My Story


I was a flooring contractor for 21 of 25 years prior to 2010…….In 2008 with the Housing bubble bursting and banks failing, business started to take a turn for the worse, by 2010 it was very slim pickings and I decided to close my flooring business and sell off all my assets and start anew (Very scary) I was 42 years old at the time. I was living in Hawaii on the island of Maui…… I had no idea what I was going to do? I had made good money in the flooring business as my own boss for many years and there was no way I was going to get a “proper job” with an hourly wage!



Back in 2010 I had some savings and money from cashing in my assets, so had some time to try different stuff. I loved gardening and started studying permaculture. I took a PDC (permaculture design course) and received my Certification. I thought that I was going to make a living on a permaculture farm somewhere and maybe I will some day as I have a big love for that way of life, maybe a combination of what I do now and permaculture on my own piece of land will be in my future? I was also growing food for sale, growing starters for sale and some yard maintenance for a friend, but none of that was really funding me, and at the end of 2011, my friend Angel showed me her amazing winged skulls that she was selling on Etsy, and I thought, Hmmm, maybe I could make something and sell it on Etsy. I opened my Etsy store called Old Country General on January 13th 2012 and made a chalkboard with a driftwood frame and it sold pretty quick, I made another and that sold and then tried my hand at kitchen boxes for food. I ended up making all kinds of furniture, including bedside tables, money boxes, end tables and cabinets. I would make them look old and well used and needed old hinges and door knobs and such and so started going to yard sales to see if I could find anything to use on my creations. I re-fell in love with treasure hunting, which I had done many years before in London, San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. I found so much cool stuff that people no longer wanted and decided to open a second Etsy shop called Sherlock Steam which sold Antiques and vintage items. Both stores did very well, but would have been better if it not for the shipping charges and shipping time from Hawaii. I decided to move back to the west coast and California for starters as I had many friends there from living in Berkeley, San Anselmo, Fairfax and San francisco years before.

I had lived on Maui for 14 years and had many things to sell when I left as I didn’t want to pay a huge shipping bill. I started selling my stuff on Ebay and realized pretty quickly that I could sell anything on Ebay. New stuff, old stuff and the market was much bigger than Etsy. I moved December 18th 2014 and since then have mostly been selling on Ebay and Craigslist (I have sold a couple of things through Etsy and my Sherlock Steam shop)….I am re-opening my Etsy shops soon as I now have a place to set up a workshop. My new vision is to create furniture for my store Old Country General on Etsy built around creating functional art pieces with things I find at yard sales, estate sales, flea markets, auctions on the curb and in the trash, and to sell cool things I find by listing them on Ebay, Etsy and Craigslist.

This blog is a kick in the pants for me to get creative  and busy with what I love to do and show/share the results here with hopefully mostly my successes but also my failures.

I am always learning new things about what sells and for how much and am very open for comments and advise from others.

I am currently living in Nevada City, California and am loving the ever evolving and expanding lessons in living.


Daren Mann


Angels Etsy Shop:

Old Country General:

Sherlock Steam:



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