Coincidence and Pricing…

I was in my garage getting some packing material and my eyes lighted on a taped box. I knew it contained a pair of heavy, tall (almost 18″) brass church-sized candlesticks. Back in October of 2021 they had sold but as I started to prepare the order for shipment the buyer contacted me and asked if I could guarantee that she’d receive them by a certain date. Yikes. I NEVER make any shipping guarantees. Once it leaves my house I have no control over how long USPS or FedEx will take to deliver it. We mutually decided to cancel her order.

SOLD for $80.

So for all this time I have left them in this box, still packaged in my garage. Well yesterday I decided I should take them out of the box and start enjoying them again. They would be particularly fetching this fall and around the holidays with pine boughs and baubles at their bases.

Later that morning, before I could even bring the box into the house, they sold, for a second time! And I’ll admit I was a tad disappointed. I mean what are the chances that after almost nine months of sitting there I decide to bring them in the house and use them and two hours later they sell?!! (Still I have plenty of candlesticks for the holidays!)

On a different note, I had a wonderful weekend that included a juried arts and crafts show at the beautiful Filoli gardens on Sunday with my dear friend JoDee. This place always makes my heart sing.

At the fair there were fabulous pieces of jewelry, artwork, glass, pottery, soaps and more scattered at tents and tables throughout the picturesque grounds. We had a delightful time, but I realized…thrifting has ruined me for retail prices!

This one artisan made the most amazing fabric purses and totes. She explained all the features and care given into making them. They were not only beautiful, but functional, well made and built to last. I was swooning. But did I need another tote for the flea market? Well, no. Did I want to spend over $200 for this tote? Well, no. Even though I could picture myself using and loving it, I balked. I am so used to getting things “on the cheap”!!

Another lady sold jewelry. I spotted a pretty opal choker which she took out of the case. She had me step into the sunlight with it. She told me they were Ethiopian opals and the small beads had amazing flash. I was tempted, but then she quoted a price of $1800!. Here’s the thing…Ethiopian opal beads, while pretty and more durable than Australian opals, are inexpensive. Yes, there are grades to stone beads and not all are created equal, still even a jeweler’s supply strand of superfine AAA opals (of the same size as those in her choker) can be found online for $100.

Her choker was a single strand of these small opals that closed with a small gold clasp. Simple and elegant, but nothing that took a lot of time or skill to assemble or design. So I was totally mystified (and saddened) at the price. I’m guessing she has a following and can command these prices??!

I did buy one thing for myself. It’s tiny and nothing I would have imagined buying, but I thought it would make for a cute remembrance of the day.

A teeny tiny pottery gnome for $6!! So ridiculous!

SOLD for $38.

Thinking about pricing I had a Stangl vase listed for at least four years and it just wouldn’t sell. I lowered the price to $24 and still no takers. I finally decided to donate this piece and be done with it. But I kept looking at it in the donate box and realized I still thought it was a cool 1940s piece of pottery.

So I checked to see others had sold recently, and bingo, one exactly like mine in the same condition sold for $37 a few months back. Well that frustrated the heck out of me and I was determined to sell mine. I retook the photos and created a new listing with it priced at $38 and it sold in a couple of weeks…after four years of lingering!

Go figure!!

I will admit pricing can be a tricky business.

I’ve heard other people say this (and I’ve seen it myself) when things are priced too low folks figure there is something wrong with it or it’s a cheap item.

But if you price too high it won’t sell either. It scares buyers away.

Pricing has a lot to do with your audience and the platforms and venues you sell on. A few months back two guys came to our tiny 40-vendor flea market with lots of good items but they wanted antique store prices. I backed away pretty quickly. Others did too. And at garage sales, folks expect bargains. When I see an eBay printout by an item I cringe. People do not want to pay eBay prices at garage sales. And I expect mainstream thrift stores like Goodwill to give me good deals. They get TONS of great donated items. But that doesn’t always happen either!

Take yesterday for example. I loved this Cole Haan soft leather tote in fall colors. It had a waterproof lining so it could handle groceries or sweaty water bottles with aplomb. It’s a handsome quality piece, but gosh Goodwill priced it at $62! My mouth dropped open. I was expecting $24 or so, not $62!

This set of vintage fondue forks from Japan was kinda cool, but $4.99. There’s a similar set for sale on Etsy under $10.

So I walked away empty handed…again!!

I’ll close for now with this thought…

All of us are trying to make the most money we can
from our items–
whether they are made, bought or donated.
But there is a lot to be said for being fair and realistic and understanding who our customers are.

Happy hunting,



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