front porch trash

front porch trash

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vintage Pierre Cardin Carry All

More from my outlet shopping spree.

I picked up this little vintage 70's Pierre Cardin designed carry-all at the GW outlet. I don't know why I like weird things, I just do. It jumped out at me as 70's when I first saw it. Then I opened it and saw two sets of hot rollers in good shape and knew I had to have it. It was a little heavy at 8.4 lbs.

Out the window went my resolve to not buy appliances. For those of you keeping score, if you cost this out at by the pound its $9.24. But I chose not to use the pound cost($1.10), but average piece cost. That makes it $1.70 because I didn't take into consideration that there are 3 items to sell. Just like I didn't cost out 3 bars of soap I bought at price per pound. I figured the 3 like bars of soap as one item. Or the 3 unit cordless intercom system as one item. Makes sense to me. It's just easier to remember the cost of items at per piece than per pound, for me anyway.

Here is what I found inside.

A complete set of Clairol Kindness 3 way hot rollers. A complete set of Clairol Swing Setter hot rollers, plus, in the yellow bag, two extra rollers for the Swing Setter. Both sets of hot rollers have a good sell thru rate.( I can't believe that a set of 5 rollers in the Swing Setter sells for as much, sometimes more, than the set of 20 Kindness rollers.) But the carry all is not to be found on ebay or anywhere. I did find a vintage magazine ad for the carry all here. All you had to do is send in the top right hand corner of your instruction manual and $5 to get the carry all bag. I would love to know how many were sold. Also, no idea what the cost was in the thrift store where it was originally for sale.

While it's not in perfect condition, it is over 40 years old and still in one piece. I imagine that most of the damage that occurred to the outside happened at the outlet. After all it was in a bin with an old vacuum cleaner, some golf clubs and a bunch of other junk valuable stuff.

Now to get it cleaned up and see if it sells for a decent profit.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Outlet Shopping

I've been thinking about my nearest GW outlet for a while now. The problem is that it's over 2 hours away. I really have to think three times about going and be careful with my shopping. But....I finally took the plunge and gassed up and drove to Winston Salem.

All of our vehicles have over 100,000 miles on them. My car has 149k, but it is in good shape and I don't hesitate to take it for a little run. My SweetiePie suggested I rent a car. I convinced him that it would be safe to take my car. After all we just had the valve gasket replaced and our guy said everything looked great. I didn't need the extra expense of a rental. (However, I did take a change of clothes and my medication in case I decided I was too tired to drive home late at night. Didn't need that either.)

So off I went. Of course I picked a day that started out with rain. But it quickly cleared up and turned into a beautiful, warm and sunny day. The outlet opened at 9AM but I knew I couldn't be there that early. I had two heavy traffic metropolitan areas to get through and I knew traffic would be killer. I got there at 10AM and the place was sorta crowded. I have been to the GW outlets in PA, SC, and Charlotte NC. This one is the smallest of the bunch. Warehouse style and loaded with the blue bins on wheels that seem to be the standard for these outlet places. The outlet was located at the regional headquarters and there was a training area and a retail store, along with the outlet. The retail store looked like a dept. store with multiples of the same items that looked like Target, Kohls overstock. Didn't buy but one thing there.

This outlet has several rows of the bins back to back, which makes it difficult to reach stuff on the opposite side of the bin because you can't get all the way around. I resisted the urge to get in the frenzy that happens when new bins are rolled out. Everyone was lined up at least two deep to get "stuff". Grab what you can and toss it in your cart and then grab more. Then it thins out and everyone moves to other bins to sort their "stuff". I watched from a distance at the frenzy. Kinda funny to see respectable grown up adults acting like 5 year old children after the pinata breaks. Maybe next time I'll join in. I've had my shots!!

I wandered around looking at the various bins trying to get a feel for what was where. Clothes when you first go in. Electronics on the right. Dishes and household stuff at the back and on the left. A little bit of everything and a lot of dirt. I'm glad I took my thrifting gloves. I have shopped in the free bin enough to get cut, scraped and exposed to who knows what and learned quickly to take gloves for digging stuff.

Overheard while shopping:
"I think they spray all the clothes with water to make them heavier"
"Smells like poop in here"
"Skank wear!!(followed by laughter)
"OMG!! how cute"..."OMG!! how gross" (by the same person, different items)
"Why would someone throw that away?" "That's trash"(by the same person, different items)

I had ruled out items that I wouldn't buy by the pound before I went. Jeans, they weigh 1 to 2 lbs a pair. Sheets, a full size set weighs 2-3 lbs. Appliances, too heavy by the pound unless they are really special.
Well, rules are made to be broken. I ended up buying at least one of everything on my list. It's my list and I can change the rules when I want!!

I bought a set of flannel sheets, king size. I don't know if I will ever get the smoke smell out of them. They didn't smell that bad when I bought them. Let me rephrase that. They didn't smell any worse than anything else there. I bought 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of denim shorts. Because? I made the cut off, bleached, denim shorts last year and sold every pair I listed for $20. I bought both because they were the small, high waist style. I bought some plus size blouses. Not high end, but I will make 10-15 profit on them. I bought a few men shirts. Again not high end, but I will make 10-15 profit.

I did buy appliances. I picked up several printing desktop calculators which seem to have a decent sell through rate. I bought a wireless intercom set, 3 portable CD players, a walkman, 2 electric blanket controls, several ac adapters, 2 CD's to listen to on the way home and some miscellaneous stuff.

My total weight was just over 83 lbs and I spent $99. I had a total of 58 items. I thought about weighing everything and using that as my cost when figuring profits, but I just averaged the price of everything and it came out to $1.70 each. That is $1.70 for a men's trenchcoat and also $1.70 for a pink magic wand (lights and sound!).

