Friday, August 1, 2014 Joyce Oroz
My friend, Marie Bokemeier, has agreed to tell us all about the business she built and runs on line. She has been in the biz for ten years, helping people find favorite things they thought might not even exist anymore. The rumor is she found Bigfoot--maybe not. But if someone is looking for him, Marie will flush him out. Here are the questions I asked. 

My store is named SILKTRAVELER  (   Customers go online directly or find my items by web searches.  They make the entire purchase online.  I stock and ship all items personally.  I am about to open a second store named MyVera (

What type of things do you offer and what do most people like?

I offer Bath and Body products as well as womens clothing accessories, such as purses and totes.  As I specialize in hard-to-find discontinued and retired products those that are most rare are a big seller.  Quite often I'm carrying a body cream, perfume, or cotton quilted duffel that is not available anywhere else on the web.  I find that gals prefer bar soap to bath and shower gel when buying retired products. 

 How long have you been in this business and do you enjoy it?

I've been selling in some form or another for over 10 years, starting from home parties and gift bazaar events.  As my inventory grew I moved into online selling only.  What I enjoy the most is hearing from customers who are thrilled to find something they had no hope of obtaining again.  My long background in sales and service with a telecomm company has served me very well, helping me achieve an excellent reputation.

 Any mishaps or funny stories?

 Oh, my heavens yes!  There are the stories about the lengths I go to in finding a treasured product for someone, but that is generally just about a search.  Product mishaps can happen but are probably left as trade secret - tsk tsk.  Fiascos usually have to do with what I'd call "shipment-gone-wild".   I've had shipments get routed cross-country, be labeled "no such address or person" and spent hours and money trying get them back as the postal automated system just spits them out over and over again.  It's not uncommon to get requests from a foreigner to send a pricey perfume to their hotel in NY or SF tomorrow before they leave for home.  At any cost.  I once had a shipment of 6 pints of concentrated lavender handwash arrive with a tiny pinhole in one bottle.  The minute I opened the carton I could tell it would be a nightmare.  The not-more-than-a-capful of soap cleaned all my towels, and 2 down comforters with suds to spare! 

Do you work in your pajamas in the basement with three dogs and a soda?

 Well I can assure you I don't use Skype for customer contact!  There's a frightening sight.  My office is like something out of a Dickens novel with books, treasures, and boxes piled high.  I definitely put the adage "office attire" on its head.  

How do we find your products—website, etc. Is there a catalog?

 Go to  and start browsing!  Think of it as an online catalog.  I've recently started a Pinterest page ( find it so handy for pinning new ideas, products I like or carry and all the other wonderful images of the world around us....on one page!
Recently a Rosen 'mate' who loves perfume and travels to England a couple times a year, heard about my business and asked if I carried this and that. I explained that I carry 4 main lines but can look for something. So I looked and found a discontinued perfume she coveted, at a good price [for us both]. Then, she mentioned a friend who's VERY knowledgeable about perfumes and likes xyz and might I have "something French under $30:". And voila [whew] I did have something it turns out she loves and now my new friend loves......and so it goes. I've become a personal shopper for rare but much ballyhoo'd perfumes.

Sometimes gals comment on a bag I'm carrying and so ensues explain of what I do. Everyone wants a "great deal", of course, and usually women have no idea that the long discontinued pattern/product they love can be found but is really expensive. So I will offer both a New with tags and a pre-owned/used one for them to choose. As I did the other day with another Rosen gal.

Where do you live and why do you live there?

 I live in one of the oldest neighborhoods of Watsonville. When I searched for a home over 20 years ago I found Watsonville to be quieter, less transient, and with bigger yards than Santa Cruz.
Thank you Marie for taking the time to share a bit of your life with us. Fascinating!

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