Sunday, September 26, 2021

Welcome home Henk

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My second grandson Henk (pronounced   Hank - it's Dutch) finally arrived last week.  His delivery was very fast so there was almost a moment when they thought he was going to be born on the Golden Gate Bridge!  Mees was very interested in who was in his old car seat when they came home. Henk gave him a toy dragon as a welcome home present which Mees loved.
Mees is very loud (no volume control) but it doesn't seem to bother Henk, guess listening to him for 9 months, it was just the same old same old. There are lot of sleepless night ahead!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Last gift from my mom

Related Posts with ThumbnailsI thought this was lost since I wasn't able to find it for years. When my mom was first diagnosis with cancer, she had surgery. She wasn't healing well so she had to go to the hospital every day to have the wound raised out and bandaged. Finally we decided it was easier if she took a shower and we washed the area and then go to the hospital. In the process of watching her getting her bandages changed, it was difficult to get to the area with clothes on and my mom would get very cold. With my kids in soccer, I knew about tear away pants so got a pair for her and it worked like a charm. They could get to the area without her having to take everything off.
After weeks of going to the hospital, she finally healed up. Sadly that type of cancer she had, the doctors said it would show up again and would attack some major organs. It was only a matter of time for that to happen and there would be nothing that could be done. 
As a thank you gift, she got me this heart pendent. I didn't keep a lot of jewelry but this was one I plan to pass down to my daughter as it was the last piece my mom gave me before she passed away. 

Curb Alert

Here in Alameda people leave stuff out on the sidewalk all the time. Either they don't want to pay to dispose of things properly (which is most of the time) or they think it's helping the homeless by giving them free stuff, which if you ever wonder how these homeless camps end up with so much junk, this is why. Yesterday at work I got a text message from one of my volunteers who saw someone (who is moving out of the country) putting a lot of her furniture out on the curb. They said there was a table there that would be great for the display window, so I sent my assistant manager to go pick it up. What he came back with was a very tall and huge hall table, much too big for my display windows. It was WTF moment when I saw it, but I know the volunteers had no idea the size of the space they thought that table would go in. I like to think of it as arm chair decorating, not able to visualize how it would work in the space.  What else came in the truck were these two chairs, which for now I have space for. Funky enough to keep and use. 
The best part of the curb alert was there were also two IKEA bookcases and I needed more shelves for the current bookcases I have. I really didn't want to deal with ordering from IKEA or going into the store.  I was thrilled the get them for free, even if it means I have to find a new home for the table! 
Never a dull moment!

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Friday, September 17, 2021

New Bench in the house

Related Posts with ThumbnailsI had not luck at the auction this past week. I was bidding against another dealer who had way deeper pockets than me. As much at I would have liked the clock tower face and over sized clay pumpkins, I just can't pay over retail. We were bidding on the same things for two days and he never gave up on anything. :(
I did get this arts and crafts bench that fit perfectly in my new place.  I had high hopes of getting the swan bench for the store window but it had a broken wing and the seat wasn't sanded smooth in one spot, so it had issues besides selling for over $350.
I do like when I find any interesting piece that works in my current space. As I always say, the hunt is the fun part!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Auction update 2021

These are the items I will be bidding on and hopefully be able to bring home. Michann's auctions are really big and well attended especially with their great online bidding. It makes getting a good deal on anything pretty hard. If you're into flipping watching the auction and seeing what things are selling for is just part of the job. At this auction I don't know if it's a picker or a private buyer as everyone is given a new bidder for every auction and that makes a really big difference in the final price.  Private buyers will pay full retail for what they want. Bidding against another dealer at some point we have to stop when there's no profit to be made. Plus there are a lot of metal dealers who are only looking at the scrap value of things. The clock face is huge and not something for every home so I'm hoping I'll be bidding against other dealers. Everything else I already know I'm bidding against a private person, so it's going to go full retail.  

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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Auction Week September 2021

September 2021 Auction Week.  Auction week is my favorite time of the month!.  It's not so much buying something but to see what's there.  It's always interesting to see who's estate is up for auction and the things that they collected. Finding those uncommon objects that aren't made anymore is the fun part. As all pickers know it's the hunt that makes it exciting!
I didn't know about a sewing machine that is just for sewing fur. Never knew how a fur coat was made but there is a machine at the auction along with a lot of coats and pelts. Not to sure how they will go at the auction since this is California and not Texas.
So off to the preview before heading into the store to do the clean up after a very busy Saturday. Will post again if  I find anything super cool!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Auction Blues

