Sunday, January 26, 2014

Macklemore & Lewis win three major rap honors at Grammys

Woohoo! Macklemore & Lewis win Grammy awards for Thrift Shop!


My Best Sales This Week and Some Random Thoughts

This original oil painting took me almost an hour to package up. I hope it arrives safely. Bought for $2 Sold for $37.99 plus shipping. This was the first time I picked up a painting at a thrift. It was signed and well done so I gave it a shot. It took a couple of weeks to sell. Not bad. I'll be looking at the art more closely from now on. In the past I've purchased signed limited edition prints but this was the first original piece I'd bought. It's longest side was only 24" so I felt like the packing wouldn't be too bad and it wasn't.

Molly Comfy Couch Doll

Took a best offer of $65 plus shipping for this Molly doll. I love good plush! Unfortunately the buyer hasn't paid for it yet. It's only been three days so far. I'll let ebay remind them a couple of times before I open a case. The buyer never did pay for Molly so I relisted her.

Whenever I am doing research on an item and see listings without pictures, usually books I wonder how are some sellers able to get through a listing without at least one picture? For example this one. Irks me. Does anyone know how they get away with it?

Don't forget to list any items you have related to the Super Bowl and Olympics both coming up. I have a vintage new Broncos shirt from the 98 super bowl. Hoping to cash in on! I've got it priced pretty high but I'm hoping some fanatical fan will have to have it. Last I checked it was the only one of its kind.

Hope you had good sales this week!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BOLO Fire King Kimberly Mugs

I listed a yellow Fire King Kimberly mug today that had been sitting around forevah. I've been pushing myself to go through old inventory. I have things that are over a year old waiting to be listed. I know, old news...I decided after I got it listed to see which Fire King Kimberly mugs sell for the most money. I did a completeds search on ebay and my jaw literally dropped. My mug is listed for $14.99 which is comparable to others of its color. Check out what the rarer ones sell for....

This clear glass one sold for $360!

and this one which is pearlized/luster sold for $125

I never in my wildest dreams would have thought there were any that rare. And neither of them look special to me. In fact you have to admit my picture is the best of the three ;) I see these Kimberly mugs fairly frequently. Sometimes a store will have a bunch of them and I usually just pick one up to see how much they have them priced at and if I don't like the price, which would be if they are over a dollar, I walk away. You can bet I'll be looking through them all regardless of the price from now on!!

I've decided I need to spend more time learning more about more valuable items. Normally if I'm at a thrift I have a hard time paying more than a few bucks for something. And often I can't get a signal on my phone to research an unfamiliar item. I'd plunk down a good chunk of change if I found one of those clear Kimberly mugs. I just have to know one when I see it. So expect some more posts coming up sharing what I find out as I do my research on items that may cost a little more but will certainly be worth it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review of the Show Thrift Hunters on Spike TV

I watched the new show on Spike TV with the Thrifting with the Boys characters. Yes, they are quite the characters. I enjoyed it although I can imagine it will get old after awhile. I enjoyed American Pickers for a while too but grew tired of it. What I liked about this show was that they are looking in thrift stores and picking up some of the exact same things I would pick up. Mugs!? Yes. Puzzles? Yes. Nothing too expensive or complicated in this episode. Their work room was immaculate. I wonder if that is their real work room or a studio set up for the show. I envied it big time. The show kept me engaged for the entire episode especially because I know that they are actual ebay sellers who seem to be doing it the way we are...not just pretty faces. From the little I know of them they seem to have built a good business from the ground up. I had to laugh when they showed how they package a mug to ship using a flat rate priority mailer. I'd always shook my head at that method. But they took one such package outside and wacked it with some sort of hockey stick or something and the stick broke and the mug flew down the street and survived. No damage.

Did you see the show? What did you think? Will you continue to watch?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My Best Sales This Week

The vintage fringe vest that I mentioned in a previous post. Sold for 29.95 plus shipping.  Remember to BOLO all vintage leather fringe items.

A Jansport backpack for 29.95 plus shipping. I read somewhere to BOLO Jansport backpacks. After I picked up this one and researched them I saw that Black seems to be a good seller. It was easy to ship too. I just wrapped it in some paper and then put it in a poly mailer. 

and a Norman Rockwell figurine which sold for 24.95 plus shipping

I've stayed on course with my 2014 plan to each day list as many things as I sold the day before and then at least one more. Some days when sales were slow the day before I listed more than my minimum goal. It's nice to have a goal instead of an open ended 'list as much as you can each day'. I sold two items yesterday so my goal today is to list at least 3.  How are you all doing with your 2014 business goals? Let us know in the comments. 

Also I thought I'd make a list of some good blog posts articles from the week.

