How to use an online shop to develop your career

How to use an online shop to develop your career

Silvia is Italian and lives in Zurich. She has been able to match her passion for antiques and the discovery of the many countries where she has lived. Here she tells us how.

 

In 2008 Silvia was living and working in Italy. She and her family were finally enjoying a bit of stability after years spent apart. She adored her job in the editorial team of the magazine Vogue Italia.

online shopWhen her husband received a job offer from abroad, they did not know what to do. Giving up a regular and quite life, and a fulfilled working experience? Saying yes to jump in the unknown and in the adventure?

The decision came quickly: Silvia and her husband were not happy with the recently elected Italian government, and signs of the big crisis to come where everywhere. They decided to accept the job abroad, though it was not easy to leave all they had built behind.

The first destination was Basel, Switzerland, followed by Copenhagen, Denmark and Brussels, Belgium.

Silvia and her family are presently living in Zurich. They never regretted their choice. Despite the difficulties of a nomadic life, they know they did the right thing.

For Silvia it was not all peaches and dandelions, though. She wanted to find a job, but her skills in writing and editing had developed in Italian. By leaving Italy, she had closed a door behind her.

Without a profession, Silvia felt deprived of identity. She suffered seeing how a no more very young woman with children was not considered in the job market. She sent tons of applications, but received no answers.

She felt powerless and sad, but eventually realized she had to try new paths. She then decided to turn her passion for antiques into a real job.

She was in Belgium at the time, where there are loads of antiques markets. She spent hours poking around, she loved what she saw and would have bought everything.

Then she suddenly remembered that a few years back she had written a post for Vogue Italia about Etsy.com, the online shop. She decided to try and sell some antiques online. The initial investment was minimum, and she was happily surprised when she saw purchases arriving almost immediately at her online shop.

Thus began a new wonderful working experience. Silvia does not feel very much at ease with self-promotion, but it does not matter. She lets appreciation build by itself little by little. She invests a lot of time and energy in quality: she choses antiques carefully, discarding what is not in perfect conditions, or very rare, unusual or bizarre. She takes pictures of the objects with a lot of care, and this, she says, is the most enjoyable part.

She also invests in the relationship with the client after the purchase. In the packaging, she adds a personal message, sharing why she bought the object, and its story, provenance, period and any other interesting details about it. Sometimes it can only be a short note, but the gesture is always highly appreciated and contributes to build a solid reputation.

After a while on Etsy.com, she decided to expand and opened another online shop on Rubylane.com, which is another platform for online sales. Compared to Esty.com, it is a bit more demanding in terms of investment and quality, but it also worked well, and today Silvia is very happy with her work, which also allows her a particularly interesting contact with the local reality. There is always something happening when strolling in antiques markets. Encounters, discoveries, discussions about vintage objects. Objects become a channel to investigate the past, find out about forgotten habits and costumes. So, while nurturing her online business, Silvia also honours her value of constantly learning something new in life, and reinforces her link with her host country and its people.

Claudia Landini
January 2019

About Claudia Landini

Claudia is a certified intercultural trainer and life and mobile career coach with 28 years of experience abroad, in Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia.