Friday, June 28, 2013

Thrift Haggling Etiquette Discussion: My Top Three Thrift Bargaining Rules

Thrifters are bargain hunters by nature. Many non-thrifting pals balk when we seek reductions on already-lower-than-retail (sometimes!) second-hand prices. This is all part of the game, especially when you resell your finds for more. Let's discuss a hunter's daily activity, haggling. Here are my personal bargaining rules: 

1. Note Establishment Type: I consider thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and junk shops fair game for asking for deals. The antique mall I sell in offers up to 10% off on expensive or damaged items if you ask but I wouldn't ask at an antique mall unless something is damaged and I still really want it.

2. Retail or Boutiques: I don't ask for deals in boutiques where I see a lot of work went into cleaning, displaying, and acquiring quality wares. I have asked for deals on damaged or cleranced things in places like Target and Walmart and got that deal, too! But I'm a shameless loon, not recommended!

3. Don't Be a Dick!: I almost always ask for a reasonable discount on every item while second hand shopping, all they can do is say no! If they say no, it's their right. I'm never rude, I never make snide remarks under my breath while walking away. There's plenty of junk to go around, move on to the next find.

Some vendors are offended when you ask for deals but most are up for the challenge and actually love the back-and-forth to arrive at the right price. (At least here in the friendly, conversational, flea-market-filled south!) A challenge is determining what type of shop you're in correctly, like my scenario with Shep's, a place the owners probably don't regard as a junk shop. And remember, don't be a dick, it makes Baby Optimus Prime cry!

What are your haggling habits? Any tips to share? Let's discuss in the comments.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Thrift Core Brick and Mortar Story and Update + Lessons Learned

A couple years back I revealed plans to open a Thrift Core brick and mortar store. It started with sharing my daydreaming about a  peaceful vintage/art/cafe/book shop sanctuary filled to the brim with ample kitschy vintage wares, baked treats, books, local art, and a studious creative environment via the blog. From there I was shocked to be offered a $15,000 investment to start up! Since that time five partners dropped down to one sole proprietor (me!), my investor ran into tax trouble and had to postpone, and I almost had a location 3 times but the deals fell through. Through all of this I learned the following valuable lessons:

1. Opening a brick and mortar may not be for you OR me: I don't like the constant acquisition part of reselling. It unsettles me and give me hoarder feelings, it's a part of the business I'm really struggling with.

2. Keep Yo Big Mouth Shut: As soon as I learned I had an opportunity to open a shop I blabbed ALL over the place. With a big project of any kind cancellation is a reality, so hush until the last moments! I did a live presentation on the shop plans and wrote in various spaces on the web about it, my excitement was contagious but ultimately misguided. D'oh! You live and learn...

3. Be Careful When You Choose Partners: It's difficult to assemble the right group that works together beautifully. Start slow when choosing to work with others. Get to know them well and work with them on multiple projects first. Remember, you can do it alone. Thrift Core was entirely built by one chick!

4. Assert Your Damn Self: I tried hard to please everyone and ended up under valuing myself and doing myself a disservice more than once. I was supposed to be the boss and had the most capital to bring but let myself settle into a lesser role to be nice. Never again!

5. It's Okay to "Fail": I still want to open my dream café and/or shop. I'm realizing it might not fit into everything I want for my life into the future. I used to be embarrassed or ashamed of failure but now I know your career path is a constant evolution. It's okay to realize something may not be for you.

I still dream of my café/art/vintage shop and continue to hunt down the right location. Every time a location didn't work out it turned out to be for the best. (For instance, we almost bought an entire vintage shop but it was given to another owner. The shop ended up closing down. Could have been me!) I feel like carving out my own physical space would be better for sales than my limited antique mall booths and I'd love to make a creative local hub. I'm taking it slow, evaluating the options, and still thinking deeply to determine if it's still for me. If I find an amazing low-priced spot I may pounce!

*Photos taken this morning walking around my neighborhood. They've started two local breweries and an entire arts district, all within a five minute walk from my pad. Inspiring stuff! The big building with two "antiques" signs nearby seems to be abandoned. Curious and curiouser!

