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« Keeping the Castle | Main | Thrift Share Monday - May 9 »

May 05, 2011


amy zimmer

I love your energy and Dare to Dream attitude. I've seen what your powerful energy can conjure up in your life and know that you are a mover and shaker. You are so dang inspiring! Amy


That was my original business model for vintage sales, and I moved away from it. Now, I'm beginning to see that sticking by it will pay off. I am going to sell items with minimum sales prices of $30 to $50; otherwise, the photography and description writing and research don't pay off the way I want them to.

Small ticket items only work if you have high volume, and a lot of help!


Great post. We're in a similar situation with the uncertainty of our main incomes, and we're looking at having to replace a car in the next year. So I'm trying to buckle down and work on my business, but when I'm dealing with low-ticket items and cranky buyers, it's easy to get discouraged. Moving beyond those $10 sales is a good strategy to combat that.


I think the trap that so many people fall into in general is you find something that works for your life, you keep at it, you become successful, you *don't* change. (Because why fix what isn't broke) Then the world changes around you, you don't adapt, and you become miserable because you don't understand why something in your life that worked for so long isn't working anymore. This can be applied to jobs, relationships, business models, real estate-anything!

So good for you to stay on top the of change and grow and adapt your business as needed. Sure people want a "tried and true method" that we can plug in and make work for our lives, But that's an unrealistic desire because our lives are not all the same. For instance, I don't have to commit any of my time to raising children, but I do have to figure out how I am going to make all this stuff fit in an apartment that is much smaller than a house.

It's great to see you are taking ReSelling to the next level. Good luck!


Just another perspective for potential online sellers: we've had great success with items at $10-$20 profit each (the difference is that we're selling approximately 30 per day). Our items are new, but the concept is the same. Consistency has been key for us.

Because you're selling things of all different types it's tougher, I think, in terms of marketing research needed, packing methods, shipping calculations, etc. You are always battling that learning curve time suck. I imagine that the time spent on selling a $40 item is basically the same as for a $1000 item? If so, I'd concentrate on the big-ticket stuff.

Do you think you'll be able to make some profit on the inventory you're clearing out?


While it's easier said than done --I've been saying the same thing for nearly half a decade --I do think you're definitely on the right track. You put as much effort into many $10 descriptions and sales as you do into $50 or $100 sales. And, if you limit yourself, you (theoretically) should have more time to scout for the better items (which I find more fun than listing low-priced books). Good luck!


Junker Newbie Stephanie

Love this! This is what I'm starting to feel like - I'm buying something for $1 and selling for $4. Is that worth my time? hmmmm, keep us posted!

A La Modern

We've had the same problem and agree on the danger of selling too many low cost items. I used to pick up ANYTHING that had at least 5 times the value of the price at the thrift. But all the 99 cent mugs that you sell for $6-10 are really a drain on time - even though, perhaps in the beginning when you're first starting out, it's an enormous confidence booster to have more sales.

I heard somewhere that the sweet spot for selling a vintage item is $40-50. However, it's tougher to consistently find a lot of those items. And it KILLS me to leave behind a $10 mug that's being sold for a quarter. I've definitely been trying to leave more stuff behind though. I've realized, though, that in order to scale up a business like this that might be more and more necessary. Having a tough time about it though!


We have been saying/doing the same thing. Forget the $10 sales and concentrate on things that will bring in more money. The problem for us is finding the bigger ticket items. At least the garage sale season is finally upon us, so we have lots more opportunities. In the meantime, we will probably have a yard sale ourselves to try to rid the house of the trinkets that didn't sell, or we don't want to sell on Ebay after all. Oh well, live and learn...


We have been saying/doing the same thing. Forget the $10 sales and concentrate on things that will bring in more money. The problem for us is finding the bigger ticket items. At least the garage sale season is finally upon us, so we have lots more opportunities. In the meantime, we will probably have a yard sale ourselves to try to rid the house of the trinkets that didn't sell, or we don't want to sell on Ebay after all. Oh well, live and learn...

Selena Cate

I do think it is important for new sellers though to start off with those $10 mugs. I remember thinking that I was so lucky to find a 50¢ mug that I could actually sell for $10. It gave me experience in ReSelling which was worth its weight in gold.
xoxo Selena


I think this is a good move for you. As you know, I've been reading your blog for a while now but hadn't ever commented before (I didn't feel comfortable commenting without a blog of my own, silly, I know). Anyway, you appear to be able to sell higher priced items successfully (I know you wrote that you prefer selling on Ebay because you can get more for your items there than on Etsy a couple of months ago). I don't think there's anything wrong with having goals and going for them, especially in business. My one question is, have you considered hiring an assistant to help you post items online? You might bring in someone temporarily until you can get your current inventory down (or at least, sell off the "$10" stuff). I realize there are all sorts of laws and liabilities when it comes to employees and that it might not be worth it, but I would at the very least look into the possibility if you have not done so already. And lastly, I don't think there's anything wrong with changing your business model, either. Business, like life, should not be static. Fluidity is where growth comes from. You are extremely inspiring and so are your posts, and don't think that a changing business model will put off your readers. I think its inspiring that you're willing to accept the things that work for you and put off those that don't, in order to try new things that might. Too often people get caught in the trap of the comfort of familiarity, and while it may not be deadly it can be extremely inhibiting (which can be similar to death, the lack of growth). So go on with you, girl! You're doing a great job. Thank you for the inspiration.

