This is the story of how Rickrack.com came to be.
The two of us have been interested in antiques, separately and then together, for nearly the last 40 years. And we’re lucky enough to live in an area where antiques and the opportunities to learn about them and to buy them are plentiful.
Each of us, though, had a different primary occupation when we got together; Sharon a writer and teacher of fiction writing, Bill the proprietor of a used bookstore. Nevertheless, we both dabbled in the selling of antiques at one of the local antique markets, where each of us had rented a booth at one time or another, again over the last few decades.
Suddenly, along came the internet. About the time that Bill sold his used bookstore, saying goodbye to the increasingly arduous commute into Allentown and back, the fate of the used bookstore became inextricably intertwined with the internet. That is, with the advent of Amazon, Advanced Book Exchange, Alibris, Bookfinders, and myriad other book search databases online, the brick and mortar bookstore became nearly as much a curiousity as some of the more obscure volumes it contained. And though the store and its inventory were sold, many books remained – so Bill started selling a few online, through ABE and Ebay.
Having investigated these new media ways of marketing, we became aware of certain possibilities. In the early days of EBay, virtually anything collectible – which may not have found a buyer among a limited local clientele – would sell, and for a good if not ridiculous price. But there are limitations – your items is listed for only seven (or 3, 5, or 10) days, and might not find a buyer, or achieve the price that you want in that time.
About that time we also became aware that some places offered FREE websites. As long as you didn’t mind an advertisement or two at the top and bottom of your page, and could live with a web address like Angelfire.com or Tripod.com, with your username behind, you had a website. Naturally, we had to try it out. First Bill created a page with a list of books for sale; the looked to see what sort of things Sharon had that he could also list or show on a web page. Having only a few months before discovered that those “feedsacks” that we saw selling on EBay were indeed the feed bags that they often saw at local farm auctions, we decided that a page of feedsacks would be just the thing. So Sharon’s Antiques was born, with a section for feedsacks and one for books.
By the time 1999 arrived, there were pages of feedsacks, and we were adding vintage fabric as well. In February, 1999, the website comprised 8 feedsack pages, 3 of vintage fabrics and one lonely book page. We still have that site at Angelfire, but today it’s only a gateway page to Rickrack.com. We’ll talk more about our history in future posts.