The Rusty Schwinn

When I first looked at Diana's shop, The Rusty Schwinn, I was unsure of whether to select her or not.  While she had a beautiful shop with excellent photography of must-have fashion items (and cute freckled shoulders), she didn't have a lot of inventory.

For those of you who have been storming the forums, you know how much importance is placed on a large inventory (100+ items).  Diana only had 9 items. 

I sent her the following convo:

Hey! I love your products and your shop. Are you going to be adding more items soon? I know you're just getting started and sometimes it takes a bit to build up.

Love your photos, very elegant!

This was her response:

Hi there,

Thank you for the kind words.

What I have listed in the spring 2011 collection. I will be adding more products in June to launch the summer collection, then more again in September for the Fall collection. It may seem like a long time but I am "teaching" my customers to get used my shop's timeline. The timeline matches what the timeline from the apparel industry (my fulltime job

I am also an avid blogger if this helps:

Are you only interested in a shop with tons of inventory?


After reading her response, I thought, "Wow!  That's an awesome concept!"  Here are some more outstanding insights, both about life, Diana, and her very own rusty old Schwinn.

(Her responses are in blue.)

Oh my goodness, these questions are hilarious and awesome! Boy, you are a bunch of fun. lol. Here we go:

Did you grow up riding a Schwinn? I have my own old, rusty Schwinn propped up against the house.

Unfortunately, I did not grow up with a Schwinn. I got my first Schwinn from my dreamy surfer boyfriend on my 30th birthday. I always wanted one, but not just any cheesy beach cruiser. I wanted an old Schwinn. Luckily, Surfer Boy found my Schwinn in very good condition, very little rust actually.

It was a time when I truly realized, you can have everything you want. That same year I managed to...(I can't believe I'm admitting this...blush) finally grow into a B-cup. Dreams do come true. LOL! Must have been all those push ups!!

You seem to be a healthy sort. Do you have a daily commitment to exercise?

As a kid I was a worry-wart, thus attracting a lot of sickness and stress-related disease. When I was 19, I started practicing yoga and then Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), and everything changed. At that time in young adulthood I had been living with chronic asthma and Alopecia (women's hair loss disease). It literally vanished, and I realized the value of exercise and eating well. I still train Capoeira about 3 times per week and yoga here and there at home with Surfer Boy. I'm also part of a lunch-time running group at my full-time job.

You have a definite leg up on most of us, since you actually work in the fashion industry. What is the best piece of advice that you can give clothing and accessory-minded Etsy store owners?

Create a brand that people want to be a part of. Not only that, create a world people want to be a part of, and let it speak through your product, photos, your policies and your customer service.

One of my greatest inspirations comes from Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco. Their mission statement starts like this, "Café Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty. Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness." Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? I certainly do and adopt a similar mission statement for my shop, although I've yet to post it publicly.
Another great tip is to create a "line" each season that your fans will get stoked about and anticipate season after season. For example, right now I have only my Spring 2011 product listed. I will then launch my Summer 2011 line in June and then my Fall 2011 line in September. Sounds like a lot of extra work, but it actually keeps the creative energy flowing.

I noticed that even though you joined in October 2010 that you didn’t have any sales until January 2011. Were you just hanging out in the background, preparing your shop before going live?

Yes. I was doing A LOT of observing at that time. I read blogs, the Etsy forums, and lots of threads to get familiar with the community. I was also brainstorming ideas for my brand, what products I would sell, and market research. Not to mention countless hours studying business management and finance articles. I didn't want to jump into this naively.

How do you handle living in a 500 square foot apartment there in sunny San Diego? And, just because I’m the curious sort, how much do you have to pay for that prime piece of real estate?

I used to live in a 49 ft sailboat for many years, as I traveled through the South Pacific and New Zealand, so you can imagine my joy moving into a 500 square foot apartment with a toilet that flushes. Not to mention I don't have to hand wash my clothes anymore.

Ahh, yes San Diego, California is crazy, but we love it. I don't feel bad paying $950 for my 500sqft apartment with Surfer Boy and our two sheep dogs, because we spend a lot of time outdoors. We live smack in between the beach and San Diego Bay, so there are plenty of places to go running. And with a Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, they need to run everyday! Plus we have a garage underneath that is the same square footage as our apartment. We've converted it to a workshop/fitness room/surf locker, so it feels like our place is actually bigger than it is.

Wasn't that a breath of fresh air?  Diana definitely represents the personality and perseverance that it takes to be successful, both on and off of Etsy.

Check out Diana's shop here

Don't forget about her blog!

Summer will be here shortly, and I expect each and everyone of you to have perfectly freckled shoulders by the time it's over!


  1. This interview makes me yearn to be young and living in California! I'll have to settle for Colorado and riding my bicycle to the post office. Thanks to both of you. Diana, I really like your idea of "collections". Continued good luck to you.

  2. I just wanted to let you know, Patsy and Diana, that I rode my rusty schwinn today. It was very invigorating because my husband removed the brake lines last summer and hasn't reinstalled them yet, lol.


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