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!

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Posted in Sourcing

TJMaxx & Plato’s Closet

This BOLO is very time sensitive.  While it won’t be news to my world-wide followers on Instagram, it might be for my regional followers on Facebook.

For the last couple of weeks, YouTube and Instagram have been blowing up with haul videos and outrageous finds.  Since I was going to be in my closest metropolitan area yesterday, I decided to follow-up.

The first is T.J. Maxx is having a Yellow Tag clearance sale.  I believe it happens twice a year and it is the lowest mark down.  The ‘rumours’ I had heard were true.

One example was Prom Dresses.  They had one circular rack with around 50 in different lengths and styles.

I was very close to purchasing a gorgeous chrome halter gown from Laundry by Shelli Segal.  The retail price was $525 and it was marked down to $17.  The dress was in mint condition, the tags were crisp and all there.

I did not buy it because it was a size 6. I focus on larger sizes 14-26w.  There was only one that fit the bill but it had fraying on the hem and missing the original tags.  It was $295 down to $5.00.

Plato’s Closet is having their twice a year clearance.  When I was there yesterday, prices were 70% off.  Saturday, they will be 90% off!

Much to my delight, they had several Plus Size items New With Tags.  They also had a lot of shoes 9-12 sizes.  The best part is that you did not have to go through every rack in the store.  All of their clearance was in the front of the store and on separate racks.  What a concept!

I purchased two items.  The first was Levi’s 580 Tall and Curvy Boot cut in dark blue.  It was New With Tags 18W with an MSRP $54.99 and I bought them for $4.00.  Comps on EBay are $50 so I will price mine at $45 free ship.

The second was not new with tags, but is trending.  It is a jumpsuit by Toxik3 in a size 3X.  It is a button up floral, with straps and ruffles and elastic ankles.  I purchased this for $4.  There are no comps on EBay in Plus Size so I will list it at $40 free ship with best offer.

Let me know if you also went and what you found in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you!

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Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper.

Posted in Social Media

Trolls, Nay-Sayers and Discontents

They look adorable and they are making a comeback!  Perhaps they never left.  Maybe they sat in the background, waiting for the perfect time to show their faces once again.

No, I am not talking about the trolls in the picture.  I am talking about the trolls, naysayers and other discontents that are on social-media.  They can strike at any time.  The strategy you use can be the difference between you gaining respect by your followers or allowing these cyber-bullies to ruin your day.

They are everywhere!

Over a decade ago, I helped moderate a forum.  People you have never met personally, coexisting in harmony for the purpose of allowing free speech on an internet forum.  It sounds like sunshine and roses, until you wake up to find that a new member has put advertising for porn sites on every thread.  You delete the posts, delete the member, but the next morning you find the same thing!  So you disallow the IP address, only to find that they are spoofing their IP.  All of that work and emotion to get rid of this pest that clearly does not add value to your forum.

They never really left!

Fast forward to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other media sites that run  much the way the forums did a decade ago.  Trolls also act much they way they did a decade ago.  The difference between then and now is that we have a larger audience and more of us are trying to earn a living wage.  Trolls can affect whether or not we can pay the power bill!

Don’t be held hostage!

As Deputy Barney Fife said…”Nip it, Nip it, Nip it in the Bud.”. (Google it)   As resellers, we try to treat each person like a potential customer.  Unfortunately we can’t when the person is acting like a 2-year-old, screaming to get your attention.  It gets the attention of others and detracts from your mission.  You have to be like a DayTrader and react quickly to whatever this Troll, NaySayer or Discontent has brought to your table.

You are lying, your items are crap, you are a charlatan and you don’t belong here!

I recommend the following steps.  Perhaps Step 1 will accomplish the job but do not be afraid to advance to step 6 if it continues.

  1. Be above reproach and react respectfully.  This does not usually work, but it is good for your other followers to see.
  2. Ask them to discuss this with you privately as it detracts from your purpose and mission.
  3. Delete their comments and remove their ability to post publicly.
  4. If it cannot be resolved with a few private messages, remove their ability to contact you.
  5. Report them.  Don’t waiver from this because the Troll you deal with today might be another reseller’s Troll tomorrow.
  6. Report them to law enforcement.  There are laws that prohibit Trolls and Cyber-Bullies.  Familiarise yourself with them and react.  Do not fool yourself into thinking that they will eventually walk away, if it has gotten this far.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to comment below.

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Where every item is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper!

