Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wandering out of my comfort zone ...

After much contemplation of my navel (bellybutton lint up for sale soon!), and advice from other sellers, I took my first scary step into the world of adult clothing.  And when I say adult, I don't mean bras with tassles on the nipples.
Whoops, now where did he saunter in from?  

I followed some advice from my awesome new mentor, Ms Maggie and chose a non-scary item to start with - men's jeans.

I did the search for completed and found the top $ sellers in "used" men's jeans in Australia are:

True Religion
RM Williams
G Star
Tsubi Ksubi Dee Dee  (try saying that when you're drunk)

Following along in the decent sale range were:


Looking at sizing - some were rarer than others  - for example a lot less of Size 44 was up for sale - when I looked at the completeds for them - of the 31 listed - 26 of them had sold.   Interesting.

So I trotted off to my local Op Shop with $5 in my moth-infested purse.   This is a community-run op shop rather than a big name charity.   One plastic bag of clothing is $5.   I thought this was a good place to learn without having the fork out the huge amounts of the prices at the big name op shops such as Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul or Brotherhood of St Laurence.

It made it easier focussing on just one item.    I shuffled through the jeans with the list above in mind.   There was an awful lot of boring generic jeans (probably 80%) such as  Target and Kmart jeans which I rejected.  And some that looked like the owner had been fired out of a cannon whilst wearing them.    It was simple for my tiny brain because I was not over-whelmed with too many things to look through.  

I got a few pairs of jeans and then had a quick look at the shorts and a shuffle through the shirts (don't know anything about men's shirts yet!).

On the way home I drove past the local Salvos store with my nose in the air (it could have been my finger - sorry!)  Then the local St Vinnies had a red sign in the window saying "Sale" - so I thought I'd have a quick peek.

I sneered at their high-priced jeans muttering about highway robbery like a grumpy old bag.   Then I saw the sign above the books section.   Any 2 books for $1.   I hyperventilated.   I grabbed a salesperson, and they said - yes, any book - hardback, large or small.    I probably gave a moan of pain, because a woman peeked out from behind the crockery and stared at me.

I dug in my purse - empty.  I dug around in my handbag - empty.   I stuck a couple of fingers in my jeans pocket - and came out with $2.   Score!    I trotted out the door with 4 books in a bag.

I'm never going to be able to keep away from books.

This is what was in the bag of clothes that I got for $5.
First was the only pair of Levis on the rack - these are Levi Strauss 508.  Are these red-tab because of the label on the pocket?  These are in nice condition - and don't show any wear at all, except on the label on the back.   I'm confused by the sizing which is 78 - possibly this is American sizing?  I must rustle myself up a sizing comparison chart between different countries.
Looking these up when I got home, they don't look high on the wish-lists.  Not many for sale - and seem to sell rarely.  Going price between $10 - 20.  

These are Target brand longer shorts - but then I noticed the Tony Hawk on the label.  He's a famous skateboarder, so I assume these are skate-shorts.  These are in nice condition.  The colour is more a grey denim.
There are NO men's Tony Hawk shorts on ebay, only Boys, so I might have a chance with these.

These are Industrie brand.  I don't know why I picked these up, I just "thought" the brand sounded popular?   These are in nice condition except for wear on the bottom of the cuffs.
Looking up the Industrie web-site, their jeans go for $100.  But these don't have the right label.  Perhaps an older pair.  These are very normal looking jeans, with nothing to make them stand out.  There are no completeds on these - they are all the newer tagged ones.  These are probably a different Industrie label altogether.  

These are Saltwater long shorts.  I've never heard of this brand, but these were funky-looking shorts, with pre-made slashes, and a cool decal label on one leg.  These show a very small amount of wear.
Looking at Completeds only shows some very boring Saltwater brand jeans that are not even selling for $2.  Interesting.

Wrangler wasn't on my list either, but it seemed to ring a bell so I picked up these brown pants.   These have no size tag on them.  Made in Mexico of US fabric.  These are brown pants - not denim, but a heavy fabric with a bit of a weave on it.  Chinos?
All it has is this weird half-missing tattoo inside and this label that I can't figure out.   Can anybody help with the sizing from this tag, or is it useless?
My final item, was the only top that I could recognize.  This top is actually grey.  It's an XL size - but I think it might be a boy's shirt, as it's really not *that* big to me.   This says its a Majestic Dodgers Major Baseball League Genuine Merchandise.  It has no marks or wear.
There is nothing to compare this with on Ebay Australia - either sold or currently for sale.  Maybe a good pickup.

Now I have to wash these clothing, and hope that my iron still works.  It hasn't been used in a few years!!!

These are my books that I got.    
The two Terry Brooks are brand new.   Juicing books are very popular at the moment, as are self-sufficiency books.  I've already listed all these and hope to get $38 in total after sales.

So that was my baby-steps in jeans.   I can't see that I found any sure-fire winners, but at least I tried, right?

might need a stiff drink (or 3 or 4) to recover.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Boobs = interest = sale = $

Firstly, let me say a sincere thank you to those lovely readers who gave me suggestions to get me out of my book-rut.

Carol, yes prices of books are plummeting.    Great as a buyer, but not as a seller.   Fishpond is like a very basic version of Amazon.  I can't sell on Amazon as they won't make payments to Australian bank accounts (the last time I looked).

Maggie, I like your idea of keeping your store stocked with lots of different items.   Then I can open my shop to a new range of customers.  At the moment, I hardly even get a sale on Fridays/Saturdays.  I'd like to change it - and have my store selling 7 days a week.  After all, it is open 7 days a week!

Yvette, thanks, the idea of just starting with exercise outfits / accessories is also excellent one.    Being allergic to exercise should not harm me there.  *I* will not be the intended victim.  And as you say, they are very easy to wrap and post.   I'm already with Ebay Underground (the BEST place ever), and will also join Thrifting with the Boys that you mentioned.

Miss Maggie, your idea of asking the op-shops to keep videos aside for me and paying them money, if they no longer wanted to stock them, is a fantastic idea.  And one I will try out this week.   One of my op-shops that cleared out the videos are now re-stocking them.  I think they must have just wanted to clean out those that had been sitting there.    (Ms Maggie I must reply to your kind offer on Ebug).

I'm going to try looking at clothes tomorrow.  So I'll show you what weird things I pick up.

No shoes though, I have a thing about touching other people's used shoes.

OK, so I went shopping for stock last week.  I told myself that I would no longer buy piles of crime/romance books because they are only 20 cents each, and I have this magical idea that they will sell in bulk lots.   No more, none of that.   I decided to only look out for unusual / sure sellers.

I found boobs were popping up a lot this week in my ebay world.    And I don't mean I was staring in the mirror, poking my own naughty pillows and giggling like a mad thing.   Oh, I did come across an arse too - I hope I've still got the photo.   ;-)
It's a good thing I'm easily amused.

I poked around at my local op-shop and came across a couple of interesting books.

This one was my favourite, I almost squealed with delight when I looked at it.  I thought it might have been a vintage cookbook - but it was even better than that.

The title is hard to read - it is "The Fabulous Feminique Program For Developing a Beautiful Bust."

Printed in 1969 - it's a rip-snorter.  Loookeee - one of the exercises is lifting a raw chicken in a tray.  So the next time you're making a roast - be sure to do a few lifts and you'll be looking perkier in no time.

I also found this one:

This was printed in 1979.  It's huge with over 320 pages of photos of model farm toys and their value then.  A truck collecting nerd will love this.  It's a US-based book, so I'll be sure to include international postage, but it's going to cost a fortune to post overseas.

Then I hit my local junk/$2 shop to get a birthday card and was confronted with this item.  I took a photo with my phone, but I was laughing too much and it was blurry.  Fortunately I found a photo of one on the internet:

What do you think this might be?
It's a breast massager.  

I kid you not.  For a whole $5.   Between this and lifting my roast chicken in and out of the oven, I could have norgs so perky I could rest my head on them.

Then on to my mid-week op-shops, my eyes beheld these.  
Lovely shorts.  And only $2.   These stayed on the rack when I left, but came home on my new mobile phone!  This was the first photo I took with my new phone.  How long can I uphold this high standard of living?

I visited one of my op shops that had thrown out all their videos.  They had 2 cardboard boxes full of recently-donated videos sitting outside.  A lot of them were TV shows that had been recorded onto blank videos.  I trawled through them and got some video gold according to my "Golden Rules of Videos."

Evidence # 1 - Crappy B-grade horror movies - mostly rated R.  Even though one had a rental sticker describing it as "Art House", I was not fooled.   Nobody in their right mind would distribute these on DVD.  Check.

Let's turn them over and do a quick tittie check.

Bingo.  One comes up trumps here.

Evidence # 2 - Not Rated R - but quirky titles are a plus - how could I pass up "Blacula!" and "Stuff Stephanie In the Incinerator."   These make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Evidence # 3 - The idea of even looking at these movies makes me want to eat my own head.
Check.   Check.

Well, I'm off to put a roast chicken in the oven multiple times.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Goodbye books :-(

I have had to come to a painful decision this week.

My ebay shop is approximately 85% books.   I worked hard to get 1,000 items in my store.  For the past few months I have been slogging away, keeping my stock at above 1,000.   I was very proud of myself.

Now I look at my sales figures and realise the harsh reality - books don't sell.    My sales are actually decreasing.  I thought having a magic big number of items in my store would bring the buyers.   My items are very reasonably priced compared to other sellers.

But now there's too much competition - from many fellow sellers selling the same books as me, to overseas sellers - mainly from - flooding the Aussie market with cheap second hand books - to cheap brand new imported books from the US.     Don't even get me started on e-books.

It breaks my heart.   I love books.   Since I was a child, I spent all my time reading - I was (and still are) very much a loner, and an introvert, and prefer to spend time with a book than a human being.  Books have always been my companions, and they can take you to places you can only dream about, or you can learn about new things.  
So I've gone through my books in stock - I have about 2,000.    I have culled many that I am sick of the sight of - they got taken to the op shop.    I have now sent about 300 off to the Fishpond warehouse to sit there and hopefully sell.  At least I won't have to look at them anymore.

What I have left, I will either send to Fishpond next month, put up on the free Quicksales website or sell as bulk lots.  Only the rare and very popular shall stay.

My bookshelves are looking emptier now.   I have more space, but I don't know what to fill it with.   My ebay store is now hovering around 900.   Once I cull more books and send more off to Fishpond, it will get even lower.

In the past year I was looking for more cheap items to stock my store with.   I found board games - and the good ones I bought have sold, but I still have ones sitting around for over a year - and far too many of them that have parts missing.  I'm getting better at picking which ones to buy - but they are not filling much of a $ void.

Then I discovered VHS Videos - and they have added some much-needed extra income.  They are hard work - they need testing and cleaning.    Then my 2 favourite local op-shops that were the source for most of my cheap videos - THREW ALL THEIR VIDEOS IN THE BIN.  They no longer sell them.   I have very few places to pick them up cheap anymore.  Bang goes another source of stock.

I tried selling bulk lots of children clothes - and they seemed to sell in the beginning.   I thought they were going to save me - but now the sales have dried up, and I have lost the drive to keep buying more clothes just to have them fill my closet.

I feel like I am going backwards now.   I look around my unit which has stock lining the walls, and all I can see is money & effort spent for nothing.
I have had some sales with my other selling venues. -  When my 3 parcels of books that were picked up today reach them - they will have 300 of my items in their warehouse.   This is great because they take care of the shipping, emails, etc. to customers, and they pay pretty quick.   I have even noticed (obviously they get a good deal on shipping) that sometimes I also get a little extra from $1-2 extra which is a refund from the set postage of $4.99 that the customer pays.  Pretty good.  These items don't sell for much, because you have to undercut all the others selling the same item - but it is money in the bank.

So far this month I have made : $59.

Quicksales have also given me some sales.   I have been madly cutting and pasting across from ebay, and so far I have 320 items on their website.

In the past month and a bit, I have sold:

1 x video  $8
3 lots of Mills & Boons   $33
bulk lot of Clive Cussler books   $15
2 x board games    $20

So at a total of $73 - that's not too shabby.   The fees from all those sales have been less than a dollar in total.   I will definitely work harder on Quicksales.

I thought that I might try magazine lots - they're fairly cheap at only 20 cents, but we shall see.
I also try to pick up any vintage knitting pattern booklets.

Does anybody have any idea on some other items I could branch out into, that are low in cost ?????

I have no idea about clothes.
I will not even touch a pair of used shoes.

I'm in serious need of some ideas.   I'm finding it hard to get past not selling books.

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Now I'll put down my tiny little violin of pity that I'm playing and show you some sales I got this week:

These 2 x Diet Books only took a few days to sell:

Sold For:   $29.99
Paid:     50 cents
I always pick up horse/pony children's books when they're cheap and sell them as a bulk lot.  It's school holidays here, so I hoped these would sell.    There are 17 books in this lot.

Sold For:  $21.99
Paid:  about $3.50
I picked these books up on a whim to fill a bag of books for $5.   I have never heard of them before, and they were published in 1985 - so a bit vintage.  I had 3 and put them up separately.  They sold the next day to the same buyer.

Sold For:   $15
Paid:   50 cents
I've had these up for a couple of months.  I always pick up Tae Bo videos.

Sold For :   $18.99
Paid:    $1.00 (probably less)
These took a while to sell, but I was happy to wait because Linda Howard is a popular author.

Sold For :    $18.99
Paid:    $1.00

Due to my dwindling income, I am now on a vicious hunt to cut my expenses - both business and household.   I'll share some of my tips with you next time!