In general I am a confident person and love running my little vintage business. I find good stuff. I make a profit. And my vintage and antique knowledge is growing. But lately I feel like I’ve made too many mistakes. Just in the last few months I’ve bought things that I sold too cheaply, even after doing research. I’ve bought things that were good, but I paid retail. I’ve bought things that turned out to have damage and were not worth reselling.
I wrote about some of these mistakes a month ago in “Regrets, I’ve Had a Few” and usually writing about it gives me the cathartic release I need to stop ruminating and carry on. But not this time. Maybe it’s the scorching heat or the summer sales doldrums but I feel stuck in a rut with this “mistake miasma” swirling around me.
So I was thinking the other day “Enough!” It’s time to nip those negative thoughts in the bud and focus constructively on what I can do to move forward.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Take some time off. Even if just for a few days here and there. Give myself a mental and physical break from my business. I rarely do that. Normally every single day I take care of some aspect(s) of my vintage business–from listing, packaging orders, running to the post office, entering expenses, answering emails, sourcing, photographing items, researching, etc. Even God rested on the seventh day!
- Get rid of more stuff. I need to go through my inventory more extensively and figure out what items need to be donated or put on sale and what things need new photos/search terms/pricing. Some things have lingered in my store much too long and I feel the weight of them!
- Amp up the time and depth of my researching. I love researching things, but sometimes I don’t take it far enough. I think if I do it will help reduce the number of mistake buys and sells.
I also realized it would give me an emotional boost to find some really cool stuff as I haven’t done much sourcing lately. So yesterday I went to a thrift store, a yard sale and the second day of an estate sale.
It was tough, tough picking. I didn’t find anything at the thrift store. The yard sale had a lot of “collectibles”–sports bobble heads, trading cards and Coca Cola stuff–not my thing. There was a cool 1940s plaster hula girl lamp base for $600 firm. Yowee! I did not linger here. And the estate sale looked like it had been stripped clean by locusts. Really there wasn’t much left. But by this point I was determined to find something so I went around the house twice and collected a handful of little things that I shouldn’t have bothered with! Ever do that??
My favorite was an old soup can full of vintage Pyrex test tubes. Some are a tad manky so I’m soaking them.
I have some old Pyrex beakers and I’m thinking about putting all my “mad scientist” stuff together in one lot.
I also liked these two Sims ceramic ashtrays with Native American motifs circa 1940s/1950s. I haven’t been buying ashtrays lately, but I did like the graphic quality and condition of these.
I’ve seen a few for sale like these are listed individually for $22 (including shipping). I’ll sell the pair for $35 with free shipping.
But I didn’t find anything that was knock-your-socks-off good, so this morning I popped into my neighborhood thrift store to try my luck. I noticed the jewelry cabinet was much fuller than usual and as I was perusing the shelves I spotted one thing that looked good, vintage good, and scurried to find an employee to unlock the cabinet for me. It was a carved shell cameo pin/pendant of Mary and Jesus, likely circa 1940/1960.
Not a big score, but my best this weekend. I’ll list this for $48 with free shipping.
I do feel like I’m slowly coming out of this mental rut. And this week will help. My husband is taking it off and we’ll be doing a number of fun day trips, one likely at the beach and another in San Francisco.
As always, happy hunting,