The ever-changing marketplace

Today’s hot buys in the secondhand marketplace might be stone cold by the time you decide to begin unleashing them on the public.  Buyers are very fickle when it comes to what they buy.


Shabby chic could be in one year, then fifties modern the next.  It could be Depression glass even.  Several years ago here in my area, Jadeite was white-hot.  You could not keep it on the shelves, no matter what the piece (or the price) was.  You know what?  Now you can’t give it away, even if you mark it as “FREE.”

As a dealer, you must be willing to change with the times.  You might love kerosene lamps and high-priced graniteware, so you’ve filled your shelves with them.  The guy next to you is unloading advertising signs and designer marked jewelry.

You have to learn to watch.  Then you have to anticipate and move or the crowd in the isle will pass you by.

What kinds of items are selling in your area?

What are some tricks that produce great photographs of jewelry?

When it comes to selling jewelry, it is often said that a picture is one of the best-selling tools that you have.  What are some of the tricks that can you use to produce a fantastic photograph?

There will be times when you produce nothing but blurred, out-of-focus pics, or photos that show the item off-center.  A simple tripod will help you eliminate these problems.

I often use a mannequin arm to highlight the beauty of a bracelet or ring, and a bust or a necklace display.  Another option is to use a real-life model for the jewelry.  This could be your sister, brother, or even one of your children.  This type of display helps the buyer know what the jewelry could look like when they have it on before they purchase it.

Don’t be afraid to play with the settings on a camera.  We all know that digital cameras come with a macro setting.  Make sure to try the settings for night shots, fireworks, or even snow pictures as well.  You never know which setting will show off a piece’s best attributes!

Take a ton of pictures along the way.  Play with the angles of the photograph, and even use the flash of the camera.  You can even put a table lamp near the jewelry near the jewelry to help give the stones in the piece more of a sparkle affect.  What works for me is to use natural daylight.

I even play with the background as well.  If you have something that has a silver tone to it, a dark backdrop behind or underneath it really plays up the shine.  A piece of construction paper can be all the backdrop you need.

Another way that you can make those pictures “pop” is to take a piece of glass (this can be from a picture frame that you are not using anymore) and lay it on top of a piece of colored construction paper—the reflection of the jewelry can be picked up in the glass. There is a product called a light box, which can produce a “halo” effect around something like a pendant.  Instead of investing tons of money on this equipment, a flashlight can come very close to doing the same effect.

So what kinds of tricks do you use to take photos of jewelry?

Three things to consider when you sell an item online

When I first started to sell online, there were some things that I found out pretty fast.  Here’s a few of them:

The weight of an item matters.  This will be a major factor of how much shipping and handling that you charge for an item.  The weight will be a combination of the box, packing materials and the item itself.  A good rule of thumb is to find a box that is a little bigger than the item to you are shipping, but not too big—it will definitely cost you more.

There are restrictions on what items can be sold.  Each website that you sell on will tell you what you can and CAN NOT sell, and each selling website will tell you when you set up your seller’s account.  If you already have seller’s account, you can find this pretty fast in the HELP section of the website.

Use social media to your benefit.  Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest come in very handy when you want to spread the word that you have listed an item—I usually include a photo when I am on one of these sites so people can also see what’s for sale.

This is just a few of the things to consider when you sell an item online.  What other things have you found out?

What are some tips when you attend an estate sale?

When I started to sell items online, one of the types of sale that I found are estate sales.  When you go to an estate sale, the contents of the house are usually for sale.  I have heard them referred to as a tag sale and even an estate liquidation.

Estate sales are a wonderful way to find some bargains, but what are some tips to remember when you attend one?

The first thing to remember is that all sales are final.  You need to be careful with this—check everything carefully for damage and to see if any electrical items that you are interested in work.  When you attend a sale, you will most likely see signs that read either ALL SALES ARE FINAL or even one  that reads ALL ITEMS ARE AS IS / WHERE IS.

The next thing to remember is to bring cash.  The people that are running the sale may not have the ability to run a credit card or accept your check.

Another thing to remember is to bring the muscle.  You may need to load a very heavy piece, like a piece of furniture.

The last tip to remember is that there will be times that you can get a discount on the price of the item you are interested in.  The estate sale company that runs the sale will usually have the sale over a couple of days.  The first day will usually be full price while the second day will have 10 to 25 percent off and the third day could be as much as half off the price.

When I go to an estate sale, I am now in the habit of seeing if there is a discount the day I attend.

This is only a few of the tips to remember when you attend an estate sale.  What kinds of tips have you run across?

Things to consider after you attended an auction

Now that you have attended an auction, paid for everything and took all your purchases home, what are some things to consider?

