Friday, June 3, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Are You Selling Internationally?

















Some savvy sellers boast on their ability to ship internationally without using eBay's Global Shipping Program. Not me. I love the GSP.


Champagne case sold to buyer in the UK.
Shipped First Class to Kentucky for 3.45.
If you sell on eBay and don't use it, I really encourage you to give it a try. In a nutshell, all you are doing is sending your package to the shipping center in Kentucky, and the program does the rest. Yes, it's that easy.

I understand that it's more expensive for the buyer and may discourage some sales, but the ease and protection for the seller and the buyer is worth it. I recently sold a jewelry box that arrived in the UK damaged. One call to eBay and the problem was resolved. They refunded the buyer and let her keep the item. No money came out of my account and the case was closed. Much easier (and cheaper) than if it had happened in the U.S.

In other news, I made my first sale on Amazon. I decided to try Merchant Fulfilled and listed a whopping two whole books. Now, a few weeks later, one of them actually sold! That means I have sold 50% of my Amazon inventory. Seriously, though, it reminds me of the power of the platform. I have decided to give FBA another shot as soon as things settle down.

We are putting in new floors in our house, and things are a colossal mess. I am trying not to complain because we have waited a long time for this, but it has been five days of banging, clanging, and thick dust everywhere. My "office" has been relegated to the back bedroom on a card table. My printer, scale, etc. are on the bed. Not ideal. 

And so far, they have only done demo. Apparently, in 1973 they really knew how to stick stuff to the floor and assumed it was never coming up. It almost didn't.


As far as Etsy is concerned, my store is open, and I've cross listed a few things from eBay. Again, it is a little time consuming. Since I only resell part time, I'm trying to concentrate my effort on getting my backlog up on eBay first before I worry about Etsy.

One of the things I did recently accomplish was to organize my unlisted merchandise into bins and boxes of like items. Now, instead of coming home from thrifting and throwing everything into a pile, I put it away neatly. My hope is to tackle each staff methodically when the time comes.




 

This exercise in organization also made me realize that I didn't have as much back inventory as I thought. That makes it a little less overwhelming. 

Hope you are having a productive start to your summer. 
Happy thrifting.  -Lisa

I estimated I have about 200 unlisted items. How much backlog do you  have? Share in the comments below.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Now on Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon

I finally did it! I opened an Etsy shop. Since I sell so many vintage items, it just made sense.

My plan is to cross-list items on Ebay and Etsy to get more eyes on them. Some of the resellers I follow say this works for them. We'll see. The only real hassle is to end the listing on the other site when an item sells. 

So what tipped me over the edge? This item:


I found it at a thrift store today for $3. It is a doll from the '50s made with ladies' hankies. The label says it was "Designed and Create by Neiman-Marcus Packaging Staff." According to my research, these were made for women to put on their vanities. The only similar one I found was listed on Etsy for $125. Soon, there will be two! 

Another first is that I listed some items on Amazon Merchant Fulfilled. I tried FBA about a year ago, but didn't like the idea of paying Amazon to store items. I don't plan to shop for new goods just to send in, but I do like the idea of selling books on the site. 

Crossing my fingers that this experiment increases sales.

Happy thrifting. ~Lisa

Do you sell on multiple platforms? What's your experience? Share in the comments below.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Love to Sell Vintage on eBay

If you're like me, the best part of being a reseller is the hunt. The "sourcing of product." There's just nothing like going into a new thrift store for the first time and sifting through treasures.

My plan for last week was to list clothes. Didn't happen. We traveled out of town instead. For two days, I carefully curated new items to sell from stores I'd never been in. Heaven. Most the 33 items I bought ate vintage. I'll pick out some of my favorites to show you in my next haul. 

One of the reasons I love selling vintage items is because of their intrinsic value. Sure, if you find identical items on eBay, you have a certain price point to match. But when you find things that are unique, you get to set your own price. A lot goes into the that amount, including rarity, sentimental value, and customer impulse shopping. My first item below illustrates my point.

Here are some of last week's sales:


(Top to bottom, left to right)
1. Vintage barkcloth curtain panel. Pd. $25, Sold for $89.
2. Laura Biogiotti sunglasses. Pd. $.50, Sold for $35.
3. Laurel Burch purse. Pd. $5.99, Sold for $15.
4. Mary Engelbreit knife. Pd. $.25, Fold for $5.
5. My cute logo.
6. Susan Bristol fall sweater. Pd. $5.99, Sold for $19.99.
7. Wooden Tiki mug. Pd. $.95, Sold for $8.99.
8. "Polite to Point" Needlework kit. Pd. $5, Sold for $25.
9. 3 Bobcat caps (same buyer). Pd. $1.99 ea., Sold for $28.97.

