Sunday, May 29, 2011

Interview with Baltimore Etsy Vintage collector Krystal M. from Esther & Harper.

Hand Made Ceramic Bust of Thomas JeffersonBeautiful Vintage Black and White Collie MugAntique Italian Florentine Gold Gilded Wood Religious PortraitVintage Raised Relief Wood and Metal World GlobeBeautiful Antique Metal Last Rites CrucifixAntique Brass Water Spritzer

Krystal Jean Masson, from Etsy shop, Ester & Harper, collects fine vintage pieces in the Baltimore area. Her shop is by far, one of the best detailed shops around. Read further, to learn more! 

P.S Use %10 OFF Coupon Code 'thankyou' when checking out at E&H!

How did you get started?
 How I got stared. I’ve always had a love for antique objects and how unique the opportunities are to acquire them. It’s one thing to have a taste for decorating and to fill your home accordingly, but it really adds to the richness of that experience when your pieces have a history. Over the years, I’ve purchased some really lovely pieces that I have enjoyed greatly. However, my husband and I have become very transitory, and I needed a creative way for others to enjoy these fabulous objects. Being transitory, it’s also much easier to have your retail business online because I maintain contact with my clientele regardless of physical distance. 

How did you select your name?
 My husband actually came up with the name. Esther & Harper are the names of my husband’s cats that his mother brought home to him when he was in high school. They are a brother and sister duo that has fabulous personalities and very finely developed opinions of my store’s merchandise. I do all my photographing outdoors in four wooden shadow boxes. Each photo session, the two cats sit by my side, often crawling in the shadow boxes during the photo or batting at an object I’m in the process of shooting. My favorite interactions are when I’ve timed a picture to go off and one of the two cats just so happens to walk in front as the flash fires. Because they’ve made themselves such active participants my husband thought it would be funny to name the shop in their honor. 

Describe your studio?
 Aside from a small area in the back yard, I mostly work out of our home’s attic. Unlike most attics, ours has been totally gutted and made into a loft like studio. It’s a huge space with antique hard wood floors and plenty of small nooks to store my projects and inventory. I spent my afternoons maintaining my online store and listening to our always-evolving music collection on my grandfather’s old vinyl player. I recently bought at amazing antique chase lounger for $20.00 that been the final touch to a lovely reading area in front of old crank windows. I must admit I fall asleep while reading up there as often as I’m working!

Where do you sell, why do you sell their?
 For the time being, I’ve decided to only sell online. As a new business venture, it is much better financially to have as little overhead as possible when starting out. Since we already pay to live in our home, I figured why not combine the two? Etsy is also a very affordable place to sell vintage d√©cor items because it has a built in audience that loves that kind of product. In a year I’d like to see myself operating a booth at the Brooklyn Flea in New York. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to interact with my customers face to face. 

What are you doing know, where do you want to take your business?
As of this spring, I am still working full time at another position for a bigger retail company. Although my shop is currently a part-time endeavor, I really hope it becomes successful enough that I could have it become a full time position for myself. 

Obstacles you have faced?
 My biggest obstacle is that there aren’t enough hours in the day! As far as the shop is concerned, I’m still working out the kinks of calculating shipping estimates. I am always trying to find the most affordable, reliant and prompt way for customers to receive their orders. My items are often very delicate and in some cases odd sizes. Furthermore, a lot of antiques were just made larger and heavier then their predecessors so shipping can get very costly quickly. I’m hopping in the near future to just learn more about my options with different carriers and really calculate all the odds to ensure someone is getting the best rate possible. 

Good things that have happened?
 I’d say the best experiences since opening up this business are all the fabulous people I get to speak with on a daily basis that really love the act of sustaining and preserving antique objects. It’s also so validating to have blog’s such as yours be interested in the shop! I also really enjoy learning about these objects and finding them good homes.

Bad things that have happened?
 Luckily, I can’t really say I’ve been disappointed. Everything in life has to have a learning curve and I’ve really enjoyed re-calculating my errors as much as when I’ve really knocked one out of the park.

Contact information: I can be reached at I also have a fan facebook page called Esther&Harper. If you’d like to contact me directly, feel free to email me at

P.S Use %10 OFF Coupon Code 'thankyou' when checking out at E&H!

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