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Friday, October 30, 2009

EBAY Disappointments of the Week

A burnt batch of cookies, accidentally washing my favorite white blouse with a red towel (now the blouse is a lovely tye-dyed pink), hoping the counselor arrives home early from work only to wait and wait until nightfall—these are disappointments that if I’m not careful, will turn a good day into a bad one.

Ebay disappointments are a bit more bearable, but worth pointing out just the same.

I have a love affair with Tommy Bahama and when I found this shirt I was beyond words. When I took my pictures that night, I found a lovely red stain on the back of it. Boo Hoo!

This gorgeous Vera Wang jean jacket, studded with crystals for pete's sake, sold for .99 cents. Heartbreak!

I found this amazing Ralph Lauren NWT $129 Plus Size 2X sweater and was certain it'd sell somewhere in the $30 range. I posted it at $24.99 and I didn't have any bidders. The next week I posted it at $9.99 and that's what it sold for. This is a rotten economy for this "must-have" item.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Good Measure

A tape measurer makes a great toy, just ask my boys.

There has always been a tape measurer at my desk, but for the last four years it hasn’t been the same tape measurer.

In 2005, I started posted gently used name brand clothing on EBAY. The setting was something like this:

1. I purchased the clothing.
2. Removed the tags
3. Laid the clothing out on the floor
4. Took pictures
5. Downloaded the pictures
6. Posted the item on EBAY

Now, no where in this list do you see take measurements of clothing. Because for the first few weeks, I didn’t realize I should be listing measurements.
One day, a woman emailed me and asked about the rise of a pair of pants.

What’s a rise? I emailed back.

The measurement from the crotch to the front button (It’s alright to write crotch in an email. It’s not quite as offensive and saying it verbally).Some pants are low rise, others are high rise. Wow, this was a great discovery and I felt so smart, like I uncovered some fashion designer lingo.

I ran to the counselor’s tool box and grabbed an old, worn-out tape measurer. The only time I’d used it before was when hanging pictures on the wall. The only time the counselor had used the tape measurer was when measuring the little boys, marking their height on the back of our pantry door.

Others started asking for measurements and before long I was voluntarily taking measurements, posting them along with the fabric/material, any pockets, slit measurements on skirts and dresses, if an item was lined, zip fly or button fly and any other features I felt needed description.

So, the first tape measurer?

What happened to it?

As far as tools go, this one was happy and treated well, received lots of attention and knew it was needed.

That old worn-out steady working contraption, like a work horse that never quit, ended up being carried away by a two-year old to some unknown destination. Some things turn up later, like when moving a couch or cleaning behind a bed. Since I never do such hideous labor, we never did find it.

I purchase several from the dollar store, leaving one on my desk for each of the boys. Little by little, they broke (yes, in the traditional dollar store way).
One day at ACE Hardware (don’t get too excited, I was just buying bug spray), I noticed a display with tools for the female breed; a slim hammer-painted with spring flowers, a screwdriver- the handler a bit smaller for the more delicate hand and wrist of a woman, and a tape measure-with beautiful art displayed on the outer panel. Sure, it cost a little more then a man’s tape measurer, but wasn’t I worth it? Not usually a sucker for such sneaky advertising, I grabbed the tape measurer and vowed it would never be lost.

Today, that "pretty woman” is long gone and I’m using a Workforce Auto stop with quick pause, 25 feet, 1 inch wide tape measurer that’s slightly broken and too heavy for measuring silk blouses.

Where did I get it?

Honestly, it’s one of those things that just showed up at my house, like the sippy cup my baby’s using at the moment; it just appeared and I’ve claimed it as my own (if anyone’s lost a blue bunny sippy cup or a Workforce Auto stop with quick pause, 25 feet, 1 inch wide tape measurer, please contact me immediately).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Surprise of the Week

Most of the time, I don’t like surprises.

I don’t care if it’s my surprise birthday present hiding in the closet or the un-known gender of my 15 week old baby growing inside me. I like to know everything up front, but this doesn’t mean I don’t get surprised from time to time.

Because the counselor knows I don’t like surprises, he likes to play a game with me. Technically, it’s not as bad as a surprise, but it leaves me with the same “I’m not in control” feeling. It’s called the guessing game and it goes something like this:

“Guess who I saw at the store today?”
And he waits, with a mischievous smile on his face.

“I have no idea,” I say, somewhat wanting to care, but really, out of the 897-ish people we know, why would I want to guess?

“Oh come on”, he’ll say. “You know who it is. Think about it.”

And I try to think about it, after all, it’s important to him that I guess, but I just get frustrated, especially when I realize he forgot to buy the Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips I needed.

“Give me a clue,” I say, knowing this never works.

“Just think about it for a minute,” a gentle nudge sounding more like a request to cut off my left arm.

So, I unpack the groceries, always one to do something productive while I’m forced to do something unproductive, and I throw out names like pulling weeds.

The counselor’s much more patient than I, and he would like if I played this game with him, but he also knows when I’ve reached the end of the rope.

So after several minutes, he gives me the answer, and it’s someone I haven’t seen for over two years, a middle-aged man from a church we used to attend before we moved, a man I never associated with except for an occasional hello. I never knew his first name and his wife was always rude to me.

This is the person Derek saw at the store and I may have guessed who it was by the time the baby’s due in April.

So, you may be surprised to know I’m posting a Surprise of the Week.

What did I find this week at a thrift store or yard sale that really surprised me? Take a look.

I found this shirt at a thrift store on 1/2 off day and ended up paying $2.50 for it. The stitching was awesome and I loved the Disco Fever lyrics. The brand is JWLA and when I later looked on-line, I found these shirts sell for $129.00 new. I was tempted to sell, but I'm wearing it as we speak

This gorgeous dress was purchased by yours truly for $1.00. The brand, one I'd never heard of, is Ella Moss and the fabric is so rich and wonderful. When I looked it up on-line, I discovered it is an Anthropologie dress, selling for over $150.00 new. I listed it immediately and it sold for $26.00.

Other surprises I like are as follows:

Mayer surprises me as he comes out of my bedroom wearing the counselors headband and insists on wearing it to preschool.

Reef actually eats breakfast; a big surprise from this picky eater, but who wouldn't eat a home-ade cinnamon roll just from the oven.

And I actually surprise myself, when at the last minute I through together a Halloween costume for a neighborhood party: me as Mother Nature (Reef as Tigger).

And what a surprise, my kitchen floor is clean, for the moment.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EBAY Flashback July 2006

While browsing on-line through EBAY stores several years ago, I spotted a seller who had her used clothing on display in a photo session, worn and modeled by a beautiful person. I liked the idea and wanted to give it a try. I know beautiful people too, like my sister Anna. So, I bribed her with $10.00/an hour, and away we went.

This is nothing my than, 17 year old somewhat-punk skater sister would wear on her own, but she pulls it off well.

A cute Chico's dress, made for the non-teenager, but isn't it pretty on her.

I think this was a linen Coldwater Creek outfit.

This was a hot little bebe dress. Notice the dirty baseboards behind Anna. I didn't notice until the photo session was complete. Oh well, we can all handle a little dirt on the wall mixed with Dr. Pepper and a few sprays of Bath & Body Works Strawberry fields body spray.

Not to be outdone, she pulls off a darling pair of American Eagle Jeans, something more along her fashion-tracked mind. What I'm wondering is how did everything fit her so perfectly? It just goes to show if you have the perfect body this it the type of thing you can do. By the way, the base boards really stand out in this picture, somewhat disgusting and hilarious at the same time.

A cute Hollister shirt, which was my best seller that week, at $17.50. How do I remember this?

Anna even accessorized each outfit (this one is a St. Tropez dress, I remember she said it was scratchy), proving she deserved way more then $10.00/hour. I'll make it up to you babes, with cookies and name-brand clothing.

So, you may wonder:
Did I notice a difference?
Did my clothing sell better?
For more cash?
Did I get more hits?
I am sorry to say, things sold just the same as usual, but it was a super fun experiment.

Top Sells of the Week

I'd love to post 200 items a weeks, but life gets in the way (plus shipping 200 items a week is a nightmare). Right now, 50 items a week works, and I still get plenty of sleep. I do experience EBAY anxiety defined as too much stuff to post--not enough time. But sleep is important too, as is exercise, grocery shopping and yard maintenance.

The top sells of the week include the following:

A bright orange Patagonia Fleece Sweater/Sweatshirt, purchased for $.50 cents at a garage sale, sold for $34.00

A women's Ralph Lauren Large Blue and Red Rugby Shirt. Purchased at a thrift store for $1.00, sold for $17.50

A J. Jill New with tags $98.00 dress, purchased for $1.00, sold for $15.50.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dollar Day, October 23

My dear trash,

I spend my days loading the washing machine, starting the dryer and watching my laundry pile grow into some sort of tribute to Mt. Everest, but on Thursday I blow my babies a kiss, (hang on little chickadees, don't play to rough on the seahorse while mommy's gone)

thank my husband (referred to as the counselor from here on out) for the morning off and run to the car. I’m going to dollar day at the thrift store.

Today, October 23, just after 9:00am and I’m one of the first to arrive.

The front of the store is decorated, a Halloween theme with some art worthy merit. A skeleton rolls sideways as the electric door opens and the familiar smell, let's call it the smell of opportunity fills my nose.

Thrift stores have a distinct smell, sometimes heavier then others, but it’s a smell that says “you are looking through other peoples stuff.” Not one to be intimidated, I tackle the stinky obstacle knowing I have a washing machine at home ready for another load.

Most days, I find 30 to 40 name brand clothing items to purchase and I will post them later on EBAY. Follow me as I shop. A Steve Wynwood song blares on the overhead speaker.

I'd like to say this in on display because of Halloween, but one never knows.

Blue colored tags are $1.00. Let's see what we can find.

Seriously, Hecules Beetle? Has anyone heard of this label? I'm going to pass on this, betting this is not a big seller on EBAY.

Ah, a moment of silence for Tommy Bahama. This 100% silk shirt may not have a blue $1.00 tag, but for $6.99, I'm sure to make a nice profit once I post it on EBAY. It'll sell for around $25.00. New, they can sell for up to $100, so someone will get a great bargin and a great shirt.

I haven't heard of this label, NORI, but I can tell by the fabric and quality, it's a good brand. Plus, the buttons say NORI, which tells me this item is worth trying.

I'm in the land of the lost, expecting my 5th child, and look, I found a nice little prize for me to keep. An OLD NAVY Maternity shirt. Oh la la! $1.00 and it's mine.

This is a nice maternity denim jumper. I just can't do it, I can't wear a jumper when I'm pregnant. I already have issues that I'm as big as a tent, but somewhere in the world, there's a beautiful woman in her third trimester who is looking for a denim jumper. This will sell for $8.99.

Is there anyone out there who still wears a size 0? I hate you, but buy these pants.

Lacoste, the little green crocodile means big bucks for me. I find these most often in the kids section, most likely because the sizing on the label is in French and assumed to be a smaller size then it actually is.

Cool used men's jeans for $1.00 are like searching for gold. They're rare to find, and occasionaly I get lucky, however, not today. Men aren't like women, they don't dispose of great jeans because they've found a cooler, cuter, sexier pair. Men hold onto their jeans until they are completely worn out, stained and beyond repair.

I'm not sure if this is a concert t-shirt or not, the fabric's a little thin and mis-shaped, so I'll pass. Last year I found a vintage Olivia Newton John Concert t-shirt from the late 1970's and it sold for over $50.00.

I don't even want to know the woman who wears this shirt. The shirt says "Stop staring. Take a picture. It will last longer." Have mercy!

I've found my items and it should be a pretty good week. I'm hungry, baby fetus is calling "Feed me." My cravings have intensified. Must have Subway, extra banana peppers for me.


Friday, October 23, 2009

How EBAY Found Me

My Dear Trash,

Ah yes, my darling pile (or should I say mountain) of clothes I purchased today at thrift stores, waiting to be de-tagged, photographed and posted on EBAY. It’s lengthy, time consuming and addictive for good reason; it can pay the mortgage when necessary.

My experience started several years ago in 2005. I’d heard the glory stories of EBAY, millions of dollars being made off vintage tennis shoes, Holly Hobby lunch boxes and Tickle Me Elmo, but was intimidated by my lack of computer skills. Still, I so wanted to try what others were talking about and my curiosity had the best of me. With the combination of dollar signs and determination I decided I wanted to try it, but what to sell? Several days later at a yard sale, I found a vintage Fisher Price record player, with all five pastel (green, blue, orange, red, yellow) groovy records. It worked perfect; a lullaby music box for children with a yellow wind-up knob. I paid $5.00. From start to finish, it took me about an hour to post it in EBAY. A week later, it sold for $35.00 and I was hooked.

My first month on EBAY I posted everything I could get my hands on including baby clothes, old Disney records, a vintage vase (I really didn’t want to sell it, but I was certain it was worth a bundle) and my kids old toys. A week later I was shocked. Nothing sold. NOTHING.

Yes, I was under the impression that all I had to do was post something, anything on EBAY and I would have a world full of bidders just drooling over my treasures. Plus, I didn’t realize EBAY charges to post an item, even if it doesn’t sell, so I also had a handful of nasty fees to pay for my binge.

I keenly became more aware, more specific, more savvy with what I posted and it payed off. Name-brand clothing became my thing:

a) because I love clothes
b) because I love shopping for clothes
c) because most thrift stores have a dollar day and I could pick up Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans and an Ann Taylor dress for $1.00 each
d) I could wear the clothes until I grew tired of them, sell them later and still make a profit

I hit the jackpot when I found a black eel-skin looking Louis Vuitton purse at a yard sale. It took courage, I really didn’t understand the global obsession with the label, but I paid $40.00. I posted it on EBAY and a week later it sold for $360.00. My husband, certain I was a genius, started planning which color of Hummer he would pick out.

In the old days, I saved boxes and large bubble envelopes for shipping. I was a USPS virgin and had no clue about shipping costs, promotions and packaging. A year into my EBAY sells, a customer suggested I use a flat rate envelope to ship items. That one suggestions has saved me and my customers hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me, thanks for the fun, my dear trash.

Most Sincerely,

Laura Lofgreen