Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a blessed, happy, and prosperous 2015!

This will be my last post for the week as my parents are visiting (and it's been 6 months since I saw them last!!! So excited :D ) Also my oldest son is 9 and my mother's birthday are also New Year's Day so we have lots to celebrate (plus a small "my son is 9 I'm getting old" panic thrown in there too).

I do plan on doing a post on my New Years goals/changes/January's goals etc but that will have to wait for a week....sorry :D

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

not buying anything....mostly

so I have mostly been doing well with my statement that I was gonna not buy anything for the month December. my cost of goods sold was less than $50. until about two days I found three American girl doll lots that were just way too good to pass up. that set me back $200. 

I have been casually looking for real mannequins to replace the plastic molds that I currently use. There is a children clothing store is going out of business. today is their last day so everything was 80 to 90% off. 

these are vintage I believe. when I looked them up they sell for around $100 apiece on eBay. they arent in the best shape but I plan on keeping anyway when clothes are on who notices? I bought both at $25 apiece. I haven't been able to find them for less than 75.

also while I was there I bought some clothes cause hey why not?. many are for my kids but a lot are to resell also. 

with original prices $40 and up it's honestly not a store i would've shoppedat  normally

however I'm a sucker for nice little clothes

this cute three-piece suit was nine dollars

and this two-piece dress was three dollars

I spent about $200 honestly I didn't buy nearly as much as I was tempted to. I am off to the thrift outlets today to look for some ugly Christmas sweaters :)

I am taking a week off of Tuesday totals. sorry I sold about 10 items on both eBay and Amazon. nothing on eTsy nothing on bonanza. 

I already have people complaining I haven't shipped out next day. my youngest son has a double ear infection and with inventory backlog and my husband's friend dumping more inventory on us....  and by that I mean my husband volunteeing me a lot more than I can handle (his friend is super nice about how much i can realistically do) I am way behind on shipping everything. 

going to try to play catch-up today.  hope everyone's week is going great!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Doing Inventory

It's that time of the year! I hate fact inventory was 1 of the reasons I quit retail 5 years ago. I am currently inventorying my office....then off to my attic I go. I sincerely hope this won't take more than 6 hours.

Who else does inventory for a Schedule C? Anyone have any suggestions to help with efficiency?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

After Christmas Sales

If you have the resources now is a fantastic time to buy new retail merchandise for re-sale. I did this last  year with Target's semi-annual baby sale and made a good profit (I sold everything on Amazon merchant fulfilled. Most things sold within 2 weeks). However, I don't plan on buying this year. My husband is always stressing the importance of not getting *every* deal but getting the *best* deals. LOL. I guess I am a work in progress.

What I DID buy at the after Christmas sales is tissue paper....lots and lots of it (like 5,000 sheets give or take). When I started on eBay I read in the Better Homes and Gardens was plastic grocery bags are a great way to "stuff" packages. They weigh next to nothing. I used them for several years but am unhappy with the bags being everywhere especially with small kids and animals.

I made the switch to tissue paper. Now obviously it doesn't protect like bubble wrap but it is a great lightweight stuffer, 50 sheets costs me $1.24 (on sale at 50% off....the Dollar Tree has 40 sheet packages). Nobody can suffocate and I think it looks a great deal better. I rarely use more than 2 sheets per package.

Now I just recycle the grocery bags :D

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

merry Christmas!

merry christmas to one and all! i hope you all enjoy a great day filled with rest! now i'm off to go play santa :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

Another week has gone by and it's time for the (sad) weekly totals once again! sales. I am really glad it just updates from eBay's listings.

Etsy...My store is officially up 100 items. As I was listing #100 this morning I was thinking about why they don't have the calculated shipping option. When I went to check my "sold" items for this post there is a note that calculated shipping will soon be available!!!! YEAH! Happy dance :D

Anyway 2 items sold

This 1970s Mille Bornes game sold for $22.95 + $3.50 shipping on Dec 17th. I got a message asking if they could pay for expedited shipping. Rather than going through the hassle I ate the extra $2 and off if a padded flat rate envelope it went. I paid $1 for the game.

