Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Q&A with Cari of Cash & Cari: Tips for Your Reselling Business

 In part one of my Q&A with Cari Cucksey I had Cari answer your reselling questions. In this session, I was invited to participate in a group conference call with Cari and four other bloggers. The result is a long interview rife with information on starting your own reselling business.

How did you get started in this business of finding treasures in estate sales

I have been buying and selling since I was 12-years-old. About 15 years ago I really, really started digging in and going to estate sales. I realized, wow, I have a lot of information about things- why not start my own estate sale business? I felt like, they weren't having enough fun with it. I wanted to breath some new energy in to the business and decided to start an estate sale company.

Wow, that's a long time. In all that time what's the most unusual thing you've ever found?

I get asked that question every day. I'm always intrigued by what I find. There's a reason why I wear gloves … a lot of stuff from animal really wild and wacky, weird medical devices and I've found a little bit of everything. It never ceases to amaze me what I can find and it never ceases to amaze me what people will collect.

When do you recommend fixing up an old treasure instead of letting it go?

Anything that's solid wood, in terms of—are you talking about a piece of furniture or just a collectible, or just in general?

Yeah, just in general.

I cringe when I break anything. I've broken various like teapots, or a teacup that I love that I've glued back together and just said, you know what I'll deal with it, I love it so much. But in terms of a piece of furniture, I tell people to just really overlook the dirt and the grime, because that's something that can be easily fixed. But, if something is solid wood and you can get out the wood filler and get out the glue and get out your clamps and save it and you love it, then it's absolutely okay to re-furb and re-purpose.

We just did a piece on the episode last Monday where there's actually a few mouse nests inside. We cleaned out the poo and made it work. So, it's all—beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. If you love the piece and you can see that you can turn it into a gem, then I say go for it.

Do you collect anything yourself? I'm sure you have a lot of different things you like, but is there a particular collection?

Oh my gosh, yes. I love art pottery. I'm always finding new things to collect, sometimes I'll discover something new and say, "I'm going to start collecting this!" But, I've always collected art pottery, Navajo jewelry. I love arts and crafts furniture. I'm very eclectic. I like a lot of different things and with this business you really have to stay balanced, stay on the line of not becoming a hoarder of certain things. And letting it circulate and let somebody else love it. But, I collect a lot of different things, but those are the things that are true to my heart.

What would you say was probably your most prized possession? Like if you had one thing that you could take with you, and only one thing, what would that be?

It's actually the chair that I'm sitting in right now. I have an Eames Herman Miller turquoise chair that I'm sitting in. It's my desk chair that sits with a really old library table, so. It's my favorite thing. I couldn't live without it.

 Is it better to look for anything of value or should you stick to certain items, like dishes or books? What do you recommend for a reseller?

For a reseller. I tend to tell people if you're gonna get started in reselling go with the things that you know obviously. If you love china and you love dishes, start there because chances are you'll have a great eye, if you love of picking things out. And, you don't have to necessarily go for the higher valued items because, as I said earlier, there's a buyer for everything and there's a collector for everything. So, starting with the things that you know and if you're gonna branch out and research or—branch out rather and buy things that you don't know about, go for it.

If it calls to you and speaks to you, buy it, take a chance, especially if it's not very expensive. You can research it online. Chances are somebody online will tell you what it is and you can find out what it's worth and you can turn a little bit of money and you're learn something along the way.

I was curious, I know that this may be out of your realm, but I was curious in regards to like sports memorabilia.


What sells, like what's hot and what's not? Or, say if you're gonna hold on to it, or your children, or your grandparents send it down to you.

I'd say that baseball cards have always been hot and will continue to be hot. There's a lot of items that are out there, for instance, I think we sold not too long ago a Detroit Lion's Jersey that was signed, that was maybe something that came up at an auction that somebody purchased and wanted to get rid of or sell and raise some capital. The types of things that are autographed and it seems like there's probably a lot of them out there, those items I'd say are not as hot as, you know, the vintage baseball cards and you definitely want to pass those on. Those will continue to increase in value.

I was … if you have products like … coins that you can't find online. You've researched you tried to find certain things, where do you go to get those appraisals?

Start by going to your local antique shops. Because, chances are if the owner of the shop can't tell you what it is, they'll have an arsenal in their rolodex of somebody who's an expert in that particular item who can least point you in the right direction. Put you in the right path of what it is. I also recommend posting it, taking pictures and posting it online. Because, there's a lot of antique lovers out there who will be more than willing to help you identify the piece. I've done that myself.

I'm not an expert in World War II, and there's so much stuff out there. I've taken pictures of various items and said, hey, do you know what this is can you help me out? Knowing that there's a lot of collectors of that stuff out there. People love to help.

 Okay so is there a specific Website or—you know that you would post those picture to?

I don't, I would do a general search because there's a lot of different clubs out there. There's a club for any kind of collector and chances are they have a blog or, you could even post it on Craigslist under the antique section for sale. There are people out there who love to identify things and help other people. So, my first step would be to search out to see if there's a club of those collectors.

What's your best resource for researching your finds?

I use a variety of sites; it's all dependent upon what the item is. I have a wonderful site that I subscribe to. It's a little bit costly, but it's called Dictionary of Marks. If you're dealing with china or silver or just in general items in terms of pottery and things with a mark, that's a great resource. I think they have a trial basis that you can do for free for a few days, before actually paying for the service. I always say you can go to the library too, there's all kinds of reference books there that are free to use. But, that's a great site if you're looking to identify some china or pottery or silver.

Do you think that the market that you're in as far as estate sales and antiques, do you feel like it's a more man-based business or do you feel woman aren't looked as being as knowledgeable as men are in this kind of category?

Absolutely not.


Men and woman who shop at my store, come to the sales, and buy online. I think it's equaled numbered. And, I'm hoping that the show and all of these thrifty trash-to-treasure shows are gonna inspire younger groups of people to get involved and to be more conscious about what they're buying and what they're in to and maybe become collectors. So, it's definitely equal down the line in terms of men and women.

 With the specific names of the products out there that are antiques and stuff like that, I know some of them, but are there any that are particular besides just, if you like it, get it that are better to re-sell?

In terms of are you thinking of like name … products like McCoy pottery or Roseville pottery, is that what you mean?

Yes, exactly.

Any item can be searched and sought out online. There's obviously a group of people online that collect it. But, again I go back to "there's a buyer for everything". I don't know if you mean selling online, but sometimes if it's something that you think may not sell very quickly, it sells quickly. So, there really is no rhyme or reason. I always go back to one person's junk really is another person's treasure. And, there is a collector for everything. And, luckily, we have the internet where we have this international worldwide market, where people can seek out and find your item.

Did you approach HGTV for a show or answer a casting call or did they reach out to you?

They actually reached out to me. I got an e-mail from somebody who was scouting out. I think that they were looking for a woman antiques dealer and liquidator so- they reached out to me which was really cool.

* * *

I participated in this group Q&A session along with fellow bloggers Entertainmentopia, Flea Market Trixie, Frugally Thrifty, and A Full Cup. We each asked out questions one at a time. Thank you HGTV for this opportunity to ask our questions directly!
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  1. Great interview and info. I enjoy her show!

  2. Thanks for the info - what a great opportunity for all of you!

  3. Another great interview! After reading part one, I turned to OnDemand to check the show out for myself. I had myself a Cash and Cari marathon. She's awesome!

  4. Wonderful continuation, Van. Thank you! I loved all of it, and I have to admit it made me feel a bit better. Like I'm on the right track. I love her attitude - very upbeat & inspiring!

  5. this was interesting, thanks for sharing! I just found her show a few weeks ago


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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