I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge #22

Things have picked up, although I’m not sure if it’s because I’m listing more new items.  Whatever the reason, it’s very motivating.

I had a total of 83 auctions listed; of these, 35 were re-listings.  I had 29 sales for the week; and here are my best sellers:


FRESH PRODUCE Women Black Cotton T-Shirt Shift Dress XL – sold $10.50


COLUMBIA Sportswear Men's Black Waterproof Ski Pants M –sold $15.99


Fresh Produce Women's Aqua Floral Knit SL Dress Size M – sold $17.50


GARLO Women's Black Full Length Hooded Open Front Coat L – sold $19.99


FRESH PRODUCE Women's Cotton T-Shirt Shift Dress Sz XL – $20.50


EILEEN FISHER Women's Brown Linen A-line Skirt Sz M – sold $25.25


EILEEN FISHER Women's Cream Linen Pants Sz XL – sold $31.99

… and my TOP seller was:

TIBI HYLAND Women's Silk Art Print Shift Dress Sz L – $41.00

I’d never heard of Tibi Hyland when I bought the dress for $2.50 at the SA, but it was 100% silk and it just *felt* like a quality item.  There are many high-end designers whose designs sell at high end boutiques or department stores, but I am not “in the know” and am totally unfamiliar with their labels.


So when I run across an unfamiliar label, I know the item will be from either a cheap discount store or a high-end boutique.  This TIBI dress was gorgeous and it just exuded quality.  A quick Google search proved I was right!

$(KGrHqYOKo0E3EyhHkG1BN7VRL081!~~0_12From Internet

Designer Amy Smilovic started her label in 1997 while living in Hong Kong.  Her penchant for bold color prints in easy to wear styles soon took off.  What began as four easy styles in hand printed fabrics quickly turned into a full collection that now sells in nearly every destination around the world. Amy and her husband left Asia in 2000 and relocated Tibi to a loft space in Soho, New York.  (From Tibi.com)

The white TIBI label above is the current label, which includes the words “New York”.  The green TIBI label in the previous picture is the one that was on my dress, which I believe was pre-2000 before Amy moved to New York.  I just LOVE finding great treasures at the thrift store!

I still had a couple bags of clothes to list so I didn’t make my weekly trip to the thrift store.  Here’s the bottom line for Week #22:

Auction Sales #22:
Total: $6320.59
Cost of Goods:
Total: $1180.70
eBay & PP Fees:
Total: $1150.79
Total Net:

Online sales for Week #22, including eBay store, totaled $437.31.  I hope to meet my $4,000 goal next week!  Now THAT’S cash for trash!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two-Year Blogoversary!


Thanks to Teena in Toronto for wishing me a happy blogoversary and letting me know it was today!

Wow, I didn’t even know it until I read her comment.  What a surprise!

It’s been two years since my first post, but it seems like yesterday.  Blogging has been so much fun and I’ve learned SO MUCH from everyone!  I look forward to many more years …

The Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay ~ #17 Desuir For Vietri Fish Pitcher


Item #17: Desuir for Vietri Hand Painted Fish Pitcher

Starting Bid: $9.99 Winning Bid: $32.69
Paid: $1.99 From: Goodwill
Ended: 11/16/08 Winner: Oak Ridge, TN

This pitcher was one of those “wild card” purchases.  I was shopping the GW with DH, which can sometimes be a good thing, but not always.  As we walked around, I saw this pitcher, picked it up, and looked underneath.  It was marked “Handpainted Desuir for Vietri, Made in Italy”.  DH had that look on his face that said “ugly, cheap junk” so I put it back. 

We were standing in line to pay for our other items when I remembered reading something that said if something is marked made in Italy be sure to buy it.  I knew that if I didn’t buy the pitcher, it was going to bug me.  I figured for $1.99 I didn’t have much to lose.  In spite of a skeptical DH, it came home with me.

I researched it and found hand painted Italian pottery with this mark is a good seller.  This pitcher had a small chip on its nose, but it still sold for almost $33.00 … 16 times what I’d paid! 

I bought this in 2008 when prices were still reasonable at GW and SA.  Today, I’m sure it would be marked $5.99 or even $7.99, if not more.  But, then again, three years ago who would have thought we’d be paying $5 for a gallon of gasoline?!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge Week #21

Sales for June continue to be slow, but I have started to list more so my sales for this week have improved.  Last week’s sales, however, are a different story.

