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Hello…I’m Traci Hugelmaier

I HELP VINTAGE SELLERS START, GROW & SCALE THEIR BUSINESS ON ETSY

this is my story

I remember the exact moment I decided I was going to make selling vintage my livelihood and I was going to do it NOW.

I was at a 9-5 job that I was good at & was making decent money. On the surface…everything looked perfect.

I worked for a great company and had some really amazing coworkers.

But I was struggling on the inside.

I felt like I was putting on an act at work. I had stayed home with my kids when they were young, so I was older than many of my coworkers and it always made me feel like I didn’t quite fit.

I am an introvert to the core. My job required me to travel and meet some pretty important clients…and while I did like the traveling part…it all felt so uncomfortable and I HATED that feeling. I was pretending to be something I wasn’t.

I had confidence and believed in my abilities in many areas, but at work it was like I was always swimming against the current in someone else’s sea.

I wanted to be the one in charge of my own destiny…and I wanted to contribute to the World in bigger ways.

I wanted to feel like me, not like I was pretending to fit into someone else’s mold of what I should be.

I wanted to be in control of my days, my income, my happiness…and to be there for my family whenever I needed to be…without any guilt!

I had started my Etsy shop, and I had dreams of quitting my job and doing it full-time. But I was only making a few sales a month and far from enough money to justify leaving.

The problem was, I wasn’t growing fast enough.

There was so much to know and learn…and most of it I wasn’t even aware I needed to know. I was floundering at best.

I was selling upcycled items, and bordering on a hoarding problem with allll the vintage things I would accumulate in hopes of getting more sales.

And then it hit me. Upcycling was fun and I enjoyed doing it, but it wasn’t a good business model. It was time-consuming and not something I could scale into a profitable business. On a similar note, selling everything vintage I could get my hands on or get a good deal on was also not working. Not REALLY working. And neither of those approaches were going to get me out of my 9-5 and into my dream life.

I loved selling vintage and it was still creative, just in a different way. I had access to vintage that I could make a good profit on & I was growing my talent for finding things people actually wanted.

I needed a plan, though.

My big a-ha moment was when I realized I had to start looking at every aspect of my business through what I call the “worth it goggles”.

It went like this (and still goes like this, by the way)…is it worth it…

Is it worth my TIME?

Is it worth it in PROFITS?

Is it worth it for my BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY?

And finally, it goes through this filter…does it align with where I see my brand & vision for my business?

Upcycling was out for good…and selling vintage was ALLL in…with many tweaks to come.

And then it happened.

I was passed up for a job promotion that had me seriously crying for days. I’m a pretty “role with the punches” kinda gal and it wasn’t the first time I didn’t get a job I wanted…but this one HURT. It hurt so bad that I knew I couldn’t keep going the way things were. I needed to get out, and I needed to do it NOW. A job should not have the power to make you feel that BAD.

You probably already know, I did eventually quit my 9 to 5…but there were other obstacles I had to overcome first…

 


 

 

Where was I…right, the plan.

First things first. I knew I had to stop hanging out in the Etsy forums and other places plagued with negativity.

I knew I had to surround myself with mentors and like-minded people who had big plans for their Etsy business, too.

I had to move forward with a business mindset & my “worth it goggles cleaned and ready to go at all times.

I learned everything I could about running an online business.

I learned about selling techniques, email lists & funnels.

Never heard of a funnel? It’s kinda like a carefully crafted old school obstacle course where you start at the beginning, do some fun things and at the end you are exactly where the designer intended for you to end up…but in this obstacle course it’s super easy and you are buying something at the end (hopefully ;)).

I learned about building a website, social media, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and using ads to help drive traffic.

The one thing I didn’t have to learn was customer service. I had been customer servicing the heck out of people for decades and I already had that down! 😉

The problem was, every single thing out there I could find for Etsy sellers, was geared towards having a hand-made business.

I now had the knowledge to make my business awesome, but was hitting roadblocks because selling vintage has its own nuances, unlike any other business.

Make a product line, they said…come again?

Have best sellers, they demanded…how do you possibly have a best seller with vintage?

Create an email list, they preached…I’m sorry, but what on earth would I email them?

Yep, these all had me scratching my head…I almost went bald (ok, not really)! 😉

I felt like I had all the knowledge, but needed a way to make it work for me selling vintage on Etsy.

 


 

So…I ended up getting so frustrated in my quest to make my business work. I went as far as trying to sell hand-made in addition to vintage, for a time. Really it was print on demand…but that wasn’t the answer. I tried so many other things too…most of which didn’t work so well, by the way.

It felt like it was taking forever!

One by one (and with a lot of trial and error), I took a concept I had learned and figured out how to apply it to selling vintage on Etsy.

It took a while…but by the end, I had a system and strategies that were WORKING!

I was a bit in shock…was I really getting results…finally?

After implementing that system and those strategies in my Etsy vintage business, I was finally able to quit my 9 to 5 & have since experienced upward growth every…single…year.

Way more importantly, I now feel like I’m living the life I was meant to live. I feel fulfilled and that I’m in complete control of my future.

And you know what? I spend a lot less time on my vintage business now, too, because finding ways to streamline my business was one of my core focuses.

Plus, I’m able to be there for my family whenever I need to…and live each day with purpose. My customers mean the world to me and I love that I get to connect with new people (and all my regulars) every single day.

The fact that I get to now help other people do the same with their Etsy vintage business…seriously priceless!

Once I realized I had a system that worked, it became my new mission in life to share that system with other vintage sellers who were ready to transform their own Etsy vintage business or were just getting started and had big dreams for their business like I did.

This full step-by-step system is now known as Vintageprenuer University (VPU) Masterclass.