Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Turning Your Passions Into Profits

Gracie interviews Kimberly of GlamourGurlz.com, a young woman who turned her love of vintage lingerie (Adult Link) into a business ~ and not just with eBay sales. She has an ecommerce site, DVD sales, & a membership site too!

When did you start the business?

Upon the birth of my son in 1999, I decided to quit my banking career and be a stay at home mom. After about a year of not working, I started to get restless because I had always worked and been involved in lots of things. While surfing the web one night for vintage pretties, I came upon a website called Ruby Lane. This site specializes in sales of vintage and antique collectables. After some research, I decided to open a webstore on Ruby Lane with some of the collectable girly items that i had previously collected.

I opened the webstore selling vintage beaded purses, collectable signed and un-signed vintage jewelry, vintage dresses and vintage slips, and pretty much anything that I found to be a glamour accessory item.

After selling a few weeks, one of my best girlfriends 'Jeannie' (also a glamour gurlz model) suggested that she model a few of my vintage dresses and slips so that we could show how nicely they fitted and looked on a 'real' person. Since I was already a trained photographer from college and various professional photography jobs in my early 20s, I had the photographic experience and equipment and we set up a studio in my home. We also did a lot of shooting outside when weather permitted.

Our popularity drastically increased with our new format of using a live model, as did the attention of some of the other sellers on Ruby Lane. The administrators for the site then demanded we not to use 'live' models in our webstore any longer, as it was causing a 'fuss' with some of the members and customers. *rolls eyes* lol

A good friend and fellow slip collector suggested I try Ebay. We started selling on ebay in August of 2002. At this point, I had a few more girlfriends who I managed to talk into modeling for Glamour Gurlz. *LOL* After the initial stage fright, and the realization that I wasn't running a 'porn' site, all of my girlfriends agreed it was a fun way to get Glamour Photographs and add a little 'spice' to our otherwise normal married with children lifestyles.

All of us gals at Glamour Gurlz are between 25-42 yrs old, non-professional models, some stay at home moms, some with full-time jobs, all with one thing in common...we love to be girly and feminine! Most of us have been friends since our early teens as well.

The gurlz and I love being 'Glamour Gurlz' and we hope to continue to promote slip wearing with the younger generation. One thing that you will never find on the 'Glamour Gurlz' website or auctions is nudity and/or adult related content. Our belief is that women can be very sexy and appealing without showing too much skin. Glamour Gurlz is dedicated to sharing ideas and promoting the sensuality and glamour from an era when women were proud of their femininity by wearing beautiful vintage slips, lingerie, stockings & garters.

The Glamour Gurlz believe in the 'art of the tease'. Our motto is 'Let us help you experience an era when women were proud of their femininity'.

Is this a hobby business? Or is the income more than supplemental?

As our popularity increased, I was determined to go forward. For the first time in my 30+ years of life, I was doing a job i truly loved...and selling my greatest passion, vintage collectable lingerie and glamour dress up items.

My grandfather once said to me before his death in '96, 'Kimberly--if you find something you love to do and can make a living doing it... your one step ahead of the game...

A girlfriend and fellow slip site owner (thanks, Jen!) encouraged and helped me learn html and other computer 'stuff'... I also had a friend and former customer on Ebay who donated his time to designing the original website when we opened our website in June 2003. After our webstore was online and we became known, our sales increased and I had to hire a professional webmaster to do the maintenance of the website. Between shooting for the site and ebay, doing the shopping, shipping, invoicing and picture editing, writing descriptions, etc...I just didn't have enough time in the day to get everything done.

I found a spectacular web-mistress at www.sunsetgraphics.com. Sarah (the owner of Sunset Graphics) and I had a lot in common both being stay at home working moms. She re-designed the site to the beautiful layout you see online now.

Between running weekly Ebay auctions and maintaining the inventory in the website, my passion and former hobby has turned into a full-time business.

When did the membership site start?

Once the DVD was released and getting great feedback, along with many requests for more pictures, again, my good friend Jen encouraged me to open the pay portion of the gallery. I opened it in June of 2003.

How many hours do you work in a typical week?

I usually work anywhere from 12-16 hours a day on the Glamour Gurlz business. So I suppose that's between 84-112 hours a week.

What percent of your time is spent doing the following:

- finding items 10% (I now have an extensive inventory and do not need to shop as much)
- listing/webwork The biggest most demanding part of my job...50%
- shipping -- My husband does all my shipping now as I am far to busy
- taking photos 35%
- marketing 5%

Do you do all of this yourself, or do you outsource/hire others for things?

I do everything myself with exception to the maintenance of the website-- I edit and write all descriptions, however, my webmaster does all the design and gets everything aired for us.

What are the 3 things about yourself that you believe make you successful?

Passion & Dedication for what I do
Commitment to Excellence in Customer Service

What is the best part of your work?

Being able to make my own schedule, working around my small son and making a living doing something I totally love!

I also love that my business is helping to promote sensuality from an era when women were proud to be girly and feminine.

What is the worst part?

Definitely the hours...I have to sometimes work until 4am getting updates and listings done.

OK folks, Kimberly is doing it ~ what's your excuse? Maybe 2007 is the year you strike out & turn your passion into profits!

This year is what you make it!

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