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Thanks for posting this topic. I’d love to hear more about this. If I ever manage to build my store up above a few hundred items, I’ll have to make a decision about storage outside my house. Not only is that a new fixed cost every month, it would also introduce a bunch of logistical challenges. Then yeah, if you keep growing and growing, you’re managing a warehouse. I used to manage big library stacks spaces where we had to track the locations of tens of thousands of items individually, and it’s a whole thing.
I do exactly what Sharyn does. Put the bubble-and-cardboard wrapped item in the box with lots of filler material. Give it a good shake to make sure nothing shifts.
I shipped a Murano cookie jar to Japan this way. I was holding my breath on that one, but it made it fine.
I’ve had too many things break that I single-boxed with just bubble wrap and filler.
Women’s Ferragamo “Vara” shoes (or any variation on that style). I’ll pay up to $25 in decent condition because they always sell within a month for $75-$100. Size and color don’t matter – they all sell. Buyers already know what size they wear, so they don’t get returned.
Thank you! I missed hearing that one.
Jay – yeah, that’s the idea, actually. If I have 20 minutes between meetings, I have the newly listed items in this category bookmarked, and can just check to see if anything good pops up.
Thanks for the tip! Beer collectibles are one of those categories that’s invisible to me when I’m out sourcing in the wild, for some reason.
Thanks for your thoughts. I also love getting out to estate sales and auctions, but have struggled to find time for it lately. I agree so far that sourcing on Ebay really works best for niche items. It’s interesting that we can still find lots of underpriced items on Ebay, even when information about pricing is supposed to be so transparent to sellers.
Ever since I sold a heavy Dale of Norway wool sweater to a guy in Florida in June, I have resolved to spend zero time thinking about seasonality. It was more of a thing in the old days of Ebay, when it was auction-centric. I remember strategically stockpiling Lilly Pulitzer all winter because there was really only a two-month window in early spring when you’d get good prices for it.
I agree 100% that we need to change our tactics over time. Availability changes, tastes change, and our business interests/priorities change, too.
It will be fascinating to see how the generational shift pans out for collecting. Gen X and Millennials generally don’t seem into accumulating stuff for its own sake, but I don’t think people will stop collecting – they’ll just collect differently than their parents did. I have friends in their 30s-40s who collect things like vintage skateboards, punk rock zines, and Memphis design – they’re serious about it and spend money on it. One of my favorite customers last year was a young guy in the Bronx buying 90s preppy clothes. Same as a Boomer collecting things that make them feel nostalgic, just different stuff. Closely related to “There’s nothing good to scavenge anymore” guy is “No one appreciates ____ anymore” guy. Where ____ always turns out to be some narrowly defined subcategory of collectibles that have gone out of style as collectors’ tastes change.
I sold through Leslie Hindman in Chicago once, and overall it was a very positive experience. I had some sticker shock with the fees (even after they waived some of them), but they were very service-oriented, did an excellent job marketing the item, and it went for 3x its high estimate. Only regret is I couldn’t attend in person to watch the bidding, and I wish I knew who bought it!03/30/2019 at 10:44 am in reply to: Where have all the books gone? Scavenging idea for book lovers…. #59406
Our county library has a few big sales a year. The first day is only for Friends of the Library members AND they have a strict no-devices policy. I’ve heard from a volunteer that the serious dealers (who don’t need to look things up on devices) go that day. Then the rest of the weekend is a mob of people scanning barcodes, and the general public.
Every time I see something like this in a listing, I think two things: 1) This seller got started in the early 2000s and hasn’t updated their listing template since then; and 2) Don’t buy from this person.
Hi! I’m in a similar boat with a pretty demanding professional job. Also a family. Just want to encourage you that I’ll bet you will make a lot more than $1000 in a year. For the past few years my profit has been $4000-$5000 a year with a store of around 150 items, which I only work on as time allows. I think starting with stuff around the house is smart. I’ve found that sourcing costs can really eat up your profits with a small store.
I live near a fancy Goodwill with very knowledgeable managers who have been there forever, and even they don’t catch everything. They don’t differentiate between Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Ralph Lauren Purple Label, but I sure do. They also overlook esoteric brands that have a strong following – I’ve found everything from Dries van Noten to Arabia of Finland priced like regular junk.
My hands-down favorite one of these started with the buyer saying this was a “Christmas present” to herself. Next, she doubled down with a long, incoherent story about being in tears over a falling-out with a childhood friend over religious differences, and here I was telling her she couldn’t have her Christmas present.
I am 100% not the person you want to try to manipulate with your religious beliefs, but let’s set that aside. Also, P.S., it was past Christmas.
I got a third message, I guess after she’d sobered up. She didn’t know if I’d received her previous message, but I should really explain why I wouldn’t sell the item to her.
Through the whole thing I was just repeating to myself over and over, “Don’t engage with crazy.”