Hope everyone is having a great week.

Happy thrifting!   ~Lisa

What was your best sale of last week? Leave a comment below.



Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Eye of the Beholder/Ugly Sells

Kate Spade cover for an IPad Mini. Pd. $1. Listing for $49.
My husband and I are currently doing some remodeling on our house. It was built in 1973 and has most of the original flooring and counter tops. We've lived here for 13 years and turned a blind eye to the house's less desirable features. We are now in a position to renovate.

I don't trust myself when it comes to decorating. Even though my mother was an interior decorator, only my sister seemed to inherit her sense of taste. My problem is that I can't see the forest for the trees. I will find a picture I like or may be a lamp, but I can't seem to pull it all together for a cohesive design. For this remodel, I've relied on Pinterest and the advice of others. It's too much money to spend to mess it up.

That brings me to my point: There's no accounting for taste. What I think is adorable, you may think is hideous. That's why I don't pass up "ugly" when I am out thrifting. If something is made well (a quality product), someone is going to love it. More than that, the "ugly" listing will stand out from the others. I have a perfect example of this in my sales for the week.

This week's sales:

(Left to right, top to bottom.)
1. Hippie Peace symbol NIP shower curtain. Pd.$4.99, sold for $12.
2. Brighton Pencil Pak. Pd. $1.99, sold for $10.
3. Oil derrick table lighter. Pd. $12, sold for $30.
4. Duck boot scraper. Pd. $16, sold for $30.
5. My dog Kiki!
6. Mid-Century signed serigraph. Pd. $0, sold for $100.
7. Cat figurine. Pd. $.99, sold for $5.
8. Burberry tie. Pd. 41.99, sold for $22.99.
9. Michael Simon Tweety Bird sweater. Pd. $15, sold for $95. Yep. This is the "ugly" I was talking about! I knew $15 was a lot to pay for a sweater to resell, but I knew in my gut I would make money. The only similar one on Ebay was listed for around $50. I listed mine for $95 because I thought it was more striking. The buyer offered $80, but I was at an event where I had my phone off. She must have gotten nervous when I didn't respond for a few hours and went ahead and bought it at full price.

I've been listing mostly vintage finds lately and nothing from the rack of clothes that have piled up. I think that's why my sales have been down lately. My plan for this week is to list clothes. Some people call them the "bread and butter" of their store. I need some bread and butter; man cannot live on dessert alone!

Happy thrifting!  ~Lisa

What is your "bread and butter" to sell? Leave comments below.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How Thrifting Has Improved My Health

Intriguing title, yes?


This may seem like a silly claim, but it's not. You see, now that I'm retired, my other gig is writing mystery novels. It's a job I love, but it requires a lot of ABC time. That is, "Apply But to Chair."

Because I was spending so much time at my desk on my laptop, I was literally starting to atrophy. I knew I needed to get up and moving. A lot of people recommend a standing desk. I really couldn't see myself using one. So I decided to change up my routine.

I was already spending several days a week thrifting, but according to my FitBit, I wasn't getting nearly enough steps. Most people strive for 10,000 a day. On days I spent at home writing, I was lucky to get 1,000 steps. A normal day of hitting a few Goodwills only racked up about 3,000.

I turned to my friends for help--my friends on YouTube, that is. I had gotten into the habit of listening to reseller podcasts at night in bed (with headphones so my husband wasn't disturbed). This created two problems: I was missing out on reading at night, and it wasn't helping me get exercise.

My new routine is great. First thing in the morning and before I go to bed, I walk and listen to podcasts on my phone. Sometimes I walk outside, often times I just walk around my house. (It drives my dog nuts, by the way.) You could do the same thing with audio books, but I prefer to read rather than listen. It makes the time seem to go faster.

The podcasts make me feel part of the larger reselling community, and I'm getting an average of 8,000 steps in a day! I'm feeling stronger and losing weight.

If you are interested in following my lead, here is a list of my favorite Podcasts:

Scavenger Life (audio only except for episodes titled "What Sells on Ebay."
Texas Gal Treasures
Pudgy Picker
Mad Maine
Thrifty Treasures
The Paper Castle
Raiken Profits

Hope you find this information useful.

Happy thrifting.  -Lisa

Do you have favorite reselling podcasters? Add them to the comments below.





Monday, May 2, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Using EBay Auctions to Sell Stale Inventory

A common saying for Ebay sellers is, "List it and forget it." For the most part, I subscribe to that philosophy. However, there are times when I just get tired of looking at old inventory.

This is especially true with items I bought or listed before I had a better idea of what sells. Sure, everything sells eventually, but I don't have storage space to hold items long enough to turn vintage! 

Sometimes, you just want to unload stuff.

EBay has a new feature (maybe only if you have a store) that alerts you when inventory has sat for six months or longer. I'm not one to go back and re-take pictures or add new keywords, but I do drop prices occasionally. However, often times it makes no difference. 

I recently started looking at some of my old listings. It reminded me of looking in the closet at a rack full of clothes and feeling like I have nothing to wear. Face it, sometimes we just get sick of the old stuff. So I put 10 of my items up for auction starting at 99 cents, and 5 of them sold. I didn't make much, but it was better than re-donating them. EBay's algorithm likes sales, so perhaps those six sales boosted my ranking in searches for my other items. Who knows.

Here's what I sold:
Liberty House Hawaiian Shirt sold for $5.50

Ricatto Shirt sold for $3.75

 Hawaiian Togs Shirt sold for $9.50

Hawaiian Blues Shirt sold for $5.50

Harley-Davidson t-shirt sold for $10.50

If you just look at the sold prices, none are very high. But if you look at the total of $34.75, it's not too bad. There are plenty of days when I don't sell that amount. Consider auctions for getting rid of old merchandise.

Happy thrifting.  -Lisa

Do you sell with auctions or Buy it Now? How's it working for you?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Picking & Grinning Haul

When people ask how I can stand rummaging through other people's old junk, I think of days like this. After all, finding treasures is in our DNA. Wasn't the sunken Titanic discovered by seekers of lost treasure?

Here's my most recent haul:



Left to right, top to bottom: (All from Goodwill)

1. Complete crewel stitch vintage stocking.  Pd. $1. Hoping for $30+
2. Wilton vintage wedding cake topper Pd. 3.99. Should sell for $15.
3. Woman's Day 1975 Granny Squares crochet book. Pd. 1.99. In booth for $12.
4. New in package '90s Yahtzee Game. Pd. 1.99. Selling for $15-35 new.
5. 6 Melamine from England tablemats. Pd. $3.99. Selling for $25-30.
6. Quimper design biscuit tin. Pd. $2.99. Selling for $18. Keeping for now.
7. Playskool blocks. Pd. $4.99. In booth for $12.
8. Carved owl with baby owl inside. Pd. $1.99. In booth for $10.
9. Kimberly Hodges Hallmark serving set. Pd. $6.99. Hoping for $50.





Left to right, top to bottom: (All from Goodwill)
1. Silver-plated pheasant. Pd. $4.99. Hoping for $12.
2. Kosta Swedish Glass candle holder. Pd. $3.99. Selling for $45.
3. 4 Mezzaluna shot glasses. Pd. $1.99. Hoping for $25.
4. Laurel Burch purse. Pd. $5.99. Hoping for $15.
5. Naturalizer sandals. Pd. $6.99. Should sell for $20.
6. Thunderbirds Air Force Show cap. Pd. $2.99. Hoping for $20.
7. School memories keepsake book. Pd. $ 1.99. Hoping for $15.
8. Japanese Motorcycles book. Pd. 1.99. Hoping for $25.
9. Auto Biography car book. Pd. $1.99. Hoping for $15.


And now, my best find of the haul. I had picked up a few of these items at the third Goodwill I had gone to. (There are 5 small ones in my town.) I hadn't found anything great. I was on my third and final pass. I picked up a not-so-intersting looking vase to see the maker's name on the bottom, and it said, "Cartier." My first thought was, "Cartier? Like the jewelry company?' I put the info in my phone and found this:





Yes! They make a line of tableware with the same pattern. Here is mine listed for $199 with Best Offer. Pd. $4.99.




Total spent:$67.82
Hoping to earn : $500

So for all the naysayers out there, this is why I rummage through other people's old junk!

Happy hunting!   ~Lisa

Have any great finds lately? Share in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Reseller Stuff: Quick & Easy Test for Gold & Silver

The other day I was scouring YouTube for videos about testing jewelry for gold or silver content. I really don't like having to drag out the chemicals if I don't have to. Of course I first use a magnet, (learned that from Margaret at Texas Gal Treasures), but that only gets you so far, especially if you are in a store and find an unmarked piece of jewelry.

Here's a set of silver-toned earrings that were not attracted by the magnet. If I had used this simple test, I would have realized they were coated in a type of plastic and left them behind.



I used to follow Katie Patton's videos back when I first started selling on eBay, but had unsubscribed to lots of people when I started writing fiction full time. When I saw this particular video, I remembered what a great tool it was. Katie gave me permission to link to her video here. 

Her trick involves using make-up to test to see if jewelry is a precious metal (gold, silver, or platinum). Think of it this way: Have you ever seen a woman wearing heavy make-up with long dangle earrings with dark streaks on the sides of her face? I have. I'll let Katie explain it in her fun and quirky way.



Brilliant, right? I keep a compact in my purse and use the back of my hand. The marks wipe right off when you are finished testing. A little hand sanitizer doesn't hurt either. Of course, if you want to identify the exact contents of the gold or silver, you'll still have to use chemicals to test it. 

I keep a bag of broken chains and jewelry to sell at a gold & silver store. They test each piece before they make you an offer. If you don't want to buy a chemical kit, you can take your jewelry there and have it tested. It will be up to you if you decide to sell it or not after they make you an offer.

By the way, I have been talking only about jewelry. These tests will work on other metal items as well. Katie mentions flatware, but you can also use it with candle holders, vases, or anything else you don't mind wiping on yourself.

Hope this tip helps. Please subscribe by email for future posts. Thanks for stopping by.

~Lisa

Do you have any other metal testing tips to share? Leave comments below.






Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reseller Stuff: What Sold on eBay

Thought I'd share my week's sales. Just so you know, I don't offer free shipping on eBay anymore. Instead, I list all my items with Best Offer. The reason I don't offer free shipping is because I kept getting burned when I would accept an offer and not take the shipping cost into account. This way, when I accept an offer, I already know shipping is covered (unless I under-calculate...which happens).

Here's what sold:
Paid $2. Sold for $10.

I found 2 of these champagne bottle cases for $3.99. Listed one to make it look more rare. Sold it for $17. Will list the next one higher. 

Giraffe mama and babies in berets. So cute! Paid $1.99. Sold for $15.

Original watercolor. Paid $3. Sold for $25.


I miss "24." Paid $1.99 for t-shirt. Sold for $10.

I like finding documentary DVDs and sets. Paid $4.99. Sold for $20.

Vtg. tiki fabric. Paid $3. Sold for $10.50. Should have asked for higher price.

Victoria's Secret jacket w/faux fur collar. Paid $7.99. Sold for $30.

Best sale of the week:
I recently bought $70 worth of vintage barkcloth fabric. This curtain panel was $15. Sold it for $60.
Thank you Ryanne at Scavenger Life for encouraging us to look at fabric.


It seems like in January through March, I got a lot of low, half price offers. When I would counter, the buyer would decline. This month, I have been getting reasonable offers. That has been a relief.


~Lisa


What's your favorite item? Leave a comment below.

Friday, April 22, 2016

10 Reseller Hacks to Save Time & Money

I have been a reseller on eBay and at a vintage mall since 2013. I have picked up some good tips from my own experience and from following other resellers’ blogs and podcasts. Here is a list of my favorite hacks:

1. To remove a sticker or price tag, use a hairdryer to heat up and soften the glue. Sometimes I will dab the sticker with a drop of water to help it along. Be careful not to melt the underlying plastic surface in the process. Also, a cheaper and less toxic alternative to goo removers, is Orange Glo Wood Cleaner.




2. Speaking of dryers, a clothes dryer can be your best friend when listing clothing. No reason to hassle with a steamer. To remove wrinkles, simply take a wash cloth or hand towel and wet it. Wring out enough water so that it isn’t dripping. Throw the wrinkled garments in the dryer with the wet towel for a few minutes, and the wrinkles will be steamed right out. If the item smells musty, you can throw in a dryer sheet. It won’t create an over-whelming scent but will make the clothes smell fresher.



3. One of the common complaints from resellers has to do with measuring clothes. For hard goods, sellers will often place a ruler or common item in the picture, such a a coin or soda can, to give the buyer perspective. That’s not so easy with clothes. What I have done makes measuring clothes a breeze. I bought a thin, fabric, tape measure and used double-sided foam tape to attached it to the front edge of my desk where I do my listing for clothes. I just pop the item at zero on the left side and check the inches on the right side. No fiddling with pulling the tape measure in and out of its holder. I also use it to measure things like coffee mugs or other items when I don’t think a ruler is necessary.


