Monday, March 3, 2014

Marching on


Thank goodness February is over.

Between snow, the threat of snow, the rain, the threat of rain, bitter cold, the lack of sales, and the lack of good thrifting opportunities, February 2014 is simply a month to forget.

It’s time to march on, pun intended.

When I started selling online seven years ago, I had several goals, not the least of which was to avoid becoming Fred G. Sanford of television’s Sanford and Son fame, with matching cluttered house.

Today, I am dangerously close to that level of accumulated chaos due to my penchant for buying stuff to sell, and never having quite enough time to get it all listed.  I’m sure some of you can relate, and while I know misery loves company, I’m getting quite tired of zig zagging through our great room around piles of unlisted stuff, and not being able to open my supply closet due to boxes and totes in front of it.

I am also fed up with having a chest full of vintage postcards; boxes and boxes of collectible Star Trek books; and long boxes full of comic books gathering dust, giving me no return, or even potential return, on my investment.

It’s also disheartening to have inventory in both vehicles because there is no room in the house yet to bring it in.

Both Ella and I have kidded about opening a thrift store in a vacant building near our house, but I know that’s a pipe dream. Still, the idea of having an off-site selling location is alluring, given that it would be another source of potential income, and would allow us to off-load some of our inventory items that are impractical to sell on any of my current online venues.

So, after watching countless YouTube videos, and reading both horror and success stories, we picked out a booth at the Big Peach Antique Mall.  The mall, which features antiques, collectibles and basically anything but flea market tacky (i.e., used kitchen stuff, non-collectible clothing, etc.), is directly off Interstate 75 (the major highway that stretches between Michigan and Florida), and is literally just minutes from our house.

The rent is fairly reasonable, with no commissions, and the lease is month to month.  It seems like a good idea, with no downsides, other than the level of effort and cost involved in getting it up and running.

Since we have inventory, the biggest issue right now is getting the infrastructure in place to hold all our stuff.  Target had a sale on five-shelf bookcases last week for $25 each, so we bought three, and got a rain check for two more.  Since a portion of the existing booth structure is peg-board material, I also bought some appropriate hardware and shelving.  In addition, the local DVD rental store was selling surplus metal rolling DVD racks for $25, so we bought one of those as well. 

One of the tips from the YouTube videos was to have a sign clearly stating booth name and number.  We had been brainstorming names all week, and finally settled on Barry’s Bonanza.  It’s semi-catchy, and not only ties the store name to my online ventures, but also the word “Bonanza” is both literal (a large amount of something valuable) and figurative (a throwback to Ella’s love of the popular Western TV show of the same name).  Late Saturday night, Duc designed us a simple sign.

Duc's handiwork
On Sunday morning, Ella and I priced and tagged our first load of stuff to put in our booth.  Later, after Ella merchandised the booth, and I tweaked the shelves and hung the sign, it was very apparent that we have a long way to go.  Here is the metamorphosis of our booth so far:

The first thing we did was remove the hideous and dirty green rug.
Also, the ugly black bookshelf on the right belongs to the other booth.

Getting better. 
We still have a lot of work to do!
Aside from the booth, it was a fairly busy and good weekend of thrifting.  We went to two consignment sales, a Saturday morning’s worth of yard, garage, and estate sales, and the local Saturday night auction.  I actually ran out of money while paying my auction bill, and had to borrow $10 from Ella’s brother, who fortunately was at the auction as well.

Sales also have picked up over the last week.  Amazon has been steady, and Ebay, while not spectacular, has provided several good cha-chings on my phone.

Not a big sale, but not a bad ROI on 50 cents

Ditto.  I've starting giving caps a closer look while thrifting
I accepted a best offer of $25.  I love vintage software
Back to the booth, I honestly hope that I am not spreading myself too thin with the addition of Barry’s Bonanza to our repertoire.  Thankfully, Ella will take the lead in the paperwork, as well as the merchandising and organization.  Still, my already over-crowded dance card just got a little more hectic.

Who needs sleep anyway?

18 comments:

  1. You did a great job transforming the booth. I know you're not done but it looks much improved from the initial photo. I like the shots of red with the with. It's eye catching.

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    1. Thank you. We still have much work to do.

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  2. I'm so excited for you and Ella! I hope the booth is a big success, mainly so you can get your house back. lol. I love the name you chose. It's perfect.
    I thought of you this weekend when I bought a case of Codo typewriter ribbon for the IBM Selectric model. Do you happen to know if the ink on those ribbons would still be good given that they're still in their original plastic wrap?

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    1. We're excited, too. I think the ribbons will be good, but when I've listed them in the past, I always put in a disclaimer about age, potential to be dried up, etc. I never had one returned, though.

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  3. Looks like you're off to a great start! I've often thought of how fun it would be to have a booth but then I think of the time involved and let the idea go! Love your booth name too! ~~Pam

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    1. I thought it would be fun, too, until I started having to build bookcases and shelving. Just kidding. It's an experiment that I hope pays off in the long run.

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  4. Love the white bookshelves. They brighten-up the space. Good luck. Can't wait to hear how it goes.

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    1. Thank you for noticing the white shelves. They were chosen exactly for the purpose of making the booth look brighter.

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  5. Your booth is looking great! I've often thought about renting a booth, too, but I don't know a lot about it yet. I hope you'll post more about the pros and cons and how it goes for you and Ella in general.

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    1. I will. It's a work in progress, plus it it gives me something to blog about.

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  6. Your booth looks great! I would love to have my own booth someday.
    I had no idea vintage software sells! i figured it would be obsolete and nobody would want it. Hmm. Now to do some research.....

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    1. Vintage software is a BOLO, especially if new in shrink-wrap. Obviously, there are hobbyists with old computers who still need/want software.

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    2. I never thought of that! Hmm... now im just thinking of all the money ive left sitting on the shelves lol. Thanks for the tip!

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  7. Good luck with the booth. I'll have to check it out when my daughter and I go to DragonCon in Sept. Well, she goes to DragonCon and I go thrifting. The white book shelves look much better than the black thing in the other booth. Having a booth is much better than paying for a storage unit!! At least there is the potential for return. I think my problem would be letting stuff go...

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    1. DragonCon is about 1.5 hours from Byron, so it will be a heck of a thrifting trip!

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  8. How exciting! I agree, sometimes the clutter can really get you down. But having an extra avenue for sales to come in is always a good thing. Hope the booth clears out inventory and makes you some cash! It looks great.

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  9. I just came across your blog. I sell on ebay and also have a vintage booth. I like having both because there are things I just don't want to have to ship. I have just started writing a blog also and would love for you to check it out. Good luck!
    http://www.vintagestuffandsuch.blogspot.com/

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