Amazon had 51 sales. I think part of  the slowdown was due to the proximity to Christmas....but I also think that my inventory going down was a lot to do with it too. At the beginning of November I had 1,150 items (apprx) now I have 450 (apprx). I'm not sure come the new year what I am going to do with "big time" sourcing of Amazon items. FBA fees are going up again (it seems Amazon is always upping a fee). To do 1 "normal" sourcing day for me retail arbitrage will easily set me back $1,000....which I'm not comfortable doing right now. Thinking about wholesaling for the new year. Not worrying about it now. Letting the rest of my items sell before I replenish (and I have to crunch numbers with hubby....hes the numbers guy goodness knows it isn't me).

Not a big sale but I sold 19 of these in 36 hours for $8.99 a piece. I paid $2-3 each. Not my best buy ever :D

eBay had 24 sales.

 This Reed and Barton bell I picked up at a storage auction about 2 years ago *cringe*. I listed it 3 weeks ago and it sold for it's full asking price of $34.95. I paid $50 for the unit which was very full of tools etc. We have easily made $400+ on the locker. Thankfully most everything is gone now.

These cute Tom's shoes were free at a yard sale.....I still can't figure out why everything else at the sale was overpriced :D Sold at auction for $14.95....and another example of an item item took me over a year to list.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Vintage Game Bolos

In the next couple weeks now that the rush is over, I am putting my store on list on eBay :D It seems that juggling 2 eBay accounts (that aren't allowed to have the same email address) is just too much for me to handle. We have a business account (that is normally talked about) and then a "personal" ebay account that we sell our own personal items (but the separate account is for tax purposes). In the last several days I have done an extensive purge of toys in our house and sent lots to donate and lots more to be sold.

My hubby reluctantly cleaned out his vintage video game collection to help pay off some personal debt. I am shocked at how much some of these games are worth. 1 thing I have learned from him is that there is no "4th quarter rush" vintage games sell well all year. Also he had amazing taste in games as a child so a lot of his games are worth a good bit.

I will list a couple as BOLOs.

When I met hubby he had little thought about the future (shhh he gets a bit mad if I say that with the argument I didn't have a wife or kids....fair enough). He didn't have a retirement plan but he did buy this game and keep it new "as an investment". He paid $10. 15 or so years later I expect to sell it for $250-400. Not too shabby! Used copies go for $70+.

I thought all Sega Genesis games were worth little. I picked up this game and will admit I did make fun of it a little. Then I saw used copies go for $70-100. Revenge is sweet I guess.

 Hubby played this as a super little kid (when the graphics appeared good) and it scared this day it creeps him out a little. But he loves it anyway and bought it from a movie rental store going out of business for $5. Sales start at $60; I hope to get more as we have the box and instructions.

Several final fantasy games from the SNES are worth $20-50 each.

There are many many games in  the $10-20 range. I guess the moral of the story is if you can find vintage video games (atari/coleco/intellivision are typically excluded) that aren't sports game for a good price it's probably worth your while to grab them. In my area, people have already figured out these are "collectible" and no longer sell them at yard sales. (I have only seen 1 advertisement of SNES games at yard sales....and the seller let someone come the night before and buy all the "good" ones).

Has anyone else sold vintage video games? What is your experience?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Not Exactly a "Debt Free Scream" But.....

I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey's debt free scream. Well while I *wish* we could say we are debt free....we have a long way to go in terms of the business. However, I did get a big enough Amazon payment yesterday that I was able to pay off our business van and still drop over $1,000 on the credit card!!

Now that the van is paid off we have to get it re-titled to the business (which I don't know how to do yet...but I'm sure it will come with lots of hefty fees :D )

It's the small things. I debated putting it all on the credit card instead but I would much rather go into 2015 without a car loan :D

2015 is looking a little brighter :D

Friday, December 19, 2014

My First Bonanza Sale

ended up in a "unauthorized use chargeback". Now the buyer name matches the user name and the shipping name matches the paypal email address. Why you would want to try to scam someone who lives 20 minutes away and can show up on your doorstep with the police and a report is absolutely beyond me.The buyer opened a Bonanza account right before purchasing the Bumbo.....and it went to a less than fabulous area.

After a call to Paypal she said either way I am covered by buyer protection and took the hold off my funds. Just a half hour irritation is all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not Better Just....Different

I read lots of blogs....probably more than I care to admit. The vast majority are either solely eBay related or Amazon related. Some have pitches why the other is inferior. (to be fair I will randomly just Google for blogs so most aren't listed on the bottom of my blog). I love different insights and thoughts.

But here's my thought. Some of you guys use one or the other and many use both. I don't think 1 is better than the other. I think they are different platforms that when used correctly (and I honestly have no idea if I am truly using them correctly or not) can supplement each other nicely.

eBay is great for used items. Vintage or "yard sale" items are good for me. I have also had great luck with health and beauty items. Because there isn't 1 listing with all competition listed in 1 place it is easier to make a higher $ sale. The downside is eBay buyers are willing to pay less for comparable items on Amazon.

I was inspired by this article by The Model Thrifter blog (read the full article Here). eBay items often have character and a backstory.....Amazon's platform just doesn't allow for that. It is mostly run of the mill everyday items. Vintage items are just not in demand on Amazon the way they are on eBay or Etsy.

That said Amazon, according to reports, has a much wider audience than eBay. I did read an informal survey that little to no one under the age of 30 shops on eBay but makes the majority of their purchases on Amazon (I am guilty of this for personal purchases as are many people we know). I sell only new items on Amazon with the exception being video games if they in pristine condition.

If a "delivered" item is claimed to be not received eBay is much more forgiving than also appears to be much easier to be suspended on Amazon. Amazon fees are 30%+ up (depending on category) for merchant fulfilled items....and extra fees for FBA. I have had up to 75% in fees taken for FBA items (why I'm upping my minimum FBA price from $10 to $20 come the new year). But with selective shopping I can make up for lower profit margins with the many times over in sales I have on Amazon over eBay.

If I buy 10 of the same item I often put 5 on each of the 2 main platforms. Most often there is not an "even split" in sales. Either it sells like hotcakes on 1 platform or the other. I typically end up transferring the unsold inventory to the other platform.

Maybe I should stop looking at eBay and Amazon blogs....Etsy is the platform that is really sorely hurting for me :D

Who has thoughts!?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

Well this week wasn't super productive in terms of sales and listing but on the housekeeping it's been great. Since apparently this made national news, there is a psychopath shooter out starting yesterday killed 6 people in 3 or 4 locations and the school was on lockdown etc etc etc; so given that we were all advised not to go outside if possible....I didn't go to my office. He's not caught but was last seen 45 minutes away so at least its farther than 10 minutes away. I purged my kids toys (haven't done that in 3 years) and donated 6 trash bags and have another full tote to sell.

Anyways on to the numbers:

No bonanza sales
1 Etsy sale....7 melmac cups for $4.95. Most Melmac items don't seem to be worth a lot except specific colors (like pink). I paid $1 but probably won't buy again (but it is nostalgic).

eBay had 27 sales.... and nothing even worth noting. Most items were "duds" that I didn't make more than $5 on.

This Anthony from the Wiggles I sold 3x of this week. I recalled him from FBA (remember the negative feedback I received? This is him. That open box front is really a pain). Bought 5x at $1.50 each. Sold each for $9.95+shipping. (This is honestly my best was kinda sad. At least I'm making room for better inventory choices).

89 sales on Amazon....both FBA and Merchant Fulfilled.

 I paid $60 for a vintage Pyrex dish, this Nintendo DS lite and 10 games (all worth $5-25 resale). I merchant fulfilled this; it sold within 3 hours for $62.95 after fees and shipping I ended up with $55. 2 more games have sold (1 for $5 Sims 2 pets and the other for $19 Super Mario 64). Overall not the best sale I have ever made but it's nice to have $ back within 24 hours.

KCup Carousel. Paid $1 sold for $15.95 via FBA

That's my week....sales are clearly starting to slow down. It's funny how I prep all year for a 2 week sales increase :D

How is your sales?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Going on a Guilt Trip

I have gotten many lowball best offers 1 ear and out the other. But I have gotten a few unsolicited best offers (you know the ones where you aren't actually accepting best offers) that have me feeling a little guilty.

A)I've gotten a few "are you firm at this price" questions....yes and I moved on no prob.

B) Can you cut the price in half and give me free shipping as a military discount? we have no way to verify it. But we both felt really guilty in the off chance it was true. If we could prove it somehow we would have gladly given a discount (but not a 50% with free shipping discount).

C)(This was actually a best offer button) $5 on a $15.00 item (I paid 1.99 for the item). I declined then moved on. Then I got another offer for $7 with a note "this is for a boy in a homeless shelter". I declined again but I feel guilty. Our thought is this; personally we make less than the average American family and give about 10% more than the average. So we most definately do our fair share of giving (although we do wish we could give more than we do). But if its for a boy (around 3 years old according to slipper size) and you obviously don't have a lot to spend than why are you trying the NWT Disney Store brand? I'm not saying that new isn't nice but a 3 year old isn't going to care. Even as a Christmas gift my kids usually get used (because it's what we can afford).

D) Got this message on December 12th. "Can I make a best offer now and pay for it on January 3rd when my disability check comes in? I'm a very reliable payer." Haven't replied yet but going to give a polite make an offer after the new year.

I believe these have all been in the last week. Anyone else getting messages like these? C) has me really twisted that I did the wrong thing declining the offer (even though I'm obviously not obligated to take the offer.). Any thoughts?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nearing the End

Well my sales seem to start slowing down around December 15th. This 4th quarter, although not over, I have been pretty pleased with. This year eBay didn't have as many "giftable" items as last year; however, the packing has left me busy. In fact I am kind of dissapointed it has been over a week since any listing has been done. Only half my room has been sorted and listed. I had big dreams of having it done before the end of the year. But having a daily USPS tub (or more) to bring to the post office has also been nice. I still hope to have most of it organized/listed by the end of the year....but as I look around I can't help but notice all the toys still not listed :(

Last year I swore I would hire help this year....when this year rolled around we were more in debt than last year. Oh well. It's been a slow dig but the last month has had around $3,000 in extra credit card payments and minimal purchases. :D

I don't want to be misconstrued as complaining because that's not my intention but I am now ready to focus on my own family. I finished shopping yesterday (mostly) and frantically trying to wrap. I am bound and determined not to be frantically shopping and wrapping the week of Christmas. I did have to laugh that I feel like I am taking care of the rest of the world's Christmas presents and neglecting Christmas with my own family :D (although we don't really do much before Christmas eve anyway).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

Sorry this post is going to be a quick one. I had no car today it was in the shop so now that I have it back I am running errands like crazy and am about to be late for a meeting :D

Amazon blew me away this week with a whopping 174 sales! Sales were sluggish at the beginning of the week so I repriced quite a few things to be competitive (most only $1 or 2) but it worked! Within 24 hours I had 54 sales.

Like I had said before baby gear is arguably my favorite FBA sale. This I got at Target for $19 sold for $60 this week.

This was $24 at Target....sold for $90.

Etsy had 1 sale. It was a Amish Butterprint Pyrex casserole dish. Sold for $18.
I sold 3 partial packages of diapers on a Facebook yard sale group. Total $15.

eBay had 46 items. Always wish for more (especially in comparison to my inventory) but I won't complain packing has keep me busy with little time for listing.

 This original Playstation 2 had no controllers but worked. Paid $5 sold $37.50

This pottery barn kids dollhouse furniture took me forever to list because I didn't know what was missing. It looked new but I listed as VGUC and notated the missing piece (Google images finally let me know it was a missing hutch). Bought for $2 sold for $34.95.

That's my week in a nutshell. Our business van was inspected this week with thankfully  nothing wrong but an oil change and a blown lightbulb.

How's your week treating you?

Monday, December 8, 2014

What's Meant as Hateful Made my Day :D

So I have to say overall I am pretty pleased. I got my first hateful comment "you ebayers are scum of the earth get a life and a real job" on the blog. While I did immediately delete it, haters gonna hate :D

Actually the comment made me LOL because either 1) the commenter is actually mad 2) the commenter is jealous (over what I'm not sure) or 3) I'm actually doing something right!

Or maybe I'm just loopy....within 10 minutes of handing my 4 year old off to the baby sitter I got a call he bashed his head open to come look. Called the dr who said go to the ER for stitches. The ER decided (thankfully) no stitches were needed.

All is well hubby left work early and now I'm at the office frantically packaging. is the moral of the story
I am a backwards mixed up person. So hateful comments typically don't get to me especially if I'm having a bad day. So either make my day or keep them to yourself.

Have you ever had people hate on you for reselling (aka greedy)?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Staying Positive in the Negative

I'm wound waaayyyy too tight. As a result I have to make a conscience effort not to let things bug me. But seemingly malicious feedback makes me super frustrated. But I have long given up on my 100% feedback dream :D

Backstory: It's not too often I lose sold items. I have a crazy organization system that no one else would understand....but it works for me. Usually when lose something I do my absolute best to drop ship it from another seller....even if that means I lose a couple dollars in the process.

I sold 3x Diary of a Wimpy Kid books for $19.95/FS. Great except how are they still listed I sold them back in the summer sometime. I couldn't justify paying just shy of $60 to drop ship them to the buyer so I refunded and cancelled the transaction as well as apologize for the situation. Usually buyers will express disappointment but understand.

However, this buyer went on the negative feedback. I do acknowledge it is my fault and eBay won't remove this feedback (I only had 1 other buyer do this about 2 years ago). I get that it is probably from frustration of having to pay WAY more for the same set (it was very underpriced in the current market).

I admit to having been critical in neutral and negative feedback in the past (I always sit back and debate whether I truly should) but this is a fellow seller. I just want to scream that apparently this seller must be perfect. I honestly wouldn't give feedback at all to a seller who lost something. I think, like Amazon, if a transaction is cancelled feedback can't be left should be adopted for eBay. After all I did already take a defect.

Looking at this transaction as a whole I think if I had dropshipped (or heck if I had mailed it myself) I would have still had a pretty good chance of receiving a neutral/negative feedback since the buyer is quite liberal with low feedback ratings.....even for those things they admit are their fault for not reading in the description.

Oh well such is life....choosing to look at the other 51 positive feedbacks I have gotten in the last month. The feedback doesn't bother me so much since, like mentioned above, I did already take a defect. As a buyer, my feedback wouldn't bother me at all because realistically not everyone will be happy.

And to leave on a positive note I wrote a post or 2 about an accidental BOLO I found in the Duplo lego lap tray. I got around to listing it yesterday as an auction. 14.95 or Buy it Now for $44.95 with shipping extra. It sold in 2 hours. I am *so* happy  to have it out of my office!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Accidentally running into a Bolo

Ignore the clutter I just brought in another shipment from my house.

This is a Lego Duplo lap desk I purchased at a yard sale with 2 tubs of Duplos for $5 (I couldn't get them to budget on their price). There is probably 5 lbs of Duplos (or about $20 resale). I meant to give this to little one for his birthday in September and forgot. Cleaning out the attic shame on me I was just going to donate it (he has been playing with regular Legos anyway).

I try to shy away from large items. But this Duplo "lap travel desk tray" or similar combination of keywords comes up with a handful from $25-44 + shipping. Not too shabby. There is none listed on Amazon which makes me think this is a pretty rare item.

So in your travels it might be a nice little BOLO (it's not super big and weighs give or take 4-5lbs)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tuesday's Totals....and Something to be Thankful For

Now that I am completely OK with having that Amazon negative (it didn't hurt my sales as much as I thought) I was talking to an Amazon rep about a different problem (missing inventory) and I brought it up. She opened another case....and sure enough it was removed. I took the advice of the Amazon forums and emailed the buyer to just assure her it was new etc (even though I pay Amazon to cover customer service). I got a reply yesterday thanking me for contacting her and she was happy that I assured her it was new and how happy her granddaughter would be. All is well that ends well. Sort of. We decided the "open" boxes are bad for FBA and recalled all of them back to my office (about 10-15 pieces). More than half were ripped open/smashed/crushed/poorly packed. It was appalling. As the above buyer I would have been livid to get a "new" item like that. Overall I ended up getting more than $100 in Amazon compensation for damaged items. I also listed the items as new/other damaged box for about half the price or so. I have sold a couple with no problems.

Anyways on to the numbers.

*Bonanza no sales or offers
*Etsy 1 sale.

I bought 5 vintage Polly Pocket sets for $2. I pictured these for and realized I forgot 1 so I just made a separate listing (that sold a few weeks ago). Buyer used a 10% coupon code so she paid $36....not too shabby :D

eBay had 47 listings. I love storage auctions but there are many many items in the $5-10 range I am listing now because its a little too much to donate (collectively). I am not sure of the future of my storage auction endeavors. Most sales were low $. Hubby and I have started sitting down and deciding how to better run this business next year.

 These bottles I bought for $1 sold for $10. I had 2 lots of 7 with 1 extra bottle. I emailed the buyer to tell her I was including the extra 1 for her. She thanked me for "such an awesome deal" and then told me these bottles are actually her Pug dog had puppies the day before and then died so they were hand feeding the puppies....such a heartbreaking story :(
 This Gotz doll looks EXACTLY like an American Girl doll. (Gotz was commissioned to make the first AG dolls in the 80s that probably why). This is Lily from the Little Sisters Collection. Paid $5 for her and $1 for the dress sold for $55+ shipping to the Netherlands.
 I was wondering this entire year why Kirsten hadn't sold (my last AG doll had a year and a half). She wasn't listed *facepalm*. Priced her at $49.99 for a quick sale. She sold in 6 hours. Tempted to try to get more but the doll doesn't pay the debt :D Don't remember exactly what I paid but it was in the $10-20 price range.
Minnie pop up surprise. Sold both. This is one of Amazon's damaged box returns (it's ripped on the side and caved on the top). Sold for $22+ shipping each (plus amazon reimbursed me $15 for 1 of them). Paid $10 each at Walmart.

Amazon had 97 sales.

I talked about this $5.99 as a BOLO and I was selling them for $50. If you find them BUY THEM! SERIOUSLY! My last 3 sold for 1x $ 69.95 and 2x $95.95. The lowest merchant fulfilled now is $99.99+ shipping; the lowest prime is $135.99!!!! I'm not the mom who would pay that kind of money but more power to those that do :D

Underjams....found 3 packages at Target for 65% off or $3.38 a package (seriously where were those prices when my kids needed them!). Sold 2x for $18.95 a package.

So that's my week; I am both happy and dissapointed with my sales. After working 7 straight days for a minimum of 6 hours each day I took yesterday off to "crash" AKA do housework.

How are your sales?

Monday, December 1, 2014

What Makes an Ugly Sweater Ugly?

It's really no big secret that the keywords "ugly sweater" sell....but what is the definition of an ugly sweater? After all isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder. I was inspired by a commenter who stated that they didn't find my "ugly sweater" sale very ugly (more or less I paraphrased). It's true I didn't find it bad either. I think back to me as a late elementary/early middle school  kid (very late 90s to early 2000s) my favorite Christmas sweater would be considered "ugly".... a fleece red sweater with 2 tuxedo cats (we had a cat that looked exactly like the ones on the sweater). It might be considered ugly now but it was warm....and I would have no problem wearing it now (but its been sinced passed to my mom who DOES wear it :D )

After thinking about that comment for a while, I found this the other night at the Care and Share thrift outlet. It cost all of 60 cents.

Cute little carolers. I don't think its very ugly :( Because it didn't have a size tag my common sense told me to run but I couldn't leave a good condition "ugly sweater" behind. There is no website and no wikipedia page. Comparing it to others on eBay I believe it to be either an XS or a small petite.

But (I LOVE history) the brand, Cullinane, was started in 1982. The sweaters are knitted and often broke basic rules of knitting; it would take up to 10 weeks to figure out how to make a new design. There were typically only 700 of each sweater made; a few extremely popular designs made it to 2,000 in production. Most sweaters have a matching skirt. At the time of the article (1986) there was a group of people who  collected these sweaters and would pay a pretty penny for them.....but I have no idea when the label went out of business.

These don't go for a ton of $ but I am going to try to get $30 out of it (I hope).