Got any business or selling confessions to share? Have you opened a brick and mortar shop of your own? I'd love to read your story! Let's discuss in the comments. And feel free to ask any questions about the shop and my brick and mortar journey. I really appreciate everyone's initial support with the project. Thanks for reading along, it means a lot!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Big Summer Thrift Core Sale + Promoting Yourself This July. Get it!

Breaking today's radio silence! I'm planning, writing, listing, and creating much behind the scenes! Right now is the perfect time to let you know about some summer deals. 

Advertising: There's still advertising space available for July, 2013. If you need more sales and exposure for your blog or online shop a prominent space on Thrift Core will help. I'll help you get the exposure you crave. No ad? No problem, I'll make you one. Check out my ad page to read more or buy an ad. 

Etsy Sale: Tomorrow I'm launching a huge summer sale on the Etsy shop. Everything will be 20% off for the next two weeks! Go favorite what you wanna buy and go back and get 'em. I'll always entertain offers and group deals so e-mail if you see anything you like. Drop me a line if there's anything you're looking for in particular. I may have it in stock.

Marketing, PR, and Design: I love to design banners and come up with PR and marketing plans for indie business owners, artists, and resellers. E-mail me if you need a banner or campaign designed or just need some guidance. You won't get found unless you get out there! I'd love to help! Investing in professional guidance and advertising is one of the best things you can do to help your business succeed, especially during the summer months.

See you tomorrow with a regular post. E-mail me if you have any questions about ads, blog/banner designs, or anything else :)

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thrift Haul: Groovy 1960s Goodness From an Odd Little Florida Thrift Store

Everything pictured is for sell. The deer are here. Large mushroom jar here and small mushroom jar here. The shelf and cart are in my Southern Crossing booth.

The thrift and junk culture is strong here in North Florida. You can almost take any random road and encounter undiscovered thrift gems. There are two small accidentally encountered indie thrifts, a mere five minute drive from my apartment. The prices and selection are random but I had some luck the last couple of weeks and a clandestine corner thrift shop, located right next to diminutive Dreamette a legendary local icecream shop.

I try to avoid wall hangings and artwork these days, it's a slow seller that relies on a special connection with the buyer, but this rainbow piece was so gloriously bright and 1970s beautiful. Had to have it! ------> On Etsy

I found another beautiful rolling cart  (I call 'em bar carts) which hopefully sold inside of Southern Crossing.
< href="" target="_blank">E-mail me
 if you're local and you'd like to scoop it up. I'm selling it for $18.00 and I have another older, similar one like it. The 3 silver rimmed glasses may be real Dorothy Thrope glasses. They're chilling in my antique mall booth for the moment, too.

I'm also enjoying these lovely retro glass tumblers, perfect for making mixed drinks. -----> On Etsy

And these stunning coasters/serving trays. Anyone have additional information on these? I'm assuming they're from the 1960s, a lucky thrift store score and practical, too.  -----> On Etsy

It's the mark of a plant lover when one of your favorites scores ever is another damn planter. I just love the colors and organic shape on this one. Also enjoying the nice retro watering can for watering my freshly planted herbs.  See more of the planter on Etsy  here and the here.

The final sexy score (from the same thrift store a day later). This mod chair is huge and in like-new condition with sleek atomic legs. Very heavy, practically indestructible! Selling it locally for $60.00. She's huge, sturdy, and comfortable. Been enjoying reading while tucked into this voluminous seat.

Edit: Had to add a photo of Yuko enjoying the couch! It's the perfect couch for a kitty lover, her claws do not dent this baby, it's made of adamantium or something. I have never encountered such an indestructible seat!

CAN'T keep it all: If you see anything you'd like to buy, send me an e-mail! Take if off my hands! :D

Find anything amazing at the thrifts this weekend?! Do share your finds and posts in the comments.

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Junk Shop Shep's: City of Lost Toys and Zombie Apocalypse Destination


Junk shop Sheps Discount  is a local legend. It didn't take long for my mom, a lifelong hunter, to find Sheps after we moved to Jacksonville, Florida over a decade ago. Perusing the dusty, labyrinthine warehouse transports me to my early days in J-Ville. It's the perfect representation of South Eastern junk culture, a hoarder's wunderkammer of cast-off consumerism.

