7 min 17 sec

Bedridden Marketing Director Pops Tags at Thrift Shop

A marketing director for a Connecticut health facility converts her passion for unique, vintage finds into a reselling side hustle.
Etsy Low Startup Potential Product Reselling

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What It's About

A Connecticut woman perseveres and creates a side hustle reselling unique vintage items.

Business Model
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Organization
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Jillian’s startup costs were minimal and mainly included a small investment in inventory of maybe $50, but the vast majority of her inventory comes from her friends and family. When she was getting started, she put the word out that she was on the hunt for vintage. People were happy to have Jillian clean out their attics or that they could drop stuff off, that they would just give it to her.

As the saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Is there something that you could use that others are looking to get rid of? Find a way that you both can win!

Fun Fact

About two months after launch, Valley Vintage received an order from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon for a pair of men’s platform shoes, leopard print with an acrylic heel that featured a pair of dice inside.

Jillian’s not sure if the shoes were featured on the show. “I didn't want to be a total fangirl about it, even though in my heart I was dying to know! So I sent a message politely thanking him for his purchase and mentioned I was a fan if they needed anything in the future to not hesitate to contact me. I left it at that. So if anyone remembers seeing any crazy shoes on the Tonight Show...”

Notes from Chris

Episode 234

Jillian Lyons is an early adopter. She was selling her crafts and jewelry on Etsy shortly after it launched way back in 2005. As a marketing director by day, that original hustle grew out of need, when after being diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer in three places, she had to get a less stressful job.

She took a position selling women’s shoes at Macy’s—and hated it—and also started selling her handmade crafts and jewelry on the site. Before she knew it, she was running a little side business from her bedroom—quite literally from her sickbed.

The first official sale with her new side hustle was almost immediate. Through her original Etsy shop, she learned a definite formula to selling online, which included planning and consistency.

Now, several months in, Valley Vintage sees an average monthly profit that ranges between $500 and $1,200. While there is an ebb and flow typical of fashion retail, sales get better every year and business is more predictable, Jillian said.


  • Valley Vintage LLC: Trip back in time and take a gander at Jillian's unique vintage finds on her Etsy page
  • The Freecycle Network: A grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns
  • The Vintage Fashion Guild: The website Jillian utilized for its resources on fabric and labels and the tips and tricks she picked up from fellow thrifters

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Every time I want to learn something, I go out and experience it and research it. I learned that a traditional boutique was not for me, lol, but the point is—I learned! Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to get hands-on!"
—Jillian Lyons #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau