LISTING CHALLENGE ~ Week Three ~ Turn that Stash Into Cash!

listing-challengeweek3

Well, well. That was quite a week! I accomplished close to NOTHING with my goals. Oh well.

Shake it off.

I did get one listing done that I had been putting off because it was clothing and I didn’t want to figure out how and where to take the picture. I just put on my big girl panties and got ‘er done!

dsc_0001I’m not thrilled with photos, but they are done and this his and hers set is listed!

I can’t even remember what else I listed last week but I don’t think it was much. I never got around to the item I was thinking of last week that I’ve been putting off…besides the clothing item up above. No motivation and my health wasn’t cooperating. Plus it was a short week as we went out of town on Friday.

Hope you all made out better than I did!

So moving forward! Let’s talk about goals this week! I’m already a bit behind as you can see by the fact this is coming out on Tuesday!

Your CHALLENGE for this week:

LOT THINGS UP! Okay, so as you’re going through your older stash items you may come across things that were not so exciting to list on their own and so they got set aside. Or they were not really as valuable as you thought they’d be. Or maybe your minimum list price has gone up since you started thrifting and reselling. Or some items have damage that you didn’t see originally.
If you can find logical ways to lot them up, do it!
For example, damaged silverplate flatware can be gathered up in a “craft” lot. Ditto for broken jewelry.

I’ll give you another example. Years back I was into vintage buttons. I bought big lots and would sift through them. Very therapeutic. I sold smaller groups of them or sometimes single ones! It was fun. I still sell buttons here and there but not like I used to. Lost interest in the niche I guess. I may just go ahead and make lots again. Just to clear some space.
Here’s hoping I don’t get all into the niche again when I’m looking through those buttons!! lol

Here’s another example: Junk drawer lots! Yes, it’s a thing! All those little odds and ends and bits and bobs that you haven’t brought yourself to throw out….lot ’em up! Sell ’em!

So that’s your CHALLENGE for the week. Of course…keep up that ratio of 1 old stash item for every 1 new item…or 2 to 1 would be even better.

Pull out another item you’ve been PROCRASTINATING on!

And keep a handle on that thrifting! You’ll see progress…I promise!

Share your progress in the comments below and / or on Facebook!

LISTING CHALLENGE ~ Turn That Stash Into Cash!

Okay, so last post I mentioned the fact that I *may* have a problem with a bit of a backlog of inventory. The thrifting is just too much fun and I can acquire much faster than I can list and sell.

And I know I am not alone. Several of you mentioned in the comments that you’d be up for a listing challenge to help attack those backlogs!

In that last post I showed the items I dug out of a bin. So far I have sold the tartlet tins! That’s $24 (before fees) that is now in my bank account, not in a bin in my storage!

How much more CASH can I make from my STASH?? How much cash do YOU have hidden in those Rubbermaid bins and boxes? That’s the challenge for November! Let’s turn that stash into cash!

Join the Stash into Cash Listing Challenge! Got a backlog of inventory? Do you thrift faster than you can list and sell? We understand!

It can’t sell if it’s not listed…so that’s the first step.

For this first week of the challenge, I want you all to keep listing. By all means keep up with newer items that have come in. But for every ‘new’ item you list I want you to take one ‘old’ item from your stash and list it as well. I am going to do the same thing.

This is November 1st and already Tuesday so we will run this assignment until Sunday. Next Monday we will have another specific assignment for that week…and so on. By the end of the month we will see how much cash we’ve generated from our stash!!

Comment below if you are up for the challenge! Feel free to comment all week about your progress. I will also be running this challenge on my Facebook page so come join me over there! Over on Facebook you can share pictures of items you’ve uncovered and feel free to share the listing links there with us too! If you’re not a Facebook person, no worries…just share here!

Selling On Etsy ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ My Number ONE Top Tip

Make Money Etsy Top Tip

(This post has affiliate links.)

Welcome to Part 3 of my Selling On Etsy series! You may be here because you’re already a reader of my blog or maybe this is your first time here. If the former is true, you may want to skip the next few paragraphs (yawn, old news…). If the latter is true, let me introduce myself.