Had I sold that one Diane Von Furstenberg dress for $90, I would have had something to crow about! (Yes, I’m still lamenting. Read my post here.)  It was my top seller of the week:


DIANE VON FURSTENBERG Women's Black Silk Wrap Dress 8 – sold $24.50 & Free shipping

The shirt below had been taking up space in the closet for a couple years.  DH received it as a gift but never wore it … just not his style.  The buyer was from Discovery Bay, CA, which I’d never heard of.  It’s located about 60 miles from San Francisco and is a waterfront community of 3,500+ homes with private docks.  The buyer was thrilled with his new shirt so this was definitely a win-win situation!


NEW BAMBOO CAY Men's Blue Embroidered Resort Shirt M – sold $9.99

These maternity shortalls were already on their 4th week of listings when a bidder from Canada had the winning bid of $2.99.  However, they never paid so I relisted it … and they ended up selling at a higher bid.


MOTHERHOOD Maternity Beige Short Overalls Shortalls M – $9.00

A couple weeks ago, eBay had a promotion of 25-cent listing for any starting price.  I use this as an opportunity to list things at auction that I price over $9.99; and I may  also take things from my store and relist at auction.

I’ve always been a collector; and 25 years ago, I collected these Disney Musical Memories Music boxes.  I think I may have bought 14 out of the 20 figurines they offered.  I’ve given 6 of them to my kids, but the rest have been sold on eBay.

Here is one of the last two that I put up for auction:



I don’t remember how much I paid for them originally, but they’ve been on display, mostly collecting dust, so I decided to sell them.  I have the last one listed (Mickey Mouse Fantasia) in my store; and it won’t be long before it, too, sells. 

I’m including the music box in my weekly update since it was an auction sale (and sales have been so BAD), so here’s the bottom line …

Auction Sales #21: $149.53 Total: $5921.54
Cost of Goods: $81.79 Total: $1180.70
eBay & PP Fees: $27.71 Total: $1087.29
Total Net: $3653.55

Online sales for Week #21, including eBay store, totaled $170.96.  No matter cuz that’s STILL cash for trash!  Next week’s report should be better.

UPDATE:  Linking to My Dear Trash for their Trash to Cash Party!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Selling on eBay: DO YOUR RESEARCH … I BLEW It!

See my listing here.

I KNOW better!  I KNOW Diane Von Furstenberg dresses are high sellers!  So how did I blow this one?!

This past Thursday I went to the market next to GW and I decided to stop in for the heck of it.  I was happy to see that they had all their dresses on sale for $5.99 (regularly $7.99).  I found a few dresses that I thought would be good sellers and I could triple what I paid.  This Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress was one of them.  Last night, I finally listed them on eBay.

Two BIG things I did wrong on this dress:  (1) I DID NOT DO MY RESEARCH and (2) I DID NOT LIST IT AT AUCTION.  Two things that I ALWAYS do and didn’t do.  It cost me at least $65!

No excuse, but in my defense, I was tired and distracted.  I was anxious to list the dresses and get them sold so I could recoup my money.  DS#2 was in the room with me; we were watching a DVD we’d just rented; we were talking; and I was just not totally focused on what I was doing.

I’ve also been experimenting with free shipping and decided to list the dresses at a fixed price of $24.50 ($18.00 plus $6.50 for shipping) in my store, instead of doing an auction.  I always list auction first, then I do fixed price.  Why, oh why, didn’t I do that this time?  I lament!

This morning I woke up to find that my Diane Von Furstenberg had sold … yup, at $24.50 with FREE SHIPPING, no less.  I knew then I could have sold it for more, but how much more?  So I did a search for completed listings and found the exact same dress had sold for $90!!! Wow, that additional $65 would have been a nice chunk of change for a Father’s Day dinner at a nice restaurant.  Okay, I’ll stop kicking myself … for now! 

Wishing all the fathers out in blogland a wonderful Father’s Day filled with fun, laughter and love!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rag to Riches Challenge Times 4: Weeks #17-#20

This update has been long overdue!  I kinda took a break from eBay when DS#1 was home last month for a one-week spring break.  Then, there were weekend trips to San Francisco and San Diego, plus the Temecula Balloon Festival … not to mention a day at Disneyland a week ago.  Whew, it’s been a whirlwind of activity that has totally distracted me from eBay!