This blog post and the comments from Thrift Core were a wealth of info on what sells. Don't skip the comments!

This podcast from Ebay Scavengers and the comment section spoke to some of my fears. There are some days the doubts and fears are bigger than others. It's nice to know you're not alone.

And on the Ebay Life Blog a reminder that a new show called Thrift Hunters is starting on Spike TV January 18th. I have Roku and don't know if I get that channel. I'll have to check if it's available to watch online too. It is available to watch online

Have a great sales week everyone!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NWT NOS Vintage

There is a market for vintage. So what about the market for vintage that is NWT. New with tags. Also called NOS or New Old Stock. New old stock can be any type of item. Sometimes NOS can be pristine and sometimes show a lot of shelfwear even though it is NEW. I found a coat this week at a thrift that was Vintage NWT or NOS. A vintage coat that had never been worn. Still had the tags.  Did it come from a store or from someones estate, an item that they never used? I love when I find NOS. I think these NOS items are even more desirable because besides being vintage style they have never been used. How much do you think that raises the price over 'just vintage'? I guess it depends on the item and how collectible it is.  Here is my listing. I priced it double what the completed sales of the same type of item cost that wasn't NWT. Do you find many NOS? How do you list/market those items differently than you do just plain vintage? Do you have sources for finding NOS?

More on the Auto Relist Feature

There is an article on EccomerceBytes Blog about the Auto Relist Feature which I discussed in the previous post. I'm a little confused at this point. Click here and discuss in the comments. Is it saying that you don't have to pay for the auto realists or any upgrades? Is that how it is supposed to work in the future or just until some other features roll out? I dunno. As I said I'm confused.

Edited to add: after reading the article more closely and looking at the form more closely I noticed this pop up box that says

so I guess that explains it. So if the auto relists are free and don't count towards your total free listings that's a good thing. I'll have to think a little more about whether I want to use it or not.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Heads up eBay Sellers

I noticed something new while listing the last few days. A while back eBay added an option to automatically relist something 3 times when the item ends. It was a check box that was added right at the end of the listing before you'd hit submit. Well I think it's only been the last few days but they've changed this option so the checkbox is checked by default. So if you do not uncheck the check box your item will be automatically relisted 3 times. I know some people have their listings automatically relist anyway but I don't. I like to manually relist each item. Sometimes I change the time of day that the listing starts. Sometimes I choose not to relist the item at all. So heads up on that one. You may be getting something you don't want. Below is a screenshot of the listing form and the option I'm referring to. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Best Sales this Week

I had the flu all week this week so I didn't get much listing done but I did have some sales. Yeah! It was as much as I could do to just get the shipping done. I feel better now so I can get listing. My best sales this week were:

This letter jacket. Paid a couple of dollars for it and sold it for 28.49 plus shipping

This duck call. It sold within a couple of hours of listing it. Paid under a dollar and sold for 20 plus shipping

And this vintage camera lens. Paid 2 dollars and sold to someone in Singapore for 23.95 plus shipping.

I didn't meet my goal/resolution this week to list at least one item more than I sold each day but I started fresh two days ago and so far have met the goal. At least while I was sick profits continued to come in. Thanks to my faithful mail man picking up my packages I didn't have to leave the house while I was ill. And I didn't have to make that dreaded calling in sick call that we all hated to make. 

How are your goals for 2014 shaping up so far this year? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Last Weeks Great Shopping Trip

I went to Salvation Army last week and had a great buying day. I took the advise of the Ebay Entrepreneur and went soon after the new year started to catch the late December 2013 donations that people were giving at the end of the year to get tax breaks. I think his advise was good because I had a great shopping day.

I haven't taken pictures of it yet but I found my first Eileen Fisher piece of clothing. On top of it being Eileen Fisher its a wool/cashmere blend jacket in beautiful condition. I'm going to auction it this weekend instead of listing it as fixed price which is my usual way. There were only a couple of the same jacket in completed sales and both were auctioned. One went for $188 and the other for over $300. Can you guess which price I'm aiming for ;) If you don't already BOLO Eileen Fisher clothing.

Some of the other great finds from the day were a pair of Mens Boots by Double H. I don't usually sell shoes but I've had great luck with boots especially cowboy boots.

I found a wooden bird call made in Poland which sold within a couple of hours of listing. I maybe should have asked for more but I couldn't find any examples of this brand of call....At the same time I bought a Loon whistle/call which I haven't photographed yet. 

This vintage fringed vest bought in the same trip isn't in the best shape. It really needs to be cleaned. But I never pass on a fringed leather vest or jacket. Check completeds and definitely BOLO those. The longer the fringe the more they sell for!

