inventions and such have always existed.

This is a topic that has been long debated, and I won’t profess to having any answer. However, in terms of nostalgia pertaining to home products, this is a lot easier to pin down.

Quality is the key word to this nostalgia for old products, buildings and designs. As I walk along Fulton Street in Brooklyn, I see so many old brownstones being gutted, just empty shells standing, while other less desirable structures are merely bulldozed and new, generic, bland looking buildings are erected in what feels like mere minutes. No decorative detailing, and everything looks eerily temporary, despite the steel beams and cement.

Technology, although wonderful with all we can accomplish, has made the process of mass production possible. The more of something that exists, the less desirable it becomes, as it is not rare, unique. We humans seem to crave uniqueness, why, maybe because we have less and less to worry about. “Too much of a good thing” is perhaps true. If you were to all of a sudden possess 300 Sailor Moon Sculptures, the original would immediately lose its value, its prestige, when before it was as rare as the “Heart of The Ocean” (diamond necklace from Titanic, duh!)

When something is handmade now, we see it as a gift from the heart, something special, something that will ultimately cost more money because it took much more time and skill to produce.  It is something unique, as no mold is being used, no two products can be completely identical.

As time goes by and the technology is honed and perfected, it somehow makes products less and less respectable, despite often improving certain aspects about them. New materials and ways of using old ones to maximize profit and minimize costs are being produced. For example, polyester is cheap, and man-made, and although can imitate silk, it does not hold a candle to the quality of silk, no matter how nice the drape is.

The items hailed from simpler times, when the current worries of the modern world did not exist, or were just a far off future issue that were not actively on our minds. With worrying about whether your Instagram post was filtered enough or if the Starbucks new drink is going to have too many calories, it is nice to rest your eyes on something from a time where you had to wait by the landline phone to hear back from someone and milk cost 10 cents, not 8$ at WholeFoods. Sub-conciously, they sooth us.

Maybe when all of the similar looking brownstones were developed, people felt the same way about them .”Oh look, another 3-window façade with a flowered scroll etched in the cement above them. Not again!” Just because we see NOW that they were quite beautiful structures, doesn’t mean that when they were new, people thought the same thing.

Perhaps it takes a lot of time to pass to realize what we had, to adjust, to accept, to realize that something is not all that bad. Maybe sixty years from now we’ll think that that clothes from Forever21 are something to clamor for, but in the meantime….. I’ll just shop for vintage porcelain dinnerware and other cute vintage items on www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

Top 10 Things That Cross Your Mind Shopping on Etsy

(yes, I think somewhere in my pink tool kit I have all I need to repair this dolly…Sold!)

Sag Harbor, New York

You decide to check out Etsy, the rabbit hole of all things crafty, creative, and dust collecting. The 10 thoughts that run through your overwhelmed noggin, from start to finish… 

  1. I could make that. I mean, seriously? I took Home Ec. How hard is it to whip up a stuffed tomato with googly eyes? Or a King Tut the 3rd plushie? Yeah, I definitely can do that King Tut…wait is that CROSSTITCH?
  1. Who needs a resin Wizard of Oz Plate that plays music? I mean really, I’ve been sneaking plates OUT of grandmas house every time I go to visit, I don’t need to ADD to her collection (of 5,000). Last time I bumped into one, she spent an hour sobbing and telling me I’ll never be dainty enough to find a husband.
  1. Where am I going to put all of this ? Of course I’d love a lifesize shiba inu statue, but shouldn’t I be using that space to store my air conditioner, so I don’t have to go to bed each night dressed in an old fur coat and a scarf to combat the breeze (never took it out of the window in the fall)?
  1. My mom can do so much better. I mean, her cheesecake is the best on Long Island. Why would I buy someone elses secret recipe? What a sell-out. I mean, what if one of my friends buys it? I won’t be the stand-out baker at our next (non-existant) potluck.
  1. Wow, Jim really has a lot of time on his hands! I mean, it takes some skill to make old knives and forks really look like a roadrunner…oh, I see here it took 20 hours…20 hours?!
  1. Craft supplies galore- I can be the crafty mom now! Oh wait…I forgot to have kids. Crafty aunt? My sisters going through a divorce. Crafty babysitter? No one I know has kids. Darn! Ok, I’ll just pretend I AM still a kid.
  1. OMG, I can do all of my gift giving. For that uncle I can never remember the name of who plays checkers 20 hours a day, and my cousin who no longer bothers to pretend we are related, and to that frenemy Leila who is always making nasty remarks about the gift cards I give to starbucks. Maybe I like being basic. Well, Basic begone!
  1. I need to freeze my credit cards. Otherwise, the vintage Dolce and Gabbana denim jacket? Mine. I don’t care if I can’t pay my Metrocard and have to walk to work. Don’t I want to fit into the itsy bitsy teeny weenie bikini that supposedly Brigitte Bardot wore (according to Jo Anne Smith, 43, Louisiana, homemaker and storyteller extrodinaire)? The A train is so passe.
  1. Now my dog and I can match- look at these owner/pet cat ear headbands! Wait, dog? Whatever, me and my future dog (down the line when I move out to the suburbs and raise a family…aka never) Sold!
  1. Wait…I do need that! So I give in and buy everything and spend a week in sitting on boxes and trying to find my computer to SOS for help. Visit etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc to buy vintage porcelain dinnerware and other treasures. Shop to your hearts content!

