Friday, October 17, 2014

The Top 5 Reasons Everyone's Quitting Reselling + My Indie Business Dilemmas

I have friends trying to sell all of their merchandise and move out of their antique mall booths and/or shutting down their online shops. I've received several e-mails from others doing the same, asking me for advice on what to do through this process, or asking me what I'm doing with my own reselling business. Am I quitting reselling for good? Yes and no.

My antique mall booth before: a quick shot before I got to worth and re-arranged the hell out of it. It currently holds nearly all of my stock, soon to hold all of it! My sign was sponsored by Build a Sign.

I have taken a long break from thrifting because my apartment was filled beyond a level I found comfortable and I couldn't do it anymore. It was starting to feel like I was obligated to continue to buybuybuy to keep up with my Monday thrift haul posts, which was definitely the wrong reason to keep stressing out my living situation. I had to be proactive, stop, step back and evaluate. I need a fresh start, once I've sold off a lot of my current merchandise I'll go back to thrifting with a fresh approach and I'm excited to add much more handmade/crafts/art to the mix! My antique mall booth and online shop are going to stay open, and I'm glad I finally put my foot down and stopped feeling bad about potentially not pleasing others to save my sanity!

1. You have to constantly acquire merchandise and it's torture for the minimalist-minded.

You cannot stop acquiring in retail. And like I wrote before, thrifting is not a substitute for materialism. It's just a cheaper way to fulfill the primitive reptile-like part of our brain that always craves more. Which leads to the next problem...

2. This is a difficult job to do without a dedicated, organized, detailed storage system.

I'm always going crazy trying to find the best way to organize my merchandise in my shared 2-bedroom apartment. I've filled my pantry, kitchen cabinet, part of my bedroom closet, and an expedit unit from IKEA all at once. It always gets better but the process is frustrating, it's just not something my brain likes for some reason. It's strange because I adore organizing, but organizing my reselling merchandise makes me angry and twitchy. Part of it is because...

3. Sometimes merchandise will sit for months and months.

Moving the same merchandise around for months is soul-crushing. You get tired of seeing the same-old all the time. It's very uninspiring for an artist. We need fresh stimulation to innovate.

4. It's just harder to resell now.

Don't get me wrong, I still believe with hard work you can sell anything for any amount of money. It's up to you as the business owner to create the need. That said, there was an ease that came with selling that just isn't here anymore. You really have to hustle, promote, and work hard because of reproductions, increase competition, and less buyers.

5. Reselling requires a lot of physical and mental labor. And time.

A big thing that wears me out with reselling was moving the same boxes of merchandise up-and-down my 34 steps and out the door to my car across the street and then to-and-fro from my antique mall and/or local sales over...and over...and over again! You're mentally exhausted from setting up the same things and physically exhausted from the car being stuffed to the brim with boxes. But the mental exhaustion of it all was much worse.

Let's not forget the hours of labor involved in finding items (driving, the actual hunting, lugging it upstairs), cleaning, photographing, editing photos, listing, taking inventory, storing, transporting to shops, packing, shipping! Hours upon hours of work.

But wait, there's more: So there's all of the facts above and that fact that for many of us, reselling IS a full time job but it's not our only job.

I've reduced enough of my merchandise to stuff my antique mall booth with all of merchandise. Having it all out of my home clears my mind enormously and the break will help me write/edit my content the way I want to. Blogging is my first love and I'm excited to work as hard as possible on it again and get my brain mess together for future fun, creative projects!

So Spill, Reseller and Indie Biz Buddies: Are you thinking of quitting? Taking a long break? Having problems with selling or writing? We all get there at one time or another. I was inspired to write this post because of the amount of e-mails I'm getting from fellow re-sellers quitting. It's harder now, but it's not impossible.
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29 comments:

  1. Yes, while I love the hunt and the find- I abhore the storing. I'm looking for ways to easily store out of site while it waits to sell and am now downsizing greatly so I don't have so much...stuff.

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    1. It's soul crushing for me to have all that merch as part of my responsibility. Glad to be on a break from bringing more in right now.

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  2. Meant to include an e-mail at the start of today's post, not at a place where I can edit it right now, will follow-up with that later. Sorry for the mess-up!

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  3. The hunter & gatherer part of me wants to keep on treasure hunting and getting that endorphin high over a great find, but then there is my storage room where goods wait to be sold that I abhor. Drat! It is confounding. I sell at a great place and always do well, but I'm thinking of giving it up after the holidays. I'll miss the extra $, which goes into our travel fund...so I'm not sure.

    Great stimulating post topic Van!

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    1. It's always good to step back from acquiring if it feels wrong. I'm excited to get back to the hunt once I've cleared out some clutter.

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  4. Yup, yup, yup. It's a tough market anymore. Do you think that because there's been an influx of people hopping on the vintage re-sell bandwagon? I have to wonder if TV shows like Flea Market Flip or Thrift Hunters (both of which I watch, religiously) are drawing more people in as sellers. I'm not giving up, though. I'm re-launching everything...the blog, the Facebook page, the Etsy shop. It's going to be a busy few weeks. But I love it.

    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting

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    1. I do ponder if that's contributing to it, not impossible. I don't watch any thrifting shows what so ever, ironically enough. Not just due to lack of time/general TV dislike (I prefer movies and web shows) but also...I LIVE it, no mas when I'm "resting" :D I'm not giving up either, I just stuffed a bunch of stuff into my booth and I'll be pricing, shooting/editing more momentarily, but definitely taking a break from the influx. And re-evaluating and coming back fresher. You launch that thang, let me know when it's up :D

      Hope all's been well with ya. If you see Stosha or Kira tell 'em to hit me up? Worried, can't get ahold of them.

