Frugal is Chic Tour

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Press Room

On the road again ... Frugal is Chic Tour

It was great fun seeing old friends and making new ones as I toured the very chic consignment shops of Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA, confirming that all that famous and infectious southern charm is still alive and well!

Betty Anderson from Fun Finds and Designs in Canton, GA was the first to host the launch of my new book Tossed & Found. Her consignment shop looked spectacular, she put on an amazing spread, and her partner in crime (Terry) made certain that the patrons had a full glass of velvety wine.

Betty Anderson

Barb Tobias’s presentation at Fun Finds Consignments in Canton Georgia exceeded all expectations. Her new book Tossed & Found highlights her life-changing foray into the world of thrift and consignment. Her journey parallels one woman’s progression from small town farm girl, to fashion model, radio and TV personality, corporate executive to author and keynote speaker. Her message is profound and delivered in the most entertaining and thought provoking way. She will bring out the “Diva” in every woman and leave you with a smile on your face and renewed hope. She was a delight. ~ Betty Anderson – Fun Finds and Designs, Inc.

Tracy Dismukes from Collage Consignment

Tracy Dismukes from Collage Consignment in Birmingham, AL continued to spread that warm southern hospitality. Her well appointed fashion stores were stylish and oh so chic. And, her staff catered to every need as customers streamed in to snap up trendy fashions before my presentation started.

Barb reading from Tossed & Found

Jenny Eid, the amazing owner of two intriguing and spacious furniture consignment stores, one in Dunwoody, GA and the other in Alpharetta, GA put on a gala event in each of her fashionable locations.

Atlanta and Finders Keepers welcomes Barb Tobias

And Bonnie Kallenburg and Betsy Johns of Finders Keepers in Decatur, Georgia rolled out the red carpet and made sure every detail was covered as I swept into town. Her store is amazing and her staff was beyond warm and wonderful.

Thank you for making the first leg of my Frugal is Chic Tour such a success!

Betsy Johns and the Diva

An Interview with the Diva of Thrift

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Press Room

Q.  Why do you refer to yourself as a Diva?

 A.  I struggled to come up with a title for myself . . . a name that would reflect my journey to the top of the proverbial pile so to speak.  When considering strong, self-actualizing words for women, the English language provides few choices. 

Was I going to call myself a Princess? Well, we’ve all pounded that word into the ground. And, I really didn’t want to defend my title against all the little, fluffy, cutesy dogs named Princess.  

Perhaps calling myself a master of my trade would work. Naw, that term was obviously reserved for men. 

Okay, so how about mistress of my trade?  Well, that one is sure to make the tabloids, and not an image I wanted to portray.  Plus, the word no longer carries (if it ever did) the element of accomplishment that typified someone who has walked the bumpy road to success.

A Queen?  Now, there is a moniker that negates the thought of achievement brought about by hard, creative work.  The term typically refers to a birthright not accomplishment.

Alas, there remained . . .  the Diva.  Strong, accomplished, talented.  That could work.  Of course, I knew that there would be those that would scoff at such a self-proclaiming title, but I would ask.  What word has this culture cultivated to capture the strength, the magic, of talented, smart, resilient women? 

Thus, another Diva was born . . . The Thrift Diva

 

 

Q.  What exactly is Thrift?

 A.  Thrift or thrifting, as it is often called, is the act of purchasing secondhand items at a fraction of their original cost.         

 

                                                                  

 Check out my FAB 99 cent 60’s swing coat . . . 

  

 

 Q.  Don’t most people regard the act of thrifting as a rather seedy, back-alley type of activity? 

A. They used to, but times are changing. With the downturn of the economy thrift has stepped out of the closet . . . so to speak.  Many people furnish their entire homes in fabulous but frugal secondhand finds.  I have.  I just talked to a fellow thriftier that furnished her 3,800 square foot home with used bargains . . . for $8,000 . . . and it looks fabulous.

Others build their wardrobes from posh designer fashions they rescue from thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.

