Posted in New Year, Sales, Social Media, Virtual Assistant

A Thirty Day Review with Assistance

Today marks 6 weeks from the day I hired my first Virtual Assistant.  There have been some ups and definite downs.  While my experience will probably be different than others in the Reselling Community, mine might be helpful nonetheless.

  • I hired 2 virtual assistants and a ‘real’ assistant.  One was assigned to list on my smaller Ebay store and Poshmark, the second was to list on my larger Ebay store and the third was to package and ship.  Today, I have one virtual assistant taking care of 2 Ebay stores and one shipping assistant.
  • The first virtual assistant was not a ‘fit’ for what I needed.  He charged a higher fee and could not complete the work on time.  He tried to appeal to me on a personal level as to why his work was unsatisfactory to the point that I was actually emotional and drained when I let him go.
  • I also found out that no one outside my country could access Poshmark.  I have not found a VA in the United States willing to be paid $1 a listing.
  • This past week, my virtual assistant listed 90 items in 14 hours for $57.  63 cents a listing.  My shipping assistant receives $2 per package.
  • Here is my math:  One pair of Levi Jeans sells for $20.  I purchased it for $2, Listed it for $1, packaged it for $2, Ebay and Paypal receive  $3, and shipping is $6.30.  Profit is $5.70 or 29% profit.
  • My total listings in one month went from 200 to 500.
  • According to Ebay, my sales have increased the past 30 days by 89% in my smaller store and 169% in my larger store.
  • I ended every listing that was not clothing so that my stores looked like a clothing outlet and not a thrift store. All items that did not sell within the 1st week are placed on a 20% off sale.  All items not sold in 30 days are auctioned off beginning at .99 with $6.30 shipping.
  • All of this sounds wonderful, and it is.  I am so grateful each morning and cannot wait to begin working.  Nothing is perfect and there have been some pitfalls.  I (me personally) need to catch up my assistants and sales.
  • I am working longer hours each week.  Monday, Tuesday, 1/2 Thursday, 1/2 Saturday and Sunday.  Each day is from 7am to 6pm.  I am either photographing,  entering information on a spreadsheet, or desperately seeking the sold item that needs to be shipped.
  • I did not change my inventory system that is not detailed enough to handle 750 items!  My house might qualify for a Hoarders Episode simply because every wall has boxes of inventory against it with words such as Women’s jeans.  Some are boxes of clothes that have been photographed and in the spreadsheet.  Thankfully, because I have kept up with sourcing, there is only a small ‘death pile’ box.
  • So today, #JewelsForThePauper is officially closed.  The phone and computers will be shut off.  All inventory taken out of boxes and sorted into brands and sizes.
  • Some other day, I will be clearing out my original office (decimated when our college graduate moved home for a few months) so that my business can continue function.

Hiring assistance (assistants) was definitely needed in order to grow my business.  For the most part, it has gone smoothly and I am happy with the results.  I just forgot adjust my inventory system to catch up with the growth!

Excuse me while I shut this computer down for the day …….

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Posted in Sales, Shopping trends, Sourcing, Thrift Shops

What I Learned at the Goodwill Bins

During my sourcing trip in Chicago with my sister, we had our first experience at the Goodwill ‘Bins.’.   This one is in Rockford.

  • Bring a huge bag.  I brought one that is actually stores a Christmas wreath.  It is lightweight, has a handle, is two yards in diameter and held 42 pounds of clothes.
  • When they roll new bins out, stop what you are doing, move next to one and be prepared to dive quickly.
  • When sorting through a bin, take full advantage of you are tall, and grab what is furthest away and pull it forward.
  • Grab what looks good and move on.
  • Always get 25# or more, because you get the lowest price per pound.  Ours was 99 cents.
  • Be prepared to meet other resellers.  This was a great networking experience.  We met a Newbie who had sold on Amazon for years that quit his job the week before to be a full-time reseller on EBay.  A partner duo who sold everything from clothes to Nintendo Game Systems.  A 50+ married couple who were full timers.  We all had so much in common, shared ideas and as well as nightmares.
  • Find a nice place in the corner, and go through each item carefully.  While the items are less than what you would pay in a thrift store, you don’t want to waste your money and time repairing or removing stains.
  • Eat before getting there and stay hydrated.  You cannot do your best if you do not feel your best.
  • Bring your keys, ID, PayPal and phone, store them in your front pockets.  Leave the rest in the car.
  • Everyone is there with a different purpose, but I met a guy who doesn’t buy anything there but comes each day.  He checks the pockets of all of the pants and coats for loose change.  By the time he was finished telling me about his awesome finds, I almost began to wonder if I was in the wrong business!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

but

Priced For the Pauper!

Posted in Free Shipping, Sales, Shopping trends, Sourcing, Thrift Shops

Real Men wear Jockey Nylon Briefs

Do I have your attention?  One of this week’s sales sure caught mine.  It’s one of those you laugh about with your girlfriends at lunch, instant message your husband at work, then wonder where you could find more.

I purchased these yellow and orange, synthetic, tight briefs around Christmas.  They lay in a tiny bin of women’s underwear that was priced for a quarter each.  I remembered a YouTube video that mentioned these were a BOLO.  However, I figured I would get home and find that these were the wrong brand.