Some of the other finds from that day that I'm excited to list are a Redmon Picnic Basket, a Lord of the Rings Monopoly Game and an original oil painting. I also bought my sister a cute jacket like new from Chicos, a Columbia jacket for my Mom and a jacket for myself. I got quite a few more things and only spent $50! It barely all fit in the cart. Definitely a great shopping trip. 

Unfortunately the last few days I've had the flu and have done very little listing. I'm anxious to get all of these treasures listed but it's going to have to wait. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Do You Pinterest?

Are you on Pinterest? Do you pin your ebay listings? I love Pinterest for my own pleasure but I also pin some of my ebay listings. I try not to pin too many at one time so as not to annoy my followers (most of whom started following me before I started pinning my listings). And I try to pin just my more interesting listings.

A couple of months ago a fellow reseller introduced me to a Pinterest/Facebook group that may interest you called Pinterest Exchange Marketing Group. The idea of the group is that you may list up to five of your items every day. For every 1 item you list you must repin 2 items from other members. So if you only list 3 items on the board that day you would repin 6 and so on. And likewise other people are repinning the items you have listed. I don't have any concrete evidence that it has done me any good but I know I have sold things I've listed to the group. Whether they sold because someone repined the item or not I can't know. It seems like a good idea though so I do it. It only takes me a few minutes and I don't do it every day. I'm pretty picky about which items I will repin too. Some peoples' listings have bad pictures or are just items I don't like and I'm not going to subject my followers to 'junk' that I really wouldn't pin. Okay that is a little harsh...but some people just don't realize how much a bunch of wrinkles or a bad picture ruins a listing. If you do decide to try it out each new list is started around 9 or 10 pm each day. The best way to get repinned as much as possible is to add your items to the list as soon as you can after a new list is started. If you wait until the next day you are toward the end of the list and there aren't as many people joining the list at that point to pin your items.

Another Facebook Group I have joined is the What Is This group. It's people helping each other identify items. It's been really helpful to me on a few different things that I couldn't place.  It's a good education too for learning how to identify certain things.

Do you belong to any groups that you feel are truly valuable?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Best Sales this Week and a Product Review

I had some good sales this week. One item had been listed for at least 2 years. I thought it might never sell. It was a vintage designer gown that still had the tags on it. Someone purchased it two days before New Years and had it overnighted so I'm wondering if it was their New Years Eve dress. I paid about $8 for it and it sold for $85.  I'm so glad it finally sold and hope they were happy with it.

My other awesome sale this week was a shocker. I went to Salvation Army the day after Christmas to shop their 50% off Christmas sale. I like to sell vintage and collectable holiday items. I purchased this Cartoon Network Top Cat ornament for 50 cents. I'm not hip on cartoons and didn't recognize the character but since it was Cartoon Network I figured it was worth at least $10. I always check completeds before I list something because you just never know. I've read plenty of sellers say after something sold for a lot more than they thought..."I wish I had checked completeds before I listed it". My advice is always check completeds even for something you think could never be worth much. So I checked completeds and I couldn't believe the only one I saw had sold for $100+ dollars. This was before Christmas so I figured I might not get as much after Christmas for a Christmas ornament but it was obviously collectable. A plastic ornament! When I went to list mine there weren't any listed so that was good. I don't use auctions often but I decided to auction it off. I started it at $49 knowing that I wanted at least that. It sold for $50. Only two bids. Oh well. I was still thrilled.  Definitely a BOLO.

Now for my product recommendation. I'm not getting compensated in any way for this review. I already own one of these and love it.  It is a Skil Chargeable Cardboard Cutter. I use it all of the time for cutting cardboard either to resize a box or to cut some cardboard to use for protection on breakable items. It is so much easier than using a box cutter. I've had mine for a couple of years now and it still works as well as ever. I couldn't do without it now. The other thing I like about it is that I don't often have a clear work surface to cut boxes so to find a spot to lay down a piece of cardboard and cut it with a box cutter is hard. With this SKIL I hold the piece of cardboard in front of me and zip I'm done. I got mine on Amazon. 

Hope you have great sales this week. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Differences Between Working in a Conventional Work Environment and Home

The above picture makes me cringe when I look at it remembering how it felt to work in a cubicle.

I often think about how much I like NOT working in a conventional office or factory. At least once a day I think that thought. I wrote another blog post here in a similar vein. I often am grateful for the major differences like getting to sleep on my own schedule, taking breaks when I want, taking days off when I want but today after reading a blog post about the subtle differences between Scotland and Finland found here and very entertaining, I started thinking about the subtle differences between a conventional job and working for yourself. Those differences would be different for everyone depending on their preferences and pet peeves. Below are some of mine. Positive and negative. I'd love to hear what yours are. Please share in the comments and I'll add them to my list.

