Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fantastic Plastic

One of my favourite items to sell is bakelite. Especially jewelry. I don't quite know what it is about bakelite that intrigues me so but I know whenever I find it I do the happy dance. Perhaps it's just one of those reminders, a nostalgia for the past, or maybe it's that it isn't made any more and I feel so happy about preserving it? When it comes to bakelite jewelry though I'm almost sure it's the colour.
Gorgeous reds, greens, yellows, and blues and several colours in between, shiny or matte carved or smooth as a baby's.... you get the picture. It's stunning and whimsical and oh so easy to wear. And depending on where you live it's very plentiful. 

Okay so, a little history; Bakelite is an early plastic, the official nomenclature for it is unpronounceable so I'll use it's other official name: Thermosettting phenol formaldehyde resin. Developed in New York in 1907 by Belgiun born chemist Leo Baekeland. It was used initially as an insulator in electrical items as it was prized for it's heat resistance and non conductivity. Insulators, radio and telephone casings, toys and jewelry were just a few of the many uses for this versatile plastic often referred to as "the material of a 1000 uses."
The use of bakelite for jewelry became popular in the 1930's. Figural brooches, and carved bangles being among the most desirable for collectors but many many plane bangles were made and can be purchased relatively cheaply on the bakelite jewelry market.  

Being a Canadian I'm unfortunately in the land of the few, the bakelite market is not strong here but I do find pieces like these simple bangles occasionally. I'm hoping for the day when a fabulous figural brooch comes my way, and when it does, I'm keeping it!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Business of Customer Satisfaction

I have been selling vintage online now for about 4 years. That's a lot longer than I ever dreamed I'd be doing this and it seems (though of course are there are hard times too) that it is getting better and better. That's four years of building an online business, watching the ebb and flow. The one thing I've always been hesitant about in doing on-line sales is, I can't really deal with a live person. I often feel confused by things I read in email as I'm unable to gather the context of the words. (More than a few sales have gone awry because I misunderstood an email!) So I am always very appreciative when someone goes that extra mile to share a little of their joy after recieving an item.

Recently a woman from Hungary ordered gloves from me and was quite concerned whether she would get them in time for a special event. I was also on pins and needles because I believe, if my customers aren't happy, I'm not happy. Needless to say I was delighted when she wrote me this letter. 

Thank you so much! They arrived just in time, much sooner than I expected. Here are a few photos:

That is the best result I could hope for and makes me feel so happy to know that in some small way I made someone happy.