Decorating With Faux Plants: An Amazon Shopping Guide

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The Best Faux Plants You Can Buy On Amazon Right Now

There are few things that breathe life into a space better than fresh, live plant.  Lush greenery can make your apartment feel more welcoming and calming, but maintaining live plants is not a task all people are capable of or interested in.  Whether you travel often, have a busy schedule or simply possess a black thumb, faux plants may be the best bet for you and your home.  When you think of faux plants, you may imagine tacky, plastic-looking eye-sores, but luckily for all of us, faux plants have come a long way in the past few years.  Just take a look at the collection of beautiful options below that can all be at your door in two days with Amazon Prime:

Faux Boston Fern

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Boston Fern

Faux Boxwood Topiary

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Boxwood Topiary

Faux Mini Green Grass & Flowers

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Mini Grass & Flowers

Faux Philodendron Hanging Basket

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Philodendron Hanging Basket

Faux Tabletop Plants In Glass Pots

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Tabletop Plants In Glass Pots

Faux Lemon Tree Topiary

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Lemon Tree Topiary

Faux Succulent Trio in White Ceramic Vases

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Succulent Trio In White Ceramic Pots

Faux Cactus Garden In Cement Planter

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Cactus Garden In Cement Planter

Faux Snake Plant In Black Planter

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Snake Plant

Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree

Decorating With Faux Plants | Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

Brand New Apartments in DC

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New apartments are popping up all over DC and the construction cranes dotting the skyline tell us there’s more to come.  We went snooping around some of the newest communities to see what new amenities and luxury finishes the brand new apartments are introducing to the DC market.  From saunas to spin rooms, these communities are serving up serious spa-like settings, luxury amenities, and breathtaking views.  Check out our list of six brand new must see apartment communities.

Brand-new-DC-apartments-edison

The Edison

1240 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

We don’t know what’s better…a Trader Joes on the ground floor or the first-month free move-in promotion!  The Edison is an Instagrammer’s dream.  The courtyard features a gorgeous mural by a local artist and a super relaxing water feature.  What’s more, the Edison is set in the Union Market District-one of our favorite spots in all of DC.  This location puts you two blocks from the Noma Metro red line and one block to Union Market and all their glorious vendors and Insta worthy artwork.

Brand-new-DC-apartments-Agora-at-the-collective

Agora at the Collective

800 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20003

Agora is the brand new second building of the luxury apartment community called The Collective. Located in the Capitol Riverfront at 800 New Jersey Ave SE Washington, DC, Agora boasts amenities such as an infinity pool with unmatched Capitol views, Peloton cycling room, massage rooms, and golf simulator. Agora offers studio to three-bedroom apartment homes ranging in size from 400 to 3113 sq.ft. This rental community is pet-friendly, welcoming both cats and dogs. However, you can opt to live on a pet-free floor.

Brand-new-DC-apartments-channel-at-the-wharf

The Channel

950 Maine Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20024

With the Anthem music venue on the ground floor…this truly is DC living amplified.  The Channel District Wharf is a brand new apartment community in one of DC’s newest neighborhoods.  From the infinity pool overlooking the waterfront to the custom art installations in the common areas, there is always something new to see.  The location puts you walking distance to the monuments and the National Mall and of course, living at the Wharf, you have several bars and restaurants at your doorstep.  They are currently offering one month free, so if you are looking to move this summer, add them to your list!

Brand-new-DC-apartments-south-cathedral-mansions

South Cathedral Mansions

2900 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

South Cathedral Mansions is the best of both worlds; modern luxury with charming old-world architecture.  This fully restored community is stunning.  Be sure to check out their 6000 square foot fitness center including steam rooms.  The apartments feature smart home features like keyless entry and smart thermostats.  The brand new apartments also have washers and dryers in the apartments, quartz countertops, and our favorite gas stoves.

Brand-new-DC-apartments-the-district

The District

1401 S St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Located in the Logan Circle – U Street neighborhood that’s redefining fashion, food, and fun in D.C., District is refreshingly sophisticated. Blending the best of old and new, the 125-residence building contrasts a historic warm, worn brick with a sleek, modern façade. Inside, each high-quality residence creates an urban oasis. Whether it’s to curl up with a good read by the fireplace in the lounge or impress dinner party guests with panoramic views on the rooftop terrace, District has the right atmosphere and amenities.

Brand-new-DC-apartments-willow-and-maple

Willow and Maple

6918 Willow Street NW
Washington, DC 20012

Cutting edge amenities, meticulously-groomed grounds, and a dedicated staff contribute to a higher standard of living. Convenient shopping, award-winning schools, local museums, and parks are all close at hand, with sponsored activities to develop new hobbies while getting to know your neighbors.

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

As I attempt to call my house done, one key detail has continued to elude. Art! It can feel really challenging to find something you love. There are plenty an art site that offer good place holders, but I’m attempting to move beyond the cheap print everyone already has phase. Enter Instagram. I recently fell down the artist-on-Instagram rabbit hole and WOW. There are so many talented people out there just killing it! I seriously want to buy multiple pieces from all the artists listed below. Their work is beautiful, so if you have some bare walls in your life, definitely look to these folks to serve up some major inspiration.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

First up is The Poster Club. This isn’t specifically one artist, but it’s a Copenhagen-based online store offering a unique curated selection of high-quality posters and art prints from both upcoming and established artists. I am obsessed with their website and pretty much every piece of art. These are prints rather than originals, but price point is so affordable, there’s really no excuse for not having cool piece in your life. They also ship worldwide, so I’m not sure what we’re all waiting for?

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

I’m convinced Bobby Clark is my long lost Scottish soul sister or something. I would do a gallery wall of her work in every room of my house if it wouldn’t be considered weird. You know all the cool sculptural knock off art you’re seeing in department stores? They’re copying Bobby’s work. She’s the legit OG. And the price to snag a print is honestly not bad at all!

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

When I think of soft colors in a Scandinavian inspired space, Saar Manche’s art immediately comes to mind. I mean, one look at her Instagram feed and I instantly feel calmer. Her work is muted with soft edges and one of her faceless portraits would fit perfectly in my home.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

Next, we have the works of Amelie Hegardt. She is regarded as a fashion illustrator, but as you can see from her Instagram, her work goes far beyond that. The silhouettes and lines of her pieces fascinate me and I’d love love love to snag an original.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

It shouldn’t surprise you that another Denmark-based artist made this list. His name is Carsten Nielsen of Bycdesign studio. You can actually buy his work through The Poster Club, but I highly recommend following him on Instagram for daily looks at his pieces. It says on his site he’s inspired by geometry and shapes and combines them with his affinity for color and form. All I know is whatever he’s doing, it is absolutely working.

6 Artists I Found on Instagram

If you’re looking for something a bit more abstract with colorful flair, look no further than Maureen Meyer. With a previous career as a graphic designer, Maureen’s work is mixed media, so she incorporates a lot of paper and excess print materials into her pieces. It’s very multidimensional, which in my opinion is a very welcome breath of fresh air.

You can buy from these artists or not, but there’s no doubt they will, at the very least, spice up your Insta feed. That I can promise!

For more of my favorite Instagram finds, CLICK HERE.

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Source: apartment34.com

I Didn’t Open All of These Accounts on My Credit Report. What Should I Do?

Free Credit Report Summary - Payment History

See your payment history?

Payment history is the record of when—and if—you pay your bills. And, it’s one of the main things that creditors look at. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score—the biggest part. Your report card shows your grade, total late payments and more. See your payment history now »

See How You’re Using Available Credit

How you use credit affects your credit score. Use too much and your score goes down. Your credit utilization ratio, or how much of your credit limit you use, makes up 30% of your credit score. Your credit report card shows your ratio, credit card debt, credit limit and how different factors affect your score. Get your debt usage now »

Free Credit Report Summary - Debt Utilization Free Credit Report Summary - Number of Inquiries

Take a Peek at Your Credit’s Age

Credit age, aka credit history, is the age of your oldest account, not how long you’ve used credit. Creditors want older credit histories. And older accounts are better for your score. Credit age makes up 15% of your score. See your credit history and the ages of the oldest and newest account on your credit report card. Know your credit age now »

See Your Account Mix

Revolving credit, installment loans and the mix of the two—student loans, auto loans, mortgages, etc.—make up 10% of your credit score. A good mix shows creditors you can handle different types of debts. See how many revolving credit accounts and loans you have in your free credit report summary. Check your account mix »

Free Credit Report Summary - Age of Accounts Free Credit Report Summary - Account Mix

Know How Many Inquiries You Have

Every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, it can show up as a hard inquiry on your credit report. That’s true even for denied credit. And hard inquiries make up 10% of your score and can cause it to drop. Applying for credit too frequently is a red flag to creditors. When was your last inquiry? See how many inquiries you have and how long you’ve had them on your report card. Check your inquiries now »

See Why—and How—Your Score Changed

If you want the details of why your score changed, it’s all there. Simply select “See details” for “Why did my score change” to see the historical view of your credit score—and what’s changed it.

Free Credit Report Summary - Age of Accounts

Source: credit.com

What is a 401(k) Profit Sharing Plan?

Like a traditional 401(k) plan, a 401(k) profit share plan is an employee benefit that can provide a vehicle for tax-free retirement savings. But the biggest difference between an employer-sponsored 401(k) and a 401(k) profit share plan is that in a profit share plan, employers have control over how much money—if any—they contribute to the employee’s account from year to year.

In other ways, the 401(k) profit-sharing plan works similarly to a traditional employer-sponsored 401(k). Under a 401(k) profit share plan, as with a regular 401(k) plan, an employee can allocate a portion of pre-tax income into a 401(k) account, up to a maximum of $19,500 per year (in 2020 and 2021).

At year’s end, employers can choose to contribute part of their profits to employee’s plans, tax-deferred. As with a traditional 401(k), maximum total contributions to an account must be the lesser of 100% of the employee’s salary or $58,000 a year per the IRS; that number jumps to $64,500 for older employees who are making catch-up contributions.

How Does 401(k) Profit Sharing Work?

There are several types of 401(k) profit-sharing setups employers can choose from. Each of these distributes funds in slightly different ways.

Pro-Rata Plans

In this common type of plan, all employees receive employer contributions at the same rate. In other words, the employer can make the decision to contribute 3% (or any percentage they choose) of an employees compensation as an employer contribution. The amount an employer can share is capped at 25% of total employee compensation paid to participants in the plan.

New Comparability 401(k) Profit Sharing

In this plan, employers can group employees when outlining a contribution plan. For example, executives could receive a certain percentage of their compensation as contribution, while other employees could receive a different percentage. This might be an option for a small business with several owners that wish to be compensated through a profit-sharing plan.

Age-Weighted Plans

This plan calculates percentage contributions based on retirement age. In other words, older employees will receive a greater percentage of their salary than younger employees, by birth date. This can be a way for employers to retain talent over time.

Integrated Profit Sharing

This type of plan uses Social Security (SS) taxable income levels to calculate the amount the employer shares with employees. Because Social Security benefits are only paid on compensation below a certain threshold, this method allows employers to make up for lost SS compensation to high earners, by giving them a larger cut of the profit sharing.

Pros and Cons of 401(k) Profit Sharing

There are benefits and drawbacks for both employers and employees who participate in a profit-sharing 401(k) plan.

Employer Pro: Flexibility of Employer Contributions

Flexibility with plan contribution amounts is one reason profit share plans are popular with employers. An employer can set aside a portion of their pre-tax earnings to share with employees at the end of the year. If the business doesn’t do well, they may not allocate any dollars. But if the business does do well, they can allow employees to benefit from the additional profits.

Employer Pro: Flexibility in Distributions

Profit sharing also gives employers flexibility in how they wish to distribute funds among employees, using the Pro-Rata, New Comparability, Age-Weighted, or Integrated profit sharing strategy.

Employer Pro: Lower Tax Liability

Another advantage of profit share plans is that they allow employers to lower tax liability during profitable years. A traditional employer contribution to a 401k does not have the flexibility of changing the contribution based on profits, so this strategy can help a company maintain financial liquidity during lean years and lower tax liability during profitable years.

Employee Pro: Larger Contribution Potential

Some employees might appreciate that their employer 401(k) contribution is tied to profits, as the compensation might feel like a more direct reflection of the hard work they and others put into the company. When the company succeeds, they feel the love in their contribution amounts.

