I hope you are all doing great! It has been another quick two weeks. I don’t know where the time goes. I am happy to report that my book for Wiley is off to layout and I am finished! I have decided to try and write Money Making Madness — The Next 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay before Christmas. This means I will have to write four chapters a day. It is so much fun it is not work at all – I just need to find the time to fit it in with everything else that is going on.
This week I am going to discuss the challenges facing us at thrift stores, garage and estate sales and how to overcome them.
This e-zine is published every other Tuesday.
November 8, 2005 Volume I, Issue 11
- Thrift Stores, Garage and Estate Sales – Tips for thinking outside the Box
- See Lynn in Country Home Magazine
- This Week’s Question – Using Eames era in your Titles
What look for at Estate and Garage Sales – Tips for thinking outside the box
I hear every now and then that some of you are having problems finding merchandise. I have to tell you that if you have money to spend for stock, there is always a place to spend it (that was something that my grandmother always said!). She is so right. eBay is changing the way we do business both on the retail and wholesale side. You just need to start thinking outside of the box.
For the past three years I have had a favorite charity sale here in the desert. I always have scored big time at this sale, so two weekends ago found my mom, my sister and me in line at 6:30 am. I was appalled to find that it was picked over before it even opened. The only thing I could figure out was that someone had gone through first and taken everything that could be sold on eBay. I have heard of more and more charity sales and thrift stores doing this. It does present a challenge to those of us who rely on these channels for merchandise. However, it doesn’t have to shut us down.
I have to admit that even I was discouraged after visiting that charity sale and also stopping by my local thrift store. My local thrift store has started pricing dinner sets in the $100 to $200 range. Please! Sets that used to be marked $10 to $20 are now being priced at top retail (even higher than Replacements prices).
However, I have come to some interesting conclusions about how to combat this. I want to offer you some tips and tricks:
First – Think outside the box I have started visiting my thrift store more often. I stop by every other day. I look for things that are not easily identifiable–items with small signatures or no signatures at all. Instead of looking for the sets of fine china—I am focusing on stoneware and other dinner sets that are still priced below $10. At my same thrift store I picked up a Noritake Running Free (Sailboat) stoneware set for $7. The ladies who do the pricing didn’t think it was great but I sold it in 8 different auctions on eBay for over $300. Here is one of those auctions.
Second – Hit Garage Sales on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays I typically only go out on Saturday mornings to garage sales. Because of the disappointing results earlier this month, I decided to go out on a Friday. There is much less traffic and competition on these off days. I have to tell you that I scored big time on a Friday morning this past weekend. I found an estate sale where the lady just wanted to get rid of things. She had an incredible collection of antique books that her husband had collected for over 40 years. I asked her how much for the entire lot. She thought and thought about it and finally said $100. Wow! I got over 600 books for about 15 cents each. Check out my auctions to see some of these books that I have up for sale now.
Third – Stock up during the season This brings us to Stocking up during the season. Garage sale high season varies by location. Here in Palm Desert, our best garage sale time is from October until April. I have decided to hit it hard and pile up inventory for the slow summer months—when everyone has left the 120 degree weather. With those 600 books and everything else I have been buying, I have more inventory than ever before. I have just converted a spare bedroom into a stock room and will start putting things away for the sparse months. I encourage you to do the same.
Fourth – Take things for free You may have to put more items on to make money—but if you have the time, this can work to your advantage. As I mentioned earlier, hit garage, estate and charity sales on Sundays and stock up. My favorite charity sale gave things away by Sunday afternoon. The great estate sale that I had gone to on Friday, called me on Sunday to say, “Please come and take what is left” For Free! You can’t go wrong. Especially if you have the time. Time is money and this is never truer than on eBay!
See Lynn in Country Home Magazine
I am on page 73 and there is a really nice article and a photo that my brother took. To see the article please click here.
|If you haven’t read Lynn’s The 100 Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay, now is your chance to get if for a special price. Read it before her new one comes out this January. Click Here for a special price for readers of my eZine. This book makes a great gift!|
This Week’s Question
Just wanted to double-check something regarding eras. I attended eBay’s first live Town Hall meeting in Dallas in May and the subject of using the term “Eames era” was discussed at length. We were told by Griff and the other eBay staff that it is against eBay policy to use the word Eames in your listing or title if the item is not an authentic Eames piece. Do you know if they have changed their policy on this subject?
Thank you in advance for your assistance. Stephanie Inge (Texas)
That is really interesting. I use Eames in a lot of auction titles and have never had one pulled. Eames era is really a generic term for a time period (1949 to 1967) and is used extensively by dealers. eBay would be silly to start disallowing it. There were 10,000 items sold or listed with Eames in the title during the last two-week period on eBay and they were not all made by Charles Eames. I don’t think that they are enforcing this policy at all. By the way, I have had an auction ended with Shabby Chic in the title because my item was not made by the Shabby Chic Company. Pretty silly because “shabby chic” has become another generic term. Oh well. Thanks for your question.
Happy Buying & Selling! Lynn
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at online auction click here.