01/29/2019 at 4:32 pm #56094
Mugs are kind of a running joke for scavenger life, but they are still one of my favorite items to find although its been pretty dry around here for mugs lately.
Here’s a Xanax mug I sold for $40 plus shipping:
Another kind of mug I always am able to sell pretty easily are military themed mugs – they usually have stuff like navy battleships on them.
What kind of mugs do you actually sell?
01/29/2019 at 5:06 pm #56099
That’s Xanax mug is great. Good eye.
Its difficult to say what mugs sell. The mug has to be special in some way. Either really well made, or with a fancy brand/maker/pattern, or quirky like that the Xanax mug.
Same goes for ball caps.
This is where the artistry in scavenging comes in.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by Jay.
01/29/2019 at 5:11 pm #56101RyanneKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
yep, i love mugs. they are so weird and they do sell. they are slow, but they are a fun seller.
01/29/2019 at 5:25 pm #56102
I agree with both of ya. Mugs are fun, and definitely takes the right eye. Its a good example of the part of reselling you can’t really explain with details.
Most of the time it does take a while for my mugs to sell, but that Xanax one sold in the first 24 hours…
Another good seller was a “Coffee Hound” mug which I believe you guys also sold one a while back.
For some reason though, I haven’t been finding any good mugs for months now
01/29/2019 at 5:29 pm #56105
Everything comes in cycles, which is why we like to sell anything and everything. Being dependent on any one niche is scary to us.
I cant remember the last time we found a vintage Pendleton shirt. Back in 2008-2009, I feel like we found them every week.
01/30/2019 at 1:06 pm #56153
I’m totally with you on that point regarding not being dependent on single niches. I buy anything I can- lamps, candle holders, electronics, mugs, pots, blankets, clothes, higher valued books, etc…
My big problem lately is just not being able to find stuff though. There are weeks when I will hit all thrift stores in town every day, and barely find anything.
I don’t know if things are that much different in different areas or what… I feel like I have a natural eye for stuff which I have also worked on developing a lot in the last couple years. I intentionally stopped paying for phone service both to cut down bills, and force myself to not look anything up at the stores. Instead I had to learn how to identify valuable things on my own, which has been incredibly valuable. Always chuckling to myself at all the people standing at shelves staring down at their phones.
01/30/2019 at 1:34 pm #56158
Obviously it doesn’t help your business to grumble too much, though we’re all here to commiserate.
Here are some things I’d experiment with :
–Expand my area of scavenging. always good to go into different places.
–Figure out a way to go to auctions. Maybe you rent a car for the day. Business expense.
–it’s winter time so often pickings are simply less because everyone is stuck inside. In the Spring/Summer, buy extra to get you through the winter months.
01/30/2019 at 3:38 pm #56177almastyParticipant
Don’t feel bad about not finding anything at the thrifts. You’re much better off walking away from bad items than buying them for the sake of buying.
The thrifts where I live have been bare this month. I’ve been walking out empty-handed most of the time. Oh well.
As for mugs, the last time I found any good ones was in the fall. A bunch of Starbucks mugs I haven’t listed yet. I’ll get those up soon. I thought I found a good “Nightmare Before Christmas” mug this week, but there’s 1 listed for $20 OBO with free shipping. The shipping alone looks like it will be $7-10, so no thanks! Most of the mugs I find are not worth anything and pretty generic looking. The cool looking ones I tend to keep for myself. I am a bad mug flipper. 🙁
01/30/2019 at 3:43 pm #56179
Its definitely best to walk away from bad buys rather than buying out of desperation.
I will still sell mugs if I’m only making $5-10 profit. To me its worth it because they are like .25-.45 to buy, small and easy to ship. I won’t necessarily buy a mug that is only worth $5, but I’ll definitely still sell one if I end up with it.
01/30/2019 at 1:40 pm #56159
I hear you on not being too caught up in complaining. I’m not intending to be one of “those people”
It just gets to feel pretty bad when you spend so much time scavenging, and not coming out with much, on top of having weeks where sales are pitiful.
I’ll take your suggestions into consideration. I could just keep typing out more and more reasons why things are hard, but like you say, not much point in doing so.
01/30/2019 at 2:49 pm #56173OnthemarkParticipant
- Location: KS
Jay is right about getting out of your regular zone. Spend an hour on online arbitrage. Shop eBay for stuff to sell on eBay or walmart.com or target.com find something on sale. Look it up on eBay and see if you can make money. I live in central Kansas it can be hard to find good stuff. Probably a 1/3 of my in inventory is delivered to my door. I buy stuff off Amazon to sell on eBay all the time.
01/30/2019 at 2:53 pm #56174
Thanks for the tip, Onthemark. That is actually something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. For many years prior to doing this kind of selling, I did regularly by professional music equipment on ebay which I would resell for profit, or use for a while then resell for profit, so I definitely know this is something that can be done.
The main thing stopping me was the fact that you then have to wait for the items to be shipped and arrive before you can list/sell them, and when talking about stuff like musical equipment it has to be tested and may need to be sent back. All that can result in money being tied up a long time.
But there’s plenty of other stuff I can look for deals on which wouldn’t have those problems. Great suggestion. I’ll spend some time on that today.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by JamesC.