4. This was a great hack I got from Kay at Mad Maine. Here's a link to her video. Just buy contact paper and apply it to a large piece of foam board. You have an instant, stylish photo background for those items you don’t want to photograph on a black or white background. It’s a little tricky to get all the bubbles out, but even the ones left in don’t really show.



5. The Goodwill stores in my town always write a price number on the bottom of an item with Sharpie. If the item is $5.99, they write 5. It doesn’t matter if the bottom is fine leather, such as on an Italian shoe or a vintage collectible with an old paper label, there will always be a number. Some of these cannot be removed, especially on a paper label or leather. However, for hard surfaces and even plastic bags, I find that cheap fingernail polish remover or rubbing alcohol works great to remove the ink.

6. It tends to bother me as an eBay shopper when I see the seller’s hands in the picture of an item. We try to make our items look professional. I’ve never seen a model’s hand holding down a tag or label in a Macy’s catalog, have you? Taking a few extra seconds to make a tape circle to hold down the bent label is an easy way to up your game.




7. I prefer to put items in a plastic bag prior to putting them in a box or polymailer. Some people use the gallon zip lock bags, and I do too on occasion, depending on the item. However, I much prefer the generic brand, gallon size bags from Walmart that come with the twisty ties. I tape them closed and just keep the twisties for various household needs or projects.

8. When I’m out thrifting, I occasionally come across something unique that I want to identify quickly. It might be a plush animal or a painting. Instead of trying to search with Google Images, I use a free app on my phone called Reversee. It allows you to quickly crop the image and do a search. You can even include keywords. If I had done that a year ago, I wouldn’t have passed on two Hanova of Pasadena orange stock pots for $12.95 each. A few weeks later, I saw them listed from a dealer in that same town for over $300 each. That’s my biggest “One that got away” non-purchase to date. Hopefully, I will never top it.

9. Waste not want not. I don’t like to use newspaper for filler paper in boxes. It’s messy and can get ink on your items. However, I don’t like the idea of buying plain newsprint either. Besides scavenging for filler paper from things I order and such, I use the white paper backing page that comes with my eBay labels. It is thick and stays hard when you crumple it to put it in a box. I have never gotten a complaint about recycling that paper, and I feel better than if I just threw it away.

10. All that glitters is not gold…or silver…but it might be. After watching Margaret from Thrifty Gal Treasures test costume jewelry with a magnet, I finally broke down and bought one. I got mine off eBay for less than $10 with free shipping. I have a larger one that I keep in my desk drawer, but that doesn’t help me when I am shopping. I just found some earrings that appeared to be sterling but were not marked. Sure enough, they didn’t attract the small magnet that I am now keeping in the change compartment of my wallet. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re sterling. I also bought an inexpensive metal testing kit. That will give me the results I need.

Don’t be afraid to invest a little money into some basic tools of the trade. It should be money well spent if it keeps you from buying junk or passing up on valuable items.

Hope these tips help. If you have more, feel free to add them to the comments We can use all the help we can get.


~Lisa




Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reseller Stuff: eBay & Antique Mall

Welcome to my new blog about this, that, and the other. Stuff & Such is the name of my reselling business. I sell new and vintage items on eBay and in a small antique booth. I love being a small business owner. 

If you are a reseller, how do you describe yourself to others? I've heard lots of titles. Here are a few:

Picker
Thrifter
Flipper
Treasure Hunter
Junk Dealer
Merchandise Recycler
Estate Liquidator
Redistributor
Junker 
Hustler.

Whatever you call yourself, you probably understand where I am coming from when I describe my love/hate relationship with this wonderful, awful business.

I hope to share tips and strategies to help us all become better resellers, and I will follow other bloggers and learn from you as well.

For this first post, I thought I'd share a few recent finds.



Paid $5 for this small doll travel case from the 1960s.



I remember these sand art pictures from my childhood. This one was at Goodwill for $4.99.



Found this Holt Howard mushroom casserole dish in perfect shape. Paid $5.99.


This serigraph is by Amedeo Modigliani. I think it is awesome. Paid $8.



This is from the Sears Vincent Price National Treasures collection. It is a rare, large butter crock. Waiting for the right buyer. Paid a whopping $2.99.



I always look for Robert Graham shirts. Don't find them too often here in Central Texas. 
Paid $5.99 for this one.


Hopefully this gives you an idea of the stuff (and such) that I like to sell. I look forward to comments and reading other blogs. Thanks for stopping by.

~Lisa

By the way, are you old enough to remember sand art and Vincent Price? Leave a comment below.