Posted in New Year, Taxes

Death and Taxes

Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional.  I am not promoting any tax preparation company.  You should consult your own tax professional and spouse when making any financial decisions.

The same signer of the Constitution that said ‘a penny saved is a penny earned,’ warned us of the certainty of death and taxes.  I am sure we can all admit at one time or another we have wondered if death would be easier.

I have owned some type of home-based business for 29 years either part or full-time.  In that time, I have never done my own taxes.  My biggest reasons are because I want my money back and the ever-changing tax code.  Did you know that the amount you pay to have the business portion of your taxes done is tax-deductible?

I call my tax professional the first week of January to schedule an appointment.  I make it for February 2ND because it is easier to remember – Ground Hog Day!  Why postpone this date?  You know it is inevitable.  If you owe, it gives you time to budget.  If you are owed, you get your money back sooner.  I have had taxes done on April 14th, and that is not the kind of adrenaline rush I want to experience again.

I keep every receipt in a drawer during the year.  I tell myself that I will find some way of organizing them each year and it never happens.  I sort the receipts as I am getting things ready for the tax professional.  Items to look for are home repair, upgrades to your home, office supplies, cleaning supplies, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, car repair and restaurant receipts.  There are several more, but this gives you a general idea.

Since you are running your business in your home, it is important to know the total square footage.  Next you need the square footage of each room you use for your business in your home.  Next, you need to give an honest number of hours per day that you are working.  Your tax professional will need these totals to figure the percentage of home expenses to deduct, such as your lights, internet and landline.

Throughout the year, you should have some sort of way to record the mileage on your cars.  You will need the total miles driven and total business miles.  I also record miles I drive to volunteer because that can also be tax-deductible.

The year I decided that all of my sourcing, fees and income would go through one account made all of this so much easier.  I am selling on four different platforms, doing some consignment, I did some advertising and promotions.  PayPal is what I use and it actually does most of this for you.

I believe that the most important advise I can give is to be honest.  Just because you sourced an item during your vacation does not make it a business trip.  Your blogging at McDonald’s doesn’t make it a business lunch.  Your new refrigerator is not a new laptop.  Your cats are not your virtual assistants.  You do not want your next business expense to be mileage driving to the IRS because you have been audited.

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Where items are Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper

 

 

Posted in Sourcing

Are you Hustling or Hoarding?

If you have been a reseller for a while, you have probably had one well-meaning friend or family member take you to the side and try to do an intervention.  If you haven’t told this person what you really do or if you have and they don’t understand it, cut them some slack.

Maybe you should truly look at your storage areas, rooms, shed, unit or warehouse and assess.  You can conclude one of two things; you are a smart reseller or you need to attend your first meeting of Hoarder’s Anonymous.

This subject can be a rather touchy one in the reselling community so I want to put a disclaimer out there that this is my opinion.  My opinion comes from being a reseller myself as well as growing up with hoarding.

  1. If you are spending the majority of your reselling time sourcing, you may be a hoarder.  If you are sourcing when you have plenty to craft from or sell outright, it may be time to go on a sourcing sabbatical.
  2. If you have boxes of product and you have no idea what is in them; or, you sell something and you have no idea where it is, you are not a hoarder.  You are disorganized.  Take a few days off, inventory what has been listed and make a pile of items that haven’t.
  3. If you are sourcing for a future season because you are a dollar clearance sale, you are not a hoarder.  You are planning ahead for your business and maximizing gross profit.
  4. If you are paying for a storage unit (s), can’t have guests stay in the guest rooms, boxes piled in every corner of space and are not actively listing, you are a hoarder.  Items do not sell from a box.  There is a lady on the west coast that would love those size 6 Doc Marten’s you purchased for a dollar, but she will never know because she can’t see what is in that box!
  5. If you are buying clothing or accessories that you or your family would not wear in public, you may be hoarding or just impatient.  Not everyone will agree with me but, sort through the items and throw away anything that is worn out, has holes, stains or extreme fading.  Please do not donate to a non-profit unless you would be willing to pass them on to a good friend.

Resellers are not perfect.  We all probably have a bit of hoarding in our past, present and future.

Sometimes our Hustle is really Hoarding behind closed doors.  If so, forgive yourself, assess your inventory, take a sourcing sabbatical and spend every spare moment listing.  You will feel so much better, your bank account will get fatter while your piles get slimmer, and you can proudly say that you are a Hustler, not a Hoarder.

If you have comments or ideas, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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Where every item is Fit for a Queen

BUT

Priced for the Pauper!