01/30/2019 at 8:12 pm #56200woadfarmParticipant
- Location: Vermont
I think I need to experiment more with online scavenging. That, and I am realizing that in Vermont I am likely going to have to do things really seasonally – i.e. scavenge more than I can list over the summer months, and then spend the winter hibernation months getting it listed. This past summer I was still very hesitant about over-purchasing, now I can see that I will need to get the items while the garage sale season is strong! That, and I want to get up the courage to try an auction sometime.
01/30/2019 at 9:25 pm #56209TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
There are some great auctions in New England, lots of old stuff coming out of the woodwork! Sure, they can be intimidating. You’ve got to make up your mind to go to one but the first time you go, do not buy ANYTHING. Don’t even get a bidding number (unless you just want to learn that process; sometimes deposits are required etc). The pressure is off so just look through the stuff then stand up in back or to the side (if you can) and watch the action. Watch the bidders and the auctioneer and get a feel for the rhythm and how different bidders operate. Keep your hands in your pockets. Obviously there are common elements but every auction house and every auctioneer is different. Then hang around for check out and see how that is run.
Then if the auction is worth going back to (and you’ll learn that some are not) you’ll be prepared and confident to give it a go. If it’s not worth going back to, at least there was the entertainment value.
Ebay arbitrage is a great winter activity. (I do it all year.) I think the key to success is sticking with niches you know well because you’re looking for value in items that others miss. Stuff goes for cheap on eBay every day, even in very active categories.
01/31/2019 at 1:38 am #56217Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
I can give you a few “insights” into UK auctions, which might be applicable to US auctions.
Two bidders at a time, only. If you want to join in, wait till the bidding stalls.
Dealers tend to stand at the back of the room.
Auctions are about as exciting as waiting for a bus, running to a guesswork timetable, with no guarantee that the bus will actually pick you up.
Your palms will get sweaty as the lot you’re interested in is announced. If you see someone else getting twitchy and more alert… that’s the competition.
The person who keeps their arm/paddle in the air when bidding is the person who gets run up.
If Celebrity Antiques Road Trip turns up with film crew in tow, nothing is worth buying. Also the room will be filled with gongoozlers.
It’s true that you should keep your hands in your pockets if the auctioneer knows you and wants to take the pee (happened to me). Otherwise, just look bored (you will be).
Generally the auction house security is very good. It’s advisable not to approach or handle any small items while the sale is on (but there’s usually an announcement when the sale is on). Otherwise, if you’ve bought a job lot of camera lenses, and the valuable one is missing, you’re probably in Derby.
01/31/2019 at 9:10 am #56220
I learn something new everyday: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gongoozler
01/31/2019 at 10:41 am #56227InglewoodParticipant
@Antique Frog – I almost drove over 2 hours to Toronto once to “gongoozle” David Dickinson. Part of me just wants to see what his hair looks like in person…I’d probably do the drive for Anita Manning if she was in the area – she is my favourite UK antique expert. I can’t imagine how bad the auctions get in the UK when a TV programme rolls in.
01/31/2019 at 8:55 am #56219TemudginParticipant
- Location: Jacksonville FL
Good tips. I also have seen auctioneers nail regulars in the US but it’s true a novice probably doesn’t really have to worry about it. In the US a practical reason for standing in the back is to see where the bids are coming from. To make sure you’re not being shilled or run up.
I enjoy watching auctions, though. The Brits invented auctions before we were even a country and it’s quite an art there. I once watched a butcher at an outdoor flea market in East London (I think it was Brick Lane – early ‘90s) put on a show like a carnival barker, auctioning single packs of meat out of a big trailer to a gathering crowd. That was a real hoot.
01/31/2019 at 10:16 am #56224Winchester38Participant
That Xanax mug is great. I would’ve grabbed it too.
With mugs, as mentioned earlier, it’s almost an art form. I’ve still got some in my inventory that I was “testing” while I was honing my eye. They’re often slow to sell, but the good ones have a great ROI.
As for sourcing, if the thrifts seem to have dried up, check facebook marketplace, local classifieds, auctions, estate sales, flea markets, etc. Heck, put the word out to family and friends that you buy and sell stuff. You never know what comes out of the wood work. Don’t be afraid to spend a few dollars just to test a new item/niche. If it works, you can add it to your mental sourcing list. If it doesn’t you might be able to eliminate it and streamline your scanning while sourcing. I try and list something I’ve never listed before a few times a month. Great way to expand your knowledge.
01/31/2019 at 11:26 am #56233Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
@Inglewood- I drove past David Dickinson once- he was wearing a red suit to go with his complexion. Didn’t notice the hair!
01/31/2019 at 11:54 am #56234woadfarmParticipant
- Location: Vermont
Thanks everyone for the auction tips! I find them daunting, so I especially like just going to see one first.
I had no idea what a ‘gongoozler’ was either…
I’ve been checking Craig’s list, and our local Front Porch Forum. So far they haven’t turned up much, but I expect this too will change with the seasons. I’ve tried looking at Ebay as well, but I suspect my inexperience is tripping me up here, as I haven’t found much so far.
Fortunately, we still have a bit to list from the ridiculous excess we’ve toted around for years. That, plus some experiments should get us through til Spring – then people garage sale like they’ve been stuck indoors for 5 months or so!
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