Top 10 Ways You Know You’re Obsessed With Your Stuff

(There’s nothing wrong with carrying an antique mouse- look, she fits right in !) Berlin

You’ve been this way since you were two (home videos to prove it). Written with more then a touch of humor-Happy Friday!

  1. Your cats knock over your snow globe from Austria and you scream so loud your downstairs neighbor phones in a distress call and the cops show up only to find you covered in fake snow and sobbing while your cat’s green eyes peep out from the cage where you have banished them (possibly for good).
  2. When doing an airport transfer, you happen to book the flight out of Vienna instead of a direct flight, just so you can replace the said broken snow globe (authenticity is important! And that 8-hour glue repair job leaked the water, making a ring on your antique table, thus causing another catastrophe).
  3. You purposefully step AROUND your antique Persian rug to avoid wearing it out- you want to be able to hang on to it for another 400 years, and just because the museums hang up the holy ones, doesn’t mean YOU like that raggedy look!
  4. When traveling, you opt to stay in the room one night because the new guy who moved into the bunk below you kept eyeballing your newly purchased lederhosen, and there’s no way you’re going to let that creep run off with them (after you just spent 45 minutes haggling with a man who kept drenching you with a shower of spit.)
  5. You buy a backup of each memorial shot glass so that in case the one you have on display breaks, you will have another one to remember the occasion by. Hey, when you say you have a shot glass from every state, you mean every state. Just because Hawaii was the last state to join doesn’t mean it’s going to be the first to leave!
  6. When you have guests over (twice a year), you immediately have to give them a tour of al of the new items you’ve picked up, like you are a guide at the Met or something. It only gets worse, after you’ve consumed half a bottle of wine and then proceed to show them your family photographs from 1880, fawning over relatives you never met.
  7. You don’t let your best friend Magdalena from high school ever stay with you, even though she now lives 5296 miles away, because you remember her “sticky fingers” and know she’d love to set them onto your Barbie-esque pump collection. So, you pretend that you’ve now become a recluse, and can’t have guests, even though you live alone and have two guest bedrooms.
  8. You have a concise list and strategy prepared for the next family heirloom meeting (whoever said blood is thicker then water clearly hasn’t seen godmother Ingrid’s Ming vase collection).
  9. You let your battery powered toothbrush accidentally fall into your heater and in the mad rush in the morning, forgot to retrieve it, and then on the subway (do not) resist the urge to go home. Who cares if you’ll be 50 minutes late to work, the thought of your antique postcard collection from Las Vegas going up in flames after you outbid some old man by $300 is just too much to bear. Oh, and your cats? Yeah.
  10. Whenever someone mentions that you have too much stuff, you sigh, start combing the room, looking for things you “haven’t used in the past 10 months (years)” and such, move it all into a “going away” pile, only to stare pitifully, remembering how that was your first tube of Chanel lipgloss you bought back in the sixth grade…..

…and the items gravitate back to their spots, the spots that were all clean and shiny, from lack of dust. Boy, did your room just look, for a fraction of a second, so shiny. Wowwww!

So, you “forget” to give them away. Shop for vintage porcelain and other items  www.etsy.com/shops/japonicanyc

10 Things To Distract You From Making A Purchase

 

(Go somewhere with absolutely no internet connection or stores. That island in the middle looks like a good bet, no?) Kotor, Montenegro

Do not watch American Pickers; it will only make things worse. Note: all our posts are in good humor, intended to brighten your day:)