Posted in Fees, Uncategorized

Those Pesky Fees!

Fees are a part of every reseller’s journey.  There is no way to avoid them.  Just like you know the sun will come up tomorrow, you will see fees on almost every platform you choose to sell on.

Just so this blog post doesn’t become outdated in 30 days or so, I won’t spend much time on fee scales.  My feeling on escalating fees is much like my heat bill.  You know it will go up, you are being provided a service and you can’t live without them if you hope to remain in business.

Ebay has a monthly store fee that is dependent on the size of store.  There are listing fees If you don’t have a store, but there are always offers for waived listing fees.  There are also selling fees which are charged based on the type of item sold and cost.  Depending on when you started Ebay, they will be due in the middle or end of the month.

Etsy has a set per-listing fee, a percentage fee when you have sold and there are no store fees.  When you are printing out shipping, the fee will also be charged to your monthly invoice. You may pay your fees from your selling balance before funds are issued to your bank.

Amazon fees for selling books and CD’s are invoiced each week and subtracted from your earnings, before they issue funds to your bank.

Poshmark does not have a fee to list or have a store.  When you post a listing or consider an offer, the program tells you what your income is after fees.  Fees are taken out before you receive a credit in your account.

If you are selling on each of these platforms, you might spend more time figuring out how much you owe and when, than making up this week’s meal plan.  You might think that you will pay them on the due date with your earnings, which is great if no one (including you) gets sick, the car doesn’t have a funny sound coming from the engine or the gas bill is due.  I cannot emphasize how important it is to pay these fees because there are serious consequences such as not being able to list to losing your privilege to sell.

I read some advice on paying fees in an EBay support forum, and I thought it was a great answer to paying all these pesky fees.

Most of us sell a lot through the weekend then package and ship on Mondays.  After you have done this each week, pay your fees on every platform that night. Start with a Zero Balance on Tuesday night.  No more panic when the invoice comes due!

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Where items are always Fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

For the love of Levi’s

I will let you in on a little secret.  I LOVE selling Levi’s!  Okay, but why would I devote today’s blog to this?  It’s called Keeping It Simple Stupid.

As a 50+ year old #reseller, I am familiar with the way the brand has evolved over the years.  It is a brand that has been around long before I was born and there are people out there that will only wear this brand.

I consistently sell them between $25-$30 with free priority shipping ($6.00) in a flat rate legal size envelope.

Here is what I look for when sourcing Levi’s:

  • Big, Tall or Short Sizes.  I don’t sell these exclusively but have found that they will sell quickly (hours or overnight.)  Some memorable sizes have been a men’s 56×30, a women’s 24WP and a women’s 2T.  Better yet, you will find them in thrift stores for 99 cents because they are. Hard to sell.
  • Made In USA.  Finding them is a little difficult, but check small thrift and charity shops as well as estate sales.  Clothing Made in the USA has a following anyway but Levi’s has it’s own little niche no matter what the size.
  • Wear does not matter.  Unlike other clothing items, I have sold them with holes, tears and fading.  People do not care, as long as you have taken great close up shots and have described them well.  Stains are where I draw a line,  and pass them up.  They might sell, but I don’t  want to run the risk a return by someone who thought they might be able to get the stain out.
  • Stick to the basics.  I stay away from anything that is not blue.  I don’t buy carpenter style.  I have sold Levi’s that have a winter lining, but I paid more for them and got the same price as the unlined jeans. I also stay away from baggy, extreme low rise, flare or bling.  I do buy relaxed, stretch, skinny, bootcut and straight.  Skinny is a fad, so make sure that these are in excellent shape.
  • Wash the jeans before selling. Some clothes I don’t, but with all Levi’s I do.  My personal opinion is that the they hold whatever smell they were exposed to.  Tide Pods are my go to brand.  If there are smoke or pet smells, soak overnight in Dawn, Vinegar, Baking Soda and water.  Then soak for an hour in clear water, wash as usual.
  • When listing, the title should begin with Levi’s and I never include the word Vintage.  My opinion is that the buyer is specifically looking for Levi’s and does not care about the age.  Always include the style (501, 505, 512, 519) because most purchasers are looking for their favorite number.  Take the time to measure the waist, rise, inseam and hem circumference so that the customer is confident about the fit.

Levi’s are my bread and butter item for all the reasons listed above.

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JewelsForThePauper can be found on Ebay, Etsy, Poshmark and Facebook.  We are also on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

JewelsForThePauper

Items that are fit for a Queen

But

Priced for the Pauper