Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Christmas

Things are winding down on the selling front and getting hectic in the cleaning the house and preparing for Christmas front.

I had 45 packages to ship on Monday morning and then just one or two yesterday and today. I have already turned off my Amazon Merchant Fulfilled account, and sent 3 more boxes today to FBA. I still have pickups scheduled for Tuesdays and Fridays, so I will keep trying to have a few boxes at least until the after Christmas sales merchandise hits.

I am going to go ahead and list whatever is left in the house that I have for ebay so I can can just put it away, no put it away and then drag it out again to list. I'm debating about putting my ebay store on vacation or just leaving it and packing the few orders that come in. On one had, I am really, really tired and I'm ready for a break, but don't want to miss out on any revenue I can squeak out! FBA is till going strong but I expect it to fizzle out in the next few days. I am working on my business plans for the new year, as well as figuring out a better way to balance my family and "work."

Little man is home sick today. I am trying to finish up 20 handmade snowmen for his classroom party on Thursday and my house looks like a thrift store tornado, so I am going to make this my last post until at least after Christmas.

Thank you dear readers, for being my coworkers and cheerleaders as I take on this new adventure in my life. I do so appreciate your kind words of encouragement, the wealth of knowledge you have shared with me, and your kindness to someone you have never even met in person.  You are all very special to me, and I wish you and your family a most blessed and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

knee deep in the Amazon

Oh, dear thrifting friends, I apologize for being absent. Things have been very hectic here.  I've decided to make a few changes/updates to my business plan and how I have been running things.
In the beginning my plan was to focus more of my energy on Amazon and sell down some of my ebay and etsy inventory. I don't where I strayed off the path, but I have been spending most of my time, energy and money on ebay inventory and it's paying off, but its such slow going.
So I thought I'd fill you in on a few changes I am planning or have already put into motion.

I found a new and plentiful item to sell on Amazon that I have been mostly overlooking at the thrifts. With this new information, I proceeded to fill both my mom's expedition and my explorer with thrift finds over Black Friday weekend. It only took me about 6 hours to process and pack all of those items for Amazon FBA. It would take me months to process that much for ebay.

I've also really analyzed what is slowing down my ebay process and I think it's picture taking and storing inventory. Taking both of things into consideration, here is my new business plan going forward.

I am going to thrift on Mondays and Thursdays, looking only for Amazon inventory, which should make it easier to go to several thrifts in one day.  I have been paying $14 or every pickup I scheduled for UPS. I have now signed up for $10.50 a week and will have a pick up on Tuesday and Friday. The plan is that what I buy on Thursday I can process and pack for Tuesday and what I buy on Monday I can process and pack for Friday. This will make a steady flow on boxes arriving at Amazon, which will mean a more even flow of money coming in, instead of saving up until I had 14 boxes of inventory to make the cost worthwhile, like I was doing previously. I'm feeling a little pressure to find enough inventory for two loads a week, but I think that I can do it.

To speed things up on ebay I have moved my photo setup into the house- my hubby isn't thrilled with it, but it's the only way I can keep getting new things listed. It's just too cold, even with the heater, to take the little one out to my shop during the winter and I am able to get more done in the house since there is more room for her to play and be entertained. I am also able to do more laundry, cleaning, cooking being in the house instead of out in my shop.  The thing that bugs my hubby the most is the piled up inventory, which I totally understand. I have a plan for that too.

My inventory process used to look like this: Photograph, pile next to my chair, list using the large pile next to my chair, put into a laundry basket, haul a few baskets out to my shop everyday, sort the items from the laundry basket into bankers boxes or totes marked with themes, like Christmas, kitchen, vintage toys etc. Only most of the time I only got to the haul one or two baskets out to the shop a week, and then never get them sorted and then try to dig thru the baskets when I sold something. Totally not working!

New plan:
photograph 50-100 new items a week. I am talking to my mom, or thinking about hiring someone to watch little one 1-2 days a month so I can spend the whole day photographing enough to list for the rest of the month.  then write down details in google drive, pack bankers boxes with random things I have listed, ex box # 6, mark what box the item is in on the listing. Haul boxes out to my shop daily, place on shelf, find the numbered box when something sells. So much easier! The only problem I have right now is remembering to write the number in the listing.

What I have been doing is just not producing the amount of money I need it to, so I need to find a way to do things quicker, so I'm going to give it a go and I'll let you know how it's going in January.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This Thanksgiving vs Last Thanksgiving

Last Thanksgiving was a difficult one for me. I had three days off from school for "vacation," and cried almost the whole three days with the dread of going back to work.

I missed spending time with my children.  I had been sick 6 days of the school year already, including going to work with a 102.3 fever, only to be given a "surprise" evaluation. I was having 4-5 days a week with migraines and was sleeping 2-3 hours a night, because I literally could not sleep from the stress. I was taking medicine for a stomach ulcer. I was losing my hair handfuls at a time.  I cried everyday driving to work and driving to pick up my kids, in the shower, and usually several times during the day. My hubby had to give me a daily pep talk just to get me out the door to work. It was one of the toughest times of my life.


Fast forward to this Thanksgiving:
I have had only 3 migraines since May. I have only been sick once. I usually sleep 4-5 hours a night, but because it's my decision, and I either take a nap or go to bed early a couple of times a week.
I am not taking any medication for the migraines or ulcer and my hair is finally starting to grow back in. I have only cried 2 times since May.

I am consistently making enough to cover the bills and am only making about $100-$200 less than I made teaching. (before 4th quarter even started)

I spent all of Monday spending time with my children. I taught my son how to make loom potholders, which he is now making for everyone for Christmas. My daughter learned to say Elmo and Abbey and how to put a diaper on her baby doll. My son and I had a discussion about what Black Friday means, a mini economics lesson, if you will. I still managed to get 10 FBA boxes out, found Christmas gifts and art activities for my kids to do at the Thrift Store. (at half price at that!)

In October I went to the Women of Faith Conference in Denver with my mom and some of my best girlfriends. There was a prayer time to pray for things you need in your life. This year, I honestly could not think of anything more I needed or wanted, just for my life to continue just as it is. What a difference from last year, when my heart was so heavy I could not get any words out of my mouth thru the tears, I could only think, God, please help me.

I am so thankful this Thanksgiving for the life I have been given. For God and his endless love, despite my struggles with disbelief and sin. No matter how many times I stray from Him, He always welcomes me back with open arms. I am thankful for my family and their support of me. For the soldiers who fight to keep my country free, for my business and for my ability to spend this year at home. This year I have so much to be thankful for it is beyond mere words. I plan on unplugging on Thanksgiving, to giving my undivided attention to my family and loved ones.

And then hitting the stores early and hard on Friday morning. I have a few last Christmas gifts to purchase and some FBA inventory to buy. Then it's a major push from there on out until Christmas.
And I wouldn't want it any other way!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Melissa



Monday, November 24, 2014

Drowning. . . . someone throw me a lifesaver!

Ugh, what a few weeks it has been!
My computer is officially done for. According to the Geek Squad the hard drive is about to go. So I purchased a new one yesterday. I am going to have to see what I can rescue from my hard drive and then it's adios.

I've been buried under tons of new inventory, and I've been trying to do my best to get it out the door. I just sent 18 boxes out the door this morning with my UPS man, totaling 300 items. I have about 50 more that I have to write new listings for.

I have also been going back and forth with a customer who purchased my old dish network box. 4 weeks later he left a negative feedback saying the man who previously owned the box owed the company $300 dollars and he wants his money back.

I have a few issues with his request  demand
It was my box, only owned by me, ie: not a man, and I don't owe the company any money.
I called the company and they said there was no way he could tell who the box belonged to and that the person who owed the money is probably the person who lived at his address previously.

I messaged him and asked for the name of the person who owes the money. He has sent me back 3 messages  saying the same thing as the feedback. He wants his money back.

If someone cost me $300 that I didn't owe. I would want more than my $30 back. And he doesn't want to send the item back, which tells me he already has it up and working. He also has only bought 2 things on Ebay.

I am so annoyed, I know that he is trying to scam me. After the whole bad wallpaper incident I don't know what to do. I don't want to refund this guy, but if I don't ebay probably won't remove the defect. And even if I refund the money, I'm sure he won't remove the feedback.

Anybody have some advice for me?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What sold Wednesday Nov. 12th

I'm a week behind, since I didn't post last week, so I'm combining some of my best sales for the last 2 weeks.


bonanza
vintage shower soap dispenser new in box
pd 3.99 sold 54.95


etsy
commuter mug, paid .99 sold for 19.95 (I sold one a few weeks ago with original box for $34)

fabric ornament panel- pre cut 


free from my mom, I sold three different sets of these fabric ornaments for a total of $54.


ebay
I continued to sell lots of leotards this week. I think close to 20 across all of my sales channels. I upped the price a few dollars and it has slowed down a bit since then. I'm not sure if it's because they are down in the listings, or due to the price increase. I may lower them a bit again after Christmas. I'm getting lots of positive feedback on them, and multiple sales to the same person, which is great! Apparently the UK has a shortage of thong leotards, as I have sent 10 of them across the pond this week! 


Also, on a side note, don't be afraid to sell things with flaws, as long as you clearly note the issues in the listing. This coat had a quite a few including, rips stains and a large hole. I found this cool red plaid wool hunting coat in the Halloween section of a local thrift store I paid $7 and it sold in a few short weeks for $35.  I haven't gotten feedback yet, so hopefully he read the description  well. 

My computer has been acting up the last two days and it's taken me over 2 hours to get this post done. So I'm going to stop here. I have tried everything I know of to the problem, but I am still not having very much luck connecting to the internet. I have tried chrome, firefox, IE and Safari all with little success, they just keeep freezing and shutting down. I think I'm going to have to cave and take it to the repair shop on Friday. 
Although if I had my choice we wouldn't be going anywhere the rest of the week, it's -4 outside right now,  it was 60 degrees two mornings ago. In Colorado, we say if you don't like the weather, just wait 2 minutes, it will change!  




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Consignment Sales

I have been busy busy busy this past week sorting things for the consignment sale I signed up for. I was hoping to make enough money for Christmas gifts, but we had to take my car in for repairs to something with some kind of case- (sorry, car parts not really my thing) and the 3rd try to fix a problem I'm been having since the flood (yes, last year!) Let's just say it involves a large family of mice and me having to vaccum out my car every time before I go somewhere.  Happily, my car is finally mouse free (they finally figured out they chewed all the way thru the firewall!) and sadly the bill for both things was almost $500! Ouch!

I took my 250+ clothing items to the consignment sale last Monday and when I went to pick them up this Monday found out I had sold everything except 4 items! I made enough to pay over half of my car bill and have another sale closer to home next week. 

Why am I mentioning this?  Well, several reasons:

First the pros:
consignment sales are great places to get rid of old inventory, your kids outgrown clothes, toys etc
you can use the money you make to buy them bigger clothes, and repeat, repeat, repeat, 
For example I spent about $100 on baby girls first set of clothes and then keep using the money I make from selling them to buy the next size of clothes.
it makes for empty boxes and totes that you can now store your ebay stuff in! 

the cons:
mostly time- for all of the time it takes to price it all, its not a great ROI, my hubby correctly points out that I could make way more money listing or shipping to FBA
the time to sort, wash, iron, tag, haul store etc
having to find or buy hangers

I however, was happy to make some extra much needed money with things that were just taking up space, and my children had already gotten use out of. For kids clothes, it's the best money I've made, and I could have made more if I had volunteered also. I have almost 10 empty bins to store ebay stuff in and I am happy.

I am however hard at work again with digging up some more items to take to the sale next week, since I was planning on having a lot of stuff to take from this sale. I hope I can at least make enough to finish paying for the car bill. I am going to try to take the toys, books and baby gear I didn't get priced last week to the sale this week.

Ebay, Etsy, Amazon and Bonanza have all picked up a lot in the last week. I sent in 14 more boxes to FBA last Friday and my first box was checked in about an hour ago and is already selling!
I hope to have another 14 boxes ready to go in by this Friday. I will update on what's sold later in the week.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What the heck Ebay?

I promise to come back later today and post some what solds for the week. But I had to take a minute and update you on the wallpaper negative. I did get a defect earlier this week, I have called ebay three different times and they will not remove the negative, as they say it's my fault,the wallpaper must have a problem. It was new in the package and the negative isn't not about the quality of the paper. The wallpaper did have a problem, the person installing it!

So I am going to be adding this disclaimer to all of my wallpaper listings.

* depending on the texture and type of the wall you are applying wallpaper too, additional wall paper adhesive may be required. Please make sure to read wallpaper application instructions oroughly before attemtping to apply your wallpaper.

I was also thinking of including this

Instructions for appling prepasted wallpaper
  1. Fill water tray with lukewarm water and set it on the floor at the end of your table.
         
  2. Completely immerse the rolled strip (pattern side in) in water and slowly pull it out, pattern side down, unrolling as you pull, laying it on the table.
          
  3. Once you've pulled the entire piece out of the water, look for dry spots. If you find any, sprinkle a little water on them with your sponge and work the water in lightly with your fingers.
       
  4. Fold the top of the strip back to the middle of the strip and the bottom back to the middle, being careful not to crease. Allow 10 minutes in this folded position for wallpaper to "cure."  
 An alternative to the water tray method is to use an "adhesive activator" for pre-pasted wallpaper. It's applied like paste and eliminates the need for soaking each strip in water.
 I don't want to say anything about not refunding if the paper doesn't stick, as I think they would just say something else was wrong with it to get a refund. 

What do you think?  Suggestions? Changes? Other ideas for covering my butt for future problems like this?