Pull up to Shep's and you'll notice a buffet of furniture, cast-off retail signs and displays, and more bleaching in the intense Florida sun.

You'll work-up a sweat digging through random oddities before you even enter the shop.

Overwhelming, tacky, fascinating, and incredibly daunting.

The adventure has only begun, this is junk foreplay!

There's furniture, housewares, tools, retail supplies, huge quantities of canned food, stacks of bar soap and leaking shampoo bottles, objects shipped from China still-in-box...

A surprising array of dusty wares that haven't been manufactured since the 1990s, shelves of broken wares...

....Made in China Creepy-Kawaii Cute Ceramics...

...and stuffed animals from the City of Lost Toys!

Hunting aisle by aisle you start feel disconnected from society. You're in another world. Civilization has ended, an atom bomb has reduced everything we've ever known a mere shadow of its former self and you're digging through the rubble.

It's rare for a junk shop to confront you with your own mortality but Shep's will do that to you. Shep's makes you think of the trash humanity will leave behind after our inevitable extinction.

Will alien life forms excavate Earth and try to understand the significance of our plastic Dinosaur party favors?

Will the same aliens discuss boyband worship and culture? Will they look at this card and cry in anguish, "What does it mean!?"

Also, a Lion King wild pig/warthog reference, of course.

Aisles filled with canned food had me thinking Shep's would be my first destination in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously enough food in here to keep you alive for years! Not ideal sustenance but you won't be picky in the Zombie Apocalypse.

Though the immense size and openness of the shop would make it too easy for the undead to keep the drop on you. Yes, I think of my doomsday survival strategies in detail.

My desired quarry was a glass front jewelry case. I was escorted outside the view their selection. Telling for the area and large drug culture we have in this city my guide found a bookbag stuffed to the brim with illegal substance behind one of the cases.

I was desperate the look inside and even snap some photos but that would make me the reckless April 'O Neil of Junk Blog Journalism. April's one of my childhood heroes, but, y'know, sometimes she had it comin'.

On the way back into the shop my guide informed me that this lovely vehicle belongs to the store owner and it will one day be his daughter's (now five) first car.

My guide luckily was not offended by my ample picture-taking. I love the gorgeous painted signs on the sides of the building, beautiful color and typography.

I left Shep's having spent far, far too much money (this is another story yet to come) and feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Shep's is not an experience for the weak, but I highly recommend it to any local lover of rummage. At least as an experience, as the prices are high for my tastes.

What's your favorite local junk stop? Do you prefer a super neat second-hand shopping experience, or do you like to get dirty and dig in?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Desert Island Thrifty Survival Product #1: Baking Soda,The All-Purpose Cleanser


Baking soda is my premier all-purpose body and home cleaner. If I was on a deserted island (or the Zombie Apocalypse started, pick your scenario) and could only choose 2-3 items so serve as my all-purpose everything baking soda definitely makes the cut. Here's a few of my favorite Baking Soda uses:

1. Whitening Toothpaste: Pour some baking soda into a small bowl or jar, mix in peppermint essential oil if desired. Dip your wet toothbrush into the soda. Gently brush, avoiding your gums.

2. Fridge/Home Deodorizer: Put an open box in the fridge to help absorb unwanted odor.

3. Body Deodorant: Dust some under your pits for deodorant or put some in your shoes to stay fresh.

4. Face/Body wash & Exfoliator: Moisten a small amount baking soda and use it to wash and exfoliate.

5. Shampoo: Moisten a handful or as much as needed and rub it into your scalp to get it squeaky clean.

6. Thrifter's Cleanser:  A paste of water and baking soda is an excellent cleanser for hard-to-clean thrifted finds.

Why Baking Soda? The alcohols and sulfates in conventional soap and shampoo dry out your hair and skin,  making your dependent on the line of moisturizers the brand puts out. It's a vicious cycle. Using baking soda,  home made recipes, and all natural products don't just save you hundreds of dollars- they're more effective! The slight abrasiveness is what makes it an amazing cleanser and even teeth whitener, it scrubs off surface stains. If you've got some baking soda in the house, give it a try. You may be surprised.

PS: I'd use aluminum free baking soda for any body care experimenting. I like Bob's Red Mill Premium Baking Soda.

What's your favorite baking soda use? Got any frugal DIY hygiene or home cleaning recipes to share?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why I'm So Passionate About Creativity: A Story of High School Craziness

My 7th Grade Science Club yearbook photo, 1999. Jefferson Davis Middle School.

We resell, make art, collect curios, and hunt for vintage for its history and singularity. Vintage has soul, a story to excavate. Story is a pivotal part of Thrift Core, and it's about time I've revealed another layer on why I'm excessively passionate about art and creativity. This may be your story, too.

My parents were raised growing food and creating, my dad in the tiny tropical town of Ponce, Puerto Rico and my mom in a latino barrio on the mean, sunny streets of South Cali.  Growing up my dad made computers, my brothers and I read comics and drew, and my mom thrifted, dumpster dived, and crafted.  Making clay pots, memorizing the color wheel, and assembling tissue paper collages in my Naples, Italy elementary school transported me to a zen zone of perfect contentment. Being a thrifty maker is who I am down to my DNA, it's inescapable.

I've made dozens of websites since 6th grade. Wish I could find them!

Traveling back to the USA I ended up in the Duval County school system, one of the worst in Florida's already tarnished educational reputation. My passion for research and creativity continued. I was in science club and convinced Scotty's Hardware to sponsor a butterfly garden on school grounds. I started working on websites between 6th and 7th grade and was instantly hooked, I'd work into the early morning hours on my Pokémon and anime websites.

All I could find of the embarrassing, inevitably hundreds of drawings that helped me survive school.

But each year chipped away at my happy-go-lucky nerd girl exterior. I attended Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, an F-Rated school named after a KKK leader despite over 60% of the students being minorities. Lexile reading tests concluded the overall student body had a fourth grade reading level and my freshman class bought the largest influx of students the school had ever encountered. The jaded school Principal let us degrade into a primitive society, Lord of the Flies style. Desks were first-come-first-serve until the chaos settled down and more teachers were hired. The tableau etched in my mind of high school is like a battleground, there were constant fights and projectiles to dodge. Food. Shoes. Books. Hair weave. Luckily no condoms in the hallways though, those were scattered outside in the courtyard.
I have a dark sense of humor, but it's not as gallows as it was in High School! 

Despite the fun I had with friends, I look back on my years at Forrest High as creatively stiffing. I stopped being an activist and was generally apathetic. I did improve on drawing when I couldn't focus in class, at least! I haven't had that kind of spare time to draw since. I'd like to think high school didn't traumatize me, but I still have nightmares of being forced to return to it to this day because I missed a credit somewhere! Had it again last night!

Polaroids of the pinatas we used to make in Naples, Italy. I can still make one from scratch. 

My time at Forrest hindered creativity, but once I was liberated I found my tribe. The damn was unplugged and creativity flowed with abundance. It was blocked up for so long, now I can't stop it. And selling vintage allows me to express my love of writing, story telling, art, and history.

I've experienced extreme ignorance from my school system, and sincerely believe art classes and constructive activities would have saved so many kids. When I was trying to determine a bigger mission for my brand it comes right back to high school and the creative programs they lacked. I want to help others realize their potential. I don't want people to waste time on bullshit they don't care about. Life's too short to do anything else but what really matters.

What drives you to create? Tell me your creative origin stories or embarrassing school day stories!
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thrift Haul: Mid Century Modern Epic Yard Sale Haul of Retro Goodness


I went a little crazy this weekend, stopping at many different thrifts on Friday and at an epic yard sale I was given the heads-up on this Saturday by fellow Southern Crossing sellers. (Very kind of you guys, thank you!)

I often resist but I'm a bit of a coffee pot fetishist. Look at the art deco swirls, starbursts, and geometric patterns on these three outlined in gold on the glass! The graphic designer in me swoons. ---->>> Deco Swirl pattern on Etsy + Geometric pattern on Etsy + Starburst pattern on Etsy.