In my last job I worked in an office and the job before that in a laboratory. The environments were different but some things remained the same. My work environment now is vastly different than either of those settings. Read on.

1. In my last job I shared an office for a while with a woman who listened to NPR all day every day. I love NPR but my job required a lot of reading and concentration and I could. not. concentrate. She would sometimes turn it down if I requested but even that just would not let me concentrate on my reading tasks. There was no way she simply would turn it off.

For some people it is worse. They work in places where they are forced to listen to canned music all day every day. Like grocery stores, malls etc. At Christmas time they have to listen to Christmas music (starting probably sometime in October or November) every day for months! As stay at home workers we can listen to ANY music we want, as loud or quiet as we want or have silence if that is how we work best.

2. At my office job the temperature varied greatly from one office to the next. There was one person who had control over the thermostat because she came in earlier than everyone (same person as above). I'd come in most days and my office would feel like the Mojave desert it was so HOT. The rest of us complained but this person didn't really care about anyone else's needs. Here at home I control the thermostat. I also can dress in any manner so if I'm cold I can throw on a sweatshirt and if I'm warm whip it off.

3. The bathroom where I used to work was used by the public and was sometimes quite disgusting. Granted my own bathroom is sometimes a little disgusting LOL but at least I know who has been there....I don't have to worry if I stink it up either. TMI, I know.

4. At my previous jobs I didn't like having to chat and be social when I first got in in the morning. I need a good hour and a cup of coffee before I'm in that zone. Now I wake up, get my cup of coffee, go back to bed and spend that hour I need, reading blogs, checking to see what sold, looking at Pinterest etc. You get the idea.

5. I remember how one of the highlights of office work was when something I ordered came in. A new calendar..some it was a tiny little thrill. Now I shop for a living. I get those tiny little thrills every time I shop. Even when the things I buy aren't for me!

6. I used to get so bored at work. I didn't really love what I did. Some of it was interesting but mostly not. I'd fight to stay with a task. Eight hours seemed like forever. I love what I do now. Yes some days it feels like the movie Ground Hog day...get up, take pictures, do shipping....blah blah blah but it doesn't take very many days or hours like that before the spark and interest come back. I love researching new items and learning all kinds of new and weird things.

7. When I worked in a lab I had to spend a lot of time on my feet. Physically it was hard for me. Although I spend too much time bent over a computer now I like that I can take frequent breaks to get up and do something else or dance to a good tune. Physically it's much better.
There are some things I miss about working outside the home.

1. Although I'm not a very social person, I sometimes feel like I don't have enough human contact anymore. Hours can go by after I get up without me speaking a word except to my dog...who doesn't answer back. I'm thinking about volunteering somewhere to meet that need and make a difference at the same time. 

2. I miss feeling 'respectable'. You know what I mean? Even though I hated my jobs for the most part, there is something to be said for being able to easily answer the question, what do you do for a living. I also felt like I was making a more of a contribution to the world. In reality, I know that I AM still making a contribution to the world by my current career choice. I keep things from going into a land fill and I avoid buying a lot of things for my own use that are NEW thus keeping unnecessary production waste out of our environment. I'm also able to spend a lot of time with my mom who is ill and lives by me.

Someone recently introduced me to a man named James Altucher. He has a blog here and there are various interviews and Youtube videos of him. He's got some interesting things to say about working for ones self, although I don't know how much I trust a guy who made millions and lost it all - twice. I have to read more to see.

How about you? Did you love/hate your previous jobs?  Do you miss the social element of work? Do you see this as a long term thing or is it just to get by until you get a conventional job?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Business Goals

Happy New Year!

These are my 2014 Business Goals. It's sort of a rough draft that I will be expanding/defining better as the days go by. Over the past year I've seen a lot of areas that I could improve on which would lead to better efficiency and I believe more profit. 

1. Double my profits/inventory - this means listing more than I sell every day. My goal is to list at least one more item each day than I sold the day before. By the end of the year, hopefully sooner, I will have doubled my inventory.

2. Organize my inventory. I need to have daily or at least weekly goals for this. I lose things too frequently, have some sort of record book...and my house is a mess. Daily goals could be to put away everything I've listed that day. Weekly goals could be to pick an area to reorganize.

3. List what I already have. This doesn't mean I shouldn't shop because I don't want to miss out on great finds.

4. Shop more frequently to look for special items. Take advantage of sale days at Goodwill.

5. Keep records/join Go Daddy Bookkeeping

6. Learn more about using my new camera

7. Start looking at estate sales and go to one a month

What are your goals for 2014?