Posted in Inventory, New Year, Sourcing, Taxes

Inventory is Complete!

It looks nothing like the picture above, but it no longer looks like an episode of Hoarders, either.

It took 8 hours to empty all of the boxes, sort, change the labels on the boxes, store them in another room and binge watch THE OA.

I expected to find clothing I had forgotten, clothing that had defects and some mystery pieces.  None of that happened.  I am not sure if that means a have a telepathic memory, or I just got lucky.

What I do have is peace of mind and efficiency, which means a lot when growing this business.  I am constantly trying to find extra time, because I keep running out of it.

As I sit here this with my cup of tea and my Maine Coon kitty in my lap, I have had 2 sales.  It is a wonderful feeling because I know exactly where the items are!

Packaging sales and watching THE OA?  Thank you very much, I believe I will!

 

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit for a Queen

But

Priced for a Pauper.

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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 …….

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

 

 

 

Posted in New Year, Sourcing, Thrift Shops

Need to Get Away?

Yes, I do!  My sister and I are going on a sourcing trip and staying west of Chicago.  We had decided this a month ago but firmed the plans last night.

We live in rural Central Illinois, so we don’t have The Bins (Goodwill outlet) or Savers.  This will be our first time. We are ready to spend 4 days and 3 nights sourcing  and relaxing until we run out of money.

I have a list of things I must do and a list of what to bring.  I have compiled it by watching many YouTube reseller haul videos.

Things I must do:

  • Change the oil and have the car checked for travel.
  • Transfer all cash to my PayPal and leave the purse at home.
  • Record all mileage during the trip.
  • Keep all receipts for purchases, dining, gas and anything else we do.
  • Give the two virtual assistants double the number of listings so I fresh listings while I am gone.
  • Change my handling time.
  • Remember to relax.

Things I must bring

  • The most comfortable layered clothing I have in my closet.
  • My most comfortable shoes.
  • A fanny pack.
  • Ikea bags
  • Rubber Gloves
  • A small first aid kit
  • Energy Bars
  • A water bottle

The Air BNB we are staying (not pictured) is an A frame mother-in-law apartment next to a lake.  There is a boat dock and the view is spectacular.  It has a wood burning stove, comfy furniture and wi -fi.

I wasn’t sure about this place because it is a distance from the places we wanted to source at.  However, the owner contacted me and said there was a Good-Will and several Thrift Shops within a 5 mile radius.

Lake, wood burning stove, AND thrift shops close by?  SOLD!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is fit for a Queen

But

Priced for a Pauper!

Posted in New Year, Social Media, Time Management

The Perfect Co-Workers

The world of re-selling can get very lonely at times.  You work from home,  interact with customers via messages and source quietly at your honey hole.  Even your assistants can be virtual and sleeping when you are working.  You may have friends or significant others who have grown tired of the stories about your $5 suit that sold for $150 free ship.

You need Co-workers!  Folks that understand that the latter statement is a huge score.  Folks that will show you their latest haul from a Goodwill, others that can tell you to skip the Old Navy’s, Miss Me is so last week and American Eagle can make consistent profit.

I posted my first item on August 8, 2015.  I had read a lot and was terrified to take the first step.  My pictures were awful, my title was 6 words, and I paid for the listing because I didn’t have a store.  I didn’t know what I was doing.

I went on YouTube in January 2016 to get direction on a $5 tablet I scored.  One reseller not only explained how to factory reset, but how to list it and the price.  His name is CraigsListHunter.

From there, I found a network of resellers that have their own styles.  They aren’t promoting a book, they don’t charge a fee and they will answer  questions.  Some will ask you to press the thumbs up button or subscribe (free).

These people have become my Co-worker’s this past year.  I play them in the background as I list or photograph.  If you are starting out or a lonely re-seller, I encourage you to seek them out.

The list below is in no particular order and I won’t give a summary.  If I did, you would be reading all day!  Here are my ‘besties.’

  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Pinching Pesos
  • States place
  • TheScavengerLife
  • Casey The Rockstar Flipper
  • Lindey Glenn
  • TexasGalTreasures
  • GoldenFingerPicker
  • Jason T. Smith

All are very genuine and devoted to helping other reseller.  You’ll find yourself in the morning, searching to see if they have uploaded a new video.  Have enjoy coffee with them, have them for lunch or let them work beside you.  You will be so glad that you did and you will never feel alone!

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper.

Posted in Auctions, Free Shipping, Shopping trends, Social Media

Shopping Instead of Watching

The weekend has finally arrived!

The furniture is rearranged , the house is clean, the food is prepared, the table is decorated and you are READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

Actually, you aren’t.  You are ready to see friends, eat more than you should, find a comfy spot on the couch, watch the overpriced advertisements and shop online.

WHAT?

A report done last year by Amazon said that 48% of those watching the Superbowl will have their phone out and shopping.  Spikes in traffic are during pregame, commercials and halftime.  If you guessed that people were buying game gear, you would be late to the party.  That was two weeks ago.

After reading the summary, my take was that people were shopping with their emotions.  Whether the advertisements were doing it or not, I have no idea.  If you are a reseller on platforms such as EBay, Etsy, Postmark and Instagram, keep this short list in mind while listing the next few days.

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mardi Gra
  • Easter
  • Spring clothing and accessories
  • Cruise and Resort wear

I saw a lot of questions on whether or not to end one day auctions before, during or after the game but did not find any reliable data.  It is a bit of a risk, considering the extra fee you pay on EBay for short auctions.  If I had something worth a lot with a designer label, I would take a leap of faith.

As for me, my sister and two virtual assistants I am going to maximize all new listings from Friday morning until Sunday night.

Monday morning, I will ask who won, what the score was and were there any fashion faux pas during half-time show.

#JewelsForThePauper

Where everything is Fit for a Queen

But

Priced For the Pauper