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Interesting! I am sometimes tempted by those huge box lots of ephemera, photographs, etc. in the paper collectibles categories, but have never pulled the trigger.
Hey IndySales, thanks for playing along! Glad you are also getting results already.
Your plan to compare how long it takes to sell Ebay-sourced vs. IRL-sourced items is interesting. I should look at that myself. I track my inventory turnover rate, among lots of other metrics, but have never tracked the average time that items in a certain category sit around.
@daisy, the classic “Vara” style, or any variation on it, is a no-brainer for me if they’re in good condition and under $20. I can always sell them within a month or so for $75-$100. Customers know what size they wear, so they rarely get returned. I pass on women’s Ferragamos if they don’t have the logo and/or classic bow feature. Those will sell eventually, but it takes longer, and prices are lower. I don’t know as much about men’s Ferragamos, but I’d guess they’re also a reliable sale if they have classic Ferragamo styling.
The last time this happened to me was a big collection of Escada clothes (European luxury brand) at Goodwill. Obviously from one lady who had accumulated them between the late 80s-2000s. I picked what I thought was the best of the bunch, but in retrospect I should have bought it all. A lot of the stuff I left was very dated. Then when I got things listed, I saw that the more flamboyant and 80s-looking the items were, the faster they sold! Much like St. John, buyers are loyal to the brand because they’re very committed to a certain look.
I’ll also never forget the time I was having a blah thrifting run, and was standing in front of a shoe rack thinking, “I’d really like to see a pair of Ferragamos right now.” Then I looked down, and there they were!
Funny, I was thinking about SEO and the description field literally just last night, as I was listing.
I use the description field a lot for keywords that don’t work within the title or item specifics. Last night I was listing a book about typography, and used the description field to also get “printing” in there. I don’t know how much it helps, but it can’t hurt.
I think it’s impossible to conclusively answer the questions you’re raising – too many variables, and lack of transparency from the businesses involved. I will say that Ebay has seemed to have lousy exposure to Google for at least a few years now. If I do a Google search for an item I’m researching, it always seems like every other platform I can think of pops up before an Ebay result does. My theory is that Ebay and Google have some kind of Hatfield-McCoy business relationship, Silicon Valley style, and actively antagonize each other.
I know someone locally who is absolutely killing it on Instagram. She sells farmhouse-style antiques. Everything in her feed is styled like a magazine photo shoot and looks perfect. As far as I can tell people just DM her or comment “SOLD” on the item, first-come-first-served, and then pay her outside of Instagram. Everything she posts sells.
I would try it if I had the patience to get better at photography and product styling. My sense is that it’s all about having a compelling feed that tons of people follow. This woman has over 8,000 followers – most resellers I follow have a couple hundred to a couple thousand.
I have a reseller friend locally who does really well on FB Marketplace for some reason. On his recommendation, I used it to get rid of a bulky, fragile West Elm chandelier that was in our house when we moved into it. It sold after quite a while but overall was a pretty lame experience, and I wouldn’t do it again.
Regarding flaky buyers ghosting you – the way I deal with Craigslist buyers is to give them a couple windows of time when I’m already planning to be home and can be interrupted (example: Sunday between 3 and 5 because I know I’ll be at home doing food prep for the week). They can come over anytime during those time slots, but those are the only options. Then if they no-show, it doesn’t rankle me quite as much since I wasn’t going out of my way to accommodate them, and hey, I got all my food prep done.
My husband and I watched these a year or so ago – there were a bunch on Netflix – not sure if they still are.
Honestly, it made never want to try to build a house! We did a gut remodel on our last house while living in it, and that was enough money and drama for us.
One of the most interesting things to me was seeing how irrational people would get when sunk costs and emotion were involved. Even the owners who came from careers where they should have known better were not immune. “We’ve already taken on so much debt to build our dream house, why not take on more debt.” There are a few episodes with more DIY people building unconventional homes – those were my favorite.
I will say the final products were always cool, and the host, Kevin McCloud, is great.05/23/2019 at 10:38 am in reply to: Seeking advice on college admissions / application process #62356
Like Jay, I went to college just at the tail end of when it was affordable, and my daughter is 13 years away from having to think about this, so my only credentials here are that my day job is in higher ed.
Higher ed is in a bad place right now. We had it really, really good for a long time, and the party’s over. There are multiple complicated factors, but the bottom line is we don’t have enough customers (students). Some very established and respected schools have closed permanently because they essentially can’t stay in business. One in my area that was founded in the 1890s suddenly closed last year. There are two more private colleges in my area that my colleagues and I suspect will merge with another school, or shut down entirely, within a couple years. This is all to say that the idea that students just have to suck it up and take on a massive debt load for college is on the way out. Administrators know that our national student debt crisis will sink our schools if we allow it to continue, so we see more and more creative financial aid solutions like the ones Sonia posted above.
If I had a kid headed to college in the next couple years, my strategy would be:
1. Apply to our local, mediocre state university. She could live at home and we could pay the tuition with normal cash flow.
2. Apply to half a dozen respectable but under-the-radar schools that are creative with financial aid. It could be worth paying an advisor to suss out which are the best matches here. Basically you are hoping that one or more of these will compete for your kid by offering a great financial aid package. You have to be on board with shipping your kid off to Wisconsin or Virginia or wherever.
3. Apply to her 1-2 first-choice “dream” schools, on the chance she gets admitted AND gets the financial aid we’d need.
The idea of starting out in community college has come up – if anyone is considering this, keep in mind that you can’t assume that community college credits will transfer to whatever school they go to later. If your kid takes a bunch of community college classes, then goes to a school that doesn’t transfer the credits, they’ll end up paying for those credits all over again at a higher price, and taking longer to graduate. Ideally what you’re looking for is a community college that has a partnership with another 4-year school in the area, and has programs designed specifically for students to transfer from one to the other. There are some good ones in my area that are focused on STEM and non-traditional college students (working parents, people of color, etc.)
I buy clothes for myself pretty often. Usually because I have something I really like but it’s getting worn out and I want to replace it. I have a saved search for a particular REI dress. It’s the best dress ever, and I’ll keep buying one every couple years for as long as I can. I also had a saved search for a particular jacket from Anthropologie that I loved but would never buy at full price. I figured it would eventually come up in my size at a palatable price – took about 4 months of getting alerts.
+1 on sewing patterns! They are super easy to list if they’re still unused in factory folds, and super easy to ship. Prices are anywhere from a few bucks to over $100.
I’ve had a similar return, though with a lower-value clothing item. Customer requested a “changed mind” return, which I always accept if buyer pays shipping. After that, she changed her tune and started sending messages that the item was torn up and stinky. I’m guessing she realized too late that her real reason put her on the hook for shipping, but she couldn’t change it to INAD in the system, so she was trying to do it through messages? Whatever. When I got the item back there was also a handwritten note that I owed her shipping both ways. I ignored all this and just refunded her purchase through the return system. In cases like this I’ll risk negative feedback just on general principle, but I never heard from her again.
A program for a reception in honor of Charles Lindbergh, from a bag of random ephemera I found in an antique mall. I knew it would have some value to aviation/ Lindbergh collectors but had no idea how to price it – partly because of a lack of comps, and partly because it was in terrible condition: stained, musty, creased, half of back cover torn off. I said, what the hell, and ran an auction. Sold for $120. There were a few other interesting things in that ephemera lot, but that was the big win.
My brother works in logistics for a shipping company and they do actually use algorithms to figure out how to pack containers as tightly as possible!
I like this philosophy. Paid storage for listed items only. I hate the idea of having a backlog of unlisted stock around the house, so this “rule” would be very motivational.