My name is Shannon and I have been an Etsy seller for almost 10 years. Currently we have 5 shops on Etsy, but one of those is only open off and on…we just don’t have the time to dedicate to it. (more about that below)
We sell mostly vintage on Etsy and some supplies. We don’t currently sell handmade…but a lot of the principles I cover in this series I *think* should be good for both.
My Hubby runs 2 of the shops for the most part and I work on the other two. Plus we both sell on Ebay.
Let me just give you an idea about our sales so you can judge whether my advice will work for you or not. You may be looking for bigger numbers but all I can do is just share our experience. Your mileage may vary.

  • (as of 03/2016) My main shop The Recycleista’s Retro Shop has been open from 2008 until now. I’ve had approx 1400 orders containing 1571 items. The revenue on that was $26,009. That number does not include tax or shipping costs.
  • (as of 03/2016) Hubby’s main shop, Metal and Tweed, has only been open since 2013 and has had 431 orders containing 448 items. His revenue so far is $11,554.  (08/2016 update: M&T is on a short break while we decide what to do with our shops)

A couple notes on that. First of all, Hubby is kicking my butt!! I do believe his price points are a bit higher. So that helps. Plus, the early days of my shop I didn’t work it as hard as I started to in about 2012-2013.

So that brings me to today’s topic. If you’re here and new to Etsy or thinking about selling on Etsy you may want to check out Part One.
Selling on Etsy ~ Part One ~ Why Sell on Etsy ~ My Top 5 Reasons

If you have an Etsy shop and are struggling with it or just want to work it a bit harder, you may want to check out Part Two ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ Photography . And then be sure to follow my blog as I plan on continuing this series!

So from my time on Etsy, I have consistently found that there’s one thing that will affect my views and sales. It never fails. And Hubby has noticed the same thing.
How to Get Your Etsy Items Found. My #1 Top Tip that always works for me.Here it is.

Just keep listing.

I know!!! Simple, right?? But it’s true. You need to list consistently on Etsy to have views and (hopefully) sales on Etsy. Whenever I neglect my store, views and sales go down. Same is true with Hubby.
Adding new items is great. Tweaking older listings is fine too. Re-doing a photo or two and fiddling with prices. All good. Just BE there. Sign into your account daily and play around. Do something.

No time for a new listing? Tweet or pin a few of your items. Find an item about to expire and redo the title, move the pictures around and tweak the tags. Probably in the four months since you listed that item you’ll have learned something new about SEO or photography and can do a few updates. Or, you’ll see some error or omission that completely escaped you before.

Yes. What you’re selling is important. Photography is important. Titles, tags and description of your item are all important. (And yes we will cover all those in future posts 🙂 )
You could have the most perfect listings in the world, but if your store is stagnate, the chance of your items moving goes down.

I hear from a lot of sellers who loaded up their Etsy stores all at once with maybe 10-20 items and then sit back and wait.
*crickets*
Nothing happens, so they say, “Nope, Etsy doesn’t work. I’ll go back to Ebay or Amazon or wherever”.
First of all, 10-20 items is not enough. Second, you have to work it!

Here’s another reason I say this. Hubby and I have different stores. We have completely different styles of listing. Hubby is way more patient and thorough. His titles are complete..his descriptions go on forever…he gives so much thought to each item and how a buyer might find it. I’m more of a slam-bam, here are the main points, do-you-want-it-or-not type seller. Every year (for the past few years) our sales in each store are about even. 
But when we ignore our stores? When we can’t list anything new? When we get caught up in our Ebay listing or working on another Etsy shop? Because, believe me, that does happen to me a lot. Be it for a few days or a week or more, our views and sales suffer.

**So HOW we do our listings is not as important as HOW OFTEN we list.**

Another example is our 5th store. Vintage Paperology. Neither Hubby nor I have had much time for it lately so I ended up just putting it on vacation.