Additionally, depending on the type of distribution strategy the employer utilizes, certain employees may find a profit-sharing 401(k) plan to be more lucrative than a traditional 401(k) plan. For example, an executive in a company that follows the New Compatibility approach might be pleased with the larger percentage of profits shared, versus more junior staffers.

Employee Con: Inconsistent Contributions

While employers may consider the flexibility in contributions from year to year a positive, it’s possible that employees might find that same attribute of profit sharing 401(k) plans to be a negative. The unpredictability of profit share plans can be disconcerting to some employees who may have come from an employer who had a traditional, consistent match set up.

Employee/Employer Pro: Solo 401(k) Contributions

A profit share strategy can be one way solo business owners can maximize their retirement savings. Once a solo 401(k) is set up with profit sharing, a business owner can put up to $19,000 a year into the account, plus up to 25% of net earnings, up to a total of $58,000. This retirement savings vehicle also provides flexibility from year to year, depending on profits.

Withdrawals and Taxes on 401(k) Profit Share Plans

A 401(k) with a generous profit share plan can grow quite quickly. So what about when you’re ready to take out distributions? A 401(k) withdrawal will have penalties if you withdraw funds before you’re 59 ½ (barring certain circumstances laid out by the IRS) but the money will still be taxable income once you reach retirement age. Additionally, like traditional 401(k) plans, a profit-sharing 401(k) plan has required minimum distribution requirements (RMDs) once an account holder turns 72.

Investors who anticipate being in a high tax bracket during their retirement years may consider different strategies to lower their tax liability in the future. For some, this could include converting the 401(k) into a Roth IRA. This is sometimes called a “backdoor Roth IRA” because rolling over the 401(k) does not subject an investor to the income limitations that cap Roth contributions.

An investor would need to pay taxes on the money they convert into a Roth IRA, but distributions in retirement years would not be taxed the way they would have if they were kept in a 401(k). Any 401(k) owner who qualifies for a Roth IRA can do this, but the additional funds in a 401(k) profit share account can make these moves that much more impactful in the future.

The Takeaway

A 401(k) profit share plan allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to their retirement savings, as well as benefit from their employer’s profitability. But because profit share plans can take multiple forms, it’s important for employees to understand what their employer is offering. That way, employees can create a robust retirement savings strategy that works for them.

There are many retirement savings options besides an employer-sponsored 401(k) (profit-sharing or not), and some investors invest in a combination of different plans that suits their short-term and long-term needs. SoFi Invest® offers both Roth and traditional IRA accounts, both of which can help make saving for retirement easier.

Find out how to open an IRA with SoFi.


SoFi Invest®
The information provided is not meant to provide investment or financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on an individual’s specific financial needs, goals and risk profile. SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance. Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC. SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . The umbrella term “SoFi Invest” refers to the three investment and trading platforms operated by Social Finance, Inc. and its affiliates (described below). Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of the platforms below.
1) Automated Investing—The Automated Investing platform is owned by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor (“Sofi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC, an affiliated SEC registered broker dealer and member FINRA/SIPC, (“Sofi Securities).

2) Active Investing—The Active Investing platform is owned by SoFi Securities LLC. Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.

3) Digital Assets—The Digital Assets platform is owned by SoFi Digital Assets, LLC, a FinCEN registered Money Service Business.

For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above, including state licensure of Sofi Digital Assets, LLC, http://www.sofi.com/legal.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com

5 Gorgeous Sofas You Will Love, All For Less Than $1,800!

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Infused Water Recipes To Help You Hydrate & Detox In The New Year

Decorating an apartment should be fun and exciting, but we know it doesn’t always go that way. Picking out your furniture and decor can become a daunting task, especially when you start looking at price tags. Furniture is expensive, and there really is no way of getting around that. That being said, there are some affordable options out there, and you won’t have to sacrifice your style. We’ve put together 5 of our favorite gorgeous sofas, ranging from sofa beds to sectionals. The best part? These beauties are all under $1,800. Happy shopping! 