Set up the store, I pulled the best ideas from all the thrift stores I've been to.  It's been a challenge when I run into those who think I should follow what everyone else is doing. I know it's because they aren't at the store and haven't done retail before. 
I got the word no more buying at the auction. It was a great disappointment  for my assistant manager who really enjoys attending the auction to find the super deals on very cool things. As much as I understand the accounting issues it causes it also limits how we build our brand. At the auction we're able to get super unique items that we can flip quickly. It's not so much flipping fast but that we have things that would never get donated to the store making us stand out for the other thrift stores. The swan bench is something I had hopes of getting for the store but it looks like I now get it on my own. 
On top of that I'm being asked to open on Sunday because the boss believe it's a golden time. In normal retail and before covid, yes weekends are busy but when all the restaurants and stores are closed, there isn't a lot of foot traffic.  Doesn't help half the street has empty stores fronts too. 
Burning up my already limited volunteer pool for a day we make no sales just isn't worth it. There are so many other things that happen behind the scenes that just opening our doors isn't as easy as it sounds. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Can't always believe Google

Sadly the cameras from the 1970's are very expensive to repair (google doesn't tell you that) so have very little value. I had the comps done and the report back was that they're  good for a thrift store because we can sell them "as is" but there is no real value. I did do a quick google search (as many people do) but the prices don't really reflect what they could be sold for. It does make a nice display but I will switch them out as soon as another group of things come in. 
Getting the comps on things I think are $$$ is something I learned from Madison my consignment person. Since she deals with high end goods, she does get everything authenticated and sometimes things we think are fake turn out not to be. There was a pair of Parada shoes that I was sure was a fake by the feel and look, but it came back as the real thing so you never know. 
I know people are collecting the lens so I hope the word gets out we have them!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Double snail ink well

Related Posts with ThumbnailsWhen this donation came in, it was from the donor's parents estate. At first glance I thought it was a repo but everything that was being donated was very high end.  The mother's clothes were all vintage designer clothes, which of course went right to our consigner Madison. So I had a close look and realized this was the real thing.
My first thought was it was an ink well but I couldn't figure out why there were two on one stand. I posted it on a Facebook group and it came back as an ink well that would have held two different colors of ink, black or blue and red for someone doing accounting. They even post photos of others out there with all the comps. This was the same family that donated all the high end cameras which I'm getting the comps done this morning. Never a dull moment!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

New display - cameras

I started working on the new display at the store today. Saturday is our busiest day so on Sunday I have time to put the store back together. Last month, we started getting some old cameras donated, so I started planning on doing a new display. The cameras from the first donation weren't anything special since his estate sold off the good ones. By luck another random donation came in and these are very high end lens, so much so I have to set up time to talk to a camera guy. I did do a test run to see last month to see how well cameras and lens would sell and surprisingly they sold fast. So for now the cameras will have their own space unless the lens come back super $$$, then I will have to rethink the location.
It was like "if you give a mouse a cookie" working on the display. If I moved anything, I had to find room for it somewhere else, which meant I had to redo that display to make it fit. Still have to add some more pieces but I have to wait for the comps to come in. 
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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Learning something everyday

In running a thrifty store I've learned a lot but I can't know everything and there isn't enough man power to cover all the bases.
I made the choice early on (before the store opened) to use a consignment person to handle any high end clothing we would get in. It was just by luck I found Madison Hale, who is also local to the area.  I'm getting better at spotting the things that will sell well on her site because we discuss every item she comes in to look at. These shoes are a very good example of what I'm talking about.  I could tell the quality of the shoes were very good even with the bold design. Based on what Madison has told be about shoes, I sent her photo. It was a very positive yes! Theses are Irregular Choice (can't really read the label) known for a very funky styles. I thought is was a Wizard of Oz type of a thing but it's more a Betsy Johnson look.  Will have to wait and see how well they sell!

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Thursday, September 2, 2021

2021 Christmas Card Design

In my effort to use up my washi paper scraps, I've been paper weaving while binge watch something. I've made a tons of iris folding cards and paper weaving kimono cards. 
This morning while having my coffee I like to watch my favorite YouTube artists. During September there is one company that does a huge release and all of it's designers post almost daily what they're making for the whole month.  It's really a very fun time!
I'm a bubble thinking (my term) and as the bubbles are floating around in my head at some point they come together. This morning while watching a video using alcohol inks on plastic (Jennifer Mcquire) the light bulb went on I what I should do for my Christmas cards! Totally unrelated to what I was watching but it did get me to start thinking what other designs I could use for my weaving. 
I do the 2 peas card swap every year and this morning I got the notice to update my address if I still wanted to play. I had to dig around for my very old Micheal Strong tree die cuts but it worked out very well when I did the first draft! Hope I can make 150 by the end of November.
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