Q.  I find the phrase Thrift Diva to be somewhat of an oxymoron.  Isn’t thrift the polar opposite of being a Diva? 

A.  That is actually one of the reasons I began calling myself The Thrift Talk Diva.  My mission is to take thrift out of the gutter. To show people how to decorate or dress using recycled products.  Think of it.  No packaging, no shipping costs, no advertising.  Not only is thrift socially responsible, but we can all live in wonderfully appointed environments at little to no cost.

 And . . . The Thrift Diva can show them how to do it.

 Q.  Why are you the expert on thrift?

A.    I have been shopping America’s thrifty by-ways and high-ways for 30 years, I have outfitted my home and myself in fashionable thrift bargains, and I have taught countless Divettes how to create fabulous interiors for little to no cost. 

Q.  Am I right to assume that thrift shopping is becoming more in vogue with the downturn of the economy?

 A.  Although the art of thrifting has been around for years, it is definitely in vogue . . . it is the new black. 

Q.  Why does it matter?

A.  There are several factors that make this frugal trend a hot topic:

  • The economy is in the dumper but people do not want to give up their lifestyles . . . and they don’t need to.  What they need to discover is a cheaper means to accomplish their goals, whether it is outfitting their families or decorating their homes.  
  • Women are hard-wired to nest, to create richly appointed, comfortable homes.  Fashioning a home is the primer creative outlet for most women. It started when hides, caves and timbers were crudely fashioned into habitats.  These abodes were adorned with drawings, beads, animal relics and other adornments.  
  • It is fun.  The thrill of the hunt is as alluring in the halls of thrift as it is in the fields of prey. 

 Q.  Do you consider the Art of Thrifting to be a business or hobby?

A. My fascination with garage sales, flea markets, antique and consignments shops started out as a hobby.  I was a single mom on a tight budget and was thrilled at the thought of decorating my home at little to no cost. It wasn’t until years later and the change in perception that I actually turned my passion into a coaching and speaking business with the launch of my book Tossed and Found.

 Q.  Was thrift hunting an accepted activity 30 year ago?

 A.  Absolutely not.  As a matter of fact I write about going to garage sales, incognito.  I used to carry a pair of sunglasses and a scrunchy hat in my car to use whenever I stopped at a yard sale or thrift shop.  At the time I was a fashion model and I was doing a lot of radio and television appearances.  Back then my Divaness had not yet fully blossomed and I would have sooner died than been spotted with my head in a dumpster or in the back of some grubby barn searching for my holy grail. 

Q.  What is the best find you ever found?

A.  I will share my most cherished possession because I feel that worth is not measured by the actual price that is paid, but the value that it holds for the huntress.    

In the infancy of my thrifting addiction, I stopped by a fairly seedy sale hesitating as to whether to even go in. I did a quick scope of the interior of the garage and made the decision to leave when I spotted a dust covered picture propped behind some old boxes.  Its back was facing me and I could only see the old and tattered frame.  Turning it around and wiping the dust off the glass I was enchanted by the yellowed but fetching picture. 

A turn of the century Diva peered out through her mask at a costume ball.  I knew that I had to have her.  Hesitantly I asked the proprietress of this fine establishment how much she wanted.  Her tired reply asked for a mere $5.00.  I knew that day, as I walked my treasure to the car, that I was hooked.  I am a thrift-a-holic. 

Q.  When and why did you begin writing?

A.  I have actually written for years, but I never brought any of my projects to fruition.  It wasn’t until I lost my corporate position several years ago that I had the unfettered opportunity to follow my dreams.  One day in had a serious talk with myself and threw the question out to the universe, “What course should I follow now?”  The answer came back like a bolt of lightning…”Write a book about your passion.”  Hence, the birth of Tossed and Found.    

Q.  Is there a bigger message beneath the clutter (so to speak) of Tossed and Found?

A.    Definitely.  I want to reach women and deliver this message:  No matter how humble your dreams, no matter what your circumstances, you can reach that goal.  You are powerful…own it.  You are creative…embrace it.  You are a Diva.

Q.  Are experiences based on the events in your own life?

A.  Absolutely.  I talk about the experiences I have had on the road, on television and radio, on the runway and in business.  I relate some of the amazing adventures I have had like having a gun pulled on us during a garage sale, finding true treasures for pennies, and decorating my home in thrift . . . at no cost. 

 Q.  Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A.  Yes.  I am writing my second book entitled Tossed and Turned. Whereas Tossed and Found is about finding and buying secondhand treasures, Tossed and Turned is about decorating with frugal finds.  It shows, step by step how to turn a ‘noplace’ into a ‘showplace’ at little to no cost.

 

                                                                                    

 

Modeling Picture from the 80’s . . . Was I ever that skinny?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The emerging Diva

Dare I re-gift?

January 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Recycling

Christmas is over and I am still trying to recover from it.  Trying to put things away and well, what do I do with gifts I don’t want that weren’t quite right?  Can I, should I, could I, re-gift them?  Doesn’t sound very “Diva” like.  But I really hate waste.  Some things I can return or exchange but some things could go to other people.  I think I will put them in my “gift box” for later.

The “gift box” idea came from my mom.  My whole life she had a box or a drawer with “gifts” for last minute occasions.  Some things were new and some were not, but there was always something for that last minute birthday or anniversary or stocking stuffer.  Even the guest who came for Christmas Eve dinner and stayed all night (but that is another story and he was from another country where they stay up for fireworks and food at midnight).  That gift box saved the day many times and some things nestled in there were items my mom had been given but never used because they really didn’t fit her style.

If you are thinking about “re-gifting” you might want to entertain these suggestions to avoid offense.

-Don’t give something back to the person who originally gave you the gift (or anyone who they might visit) because that will end up as a “oh how lovely, I gave a vase just like that to my niece Jane.”  Followed by, “Oh, that’s funny; Jane gave me this lovely vase.”  That will get you written out of the will, trust me!

– If you have something not right for you, but perfect for someone else, set it aside for their birthday or some other occasion and re-wrap it and make sure they know it made you think of them when you give it.  (Honestly, my favorite gift this year came from a co-worker and it was definitely several different items (thrift or garage sale) inside this really cute cardboard house!  I took the gifts out and put one of those battery operated candles in it, and used the house as centerpiece on a table.

-Sometimes a gift exchange is a good place to re-gift an item, especially if it is a white elephant gift exchange.  Or maybe you want to have some good friends over for libations and fun and bring gifts that didn’t work out and trade….you could end up with something really wonderful!

-If the gift is truly terrible, give it to the Goodwill or some other charitable organization.  Your trash is someone else’s treasure.  (Be sure to REMOVE any personal notes or identification.)  Great Aunt Martha may shop the Goodwill and find that lovely floral house coat you donated especially if it has “To Jane from Aunt Martha” still on it.

-Last but not least,  if you can’t part with the gift for fear of hurting the feelings of someone you love, hold on to it, display it proudly or wear it to their house and then after a respectful amount of time put it away in your own “gift box” for some later gift emergency.

I Love Bargain Hunting at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

January 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, Decorating, Fashion, Garage Sales, Recycling

Below is an email that I received from a very excited client. We are working to transform her somewhat worn home into a chic and stylish habitat.

Just last garage sale season, Jo learned how to shop using a newly frugal but creative eye. She quickly learned to spot the potential treasures beneath the tarnish. Prepare Jo Garage Sale

After holding a garage sale of her own, we spent a few fun and productive weekends looking for bargain furnishings to replace the items we literally hauled out of her house and sold on the spot.   Remember the old addage; One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure? (Okay, so it is close enough.)

Jo was very hesitant at the beginning of our project.  She was skeptical of finding quality items at local thrift venues.  Now, she is an ardent believer and often ventures out on her own to find her bargains. She has learned that imagination and resourcefulness are key factors in finding the right deals.

Hi Barb,

I just made the best buy of the day… a love seat – FREE, courtesy of Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because the library is closing for good.

I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pull a love seat from the back room and pushed it onto the sale floor.

I was the first to look at it, then another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it.  Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales person let me have it. Can you believe that?

I felt like  I just gave myself a big ole’ Christmas present. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s beginning to feel more like home every time I add something.

Oh, and I picked up a fabulous lamp Goodwill for $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount!  Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.

I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to next garage sale season!  I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert!  This is fun and it is not costing me any more money because I am using the funds that I made when we held my garage sale.

