Saturday, August 20, 2016

My favorite places to find inventory

The carefree days of summer are quickly winding down around here. Little man started 2nd grade on Thursday and Baby Girl will start going to Preschool two days week next week. Which means I will have two days a week to devote to my business. Yay!

I plan on spending my first day stopping at my favorite coffee shop and then hitting the road to get in some much needed sourcing time! After running across this guide to summer antiquing on the invaluable website, I thought it might be fun to share with you where my favorite places to find inventory to sell on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay are.

Here are my 5 favorite ways:

Indoor Flea Markets- Right now I prefer Indoor Flea Markets to Outdoor ones for two reasons- I have a great place I go to that has 10-15 huge flea markets in buildings all lined up within 2 blocks so it's easy to walk from place to place without having to get the kiddos in and out of the car a bunch. I also prefer the indoor flea markets b/c both kiddos and I are very allergic to cigarette smoke and people usually smoke at the outdoor fleas, but not the indoor. You have to dig deep sometimes to get a good deal, but I pretty much always come away with a car load of items to resell. I go there often enough that I know which booths to hit up first to find the types of items I am looking for.

What I dig for at an indoor flea Market:
Vintage Photographs, ephemera and other paper goods

Goodwill Bins/Pay by the Pound
I'm not able to go to the bins very often because the closest one is about 2 hours away, and it's difficult to keep an eye on the kiddos while I dig. But I love the bins because I always find great items to resell for great prices! Even with a lot of other resellers there, I am still able to find something that will make money.

What I dig for at the Bins:

vintage kids toys, plush, blankets, sheets and clothing

Dumpster Diving (as long as you have permission)
When I was brainstorming some ideas for this blog post with my hubby, he started laughing and said I had to include dumpster diving. He was laughing because we had only been dating a few weeks when he got a call from me asking him to come to the house behind mine and help me get out of a dumpster! The house behind mine had a huge roll off dumpster in front of it because the elderly couple behind was moving to a retirement community building and their kids were throwing pretty much everything away (so sad!)

So, every night for about a month I would roll my wagon over to the dumpster and take out things I could fix up or use to sell. (I had permission from the owners to look thru the dumpster as long as I didn't make a mess.) Well, one afternoon I was able to get several large items, including a vintage baby crib, oak rocking chair, mid century modern metal TV stand, record player/stereo and 3 huge boxes of vintage books. I had so much stuff that I couldn't get it back to my house by myself and so my hubby, who was at the time my very new boyfriend, was introduced to dumpster diving.

I live in a rural community and there are farm and estate auctions most weekends, especially during the summer. You can usually get the boxes of "junk" for really good prices because most of the people at the auctions are there for the farm equipment. I've been able to load up my SUV and the back of my dad's truck for less than $100. It's also a great way for me to spend some quality time with my dad. It's a win-win!

What I dig for at Auctions:

vintage glassware, hardware, tins, home decor, metal items, small farm equipment and vintage tools
craft and sewing supplies 

Tell Family/Friends
This is one you have to use with caution. I am careful about who I tell that I sell online. Sometimes people will want you to sell stuff for them. (see this post)  sometimes people will get offended that you sell things they give you. However, if you find someone who is willing to give you things to sell for little to no cost it can be a great way to get inventory.

What I dig for from friends and family:
I usually take whatever they offer me and pull out what I really want when I get home and donate the rest. But I am always on the lookout for books, any age, any topic, any condition. (I've had great luck taking old damaged books apart and selling the pages for crafting.) 

Need some more ideas about where to find great merchandise where you live? Be sure to check out 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Sold Wednesday on Ebay/Etsy/Amazon, August 10th, 2016

What Sold Wednesday on Ebay/Etsy/Amazon, August 10th, 2016

Inventory: Standard Size 1609   Oversize 112
4 boxes sent in this week 
spent on fill in inventory for Halloween bundles $ 498.00

Ebay: Number of sales are picking up, but the the average price is still pretty low. My plan is to just keep listing! I counted up my boxes of to be listed inventory and I have about 2 weeks worth of listing and 1 row of oversize items. I think I might be able to round up some more items around the house to get me thru a few more weeks of listing and then I might! need to shop for some inventory. 

listings: 1996 (I took down about 100 listings of clothing that has been listed for a year or more and hasn't sold- I donated them to our church's clothing bank.) 

Listings: 821
Sales: 139.00
Items sold: 11
avg price 12.72

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tip Tuesday: How I use the Custom Label feature on Ebay to make my life easier!

I thought for my tip today I would share the best time saver I have found on Ebay. I should have figured this out a long time ago, so if you have already figured it out, you're a step ahead of me!

Instructions on how to turn on your custom label are linked at the bottom of the post.

Instead of using it for a sku, I use it to put the banker box number the item is located in. I used to have to click on each listing and see the box number on the bottom of the listing- took forever!  Now I just pull up the sold page and the box numbers I need are all in one place. I jot the numbers down on a scrap of paper and then off to my listed inventory area I go, ready to pull my sold orders for the day. On a busy day, I have figured out this saves me about 30 minutes to an hour of time!

Here is where it shows up on the listing page:

and here is what it looks like on my sold page.

Here are some great instructions about how you can turn on the Custom Label feature on ebay here:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What sold Wednesday: August 3rd, 2016

What sold this week on Ebay/Etsy/Amazon- August 3rd, 2016

this post contains affliate links which may benefit me monetarily if you choose to click and buy from them. 

It's been a while since I posted mostly because there were very few sales to report.
Also this happened and has slowed me down a bit for a few weeks. 
mama in hurry + freshly filled stainless steel water bottle= broken toe!

However, things are picking up, sales wise, and I am starting to really gear up for Quarter 4. My son starts 2nd grade and my daughter starts preschool (2 full days a week) in a few weeks and I am ready to really start getting my Amazon shipments in. My son just spent two days helping me sort all of my halloween inventory that I purchased last year after Halloween (most at 75-90% off). Now, I am ready to start bundling next week. (and I found my new inventory sorter! He loved doing it and it helped me tons and will save me lots of time for Christmas inventory.) I plan on sharing how I organize everything so I can quickly fill bundle items in a future post. 

Now, on to the numbers!
spent on inventory: 0.00 (Still listing from what I have- Go Me!)
spent on supplies: 
boxes- ordered free boxes from ebay and usps 
I did purchase some more packaging tape
This is the tape I love! 

Inventory: Standard Size 1588   Oversize 100
I have been sending in a few boxes every week and that has helped sales some. But I know the sales will soon have me very overwhelmed. I am excited to have a much better start on Halloween then I did last year. I didn't send any Halloween bundles in to FBA until the middle of September last year and I this year I should have my first totally Halloween shipments going in next week! 

Ebay: Yes, sales have been incredibly slow! 
listings 1959

Listings: 812
Sales: 221.90
Items sold: 10
avg price 22.00
Shipped items to Israel, Taiwan and United Kingdom this week! 

On a side note: 
My son and I found a cool dry erase world map on Amazon for a great deal. We've been marking every time I ship something outside of the country. He's excited everyday to see if there is something to mark. It also gives us a great connection and conversation we can have everyday! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On life. . . .

Yes, this has been me, more than once this month!

The usual summer hectic-ness has kept me away from the computer for most of June. I have to say that June is a month every year that really leaves me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Not being able to work on my business very much during daylight hours makes me very grouchy! (and sleep deprived!)

What's been going on here? Here are a few of the highlights-
I am continuing to work on my shop/storage space. Kids play area and most of my photo area are done, all listed and unlisted inventory storage is done. Still working on clearing out my Amazon/Shipping Area, mostly by just getting items shipped that have been sitting around.

Had my son's 7th birthday party, spent a week driving him back and forth to Pioneer School, and 2 days for him to attend a cooking and sewing class offered by our local high school.
My daughter also had gymnastics one afternoon a week. We live so far away from everything that just signing up for one activity takes pretty much a whole day.

Celebrated our 10th Wedding anniversary and spent my son's birthday and our anniversary with medical testing for me. Apparently turning 38 makes everything start to fall apart!

At my physical I had a possible cancer scare and the Dr. found a heart murmur he hadn't heard before. My brother was my age when they found his heart murmur, which resulted in open heart surgery to close a quarter size hole in his heart. Thankfully, the mass they found isn't cancer! but may result in surgery sometime down the road. Still awaiting the official heart testing results, but unoffically it appears to be a murmur that shouldn't cause any problems long term. Praise be to God!

Today we finished up speech/hearing testing for my daughter and she is going to qualify for some speech therapy, which means driving to town 2x a week for the rest of July and starting again in Mid-August, plus preschool 2 x a week. It's going to be busy, but somehow we will manage!

I'm embarking on my 5th month of working on losing weight. I got really fed up and stalled in my weight loss with Weight Watchers (I lost about 20 pounds) and started a new plan called Trim Healthy Mama a few months ago. I am happy to report that I am now down 45 pounds and have about 30 more to go! I really put on a lot of weight when we were dealing with my hubby's TBI diagnosis and I am happy to be getting back on the right track. And I am completely off of sugar and soda! (Which might also be why I am grouchy and sleep deprived!)

July should slow down some towards the end of the month (swimming lessons and bible school) and hopefully I can really get cranking on my Amazon inventory.  I hope to have all of my Halloween and most of my Christmas inventory packed and ready to go in in August. I have a lot to do and it's really hot in my shop right now!

I have another unhaul post in the works right now and I plan on getting it posted sometime this week. Sales are finally picking up for me and I hope they are for you too!

Monday, June 6, 2016

More on Storing Unlisted Inventory

I had scheduled the last post to go live for what I thought was a long time in the future- so I would have time to revise it. And then one morning I woke up and I already had comments (love you guys!) on it and I realized it had gone live without me going back to revise it. Oops!

So, here is a continuation of my post about storing unlisted inventory.

Hubby and I spent Memorial Weekend cleaning out another large area in my shop, so I could get the shelves that he and the kiddos got me for my birthday. The area that we cleaned is circled in red. The red x's are areas I've already cleaned and organized. I'm getting close!

Here is what some more unlisted inventory looks like. 

I've been busy listing and one of these shelves is now all listed items! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How I Organize My Inventory: Part 2- From Box to Photographing

** This post contains affliate links which may benefit me monetarily if you choose to click and purchase from them.

This a continuation of my first post about how I organize my inventory You can read it here. (Link)

I usually photograph one afternoon a week for a couple of hours. I photograph every week, even if I haven't listed anything new- that way I always have plenty ready to go. There have been a few times the kids were sick, or I had extra time to list, but wasn't able to because I didn't have photographs done. If I have a stock pile of listed items I am ready to list at a moments notice. A couple of hours of photographing usually gives me enough to list for the rest of the week plus a box or two extra. I usually keep about 4 boxes of unphotographed inventory in my ebay room on this amazing shelf I have. I love it to store unlisted hanging items as well as 4 bankers boxes with unlisted inventory.


When I'm ready to photograph I grab a box off of the shelf and turn on my photo lights and my "studio' is ready. I also have a 3 sided poster board for the background (I have a plug right in the middle of the wall where I take photos, and the board covers it well.) I also have a white foam board sheet for the bottom. I have both of these things set up on top of  a old dresser and in the top drawers I keep my photo props (plate holder, foot forms, etc) so they are easy to access quickly. In the bottom two drawers I keep things like candles, perfume and other meltable/freezable items I have listed. My ebay room is heated and air conditioned, so they will be safe in there.

I also make sure to have an empty bankers box ready to go, so as I take out of one box to photograph, I can put it in another box when I'm done. That way nothing is sitting out with the possibility of getting broken- trust me I know this from personal experience.


Then I start taking photos, lot of photos! I try to take photos from every angle and get the enough to fill the 12 pictures in Ebay listings. Get it from every angle, with close-ups of names, writing, damage, maker, size, fabric content. etc. I can usually get thru 4-8 boxes on a photo day- depending on how cooperative my children are! Once they are all photographed, they go back to the unlisted storage area, but this time on the photographed side. All ready to list, whenever I am. 

I also have to recommend a good camera and my eye-fi card which I would have a hard time living without. (read my post about it here) A good camera saves you a lot of time in editing and re-doing pictures. I started out with a $49 camera and my ipad in the beginning, but I currently use the Coolpix and love it. You can good a really good deal on these cameras several times a year (especially at Christmas time) so be sure to do your homework before purchasing. It's not the most expensive camera, but it works good, and takes awesome pictures for me. I combine it with a tripod to help stop the camera from shaking- which can happen after you photograph for a few hours.