Why did I just put it on vacation? Because I knew that if we didn’t have time for it….listings would just sit. I wouldn’t have time to add new items or promote or anything. All the items would just slowly fall off and expire. Which is what happened. No views, no favorites and definitely no sales.
It was NOT what I wanted any random visitor/customer who found their way there to see. So I felt better (and less guilty) by putting the store on hold for awhile.

So that’s my #1 Top Tip for getting your items found (and hopefully sold) on Etsy. Like they say, “If it ain’t listed, it can’t sell” or “if you list it, they will come”.

Oh okay…I do have one more bonus tip for you. Say you have a bunch of great new items you want to add to your Etsy shop. You only have the weekend to do it. 
Go ahead, make the listings. Launch a few. But then…save the rest as drafts. Then as your week goes on, take a few minutes every day or every other day to sign into your shop, and move  1-2 items over to Active. 

So how about you? Are you an Etsy seller? Have you had this same experience? Please share your stories below!

How To Tuesday ~ How To Remove Smoke Odor from Paper

How To Remove Smoke Odors from Paper ~ A fast and easy trick to solve this dilemma! With an item you already have in your home!

I’ve told you about my new obsession with vintage sewing patterns, right? Okay, well I may have mentioned it in passing…but seriously! They are so much fun!
Look at this!

Or even this:

How stinking cute!!
So anyway, even though I couldn’t sew a stitch to save my life…sewing patterns fit in the Recycleista’s philosophy of matching up quality vintage items that have lots of life left in them to the right buyers. Be Green! Buy Vintage!
Not long ago, I bought a box full of sewing patterns on Ebay. SO much fun to browse through. But as soon as I got the package in the mail, I knew there was a problem. I was opening the box and this overwhelming cigarette smoke odor hit my face.
Uh oh.
(my dealings with the seller and the whole resolution of that issue is another story…not to worry…it worked out fine.)
BUT, I ended up with a box of patterns. Honestly, the condition of the patterns was worse than described as well (damage, mold)…so many of them just ended up being fire starters in our wood stove.
However, there was a handful of nice, uncut vintage patterns that were fine….except for the smoke smell. I needed a solution for removing smoke odor from paper.
So I turned to the internet. And amidst the suggestions of the freezer, a bin full of charcoal or kitty litter or baking soda…one idea surfaced repeatedly.

Sunshine.
Okay. Small problem.
I live in the Pacific Northwest. At least 75% of the year looks like this.

Maybe an exaggeration. But in the fall and winter…I’m not going to be able to count on nice strong sunshine to remove smoke odor from paper.
Hmm…so it was time to turn to some artificial sunshine.

Yes! A hair dryer.
I’ve tested this method to remove smoke odor on sewing patterns, but the principles should apply to most paper goods.

First thing I do is shoot the hair dryer full on into the pattern, contents and all. Some patterns are more brittle and fragile than others, so handle carefully.

Then I take the pattern and instructions out and aim the heat at them one at a time. I didn’t totally unfold the pattern tissue, just did the best I could. I also aimed the dryer into the empty envelope.
It takes a bit of time so be patient…maybe close to a minute or so on each section.

And be careful not to burn your fingers!.

The first time I tried this I was shocked! It really, really helped! At least 90% of the smell was gone. I could use the dryer longer and probably completely remove it…or in this case, I just added a disclaimer to those listings on Etsy. If a buyer is allergic or super sensitive…I still want to make sure they won’t be bothered.

Have you tried the sunshine method before to remove smoke odor from books or paper? What’s your go-to method for removing those odors? Leave a comment below!

Selling on Etsy ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ Photography

Make Money Selling on Etsy ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ How Important is Good Photography?

Welcome to Part 2 of my Selling On Etsy series! You may be here because you’re already a reader of my blog or maybe this is your first time here. If the former is true, you may want to skip the next few paragraphs (yawn, old news…). If the latter is true, let me introduce myself.