Ever make up scenarios in your head about your finds? I do it often enough to write the weirdest book alive. And I will. I've named this dog Chauncey. Also, my right-brain needs Hannibal Lector-restraints, he cannot be contained! Anyway, I love this ash tray. The colors, swirls, atomic shape, beautiful! ------>> On Etsy

Speaking of dogs, what heartless soul could resist the charm of this dachshund decanter! It even seduced you were clever alliteration and comes with a set of barrel shot glasses for your booze.

Pyrex! I left so much Pyrex behind I'm sure the big-time fans and collectors would  punch me through the computer screen if they knew. It was nice to leave something behind for the other hunters. And I had enough to clean. And is it just me or is photographing Pyrex against a white background beautifully a challenge? So I came home with these three, an unintentional all-brown-all-around set to list and love.

You rarely see it but I adore anything Native American. If I somehow found myself making a living selling Native American jewelry, baubles, art, and vintage things exclusively I'd be entirely satisfied. You have to click through to see the back of these, gorgeous. Though I feel sick with the throught that they were probably used for Thanksgiving dinners? Evil. ------>> On Etsy

This pair of mod pottery mugs are stunning, the finish is opaque giving it a unique look as some of the clay is shining through the thin layer of glaze. The minty green, gray, and slate blue in swirls are just gorgeous to behold. Beautiful, I tell you! ------>> On Etsy

AND because these never get old for me, a 1980s rainbow mug that'll be snapped up on Etsy in no-time.

More beautiful drinking glasses! I've got a beverage vessel obsession, it just won't quit. I love the Gay Nineties pattern and opaque finish. ------>> On Etsy

I just fell in love with the beautiful vintage packaging here. I don't think that's the right tray in there, the packaging just seduced me so thoroughly that it had to come home with me right or wrong. Look at the Viking ship pattern!

This mushroom purse, she's a thing of beauty. I've always wanted one of these! I'm selling the beauty for $12.00 via the blog if anyone's interested. ------>> On Etsy

There're some friends that think I have a clown obsession. I buy choice Clown-Things for their horror movie kitsch value. I will never forget the summer I was six, minding my own business sipping a Capri Sun at an amusement park in Italy. A clown materialized behind me. He learned over, put his made-up face next to mine, and whispered, "Is it Good?" into my ear. His voice raspy, menacing. Despite the childhood trauma, nightmares, and psychiatric bills for years to come, still love these mugs. The psychiatric bills and trauma  are fiction but what the creepy clown did to me is fact! ------>> On Etsy

Going with the Native American theme we have this gorgeous set of mod plates in the Navajo pattern. Love 'em. I will be plating them with raw vegan pasta creations until they sell. ------>> On Etsy

And an adorable little lamb planter, because no haul is right without some kind saccharine, sugar-dripping kawaii to satisfy my sweet tooth.

And a clear little owl mug! I like these for admiring the color of your tea infusion, this guy's adorable.

I like how this pitcher kind of matches the cup set from before. I don't do exceedingly well with pitcher but oh well, will enjoy serving up green tea with this one until it sells. Actually, I will keep it safe and out of harm's way until it sells because I will inevitably break this beauty if it's rotated for daily use. ------>> On Etsy For the pitcher on Etsy look here.

Suitcases! How I love them! Selling them all for $15.00 each via the blog if you want to take them off my hands, otherwise they'll look might nice on Etsy and in Southern Crossing.

And look here, another stunning brown satchel,  $18.00 for you before it hits Etsy, in gorgeous condition. ------>> On Etsy

Had to get this gold-flaked pyrex dish, it just went with the whole theme so well! ------>> On Etsy

And does anyone have an ID on these two groovy little glass dishes? Love 'em. ------>> On Etsy

Miss Yuko is enjoying the finds in the meantime, as always.

Anywho, I'll be updating Etsy and Southern Crossing all morning with the new vintage swag. Tell me, what did you score this weekend? EVERYTHING's for sale at great prices via the blog in the meantime, so do e-mail me if you'd like anything. Its likely to go quick once it reaches the public eye!

Find anything amazing at the thrifts this weekend?! Do share your finds and posts in the comments.

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

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