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

5 Measurements You Need To Take Before You Take The Apartment

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5 Apartment Measurements To Take

I once drove a couch from Venice, Florida to Orlando only to find out there was no way to get it through the front door. It was because of how tall the back of the couch was. It was so wide, there was no angle that worked to get it in. My roommate and I had every maintenance guy the neighborhood trying to make it work before we just had to give up and donate it. We don’t want you to ever experience that pain, so read below for the five measurements you must take before moving in.

Will it fit your queen size mattress or sectional couch? You don’t want to be lugging these up the stairs!

via GIPHY

This often overlooked detail can be the difference between a year of apartment bliss or bust. Walking to and from your car is no big deal on a regular day, but how about every time you have groceries? How many trips are you struggling with 16 bags on your arms and balancing the laundry detergent bottle on your head? While you are checking the grounds, also figure out where you have to drop your trash. This again, can be a huge factor in your day-to-day renter life.

Is there still room for your bed and space to walk around it when the closet doors are open? If not, ask the landlord before you submit an application if they are willing to remove the doors and store them prior to your move in. Many landlords will not be willing to do this, so be sure you ask and not assume.

Another silly one, but I promise, it’s a mistake detail you do not want to overlook. How far are the outlets in your bedroom from where your actual nightstand will be? If you are like 83% of Americans, your phone is never more than two feet away from your body. That’s because we use it as an alarm clock, a camera and a lifeline…so we assume you want to charge that bad boy right? But still have it close enough to the bed to hit snooze three or thirteen times? Then you better check where those outlets are!

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

A Major Kitchen Moment

I know, I know. I was espousing the need to minimize kitchen design just a couple of weeks back. And while I’m still feeling the paired down look, I’m also human. I will always be easily seduced by a stunning kitchen moment. 

The following example certainly qualifies.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

You wouldn’t know it first glance, but this kitchen resides in a nearly 200 year old townhouse in Brooklyn. Part of a double height addition, this kitchen is oversized without being overly opulent.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

I love how this kitchen has the Euro-influenced backsplash that features single open shelf (still realllyyy wish I’d done that in my kitchen but it wasn’t a thing in 2015!), but doing it with the Vermont soapstone is perfectly understated, rather than in your face. And its texture is so yummy, I just want to stand there and pet it. The bead-board cabinetry in a yummy subtle cream and oversized reclaimed oak island could read rather rustic, but the 20-foot steel clad windows and the huge modern pendant balance the look.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34
A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

I love the wall to wall cabinets that hide appliances and storage creating a serene, clean look. This feels like elevated farmhouse at it’s very best – particularly since its in New York! The wall of cabinetry leads you into a sunken hangout area, creating a large contiguous communal space.

A Major Kitchen Moment on apartment 34

While everything in this kitchen is on a grand scale, there’s still an air of minimalism and restraint I really appreciate. So maybe I’ll hedge my bets on the minimal kitchen and say maybe we could all benefit from a little more restraint.

For more kitchen inspiration, CLICK HERE.

design by elizabeth roberts architecture & design

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Source: apartment34.com

Here’s How 3 Vintage Clothing Businesses Built Their Brands

It’s tempting to think that selling your old clothes on sites like Poshmark or ThredUp will immediately generate passive income that supports your brunch habit and annual rent increase.

But if you want long-term success and a recognizable brand that people return to, running a vintage resale business is anything but easy. It takes work, say small business owners who have done it. But it is possible.

We talked with three vintage clothing business owners about how they got their start, crafted their aesthetic and built their brand.

3 Sellers Making a Go in the Vintage Clothing Business

Sara DiNatale of Lucky 727 Vintage

Sara DiNatale has always loved secondhand clothing, so it makes sense that she spent a lot of time in thrift stores.

At first, she shopped for herself and bought items tailored to her tastes. But over time, she started to recognize what items were popular and trendy, even if she didn’t like them, like a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

“Maybe it wasn’t my aesthetic, but I knew that someone would totally die for this,” said DiNatale, who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I did it enough times that I was like: ‘Why don’t I try this?’”

One of her first sales was a Dooney & Bourke vintage belt that she purchased on a bidding website for herself. When it arrived, she discovered that it didn’t fit. She resold the piece for more than double what she paid.

That was a teaching moment for DiNatale: She realized that there was money to be made in vintage. So she took the profits and invested them back into more vintage purchases that she would then sell.