My name is Shannon and I have been an Etsy seller for almost 10 years. Currently we have 5 shops on Etsy, but one of those is only open off and on…we just don’t have the time to dedicate to it.
We sell mostly vintage on Etsy and some supplies. We don’t currently sell handmade…but a lot of the principles I cover in this series I *think* should be good for both.
My Hubby runs 2 of the shops for the most part and I work on the other two. Plus we both sell on Ebay.
Let me just give you an idea about our sales so you can judge whether my advice will work for you or not. You may be looking for bigger numbers but all I can do is just share our experience. Your mileage may vary.

  • (as of 03/2016) My main shop The Recycleista’s Retro Shop has been open from 2008 until now. I’ve had approx 1400 orders containing 1571 items. The revenue on that was $26,009. That number does not include tax or shipping costs.
  • (as of 03/2016) Hubby’s main shop, Metal and Tweed, has only been open since 2013 and has had 431 orders containing 448 items. His revenue so far is $11,554.

So that brings me to today’s topic. If you’re here and new to Etsy or thinking about selling on Etsy you may want to check out Part One.
Selling on Etsy ~ Part One ~ Why Sell on Etsy ~ My Top 5 Reasons

Getting your items found. Wow. This was going to be one blog post, but I realized I can’t do that. There is too much information. There is information about your product, SEO, tags, titles, social media…Phew. I’m tired already.
So we’re going to start with your items and presenting them in the best possible light.
Pictures. And here’s the reason why.
 As you know, Etsy is also a handmade marketplace. That means everyday there are thousands of artists and people interested in art (in all its forms) all over Etsy. They like things to be pretty. They like eye candy. So to make your items stand out…or to catch a potential customer’s eye….I personally would abandon the item on the washing machine/bed/carpet approach (which may work on other platforms) and work on upping the photography game a bit.
Spend some time browsing on Etsy and study some of the options sellers have chosen.
See what catches your eye.
Some sellers use an all white background. Others use a wooden or white table and a painted wall.

Lovely cohesive look (and drool-worthy objects!). Scroll through her store and see how she uses the “Rearrange Your Shop” feature to group colored items together. Talk about eye candy!!

Some use printed backdrops.

Some keep their photos very straightforward while others prefer to stage their items with other objects.

Brass Pear Bell by Wise Apple on Etsy
(check out this shop for examples of how you can have variety in your staging, yet still have a cohesive ‘look’)

My takeaway on this is this: Whatever you choose to do…do it consistently. It becomes part of your brand and your items can be instantly recognizable to your customers. I am constantly working on this. I have struggled with the “look” to my shop for years. Still working on it. So if you’re just starting out…what a great opportunity to be consistent right from the get go.

Keep in mind you only get 5 photos per listing…so if you do get creative with the first one…make sure the other 4 showcase as much of the item as possible.
The other factor about Etsy listing pictures (at least the thumbnails) is that they have a square-ish rectangle format that takes a bit of getting used to. I prefer for my whole item to fall within the square without any of it getting ‘chopped’ off. I’ve learned when I’m taking my pictures…to try to back up a little bit so there’s space around my item. Then I can crop for the correct shape as I’m listing.

My other option is to an extreme closeup and fill the square with the texture or main image of what I’m listing. Like this:

DSC_0023
Etsy has a feature on the listing form where you can preview how the thumbnail will look, so that’s helpful. But no worries, when someone has actually opened your listing, they see the whole photo.

I share all this, not to overwhelm you but to get you thinking. Etsy is its own marketplace. It’s got its own feel and atmosphere. I’ve read lots of stories of people who tried Etsy and didn’t get a sale so gave up. Did they just move items over from Ebay and let them sit? Did they spend any time getting to know the site and its feel? Did they look at other successful sellers and see how they approach their listings?
If you need more help with Etsy photos…the Seller Handbook has many articles to go through.

What do you think? If you are an Etsy seller, do you feel the photos are an important part of being successful?

Next article in the series:
Selling on Etsy ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ My #1 Top Tip
Don’t miss any future installments! Be sure to follow my blog!

Thanks for reading!