I know the summer months are normally slow and my sales have been REALLY slow this month.  I relisted about 39 auctions that just ended with only 7 sales … that’s pretty depressing.  Guess I’d better get back on track PRONTO with more listings!  Hope y’all are doing better!

Here are my best sellers from the past four weeks:


COLDWATER CREEK Women's Linen Red Dress Sz 6 – sold $9.99


LEVI'S 560 Loose Fit Straight Leg Denim Jeans Size 10 – sold $10.99


NEW GLORIA VANDERBILT Sage Green Belted Capri Pants 18 – sold $13.06


NEW ROFFE JETT PANT Black Ski Pants Stirrups Sz 10 Long – sold $34.99

Nothing spectacular … no Disney Pixar shirts!  Most of my listings were items that were relisted as auctions at a lower price.  I’ve also been relisting some items in my store at regular price, like the brand new Roffe Jett Ski Pants.  This was the second pair of ski pants I’ve sold; paid fifty-cents each.  Who would have thought these would sell during the warmer weather? 

I’ve also been offering free shipping on some of my clothing items.  If an item doesn’t sell at $2.99, then I’ll relist it in my store between $9.99 and $12.99 with free shipping.  This actually seems to be working.  Take these Ann Taylor pants, for example:


ANN TAYLOR Women's Ann Brown Lined Slacks Pants Size 8 – sold $12.99

I listed these pants at auction 4 weeks in a row, each time discounting the price, all the way down to $2.99, with no sale.  I was about ready to donate them, but they’re REALLY nice pants so I decided to give them one last chance.  I listed them at $12.99 with free shipping; and they sold within 24 hours.  My profit was actually more than if they had sold at $2.99 plus shipping.  Free shipping + the right buyer = a winning combination!

So, here’s the bottom line … bleak as it is:

Clothing Sales #17-#20: $288.92 Total: $5772.01
Cost of Goods: $109.61 Total: $1098.91
eBay & PP Fees: $62.76 Total: $1059.58
Total Net: $3613.32

Only 4 more weeks left of my self-imposed challenge.  I’m hoping for better sales!  Online sales for the past four weeks, including eBay store, totaled $614.52.  That’s STILL cash for trash! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust … eBay Continues Its Purging

I'm outta here!

I hadn’t visited Robin’s site or eBay store for awhile, so today I decided to see what she’d been up to.  I was a little surprised to see no items in her store and only 3 recent sales completed this month.  Hmmm? 

This is what I found on her “About Me” page:

Well I'm done here. I just received an email from the powers that be, that all of my listings have been cancelled and my account has been suspended. "Wow you must have really done something bad?". I wish I knew what it was! No explanation, no timeline, no reason at all. Despite constant hard work and repeat business, paid in full accounts and positive feedback, I apparently am not up to snuff. From now on, please contact me directly on Twitter and Facebook...would love to hear from you. Oh, and all that great vintage that won't be here anymore? Please find me on etsy....same name, same quality, different address …Thanks for being such great customers over the years.

What a difference to what she wrote just two years ago in 2009:

Well here we are in 2009...this officially marks the beginning of my 11th year selling on eBay! I've seen the economy at its highest and now I'm seeing it at its lowest.

Recession, depression, call it what you will...we're all broke!

There has never been a better time to buy vintage and buy eBay where you're guaranteed a unique, fun and economical experience.

I'm not going anywhere...I'll continue to bring you beautiful auctions each and every week. I hope you'll bookmark my auctions and check back often...customer service continues to be a priority…

Robin had been a loyal eBayer for 13 years (since 1998), with a store since 2006; and was obviously excited and upbeat about her eBay experience.  She had over 4,000 feedback ratings and a 99.3% feedback percentage. 

So what’s the deal?!  I’m speculating that she was not selling enough and eBay considered her a “hobby” or “casual” seller.  Her feedback profile shows 314 transactions over the past 12 months ...  or about 26 transactions per month.  I’m sure she’d had more transactions since not everyone leaves feedback, but apparently not enough to satisfy eBay.

Looks like eBay is also putting selling restrictions on long-time sellers similar to those for new sellers.  Here’s the full article by Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes.com.

“No explanation, no timeline, no reason at all.” This says it all from Robin.  The good thing is that Robin had another option … she opened her own Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ivegonemod.

* * Don’t put all your eggs in one basket * *