For those starting out, she says, don’t take money straight out of your pocket. Either sell what you already own or invest what you’ve already earned into something else.

DiNatale partnered with a friend when she decided to officially start a vintage side-hustle. They chose clothing resale app Depop to start because DiNatale felt she knew their market and had a similar style.

A woman wearing vintage coveralls shows off other vintage items she sells on Depop and Etsy. The second photo is vintage shoes.
DiNatale loves secondhand clothing, so she started a side business selling vintage pieces with a friend in January 2020. Her biggest piece of advice: Know what sells. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If she could do it over, she might not make the same choice. Depop’s audience skews young, she says, and doesn’t always see the value of spending a high price on an item, even if it’s a high-quality vintage piece. On Etsy, DiNatale has found she has a better chance at getting a buyer who understands the quality of the garment, but there is also more work involved with the platform.

DiNatale’s colleague came up with the name Lucky 727 Vintage, a play off of St. Petersburg’s area code. She and her partner chose to make a business name, partially because Depop requires it and partially because they wanted to interact online with customers as a single entity. They also made an Instagram page at Depop’s suggestion, although the Instagram account ended up working out as a separate revenue stream for local customers.

The vintage business is what you make of it, DiNatale said. Since starting in January 2020, Lucky 727 Vintage has sold 200 items, about evenly split between the two co-owners. On average, DiNatale makes about $100 a month in profit, although some months it comes out to much more than that.

DiNatale has learned some tricks:

  • First, make sure your product descriptions have appropriate information, like measurements and garment details. If someone has to message you to ask a question, they may no longer be interested by the time you respond.
  • Keep apprised of any changes to Depop’s interface through a sub-Reddit and watch for algorithm changes that could affect how your merchandise is promoted.
  • Most importantly: Know what sells. DiNatale is an avid Dr. Martens fan, and she knows that vintage Docs go quick and at a high cost. They are the rare item she will shell out for in advance, because she knows she’ll make a return.

Jenna Wu of Nanena Vintage

Jenna Wu didn’t always appreciate her love of thrifting. In fact, as a child, she was ashamed that she had to shop at thrift stores, a necessity in her low-income family.

It wasn’t until she got older that she realized thrifting could be cool. She was inspired by a friend who had an unconventional style but always looked amazing, and almost all of her clothes were thrifted. That turned Wu’s thinking, at the same time she started to look into the dangers of fast fashion and waste.

Now, Wu has come full circle. She runs a full-time business based in Portland, Ore., called Nanena Vintage, a play on her nickname of “Nena.” The perks of running a vintage clothing business are the flexibility — you set your own schedule — and the creativity of presenting and packaging the clothes to make them look as desirable as possible.

When Wu started thrifting for money, she was working in customer service and felt drained by her 9-to-5. Running a thrifting business was an artistic outlet that she actually enjoyed. Her partner encouraged her to pursue it full-time.

Jenna Wu, a vintage clothing entrepreneur, shows off some of her vintage clothing on a rack.
In 2019, Wu’s entire income from vintage was $5,000. It has increased since then, but she’s still unable to live independently off the money she makes from Nanena Vintage. Photo courtesy of Jenna Wu

Wu’s style gravitates toward feminine and classic pieces, but she tries to intersperse styles that are popular and trendy as well. She’s always keeping an eye on what people want to buy, but she’s also focused on the quality of the material and the uniqueness of the design. And there’s one thing she absolutely doesn’t do — streetwear.

When pricing, she takes into consideration how much time it takes to find what she calls a “gem” in a sea of mediocre items. All that time spent goes into the price a reseller will charge for a garment.

Wu started by selling her items on Depop and found success. She was selling at least one item a day. But a year in, she saw her sales drop off. She wasn’t sure why — had the algorithm changed? As sales continued to dwindle, she decided to switch to Instagram.

It was a learning curve at first.

“You just have to keep at it and keep going and then eventually people will find you,” she said.

Wu has a money-saving tip for anyone starting out: Create your own shipping labels rather than going to the post office.

And if you do want to go out on your own and make vintage a full-time business, be prepared for it to take time before becoming financially viable. When Wu first started, in 2019, her entire income from vintage for the year was $5,000. It has increased since then, but she’s still unable to live independently off the money she makes from Nanena Vintage. In December 2020, she made $1,200 in profit.