Selling on Etsy ~ Why Sell on Etsy? ~ My Top 5 Reasons I Love Selling on Etsy

Make Money Selling on Etsy ~ Why Sell on Etsy ~ My Top 5 Reasons I LOVE Selling on Etsy

Welcome to the beginning of my Selling On Etsy series! You may be here because you’re already a reader of my blog or maybe this is your first time here. If the former is true, you may want to skip the next few paragraphs (yawn, old news…). If the latter is true, let me introduce myself.

My name is Shannon and I have been an Etsy seller for almost 10 years. Currently we have 5 shops on Etsy, but one of those is only open off and on…we just don’t have the time to dedicate to it. (more about that below)
We sell mostly vintage on Etsy and some supplies. We don’t currently sell handmade…but a lot of the principles I cover in this series I *think* should be good for both. (See the later segments to this series for the hard numbers of our sales. So you can decide whether to listen to me or not, lol)

I’m going to start my Selling On Etsy series with a basic overview of Etsy and things to know if you’re considering opening a shop.
First of all, let’s clear up a common misconception. Etsy is not just for handmade items.
You can also sell vintage items and craft supplies.

Fullscreen capture 992015 113034 AM

Vintage: Let’s define ‘vintage’ for Etsy purposes: “Vintage items must be at least 20 years old”.
“What?? 20 years old? That’s not vintage!! That means I’m vintage!! Or at least my vacuum cleaner is!!” Sorry. Now’s not the time to get into that debate. We already discussed that here.
For now, just be glad that these are Etsy’s rules…because that opens up to you anything made in 1996 (edited) or earlier!

Craft supplies are anything you would use to make other things. The only restriction on this is that you can’t grab something newer than 20 years old and commercially made that’s ready to go as a finished product and call it a craft supply. Yeah, okay. I’m sure people do that but that’s just silly. They’re just trying to get around Etsy’s listing rules and that’s not cool.

So personally, I have vintage shops and I have craft supply shops. I’ve decided to keep my craft supplies vintage as well. That’s just my decision. You could definitely list some yarn that was made last year or a sewing pattern from 2010 and it would be a perfectly legitimate craft supply to list on Etsy.

Okay what else do you need to know about Etsy?
Oh yes…how much does it cost?
There are no monthly ‘store’ fees or subscription fees. You can open a shop at no cost and leave it empty and it wouldn’t cost you anything.
List your first item and it will cost you 20 cents for that listing. (unless you sign up for your store through my link…then it won’t cost you a thing for the first 40 listings…and I get 40 free listings too. (yup, affiliate link)
That 20 cents covers FOUR months. Unless of course your item sells…but that’s the goal, right? lol
When you renew the listing, it’s another 20 cents. You can set up your listing to automatically renew if you’d like. (a new-ish feature on Etsy). It will charge you the 20 cents as it renews the listing.
Now, when that item sells…the fee you are charged is 3.5%. This is NOT applied to shipping charges or tax.
Of course, you will need a payment processor. You can use Paypal or use Etsy’s own Direct Checkout processor. Direct Checkout (in the US…it varies by country) will cost you 3% + .25 . I can’t remember Paypal’s fees off the top of my head..but if you already sell online, you probably already know it. ((UPDATE: I have heard that if you open a shop now, you can accept Paypal but it has to be integrated into Etsy’s own Direct Checkout system. So you basically use their DC system…but buyers can still use Paypal through that if they wish. Your money will get processed by Etsy, not Paypal, however.))