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  5. As with any business you must change to stay in business - exactly what you are doing. Reselling will always happen - perhaps just in a slightly different way. No need to let it take over your life though, not worth it!

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    1. Indeed! Thanks for understanding :P You gotta do what feels right, the gut feeling is often correct!

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  6. This year has been tough for me. Much slower sales equal less income to buy equal less fresh stock equal slower sales. I've considered calling it quits after Xmas. Several other factors that aren't politc to mention publically have really burnt me out. I don't know :/

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    1. That's what I meant to include in this post, d'oh! I'll have to do a follow-up, I was out of town and thought I'd be able to add the quotes but the internet was spotty, but I had e-mails from others who are saying the same exact thing you are. It's just plain hard right now. :( -Really- hard, but not impossible. Would love to meet up with you for inspiring vibes and creative time whenever, lady!

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    2. Likewise! Love your post about the Hostel, so envious. Gotta get over this head cold and we should get together =)

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  7. I just started the process of purging myself. It has to be done. Having so much junk around causes stress and I don't like that. Hoping to get rid of a lot of this stuff by Christmas. A lot of odds and ends will go into a discount box at the booth and some of it will get lotted together and sold as junk piles on ebay.

    Things have maintained for me. I have not experienced a loss of sales, however I have become more selective in my purchasing and have also reevaluated my game plan.

    You guys mention the picking and flea market shows. I agree that alot of people started reselling due to that. Along with desperation and poor job markets. But I also think those shows created collectors. Ya know, every industry rides a roller coaster. And if we can ride that out we will be better off. Many of those dealers will eventually give up and become employees again.

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    1. Good points, I'm really exhausted with it all but eager to move a lot of the pieces and and move forward, like you said, with a better plan and a clean slate. I'll always resell to a degree.

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  8. I have been selling on eBay for years. This past summer has been very slow. Last year I set a goal to sell a specific quantity of stuff between Oct. and Dec., and I more than met my goal. I'm mostly selling stuff I have collected and just no longer want, but also stuff that I collected for resale. Sometimes on the stuff I collected I take a loss and move on. I haven't been hitting the garage sales/thrift stores as much, because everyone there is looking up prices on their phones for re-sale and I just don't want to bother for the most part. When I do stop at the thrift shops I feel better when I walk away with nothing - then I know I'm not missing out on anything great. I have bought a few pieces this year that I can actually make some profit on. I took a lot of photos for eBay to cover for the next few weeks in the past few days. I made another sales goal to hit by Jan.1; so far it's slow. I want my closet space/basement space back.

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    1. I got most of my closet and home space back, sooo much clearer-minded for it. Can't wait to get it all completely clear so I can go back with a "fresh start".

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  9. For me, weirdly, it's the social media aspect that I hate. I only joined Facebook and IG and all that because of my biz and I actually hate it. I'd like to unplug. But, it kills my biz when I do. I even notice a difference with just a small 3 or 4 day break. I'm all online now and I've noticed a major decrease in the physical work part and time/energy saved. I have no intention at returning to brick & mortar.

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    1. Oh I agree with that, too. Instagram is fun for the connectivity but I hate that I have to pause when I'm having beautiful moments with loved ones to share it. I love documenting, I really do, but it also takes you out of the "now". Same here with a brick and mortar, it is so hard. I want to keep my booth but damn...haha ;p

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  10. I put my Etsy shop on hold for the new baby and now I'm not really interested in going back to reselling. Looking back, it did take up a lot of time with veeeery little pay off.

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    1. It is a looot of work to get it profitable for sure. Like it's said, "Indie business owners are the only people crazy enough to work 60 hours a week so they don't have to work 40..."

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  11. I have just stopped reselling vintage items after a few years. I was doing it alongside my artwork, and now I am just focusing 100% on selling my art. I really liked this article, and it hit home on quite a few points. Perhaps it is something I will go back to though when I feel so inclined.

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    1. It's definitely a lot of hard work, I don't blame you for needing a break from making art AND reselling.

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  13. I'm venturing out - with Instagram. I am having my first sale on November 2nd, taking part in the November shop till you drop event. No eBay/Etsy fees. I am picking up items I would have never picked up before to sell on Instagram. I recently thought about venturing out into books on eBay after looking them up on Amazon. The first book I picked up on my new venture the lowest one was listed for 10x more on Amazon than I paid, but, will it actually sell is the question? I had a mega sale not too long ago - an item I picked up for $7.99 sold for nearly $700 on eBay.

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    1. Dayum, that's awesome! What item was it?! I'm still evaluating how I'll continue. Mostly right now the pause is because I have stagnant merchandise that just has to go so I can start fresh. When I continue I may have to hunt harder (wake up early, estate sales, etc.) for the high ticket items and less breakables. We'll see what happens. Right now...too much...make it go away...

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    2. It was kitschy pink fabric from like the 1960s. It sat in my closet for 4 years crumpled in a ball. It was 10 yards of fabric. I listed a few yards it sold for $200+ & she bought the rest off me. She lived in Japan. I would love to see what she did with it. I didn't list it for so long because I had no idea what kind of fabric it was. I finally got the bright idea to bring it to a textiles shop that has been in business downtown for over 30 years. There is good money in vintage fabric on eBay (do a search)!

      LOL - you gotta wake up early for the good stuff. I can't do that, lol. I do it twice a year. Estate sales are too intense for me.

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    3. I love stories like that! My co-worker just found a bag of victorian era 1800s jewelry for $5.00! The pieces are incredible! I just don't have that type of luck. Need to look harder...

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