Lesson learned: If you want to transform your vintage clothing business from your side hustle to a full-time gig, save up in advance.

Esmeralda Castañeda of Esme Vintage Shop

For Esmeralda Castañeda, selling vintage clothes was initially a way to make money while in graduate school.

She learned the tricks of the trade by watching Youtube videos from longtime vintage sellers who had gotten their start on eBay. But she wanted to sell on a more aesthetic-driven forum — that’s why she initially chose Depop.

Like DiNatale, Castañeda recommends starting with selling your own clothes rather than buying clothes to sell. The first six months of her business were a lot of experimentation with where to shoot photos, how to style them and what backgrounds were best. But it’s harder to experiment if you’re depending on a return from your investment.

Castañeda doesn’t take her vintage reselling lightly — she recommends looking into when things were made and what to expect in material and fit based on the decade, because fakes do happen. Understanding the history behind the clothing helps to make your products better.

Castañeda doesn’t really have a defined style for the clothes she sells — instead, she tries to do a little bit of everything. Her website has designations for mod fashion, minimalist, romantic and classic. She says she skews more toward the romantic and minimalist side, but that’s largely because of what she finds in her local Indio, Calif., thrift stores.

“That’s the thing with vintage,” she says. “You really can’t dictate too much unless you are going to be exclusive. You’re not going to find enough to make a really good income. You really need to have a broader reach.”

Although Castañeda got her start on Depop, where she has almost 10,000 followers, she’s actually seen more of what she calls “influence” on Instagram. For those starting out, Castañeda recommends starting on Instagram and building a brand there. If you’re not finding success, Depop is a good way to have a built-in audience, but she finds Instagram better for building something long-term.

All three vintage business owners agree that making money with your vintage clothing business is totally dependent on how much you work. Some months, Castañeda says, she brings in as little as $500, while others can be as high as $3,000.

“A lot of people assume for some reason that this is passive income, but it’s not,” she says. “You do have to do something to get the income going.”

Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

The Job Scam That Even You Could Fall For

This might be the most sophisticated job scam I’ve ever seen. Thanks to a near-victim, you’ll get a rare chance to see a real pro almost pull off a nearly perfect digital caper.

You do things when you are job hunting that you wouldn’t normally do. You meet strangers. You share a lot of personal information with the world, on resumes and through job sites. You’re vulnerable. And most critically: You generally need money. It’s a scammer’s dream, and that’s why job-hunting scams are so persistent and prevalent.

Every chance I get, I try to explain that “smart” folks fall for scams all the time — and those at greatest risk are those who think they are too clever for criminals. This is one of those stories.

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Josh Belzman is not just a tech savvy worker; he’s spent the better part of the last decade as a social media professional in Seattle. He’s been working in and around the internet’s cesspools for years.

Still, he recently went halfway down the aisle with a criminal offering the false hope of an exciting job in social media. Like all victims and near victims, he couldn’t stop blaming himself as he described the sequence to me— but I can see exactly why Josh danced with the devil.

  • I just watched a documentary on the dark web, and I will never feel safe using my credit card again!

  • Luckily I don’t have to worry about that. I have ExtraCredit, so I get $1,000,000 ID protection and dark web scans.

  • I need that peace of mind in my life. What else do you get with ExtraCredit?

  • It’s basically everything my credit needs. I get 28 FICO® scores, rent and utility reporting, cash rewards and even a discount to one of the leaders in credit repair.

  • It’s settled; I’m getting ExtraCredit tonight. Totally unrelated, but any suggestions for my new fear of sharks? I watched that documentary too.

  • …we live in Oklahoma.

Josh, 39, is job hunting, and he received an email from a woman named Morgan who said she worked for a big law firm and needed contract social media work for $39-$45 an hour. That kind of short-term gig is exactly what people like Josh need while they look for their next career step.

“I probably should have trusted my spidey sense and not engaged at all but you know how it goes when looking for work— your guard and confidence can drop,” he said.

