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Meet Sandy Machado of Boston Bag Lady Vintage in Brookline

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandy Machado.

Sandy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started Boston Bag Lady Vintage in January of 2008 on a whim. I stumbled into a small shop in Boston that housed an inventory of amazing mint condition greeting cards from the 40s to the 70s. I purchased about 200 cards that day, which helped lay the foundation for my shop’s inventory.

Within a few hours of listing the cards on Etsy, I had made some sales and was on my way. From there it snowballed. More cards, gift wrap, invitations and other paper ephemera Slowly and steadily. I’ve been building up my inventory as well as my person collection: anything from vintage egg cups, to owls, to typewriters, and even, alligator heads.

I’m lucky to be in the top 40 best selling vintage shops on Etsy with over 12,000 sales. I’ve also been building up a large following on Instagram (@bblvintage). I’ve come to find a lot of fellow vintage paper lovers: collectors and crafters alike. I run curated sales, list items daily, and even show behind the scenes action of my shop.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are always ups and downs in business, but I haven’t had a negative yet that has outweighed the positive.

Time certainly can be a struggle sometimes. By day, I work as a senior mobile designer for Rightpoint, a large digital agency. On nights and weekends, I’m working on my vintage business. It can be challenging to balance both, but I make it work. Sometimes I stay up a half hour later to get out outgoing orders, but it’s still with a smile on my face. It is hard work doing everything solo, but it is fun and rewarding.

I just genuinely love what I do, and my business continues to grow year after year because of that. I love reconnecting people with items from their past or helping to find some bit of vintage paper that they’ll use in their crafts. I love the friends and community I’ve made through this business.

Boston Bag Lady Vintage – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Boston Bag Lady Vintage is an online vintage shop specializing in vintage paper and ephemera. I have over 1000+ unique items for sale between Etsy and Instagram. Between greeting cards, books, tickets, seals, paper dolls, and more, these items span several decades.

I think what sets my shop apart from other sellers is the quality of items, pricing, quick shipping, and customer service. I always make sure to list items accurately, find unique items, package them well, add some freebies, and ship quickly. This helps in building relationships with customers and having buyers come back to my shop often.

I think the success of my shop comes from providing a variety of items at an affordable price range. I’m always looking for new and unique items to attract customers. I try to provide something for anyone and everyone, whether they are a collector or a crafter.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is a happy customer experience from start to finish. This starts from the moment I’m adding an item to my shop. Am I happy with the photography? Do I have all the details in the listing I need? How do I convey the story of this antique item? All those items factor into whether someone will purchase an item.

Once someone purchases that item, I make sure their experience is a good one. How quickly can I get their order shipped out? Is it packaged well? What kind of little extras can I include? Success to me is feedback customers leave after they receive their order.

I’m so happy when they love their items. I’m always setting up goals for myself in regards to a listing, adding handmade products, and pushing myself more on new selling platforms, but ultimately, happy customers mean success.

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