After you figure out what you want to keep for yourself and what you want to sell, the first thing to do is to figure out where you are going to sell the item.  It could be at a flea market, an antique booth or even online.

When you know you where you are going to sell the item, you need to get a little history about the item.  Where it was made, who made it and even a good time frame when it was made will help any customer when they are interested in it.

Repairs may be inevitable before you sell the item, and you will have to take this into consideration when you go to price the item.  The cost of any repairs that you may make will drive the price of the item up.

These are only a few of the things to consider after you attend an auction.  What kinds of things do you run across after you attend an auction?

Simple things to remember to help keep the cost of shipping supplies low

When you start to sell items on the internet, one of the things that could eat up any profits are shipping costs.  There are plenty of ways to help keep costs low, and here’s a few of them:

Grocery stores like Wal-Mart will set aside some boxes for you if you ask them to.  They will give you a wide variety of sizes so you can pack any number of items.

If you have a paper item (like an ad or even the cover of a record), you can use plastic bags from stores to help keep it from getting wet.  Make sure that you also put a piece of cardboard with it to help it from not being bent.

When you are packing an item, a good substitute for packing peanuts is newspaper.  Make sure that you use plenty of it so that the item you pack with it doesn’t move around and get damaged while being mailed.

This is just a few of them, what kinds of tips have you heard of?

3 simple tips to remember when you sell an item online

You decided not to long ago to sell some of your items around the house, and some of your item have sold.  What are some simple tips that you need to keep in mind to help things go smoothly?

Tip number 1—when selling items online, make sure you have a scale to help weight items you are shipping.  You don’t have to worry about getting a scale from the post office—you can use a bathroom scale if it registers anything less than a pound (this will help with first class mail).

Tip number 2—make sure that you pack the items you sell as good as you can.  When I pack an item, I will use bubble wrap and packing peanuts to help keep the item I sold from getting broken.  You never know what might happen when the item is being shipped.

Tip number 3—If you are unable to get an item you sell to the Post Office, you can always schedule a pickup with them.  This can be very useful if the weather outside is bad or if you have to get to work (you can tell the post office to come where you work if it’s ok with your boss).

This is just 3 tips to remember when you sell an item.  What kinds of tips have you run across that help you out?

How long is too long to list an item?

One of the questions that you will ask yourself whenever you are selling online can stop you in your tracks—how long is too long to list an item?

From my own personal experiences, you can list the item from one to four months (that’s depending on the site you are on).  These sites will charge you a small fee not only to list the item but to renew the listing as well.  The renewal fees itself can add up pretty fast, cutting into your profits once the item sells.

What I do is I look at the listing to see what I can change—a better description or title and even different pictures can go a long way to help sell the item.  There have been quite a few of the items that I have sold online that I have done these tricks too that help sell them.

The next thing that I do is I look at the price and lower it a little if I feel that will help.  Don’t lower the price too much—it could mean that you would take a loss on it when you make a sale.

I usually don’t let any listing that I have online be renewed more than five or six times.  After renewing that many times, I take the listing down and I will combine it with something else to help sell it faster.  If I have a set of Tupperware measuring cups that looks like they are not going to sell by themselves, I will take that listing down and combine those measuring cups with something like a set of Tupperware measuring spoons.

One other thing that you might want to consider is switching the listing to offer free shipping if your profits are high enough on the listing.

How long the listing is active also depends on what the item is (like a car or furniture) or how expensive it is.  Both may play into how long the listing is active.

What do you do to help sell the items you have up for sale?

At what price do you walk away from a piece?

One of the first questions you ask yourself when you are out shopping for antiques is at what price do you walk away from a piece?  It’s a very simple question that every collector and dealer ask themselves, sometimes even on a daily basis.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking at a piece of pottery, a coin or even an advertising piece.  This question will be asked on pretty much everything that you look at.

A good rule of thumb that I use is I ask myself how much I can actually sell the item for.  I then try to pay half for the item (if I can sell it for $20, I try to buy it for $10).

The reason that I only pay half for the item is that this gives me a good cushion to cover any expenses that I happen to run across.

Some of these expenses that you also have to factor in is the cost of shipping materials like the box, packing peanuts bubble wrap and even tape.  Even the cost of the shipping label also must be considered.

There are also fees that you pay to the selling site whenever you sell an item (you usually will have to deal with these at the start of the month).

When I am looking at a piece, I also look to see if I need to make any repairs or even do something like rewire it or replace parts.  This will definitely drive up the price of the item and eat into (and potentially eat up) any profits that could be made.

What do you consider when you look at the price of an item?