Thank you so much . . . and, Happy New Year!
To your success,
Jo Guerra

www.YourMarketingGal.com
Denver Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group

Come on, Celebrities Holding Garage Sales?

December 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Blogs

Come on, Celebrities Holding Garage Sales?

I am spinning.  After reading numerous reports on People.com, Omg.com, and Thefrisky.com, I’ve learned that real celebrities are raising serious money by holding Garage Sales and Estate Sales.

And, here I thought that this Thrift Talk Diva had the corner on making good money with my fancy “Diva Sales.”

Whether their sales were held to make money or donate to their favorite charity, more and more stars are putting their used items up for sale. Yikes! Little did I know that I was going up against the likes of Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher and Pamela Anderson.

OK, so maybe I’ve been snookered and outclassed. I would imagine that my stuff is pretty paltry in comparison to their stuff.  But, I still have a bit of a time wrapping my mind around celebrities hawking their junk just like the rest of us.

Well, why not?  After all, I have yakked for years about the benefits of holding tag sales and purging homes of unwanted things.  And I do love the thought of a good yearly cleanse, because it is the only purge that I know of that is capable of making a fast buck.

But I still find myself asking, “Why would outlandishly wealthy celebrities hold yard sales?”

So I’ve been doing a little bit of celebrity snooping, and, voila, I am now Diva Detective. I’ve found that most stars sell their items through auction houses,  but a few actually worked their own sales right out on their very own driveways,  albeit with professional agent assistance.

Some pocket the money but others donate their funds to charity. Scott Baio’s sale raised funds as well as awareness for mandatory newborn screening in all fifty states after his daughter tested positive for GA1, a metabolic disorder.  Fortunately, she is fine, after it was discovered that her results were a false positive.

Teri Hatcher raised $20,000 for her favorite charities through an invite-only, $50 entrance fee, yard sale.

And Pamela Anderson was reported have sold one of her homes with all of the contents, donating the proceeds to PETA.

So what’s the difference between their yard sales and mine?  So okay, the autograph signings are probably a draw. And, maybe their furnishings are a tad more elegant.  And then there are the gowns, and the jewels.  Hmm…

Elevate, Elevate, Elevate

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Decorating, Garage Sales

Decorating tips-jHeight equals eye status.  I use odds and ends to raise pieces to create variety and give status to a piece that I want to bring attention to.

Notice the risers…odd pieces that I’ve collected from jaunts to thrift shops, yard sales and rummage sales. I purchase orphaned pieces for three or four dollars and save them until I find a pairing that might work.

It takes a while to collect a variety of interesting elevators, so in the interim I use books or boxes…or both. The look is great and it is a cheap way to give height and a firm base to an art object or simply an interesting piece of décor.

Here I displayed a lion atop a book and a smaller decorative box.  The lion I purchased at a garage sale for two dollars, the enameled box I bought for ten at a flea market, and the large book was a clearance find for five dollars from a retail store that was liquidating its inventory (The only way I buy retail.).

Motivation, Leadership and Inspiration

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Blogs

I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of the inspired and those that inspire. They come in many different forms; a song we hear in the background, a headline or even a book title. Maybe the Universe is trying to give us a nudge or some divine spirit is vying for our attention.  Regardless of the venue or purpose of these seeming innocuous whisperings, we know at a core level that we have connected with resonances of a higher power.

The following sites not only inspire but allow women to connect with other women from all walks of life. Businesses can be promoted, information shared, and a blog or forum started. Here are some of my personal favs.
 

MyInstantWidget_Error:Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `logged_in` char(1) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `subscribed` char(1) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `exclude_cats` varchar(250) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `exclude_posts` varchar(250) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `blog_id` bigint(20) default '0'Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `Scope` char(1) default 'p'Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `php_widget` char(1) default '0'Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `include_cats` varchar(250) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `post_authors` int(11) NOT NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `include_authors` varchar(250) NOT NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `start_date` datetime NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `end_date` datetime NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `exclude_authors` varchar(250) NOT NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `allowed_roles` textAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `allowed_membership` varchar(250) default NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `allowed_users` text NOT NULLAccess denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) Q:alter table `wp_MyInstantWidget` add column `url_text` varchar(200) NOT NULL