So, they sat in my death pile until a few weeks ago.  Cash Money, lying in a bin, begging to be listed.  My sister (the one that sells her first item 24 hours after opening an EBay store.), took the pictures while I got the information ready for the virtual assistant.

The virtual assistant listed them on St. Valentine’s Day and by that evening I had some low ball offers.  I never thought, in my wildest dreams that I would be drinking my morning tea , and hear two Cha Chings in a row!

Let me re-word that.  I didn’t think I would sell vintage nylon underwear at full price within 24 hours of listing them.

So here’s to early morning sales of vintage nylon pastel underwear …. it makes you feel good all under.

Wait, wrong brand.

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper

 

 

 

Posted in Fees, Sales, Virtual Assistant

Should they stay or Should they go?

The past 8 days have made me ask this question.  In fact, I have asked this question several times a day for those 8 days.  Should I fire my virtual assistants and search for 2 more.

When I worked in the corporate world of Retail Grocery, I had to fire people.  I would have to go through all of the disciplinary steps of warnings, write-ups, suspensions, etc.  Honestly, I thought it was so that they quit instead of being fired, this no unemployment.  Now I believe it gives the manager time to review options and reflect on if they can do an intervention instead of having to go through the task of interviewing, hiring and training.

I have 2 Virtual Assistants.

#1 has a full grasp of the English Language.  He works quickly and is very efficient.  He has even given me idea on how to photograph my items better.

#2 has good grasp of the English Language.  His work is flawless.  I can tell that he really needs this job and will do just about anything to make me happy.

Sounds great?  I have the perfect virtual assistants!  But wait, there’s more.  Neither has put up 60 listings a week and neither has worked 15 hours a week.  While my invoice at the end of the week is $60, my sales will not support this for very long.

I am literally holding on to 120 listings that I have photographed and outlined because they are around 90 listings behind.  My inventory can’t be put away efficiently because it is in limbo.

I have discussed this with them in Hangouts and both have said they will get right to it.  I will see 6-12 listings each go up, then nothing.

Today, I will go through my spreadsheet and make sure I have all my facts straight.  Then I will tell each that the 60 listings a week are nonnegotiable.  If not completed by noon Sunday my time, I will be hiring 2 more and not sending any work their way.  Change the password and move on.

I have compassion for these two and know they need the money.  However, I have a plan.  It is to grow this business by hitting the maximize listing number.  Their actions are not conducive to my plan.

End of story.

#JewelsForThePauper

Items Fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper

 

 

Posted in New Year, Sales, Virtual Assistant

Weekly Business Summary

If I had to summarize this week in one sentence it would be that we changed a few things and received fast feedback and results.  However, this is a blog so I better say more than that.

First, I took a hard look at what was bringing my business down and caused me stress.  One word – Clutter.  I had items that weren’t in my clothing niche, that had been there a year and I had not sold them.  I made the decision to delete them from my stores and inventory.I will donate them and take the tax write-off.  Who wants to keep looking at mistakes and doing nothing about them?  Not me.

Second, I received my lighting kit, changed my background and added a Tiara to the corner of each of my pictures.  My pictures turned out so much better.  The colors that I had difficulty with (red, purple and blue) came out crisp and true.  There was just one problem.  The tiara.

I had purchased the jewelry to place in the corner to ‘trademark’ myself.  I wanted people to see the photograph without reading the title and know it was from me.  Both of the Virtual Assistants disagreed, had difficulty editing the photos and one was even nice enough to send a video on how to properly photograph.  Anyone need a Tiara?

Both virtual assistants did not Max out their hours.  Sounds like a score.  It wasn’t.  Neither of them listed over the weekend.  Both are 60 listings behind and I am ready to send another 60 by tonight.  One seems to have gone AWOL and the other promises he will have all of his completed, plus what I send him today, by tonight.  Admittedly, I don’t send these listings on a schedule because my life’s not on schedule.  Both do fantastic work on a budget I can afford.  I guess I will need to be more clear on the fact I want these done by Sunday at noon.

32 items have sold the past 7 days.  It is not a record, but it showed me I was on the right track on what I chose to be listed.

Jeans, by far, sold the best.  Tall, Short, Tiny, Huge, Levi’s to Faded Glory it did not matter.  They sold.  A close second was Spring Shirts.  Last were spring and summer shoes.

Looking forward to this week, listing items will be primary.  I am in search for another virtual assistant, USA based, that will cross-post to my Poshmark store.  I will be sourcing from my closet because I will need cash to go on my sourcing trip next week.  Last, I hope to declutter, throw away and donate.

Before I sign off, I want to give a ‘high five’ and gold star to my sister.  She opened her first EBay store on Friday with less than 10 items.  Buy it Now, Best Offer, Free Ship and no auctions.  Within 24 hours, she had accepted a best offer and sold some fabric that had been sitting in her closet.  Within 48 hours, she had listed more items and sold another item!  A new EBay store, 50 feedback, less than 10 items sells 2 items in 48 hours.  No one does this!  Except my sister!!.

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper