Monday, December 29, 2014

Design Style Keywords

Design encompasses everything - the idea is that a good designer could design anything from a spoon to a city. The term design encompasses thousands of processes and styles. What does this have to do with resale? What we really want as resellers, is to be able to identify a specific style, so that we can include it in our title and description. This way when potential customers are searching eBay they can easily find the items we have for sale which match their criteria. Put simply, what we need is the KEYWORDS to help the buyer find our item.

I've been wanting to write a post about design styles for awhile. But it's really hard to summarize design into a few select categories. Oftentimes I will label my items with more than one style because I think it would work well in a number of decors or styles. I'm always on the lookout for what is trending now, and what the keywords are. 

Style keywords don't have to be "correct" - I mean that it doesn't have to fit perfectly into that style. Materials always need to be correct - don't say something is wool unless it's wool.

Here are some examples of design related keywords I might use in a listing:

Western, Rockabilly

Grunge, True Vintage

Primitive, Tribal, Folk

(These shoes were obviously designed for comfort NOT for style.)

Americana, Country, Crafty

In the description I might say something like:
"perfect for the RPG, or Dungeons and Dragons fan in your life"

Danish modern, Mid Century Modern

True vintage, western, cropped

Country, Rustic, Primitive

Granny, Boho


Art Nouveau, patina

Here are some articles, lists, blog posts, and links that will help expand your design vocab:

Architectural Design

Interior Design
Interior Design Styles by Dwell Candy - this is an excellent resource for those hard to name pieces like an unmarked glass vase.

Fashion Design
Dress Code: Know Your Era (This is an article for vintage fashion lovers but is a great resource for us resellers too - includes a list of "eBay keywords" with each style!!!)

Fashion eras (not many pictures but lots of good ideas for keywords)

List of Chics (I find this pretty funny)

What are your favorite keywords? What design style do you gravitate towards? Can you define your home or wardrobe in keywords? 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 12/28/14

The few days before Christmas were slow, but Christmas and the past couple days have had some good sales. I grossed $597 this week, on 16 items, that's an average of $37/item, my highest to date. That high average is due to a couple hundred dollar sales. One being a set of silver plate flatware I mentioned a while back, and another being a TomTom GPS watch that my husband bought on clearance but ended up sticking with his old one.  Here are some interesting sales from this week:

Jakks Pacific Night Vision Goggles
Paid $1 at y/s Sold $55

Pyrex Happy Holidays employee appreciation gift 
I got this in PA over Thanksgiving, there is a nearby Pyrex factory
Paid $2, sold $30

I paid $1.50 for this sealed set of two Stephen King mass market paper back books, they were first edition paper backs, including The Stand uncut for the first time.
Sold for $25

And if I haven't convinced you there is money in stainless steel flatware yet:
I paid $1.50 for this set of baby flatware
Sold for $25

Just a short one today, still recovering from Colorado and Christmas.
I'd love to hear how your post Christmas sales are going!

Friday, December 26, 2014

BOLO Big Eyes

The movie "Big Eyes" starring Amy Adams as artist Margaret Kean 
is creating a big market for her paintings, but also her prints and postcards.

Check out the completeds HERE.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Two Week Summary + Garbage Haul

The past two weeks have been pretty crazy. Getting ready for the trip out west, and getting settled again and ready for Christmas has kept me busy. I put my store on vacation while we were in Colorado, and I'm glad I did, as I did not have good service out there.

I had some small sales despite the vacation mode. Here are some highlights over the past two weeks:

This nativity was missing Joseph. I listed it as "you choose one" 
One of the wise men sold for $7.95

I paid $1 for this shell planter at a yard sale earlier this fall. 
It sold for $49.99

There were no other OLIVIA clocks listed. This one sold for a best offer of $29
The cat ticks back and forth with the seconds. Very cute.

The second of The Office mugs sold for $14.95, this one featuring Ed Helms

I paid $.25 for this true vintage 1970's polyester shirt on 
Black Friday at a church thrift store in PA.
Sold $18.99

In other news, we have a new family member:
This is Jazz (she was already named Jasmine, but we are calling her Jazz). 
She's an 11 month old German Shepherd. I'm reading Cesar Millan's books Cesar's Way and Be the Pack Leader, I bought both for "a penny". We're her third (and forever) family. Loki the cat is NOT pleased, but hopefully he will adjust quickly.

While out walking her tonight I came across a big trash pile in front of a newly empty house. I noticed a Play Station 2 on top, and three bikes that seemed to only need air in the tires. I told my husband, and he went back with the truck, and got quite the load:
Two pairs of Jordans (one with the box, which is great for authenticating), Nike Soccer Cleats, a PS2, a PS3, two "Clappers" (like Clap on Clap Off), as well as a fan my husband is keeping, a kids wagon, and the three bikes (which he will fix and sell on CL). What the heck! I felt like Martin from Things I Find in the Garbage, alternately sad about what we perceive as trash, and excited for the dollar signs I saw from each item. We have not tested the Play Stations yet. I will keep you updated on this haul. I foresee a lot more garbage picking in my dog walking future.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trip in Pictures

We made it back late last night from our trip to Colorado. Here's the trip in photos.

Here is the RV we rented for $24/day through Cruise America - it was a deal where we drove a newly refurbished RV from the refurbishment center is Phoenix to Salt Lake City. We had 6 nights to make the trip any night after that was $99. The RV was great for traveling because normally we rent a car and get a hotel room. We couldn't afford that this year, and this worked out nicely. We paid about $300 for the RV, and $150 to park it at a KOA in Colorado, we also paid for gas which was about $250 (Gas was $2.05 in Colorado!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

 Somewhere in AZ
 These are all cell phone pictures (LG G3)
It's amazing to me that phones can take such great pictures.

This church was actually a thrift store, in Dolores, CO. Any fellow Seinfeld fans will know that it was impossible for me not to yell "DOLORES" every time I saw a sign for the town. I got a beautiful Ralph Lauren Safari Outfitters barn jacket for $8 there. I'm planning on listing it for $100. It is in a FedEx box on the way here now...

The above two photos were from a Habitat ReStore in Grand Junction, CO
I LOVED how they upcycled some belts for their knife display. And look at all those beautiful lighting fixtures.

This western store was going out of business. They were selling all their inventory 30% off.
They should just sell it on eBay for full price. I didn't buy anything but I got high on leather fumes.

Some road shots:

The morning we were leaving we passed these wind turbines in Utah.

I shipped three boxes back via FedEx, they should be here Saturday and I'll get to listing my western finds!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 12/6/14

This was a busy week. I spent lots of time getting through some backlog, enough that I felt caught up enough to do some sourcing Saturday. I stopped by an estate sale, and Family Thrift Center. I had a couple really slow days last week. But overall sold 21 items for $425, and average of $20/each. Much like the previous week, I did not have any big sales, but rather smaller ones that added up.

Vintage SEARS porcelain nativity 
I paid $2.99!! at Thrift Store City - It had over 10 watchers when it finally sold. I usually don't pay attention to watchers, but I was like okay over ten, come on one of you must seriously want to buy this thing! Finally someone did for $39.99

True vintage 1950's child size rabbit fur muff
Sold for $20 over night, I paid $1 on Black Friday at a thrift store in PA.

Mindy Kaling/Kelly Kapoor Dunder Mifflin Coffee Mug
I picked up this mug because I sold a Community Troy and Abed mug months ago for $40, I just checked recent completeds and its going for more like $20 now, still BOLO... anyways, I immediately grabbed this mug, and it's companion mug featuring Andy/Ed Helms.
I paid $.65 each, this one sold for $14.95 this week

I got this crewel textile art wall hanging for $5 on Black Friday at Goodwill in PA.
I took a best offer of $25. The buyer and I went back and forth, and I could tell she really wanted it, so I let it go for a $20 profit. I have two others listed.

Speaking of vintage art I sold my first paint by numbers piece this week
Sold for $29.99, paid $3 at Thrift Store USA a couple months ago

Overall I'm not feeling a huge difference in the fourth quarter. It seems steady to me, and my sales reflect what I have been listing, much like the rest of the year (aside from August)..
We're going to Colorado later this week and my store and blog will be on vacation. I think I am going to actually put my store on vacation for the 6 days we'll be gone, and not just extend shipping time. I don't know when we will have WiFi, and I will not have much cell service, so I'd rather not be held responsible for not answering questions quickly, etc.

How was your week? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Japanese Waste Stream Part 2/2

You can find Part One of this post here.

Picking trash is illegal in Japan, even for the large items, because often times folks paid to have the items removed, and if you took it then they would still be charged. That left a few other venues for second hand stuff:

Flea Markets
Since most folks in the cities do not have yards, flea markets were the alternative in Japan for getting stuff direct from the previous owner. I went when possible, but I was not reselling then, and it was just for stuff for ourselves. I picked up home decor, toys, clothes, and all the basic household yardsaley stuff.

Antique Fairs
We went twice to a HUGE antiques fair in Tokyo. Here's a link with some pictures.

Recycle Shops/Resale Shops

These shops buy your items and resell them. They do not consign, but just pay you (nearly nothing), for items to resell.

Online Yard Sales
I only used an American one because I don't speak Japanese, but I made quite a bit selling stuff to other Americans. It was through a resale Facebook page.

My husband and I really enjoyed going to all the above places. Imagine going to your favorite thrift store, and you have never seen any of the items before. Ever. It was so cool. Also there were walls of Louis Vuitton behind glass cases, that I would look at and laugh, I just don't get the idea of keeping up with the Jones' - but in Japan keeping up appearances is very important. (Here is a very interesting albeit somewhat off topic book review on The Cult of the Luxury Brand by Radha Chadha and Paul Husband).

I got these original paintings at the aforementioned antique fair , and the frames at the resale shop in the photo above. It literally used to be called "Hard Off Book Off, House Off" - luckily someone told them that doesn't translate well and they've changed there name. Sorry for the poor photos, but I'm being lazy. I paid about $3 for each painting, and $5-$10 for the frames.

I love these paintings because they are original, vintage, recycled, and beautiful. 

Waste Conclusion

Japan burns much of their trash, we bury most of our trash, or let it rot on a barge in the river...all methods are pretty awful in their own ways. The best method is to waste less. So, what do you do with your trash and your unwanted goods? Do you have problems throwing things out or donating things? Or like me, are you a minimalist at heart, but often find yourself asking where the heck did all this stuff come from? If you haven't checked out the blog on my sidebar Things I Find in the Garbage. Let me know how waste makes you feel, and how it relates to you as an eBayer, thrifter, or lover of vintage. 

The Japanese Waste Stream Part 1/2

Most of us in the eBay business are aware of the amount of perceived waste we as humans create every single day. I've always been a recycle-r. In sixth grade there was a sign above the bins in the lunch room that said "the energy from one recycled aluminum can is enough to power a TV for an hour." Who knows if that is true (probably not with HD TVs) but literally since that day EVERY TIME I see a can in the trash I cringe. If there is recycling nearby I pick it out of the trash and move it to the recycling. I'm that person.

When we moved to Japan in 2009 I was shocked at how specific we had to be with recycling and waste disposal. Japan has the most advanced and amazing recycling system in the world. (This is my opinion, but probably also fact). Every day of the week we took our waste to an assigned spot on our street (they were about every 100 yards or so).

This green mesh indicated a waste removal location. This was my actual neighborhood. 
I really really really miss it. I have no idea what is on top of that car.

What we took to the spot changed each day, and it went something like this:

Monday - Cans, glass, plastic bottles but NOT the caps those go on Thursday (seriously)
Tuesday - Burnable (you know, the stinky stuff)
Every Other Wednesday - Boxes/Magazines
Thursday - Non - Burnable  (Styrofoam, plastic mesh, plastic, blister packaging)
Friday - Burnable (twice a week)
One Day a Month - "Community pick-up" (clothes, cooking pots, things that can be resused)
Case by Case - large household items, small appliances

If you messed up, the garbage man would leave the trash with a big yellow rejection sticker, and you had to sort it again. Embarrassing.

If you want cash for your trash, you could sell it to these guys, who are basically what we know as "junkers", but because people can't just leave their stuff on the sidewalk they have to advertise by way of loudspeaker.

Stay tuned for part two. It will focus more on the TREASURE vs the TRASH of the Japanese Waste Stream!

Thursday, December 4, 2014


What do you tip or gift to your mail carrier at Christmas? I have never done anything other than cookies. But I have also not relied so much on my mail carrier as I have in the past year. There have been about 10 different carriers this year on this route, and the last guy has lasted three months or so.

The post office did call me back after the above post, and they've only forgotten my packages once since then. The new guy is good and I want to give him some kind of tip. Keep in mind I live on a walking route. The carrier works really hard on our route everyday.. 100+ and humidity in the summer, and cold and rain in the winter. Then he has to remember to drive back to my house at the end and pick up all my packages.

The debate here isn't whether to tip or not, I am decided that I will... Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November Money

November Money
Numbers are rounded

# of Sales

Amount spent on new inventory
Yes you read that right! I've been a buying machine... hopefully it will start to pay off quickly. We all know buying is faster than listing but I'm happy with my progress.

Amount of Sales

Avg Sale Price

Highest sold item
Easy Lock Serger ($179)
Sold twice, but the buyer actually paid the second time. That thing was a monster to ship, but worth the profit.

Lowest Sold Item
10 Snoopy Christmas Cards ($4)
I bought these a long time ago.. something I would pass over now.

Last Month's Goal
Set up my office and list list list. Yes. I did well with this goal. I have over 500 items listed, and the office is pretty well set up. I think of new things I want sometimes but I will wait until I can thrift them. I've put most my money back into the business and that is fine. I am still planning on building up my inventory before paying myself.

December Goal
As always... LIST! But my real goal here is to list all those little things that I've set aside to "list later" I'm a total listing cherry picker. Meaning I pick out the "good" stuff and list it immediately and then have this pile of stuff that may be a little boring, difficult to measure, less valuable than I'd hoped but not worth donating back etc, and I really need to tackle that pile. This may mean listing a lot of $10-12 items, but I'm going to get through what I do have because I've already got it might as well list it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/30/14

I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and many things to be thankful for. We were traveling, and I delayed my handling time in my eBay store. I only sold 15 things this week for a total of $305. That's an average of $20/item. I attribute the low sales to not having listed at all in a week, and for the delayed handling time.

I didn't have any huge sales, just small steady ones. I had my entire store 10% off this week as well.

I took a best offer of $28 on these Longaberger plates. I think I paid $4.

I took a best offer of $19.99 on this vintage over shoulder dangle brooch. 
I paid $2 at Best Thrift

I sold this vintage 1995 complete Jumanji board game for $31
Paid $2 at Family Thrift - I took a small risk with this game because I wasn't sure it was complete, but I figured I could make my money back parting the pieces out if not. Luckily it was complete and sold within a week of being listed.

These glasses sold for $15. I paid less than $2 at DAV
I mention them because they had 12+ watchers and had been listed for a couple months, and because last week I sold these:

Bought at the same day at the DAV for less than $2 sold for $15.
Not a huge profit. I will probably steer clear of glasses in the future unless they are really cool like my first great eBay find.

I have a listing promo this week, and seeing as I thrifted on black friday I have a bunch of cool items to list! Let me know how your week was in the comments!