Angie C. (I have my own blog now, so I am OK with commenting :) )


Thanks so much for your post, Selena. I'm just starting out and while I think it's a smart thing to begin with a smaller initial investment while I get the hang of it, my overall goal and perspective of the big picture approach is definitely to limit those spare change listings. So glad you are kindly willing to share your process and seasons of doing this. Super helpful and we all know you certainly don't have to lay it all out so clearly for us, but thankfully you do - so Thank You! Signed, A New Fan. :)


great post selena. but i do have to correct you: i don't come to your blog because i'm looking for tried and true methods. i come because i'm interesting in your reality, your process, exactly the kind of stuff you post every day. i'm sick of "experts" who never seem to do anything "wrong". it's so true that we learn from our mistakes - and i'm not even suggesting that you've been making mistakes. i think you're constantly learning and adapting and the beauty of your chosen profession is that you can do exactly that as your home/life situation changes. i love your blog because you're a real person with real challenges and you actually engage your readers in the process AND you do it all with grace and good humour. so thanks for that! and don't change a thing about your blog!

Leah in FL

I am not into reselling to the same extent as you, Selena, but remember telling myself several times to hold back on the smaller stuff that begins to take over my home and wait for the larger-return-on-investment items. Sounds like a good plan to me. Also, it is good that you change things up in your business. It is a gift to be flexible and change as it is needed. Love the honesty and frankness in your posts. Keep it coming. :)


Selena, thank you for all your posts and inspiration. I'm in the infancy of my reselling vintage items, and I'm having a blast finding items in such great condition. I think to myself how can something breakable anywhere from 20-50 years old still be in such great shape?

Within the last two weeks items have quickly started to pile up and I definitely see what you mean by it taking over.

I'm in the $10ish range so far and was recently, pleasantly, surprised when I had a Matroshka doll that I paid $1 sell for $35. That was such a rush! So I definitely want more of those kind of sales.

Thank you for all that you blog about!!! Good luck with your clearing out.

Jenny Miller

Great post, Selena! I agree with Angelika's comment. I don't come to your blog for tried and true methods either. What may work for one person, may not work for another. I come to your blog because of your honest and passionate writing. Your info on reselling is very helpful and inspiring. I like the quote: "The only thing constant is change." (something like that). Keep the posts coming! I'll definitely keep reading. Blessings.


You know you got a very big readership. I got my own tried and true. I come here to read your experience's! Good luck, I mainly agree but I sell a lot of clothing. It has gotten extremely easy for me to keep my inventory levels in the house good, sell quickly and do a quick turn over. I don't bother with $10.00 vintage items though. No way jose, to much work for not a lot of reward.


I love your blog and I honestly hv an etsy shop that sells a variety of items. For me, it is a thrill selling a dollar item for 10-20x that amount.. for sure... but u are right, high tkt items are nicer, as long as u get the shipping right.. on etsy.
Ideally, I wanna open up my own store, selling vintage and handmade.. one day one day. I need to stop buying too.. I know what u mean about it taking over.. so easy to do.. thrift stores are full of wonderful finds.. so so tempting!


"I go through cycles in ReSelling that sort of go like this. I begin to buy inventory. I start to sell inventory (anywhere from $10-$400 for an item). I buy more inventory. I sell more inventory. Inventory begins to take over the house since I never can keep up with the amount I buy vs the amount I list. Inventory gets moved out to the garage in order to get a clear head. The simple word inventory becomes annoying until I reach the point where I need a break. Then I start this cycle over again after I've had a good long break."

This is me. Since the beginning of the year, I've cut down the amount of thrfting I've done in order to work with the inventory I already have. Perhaps I might be missing out on a great item. However, I need to clear my office of what I have now for peace of mind and sanity and that to me is priceless right now.

Shabby Vintage Junk

Selena I'm SURE I'll always find you inspirational Lovey regardless of which particular model you may be using in any given month....!!!!!

Having said that I RELATE 100% to your dilema....The one MAJOR difference between us as resellers is I buy & sell junky stuff with no REAL intrinsic value hoping my buyers will 'get' what I'm trying to do & jump on board the 'junk / recycling train'....Sometimes I feel I'm pushing 'it' uphill but that's where my passion lies....!!

As always, I look forward to your NEXT post....!!!!!

Cheers from Oz,
Tamarah :o)


I think you are going in the right direction. Think quality, not quantity. It sounds like you are overwhelmed with too many items to sell and not enough time and not enough profit. The auction house idea sounds good, you will probably make more money in one day there than weeks/months on ebay. Life goes by so fast, you need time to enjoy it.


It all sounds incredibly overwhelming to me -- good luck with it!

Teresa Raines

I believe that you are correct Selena. I'm in the same boat as you. I have a bunch of smalls that aren't selling on eBay, yet my doll clothing sells immediately. The problem is it takes a long time to make the items and they aren't selling as high as I would like. So I'm moving into making and selling for a different set of dolls for higher prices. Same amount of time and better pay is always good. I'll still try to move those smalls, but I'm not buying anymore. I'm just buying fabrics that I find at estate and garage sales. This is going to be my income soon so I need to plan and sell higher too. After July 20th I won't have a job anymore.

Selena, I have put myself in that "paralyzed by too much inventory" before I have listed the first item! I have given myself until the end of May to make some progress - that is start photographing, weighing and listing items - or, I am going to box up the whole lot and donate it to the local coalition and walk away with a tax write off. Much of it came from there!

I think you should keep doing what you are doing. It is realistic to need to keep changing your biz model to keep it working. Me, I am in the place to be ecstatic to make some $10 sells and I hope to get to the place where I'm beyond it!

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