  • Play that Neko Atsume cat game. Completely effortless, but who knew collecting kitties and feeding them could make you forget larger responsibilities like feeding your own kitties and paying the rent, let alone buying that vintage Hawaiian cat-hula girl?
  • Spend a day cleaning your parents house. By the time the day is over (read: 10 minutes) you’ll be so exhausted hearing “don’t break that” and “watch that, I got it from your great-great grandmother Edie, she drank from that Coke bottle on her first date with your uncle Benny” that you’ll vow you’ll never put your own kids through having to do this with your junk
  • Look at your best friend’s photos of her recent sojourn to Europe. When was your last trip? That boozy resort in Jamaica that you never ventured off the property, and could have been in Florida for all you knew? Right. Get that jar out and put the money in it- the antique dog house can wait (you don’t even own a dog). Woof.
  • Watch Hoarders. You’ll be so repulsed by the overflowing stacks of moldy newspapers that are breeding bugs you didn’t even know existed, that the thought of purchasing some old mans entire library will seem off-putting.
  • Buy a bottle of rakija (for those who don’t know it, it’s a grape based drink of the Balkans that tastes like licorice.) You mix it with water and sip it slowly, consuming nuts or seeds on the side.  After a few, (consumed quickly), that collection of Steiff bears from 1912 that supposedly survived the Titanic will survive not having a voyage to your house.
  • Go mountain climbing. No need to purchase those wannabe Spice Girl spangled platforms when you’re on crutches for four weeks (you knew flip flops do not constitute as hiking boots!)
  • Browse through the junk mail. Find the charity invitations. Read the stories, and decide you have more noble places to spend your money (Giving is good!) These lovely causes actually deserve your money, not some dude selling handmade Jack Daniels wind chimes in Tennessee. He probably consumed them all himself.
  • Hire a housecleaner, and eavesdrop. You’ll be so ashamed listening to their remarks on “does he have enough junk?” as she dusts your 80’s matchbox car collection that you’ll instantly want to live like a monk and eschew all physical property in life.
  • Read a blog. One about travelers who bask on beautiful beaches, only owning a backpack, and become so immersed in the idea that you begin selling off your collections, forgetting all about buying you 299th Iive.laugh.love plaque.
  • Go on Etsy, just to browse, as your sister holds your credit card, realize that you can’t, absolutely can not resist that lamp that looks like the burlesque leg lamp in that funny cult movie “A Christmas story”, arm wrestle the card out of her (weak) grip…

….And realize that shopping for goodies is fun, and you can’t go without it! Shop for vintage porcelain and presents on http://www.etsy.com/shops/Japonicanyc

Fifteen Reasons To Buy Vintage (Humor)

(Do you think these cups found in Germany from centuries ago would be termed as vintage?) Berlin, Museuminsel

Vintage VS (todays mass) Volume

Open up any Anthropologie magazine, even go to the home décor section in Target. Practically everything you see is vintage inspired. Not just a classic, standard look, like a grandfather clock, but actively attempting to look like it was on your great great great grandmothers first Thanksgiving Day. Vintage is popular- but why not make it authentic? 15 reasons to purchase vintage wares listed below. Disclaimer: our post is all in good fun.

  1. Save money. Vintage formal silverware set from Etsy for $20, plus dinner and a movie, or similar set from (insert home décor store here) for $180? Take the popcorn.
  2. Love Leo. Make Leonardo DiCaprio happier then he was after receiving his Oscar by aiding to making the world a better place and re-using old items. Environmentally friendly!
  3. Receive a quality product. Somehow, despite not having the technologies we do today, older products often are more sturdy and long lasting. I think this is one of the 8th world wonders, forget those hanging gardens of Babylon.
  4. Sense of history, a story comes with each product. Even if you don’t know who owned that vintage silver comb, you can just pretend John Wentworth the Fourth was your wealthy cousin who you inherited your aristocratic nose from.
  5. A truly unique look. No one is going to give you home of the year or include you on the annual house tour if you look like a Pottery Barn magazine (no matter how white your towels are.) People want imagination!
  6. Eliminate massive landfills. We can see amber waves of grain, not big dirt mounds with a forgotten dolly’s arm poking through like a scary movie
  7. Combat pollution and labor issues. Lower the toxic levels of pollution by having less factories churn out endless supplies of generic glass tumblers. We love our world.
  8. Limit family feuds. Take the relief off someone having to have a fight with their mother before she goes to the nursing home and buy those porcelain plates.
  9. Create your own heirlooms. Possibly could create your own heirloom- even if it only cost $5, nostalgia is everything these days.
  10. Support small business. Does the Walton family need to move from 10 to 1 on the billionaires list? (not that we don’t love buying cases of Charmin for $15, but it’s nice to help out and thrift shops that donate to stopping breast cancer and such)
  11. Support worthy causes. Buying vintage from Thrift stores can help noble causes like breast cancer and animal shelters, not just the CEOS Hamptons vacation house he uses twice a summer.
  12. Stand out! Not have your house look like every other suburban 3.5BDR on the block (isn’t the identical façade confusing enough? You don’t want to confuse your teenage kids as they sneak in late one night).
  13. Feel the praise. Guests will heap praise and wonder abut your mysterious ways to procure such interesting products (yard sale last Sunday on Utica and Bainbridge, $3 bucks, but no one need know) Restoration Hardware, right? 😉
  14. De-stress. Mismatched plates are so stress free- no more arguing at the dinner table. If little Johnny go so enthused at re-enacting his all star home run, it doesn’t matter if he swept last nights’ chicken dinner to the floor. Just go and scoop up more plates- matching is so 1950’s housewife.
  15. Play the part. Forget just impersonating the persona of Greta Garbo- I think that mink stole you just picked up looks old enough to have belonged to her. Really look the part

 

See? Don’t you feel better already? Shop Japonicanyc on Etsy for vintage porcelain treasures and dinnerware.