Okay, let’s keep it simple for today. We’ll talk strategies and methods of getting things sold in future posts. I’ll leave you with my Top 5 Reasons I Like Selling on Etsy:

Top 5 Reasons I Like Selling on Etsy

  1. Fees are cheaper than the other sites I sell on. I feel okay listing items that are maybe a little lower priced because I’m not losing such a big chunk to fees.
  2. The community is quite lovely. I like the ‘feel’ of the site. Most people are friendly and it attracts a nice clientele. Hopefully it continues that way.
  3. No seller ratings or defects or other such nonsense. I know the point of those is to make the marketplace better and only keep high quality sellers. So this may become an issue. I have heard complaints about slow shipping times on Etsy. I follow Best Practices…and I know you will too. It’s just nice to not have ratings hanging over your head if life gets in the way sometimes.
  4. My buyers are the bomb! I have rarely had a return on Etsy and when I did it was simple and no-nonsense. The whole experience is just less stressful.
  5. And finally…I love vintage! I love having a place to curate my finds where they are appreciated by like-minded buyers and sellers. Lots of people call vintage the forgotten stepchild of Etsy but as long as I keep selling what I list…I’m good with that.

Of course, no selling platform is perfect. There are things I would change or improve. Some things you just have to accept and work with. I use Etsy as a backup to my sales on other venues. I don’t foresee giving up those other venues anytime soon.
Coming up:
Part 2 ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ Photography

Part 3 ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ My #1 Top Tip

What about you? Are you an Etsy seller? What would you add to my list?
Are you thinking about branching out to Etsy? What else would you like to know about Selling on Etsy? Comment below!!

Keeping the ReSelling Biz Going While Out on the Hunt for Vintage

Okay. I used to do this all the time and it was a no-brainer. I even moved cross country (twice) and kept the stores open…even though my inventory was packed up and making its own way across this fair land. Two weeks. In DECEMBER! I just made a vacation notice and emailed all my buyers and explained. I think everyone except one person was fine with it. They needed whatever it was quickly. So we cancelled. No biggie.
Then Ebay started with their *ahem* interesting Defect system and I got nervous. Too many cancelled transactions is not a good thing. It never was of course, but now there’s penalties. So on our last trip in April, we closed down all our shops, Ebay and Etsy, until right before we were ready to come home.
I was set to do the same thing earlier this month but decided to be brave. Lack of funds can make you do amazing things! lol
So here’s what we did.
Etsy
~I went into my Shop Announcement and added a note…something like “*****VACATION NOTICE**** We are currently out of town until the 13th. Please feel free to browse and make purchases. We will ship your items promptly on the 14th. Thank you!!”
~While I was changing the Shop Announcement, I scrolled down a bit and found the box for “Message to Buyers” and added the same message there. So each buyer got a direct message when they paid about their order. I could have changed handling time, but I didn’t.
I did this for all 5 shops.

Ebay
I went into Manage my Store and turned the Vacation Settings on. Changed the little message to show what date we would be home. But I did NOT hide my listings. [Edit:] Then I went into Bulk Edit and changed my handling time to 10 days.

Amazon
Ooops. I forgot about Amazon and sure enough I had a sale while I was gone. I emailed the buyer to say the shipment would be a few days late and never heard anything. I shipped the night I got home and I hope all was well. Once I got the sale notification, I went into Amazon on my phone and just deactivated the few listings I had.

So for all my shops, once I had a sale. I made sure to email or convo the person that night. Or at least by the next day. Everyone (who replied) was super nice and said to have a nice vacation.
I’m glad I went ahead and left the shops open. We had a few nice sales in both Etsy and Ebay and it was nice to have some income coming in while we were on the road.

I also listed a few things we found along the way. And ran a sale right before we came home. I was trying to keep activity going in my shops. It worked so-so.

Let me share with you one thing I learned about my Sell on Etsy app that I didn’t know before. This is helpful if you have more than one shop on Etsy.

 You see where it says “Your Accounts” in blue? When you click on it….ALL your shops show up..the ones you’ve signed into before on the app.
And you can switch back and forth between your shops!!

Talk about a game changer!! I had been signing in and out of accounts on the road…such a pain!! I totally wish there was a way to do this on my desktop!! 
Anywho. I’m slow like that. I like my gadgets..but I tend not to explore to see what they really can do. I’d like to think this is a feature that’s only available for iPhone and that’s why I didn’t notice it before..lol. 
Okay! That was our experience. It worked for us. Of course there are vacations where its nice to shut it all off and tune out for awhile. I think that’s important too. How do you handle vacations??