Overall I think I might go back one more time to see if the range of items varies significantly. I'll see how the things I purchased this time sell and go from there.

Some of the stuff I bought. The orange bag is full of odds and ends. The stack is vtg 3M bookshelf games.
The very 70's beige case with the stripes will be another blog post. I'm excited about that.

The good thing is that everything is washed and I need to clean the appliances before photo time and then I am good good to go.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"POOF" Your Magic Number is 3

In my relentless search for the magic formula to make things sell on ebay I have been paying attention to what, when and how many sales I have daily.

It really doesn't matter what you have listed in your store. You can never predict what will sell. Or for that matter where it will wind up.I had a Canon AE1 film camera that I sold last week and shipped to Estonia. I thought I had it priced a little high.
But it had two additional lens that sell in the $15-25 range. So I priced at $140. It sold in about 10 days to an international buyer. Shipping was $60 Priority. Fingers crossed until it gets there.

I have literally had this bag of brass switch plates and outlet covers sitting on the floor next to my computer since probably September. I could not get excited enough about them to list them. I finally ran out of things that had been either cleaned or photographed and waiting to be listed. I grabbed the bag of covers and went to town. Duh!! Took maybe 15 minutes to list them all. I had two different styles and three sizes for a total of four listings. I set them to list the next morning at 8:45. When I checked my email the next morning I get a "generous" offer to purchase this one for $7, including shipping.
Only one of this style and it sold first
It had only been listed about 45 seconds when he made the offer. I declined, stating that if I still had it in a week or so I may consider any offers and check back then. I had it priced in line with other vintage 60's outlet covers and switch plates at $7, but I added customer pay shipping. The guy that made the offer purchased for full price about 30 seconds after he received my message. Not a big sale. I purchased the bag of 11 assorted covers for $4 and will make about $50, if when they all sell.

I've also noticed that I have clusters of sales. Within a matter of a couple of hours I'll have several sales and then nothing until the next day when again I'll have sales in a lump and then nothing until the next day and so on. And it really freaks me out when the sales are all in the same geographic location. (play the music from Twilight Zone in your head now)

How Many
I like to keep track of how many sales I have daily. In January I noticed that I had 93 sales. That is exactly 3 sales a day, averaged. I did a little digging and figured out that most days I have 3 sales a day. If I have a day like last Tuesday, when I went thrifting and didn't sell a single item, I will make up the sales in the next day or so. On Wednesday of last week, after no sales on Tuesday, I had 5 sales and then 4 sales on Thursday. Now, ebay would say that this is just a coincidence but it has worked out like this for a while now.The entire month of January and now the same thing in February. Spooky (play Twilight Zone again)

And the items I sell are random new and old listings. In November and December I was mainly selling freshly listed items, NIP items and collectibles. But now the sales are so random that I can't even imagine what will sell next.

Does anyone else notice any trends to sales lately? Or do I just have too much time on my hands, or too much paranoia or just analyzing this to death?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Haulin' Denim....

Call me crazy. No, it's ok I've been called worse.

I finally got chance to go thrifting yesterday, finally. The weather, family birthdays, a new well pump, and lots of other normal things just kept getting in the way. Life is like that, I suppose.

I got a late start and decided to go to just two of my favorite stores. The first stop usually has a big rack of 2/$1 items. They have all sizes from children to XL on several racks up front. When I went racks. Oh no I would have to pay....gasp....full price!! But fear not I saw the racks had been moved and more added. The entire length of one side of the store, up against the wall, were about 20 rolling racks of STUFF!! And they were bringing out more stuff. The girls were in the process of going through the racks and removing items to make room for more items. My lucky day. I skipped over the children's items since most were shorts and pj's and miscellaneous clothing. I went straight for the ladies wear. I noticed that there were a lot of blue jeans in the racks. Score!!

I spent about an hour "analyzing" the clothing. The jeans were not the big name ones, but were in excellent shape. I figured for 50c I could make $10 profit on most of them. I also found several silk, linen, and workout pants. In total I purchased 31 pair of jeans/pants. I had a coupon for BOGO for winter coats and sweaters but after going through the coats and sweaters looking for big names I didn't find any.

Then on my way to the bathroom I saw that their linen bin was overflowing. There were 3 big bins of linens piled high. I came back to them and the first sheet I saw was a Sandra Boynton dinosaur sheet. More digging yielded an entire set plus another fitted. Score. Next a Mickey Mouse set, a king flannel set, a twin flannel set, a twin transformer set and several odd pillowcases. I was moving around the pillows in the pillow bin to get to the backside of the linens and happened to notice that it was a Sleep Innovations memory foam pillow and he had a brother. Double Score. And in a big plastic tote under the bin, tied up tightly were TWO down comforters. Double Score.

And I'm still on the lookout for towels for my daughter so I found six very large, very fluffy bath towels. Score for her.

By this time my cart was so full I was having trouble navigating and I hadn't even been to the housewares. But I never let that hamper my searching. Didn't find much in housewares or toys.

My next stop was my favorite thrift with the outside free bin. Nothing in the free bins. Nada. Zilch. Just garbage. Lots of big plastic toy pieces and junk. They need to just dump that stuff and be done.
Two down comforters, silk pants on left, jackets and coats on right
Inside I was able to use my BOGO coupon for coats. I scored two London Fog jackets, a LizSport barn coat, Brooks Bros trench coat, Chico's white jacket NWT, a 5X quilted jacket, Sunderland of Scotland wind shirt,  and a Dannimac rain coat. I didn't know anything about the Dannimac brand but it is made in Great Britain and there are a lot of vintage coats on ebay now. From the style I don't think mine is vintage but it is in great shape.

So, I really have a lot to do. Wash all of the washable stuff and get everything up to my photograph area and get my butt in gear.

93 items to get moving. What was I thinking?