Better photos, quicker sale for the beautiful, handmade pine needle basket?

If you have visited my Etsy Vintage Shop, you may know that I love collecting and selling vintage baskets.

I have several pine needle baskets in my collection — gifts from my younger sister.  She purchased the baskets when she lived and worked in Central America in the early 2000s.

I treasure my pine baskets, and love the texture and the deep, rust colors of the pine needles.

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My large, beehive-shaped pine needle basket – a gift from my sister.

I remember my delight when I received this big, beehive-shaped basket from my sister, and our conversation about  the work it took to make these, with the weaver first having to collect a whole lot of pine needles to make one basket.

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The coiled bottom of my beehive shaped basket, with the weaver’s label.
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We use our baskets around the house, and unfortunately, some of the thread around the pine needles for the handles (so expertly connected to the basket body) has started to unravel. I include in this post to show the pine needles within the thread coil.

So…since I was familiar with pine baskets, I was happy to find this beautiful, round, pine needle basket at a thrift shop last month.

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I looked forward to listing it in the store, and admired the thick braid of pine needles incorporated into the design, and the wavy shape of the rim, giving the basket many “handles” all around the edges.

Almost 3 weeks after I listed the basket, I looked at the listing page again and realized the photos were lackluster, compared to the actual object.

P1310211I take most of my photos outside using natural lighting…so I wasn’t sure if my timing was off that day, or it was just a gray, cloudy day.

Perhaps my little camera was in a bad mood…

The photos were just blah, kind of dull, and did not reflect the beauty of this item, and its rich, natural colors.

I decided to retake the photos, and updated the listing.

This time, the photos had better colors, more true to the basket.

P1320734I replaced the photos with a brighter set, and a couple of days later, the basket sold.

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Was it a coincidence?

I don’t know for sure, but I do think  that the new photos better showcased the basket’s natural beauty and craftsmanship, and perhaps the improved pictures helped the buyer make the decision to acquire the basket for their own collection.

Lessons learned:

  • It’s a good idea to review your listings periodically to see if improvements can be made…not just for the photo, but the description as well.
  • If you think the photos do not truly reflect the beauty of your item — or show off its best features — then do not hesitate to retake it, and replace your listing photos.

It just may be the improvement needed to help sell the object, and for it to find its way to a new owner/collector.  🙂

P1320728Have you had a similar experience with photographs for your listing?


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Heath Ceramics receives National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt – Smithsonian Design Museum

California-based Heath Ceramics, well known to many Etsy vintage sellers and mid-century design fans, received the 2015 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Heath Ceramics Award NPR Story
Photo by Mandalit del Barco via NPR.Org

The award category is the Corporate and Institutional Achievement for Product Design, Industrial Design, Crafts.

From the Cooper Hewitt Museum about the National Design Awards…

The National Design Awards celebrate design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seek to increase awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement in American design.

Read more about Heath Ceramics and the National Design Award on this National Public Radio Report (NPR) here.

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Heath’s Sea and Sand glaze, coupe shape dinner plates. You can click on the image to view the listing in my Etsy store.

You can also listen to the radio broadcast by art desk correspondent Mandalit del Barco (featured on the program All Things Considered on 10/15/2015) here.

More about the Cooper Hewitt Museum, founded in 1897 by the granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper…

Cooper Hewitt Museum About

Heath Ceramics items were among my first listings when I opened up my Etsy Vintage Store this summer, and represented my 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th sale, right after the sale of vintage Dansk, Fiesta Ware and Pyrex items.

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A Heath ceramics collector who bought my Heath items left the third (and 5-star) feedback for the items and store — after taking a chance buying from a store with (then) ZERO reviews.

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I love vintage Heath objects, and can’t wait to find more to list on the store, that is, if I can resist the urge to KEEP them!

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Heath teacup in the coupe line listed in my Etsy store. Click on photo to view listing.

For more details about vintage items listed on this blog and website, please visit my shop Market Tales Vintage on Etsy.

Thank you!


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Etsy Store Shipping for 2 lbs or less – Should you use the U.S. Postal System Priority Mail or “Regional” Priority Mail?

Shipping.  Ah shipping….

When you offer the same objects — or even one hundred objects — with similar shapes, sizes and weight to sell in your Etsy store, then shipping is EASY.

4 Elephants Tile Trivet

However,  if you have a vintage shop (like mine) where you sell all sorts of items, from a tiny Artesania Rinconada animal figurine (or the easy to ship 6″ round decorative tile trivet, pictured above) to a 3 ft. long metal wall organizer (photo below)… then shipping can be a challenge.

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Eventually, I’ll post a more detailed article on what I’ve learned about shipping since opening up my Etsy shop.

For today, I wanted to document this interesting find.


When I opened the shop, I read a blog article about the U.S. Post Office’s Priority Mail “Regional Rate Priority Box” option.

My understanding from the article was it was usually the best option if shipping by U.S. Post Office, especially for destinations within your geographical region.

But If you have an object that is less than 2 lbs, the priority mail Regional Rate Box option is not always the best (e.g., economical — CHEAP!) option.

I had 2 orders this morning, and both items were less than 2 lbs.

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The example I’ll use for this post is a maple leaf ceramic  bakeware item that is heading to the East Coast (from the West Coast, where I am based).

The item was small enough, so I could have chosen the “Regional Rate Box Box A” option, for this price:

Box A Regional rate shipping under 2 lbs HL

But I did not think there was enough room to add the cardboard and extra packing paper to protect the object for its long journey to the East Coast.

I am especially careful  since last month, I had an item that unfortunately arrived in pieces by the time it got to Missouri, despite thinking that I had packed the item very well.

So I was definitely NOT comfortable shipping this item in “Box A”.

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If I elected to use the next larger size “Regional Rate Box B”, then the price jumped by $6.31 — and would be more than what I estimated when I listed the item in the store.

Box B Regional rate shipping under 2 lbs HL

So, while there is certainly more room to protect the item in “Box B”the jump in pricing was not good.

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A third option was to use a similarly sized box as the “Box B” (using my own recycled box packaging and not the USPS provided box)…

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The box dimension was essentially the same as the Post Office “Box B” option, but because I was using my own recycled box packaging, the shipping price dropped down as if I was using the “Box A” option.

Under 2 lbs using my own box

This turned out to be the most economical way to ship the item — provided of course, you keep extra boxes around to re-use.

How interesting to learn this!

I’m happy with the much better pricing, which was well within my shipping charge for the item.

Plus, I feel much better shipping a ceramic piece in a bigger box with added protection for the item.

Do you use the Regional Rate option when shipping by U.S. Post Office through Etsy?  Is it a good option for you, or did you have the same experience as I did?


Note:  Shipping costs for this post was through Etsy, within the Etsy website’s store order / sold items process.  Etsy has their own discounted pricing agreements with the U.S. Post Office.


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Related Market Tales Blog Posts (Shipping Series):  Should you ship UPS Ground or U.S. Postal Service for a cube box under 8 lbs?