Friday, March 09, 2012


Hi! I'm Jill of Lune Vintage. I have loved shopping and collecting clothing from past eras since I was 15 years old. Now,17 years later, I'm still doing it - but it's more than a passion; it's a way to help support my family and facilitate my love for design & small business. Although I've been a vintage seller for over 10 years, bringing my business online has opened a world of opportunity for me as a business owner, and as an individual. In 2009, I co-wrote the first Indie Business online workshop with my friend and fellow creative business owner, Leigh-Ann Keffer of Freckled Nest. Since then, we have developed three more workshops, assisting over 1,500 people start & grow their own small businesses. We've recently unveiled part one of a project that has been in development for most of 2011: the Indie Business: Compass.

I am pleased to be able to share with you the experience I've had in recognizing, valuing, and exercising individual skills. I hope they can positively impact your own business for 2012!

1. Value the skills you already have. ---> Often, when we decide to start a business, we center our goals around one skill or talent we are confidant in. When I started my small business, Lune Vintage, I knew I was experienced at finding great vintage housewares and clothing. It was my initial skill focus. With time, I began to incorporate my other creative loves: jewelry design, dying, sewing, screen printing, graphic//website design and later on, teaching. All skills are valuable and they all have a place in the big picture of my business.

Keep your mind open to how you can use several skills in running your business and what you have to offer your customers.

2. Look in an unlikely place. ---> Buying and selling vintage is easy. I've always loved it, I find it therapeutic. It wasn't a great leap of faith for me to dedicate a good part of my life to this business. On the other hand, my teaching experience came from a less likely source. In 1998, I took one year of post secondary education toward my B.E.. The following year, I took a position as a teacher's aid, working with children who faced physical, developmental, and emotional challenges. I retained this job part-time as my own vintage business grew. The skills I developed in my day job were that of patience, the ability to see the world from a variety of perspectives, helping others overcome challenges big and small, and finding individually tailored ways to achieve success. I am so thankful for this time for many reasons. This is where I found one of my own hidden skills.

Is it possible that your have skills that can help enhance your own business? Look to previous job experience of any kind, situations where you helped others, or donated your time to a cause. What makes you a M.V.P. in a particular situation?

3. Have confidence in what you're good at. ---> When deciding on how to proceed with Indie Business back in 2009, I questioned if I was the right person for the job. I didn't have any online presence at the time, therefore potential students had no previous experience of my knowledge or teaching style. I wasn't very familiar with the world of online marketing. All I knew was that I had valuable working knowledge to share. I decided that I would give it a shot and give it my ALL!  If you feel like you have something special to offer the market - don't let your fears stop you from giving it your best. You may be surprised that what you thought was a con was really a pro!

To help build confidence in your abilities, make a list of what you have to offer. For example : I am a fast learner, I try to figure things out myself before asking for help, I am not easily agitated, I am good at making people feel comfortable talking to me. This is a great way to remind yourself of your own valuable skills in times of doubt.

4. Be a student for life. ---> In all areas, we have room for improvement. That's wonderful! It gives us a reason to keep seeking knowledge and building our skill sets! From my experience, whenever I come across a roadblock, I try to take that opportunity and learn from it. This isn't just relating to the skills, services, or products you offer as a business. Rather, it relates to areas where you have less experience. For me, financial record keeping and managing expenses were a great challenge. This important business task involves organization and planning, two skills that are not natural to me. Take each challenge as an opportunity to learn and you'll grow as a person and an indie business owner!

What skills do you feel you need to improve upon? Actively make a choice to strengthen your knowledge in these areas and practice them. If you're a talented, passionate artist, but have a very difficult time speaking with potential buyers, gallery owners, and people in your community - make a small step like practicing maintaining eye contact when speaking to someone you are already familiar with. Even small exercises such as these can make a big difference in what you have to offer as a creative business owner.

5. Value the skills of others. ---> Not many people are good at absolutely everything. But, there are many people who are great at a few things. Teaming up with others in big and small ways can greatly benefit your business. Trades & collaborations can be found everywhere if you keep your options open. In my example, through my collaboration with Leigh-Ann and several others, I have been able to utilize my own skills for teaching, digital work, and fashion design. Another larger scale example, online shopping sites such as ModCloth and FreePeople, or big chain stores such as Target often do collaborations with bloggers and designers to refresh their own collections and bring in a new audience.

Take the lead from big business and look for ways to involve yourself in the creative community. Even taking the step to introduce yourself or send an email can lead to great things down the line.

I hope you enjoyed reading my 5 ways to nurture your skills. I wish you all creative fulfillment and big steps for your business in 2012!

Find Jill Here:  Blog  |  Shop  |  Indie Business

Thank you, Jill!! Your insight to running a small business is fantastic and extremely valued. I had the opportunity to participate in Indie Business last year and highly recommend it!! 

I wish all of you a wonderful weekend. :)


  1. Great post - very insightful.
    I'd love to take part in the online workshop if finances allow.

  2. I would love to run a small business in the future, and these tips from Jill are wonderful. Good for her for running her own shop and helping others with/or starting independent businesses.

    Minestrone Soup For the Teenage Soul

  3. Anonymous10.3.12

    This is an amazing post...Im thinking about starting my own clothes brand and I know it's not going to be easy! But reading things like this makes me think it worth the effort :)


  4. this was so helpful! i think with any small business, these 5 things can strengthen it.

  5. Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed writing this feature - and I'm glad it has been enjoyed.

  6. Such a great feature! i found this so helpful and enjoyable thanks for sharing.