Morgan asked for a Google hangout chat as a first step. Josh did his due diligence, and Googled her. Up came a LinkedIn profile that checked out. She had a long professional history in the Seattle area, including alleged stints as a ski instructor at nearby Snoqualmie Summit. It said she had worked at various law firms dating back to 2009. The firm (I won’t mention it) was real. So he jumped online, ready to answer her questions and ask a few.

Generally, con artists betray themselves during real-time interactions. They speak poor English, they show obvious lack of subject matter knowledge, and there are awkward delays. Morgan exhibited none of those. In fact, her questions for Josh were spot on. Here’s a partial list I pulled from a transcript of their chat.

“Could you give us an example of a limitation on a social platform that you have experienced? How did you overcome this?”

“Have you ever had to handle a Social Media crisis? If so, could you provide an example and how would you describe your work ethics?”

“How would you allocate our Social Media advertising budget and How do you evaluate new social platforms? How do you stay on top of the latest updates and innovations in Social Media?”

“Do you have your own blog? Do you currently write content for various Social Media platforms and why should we hire you?”

Josh answered each one deliberately. After each response, she replied, “good,” “very good,” and eventually “great.” All what you’d expect, or even hope for, during an interview.

Reading through the full transcript, you can see in retrospect that all these questions could have been cut and pasted from a script. In fact, I suspect the criminals somehow lifted them from an actual interview involving a social media position— perhaps they’d applied for a job themselves earlier just to understand what “marks” would expect.

Only once was there something more that might have tipped off Josh. When he, smartly, tried to interrupt and ask his own questions, Morgan’s reaction was a bit off.

Josh: Mind if I ask a few questions about the role?

Morgan: Sure when we done with this process so you can get all the details you need to know.

But that’s it. The rest of the interview went as you might expect. LinkedIn page and all. Until …

Morgan: How soon can you begin work if luckily chosen for the position, do you need any our Company benefits and what means of Payment would you prefer; Check Or Direct Deposit?

Morgan: What bank are you with for Direct deposit/Check so we can see if it tallies with our preferred banks and do you have any question before i move forward?

Josh: I’m not comfortable sharing banking info online.

(Morgan may not be on Hangouts right now. Your messages will be seen later.)

The “line” went immediately dead.

Fortunately, after an hour of “seduction” and with the lure of a $35-an-hour job, Josh did listen to his spidey sense and threw up a roadblock. And as soon as Morgan saw he wouldn’t play along, she “hung up” on him.

An hour or so wasted, but it could have been much worse.

“I should have never entertained this — the initial email was sketchy but I chalked that up to some office admin being asked to help find candidates,” he said. “Going back through I see very few comments in ‘her’ voice— just a lot of cut-and-paste questions and ‘OK good.’ Amazing the tricks your mind plays in you when you’re visualizing a certain situation.”

After the disconnect, Josh called the firm and was told no one by that name worked there.

I, however, did find someone with her name who had posted a resume that was similar. It’s likely the con artists assumed elements of her identity for the scam. I emailed her, and got no response. I also emailed the person who chatted with Josh and got no response.

“The initial email was unsolicited with that odd name but I saw the LinkedIn profile and I’ve had some of those mails come through (job sites),” Josh said. “The hangout thing raised eyebrows but I suspended some of that because I got caught up answering the questions.”

Tips for Avoiding Scammers

So what should you do? The big one: Always trust your gut. I pretty much never talk to anyone who falls for these things who doesn’t say they had a queasy feeling in their stomach at some point.

Also, do what Josh did. Say it out loud: “I’m not comfortable with that.” It’s a handy phrase. A real person will react with an apology to that, like “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” A con artist, or a bad person, will push you instead. Or hang up.

Finally, be realistic. If you are out of work, you are vulnerable. No matter how smart and put together you think you are. Know that going in. You’ll be more likely to hit the pause button if things go south, and generally, hitting pause is enough to scare off bad guys.

Here’s a handy list of ways to spot “Work at Home” scams. And if you think you’ve already fallen prey to an identity theft scam, it’s a good idea to keep an close eye on your credit. New accounts you don’t recognize on your credit reports or a sudden drop in credit scores are signs that fraud is afoot. (You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.) You can find more steps to take if you are an identity theft victim here.

Image: PeopleImages

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Source: credit.com