Post Sales: Listening to the Team & Adjusting

Old (mid century) Radio in the basement beneath stacks of costume jewelry. I have to be careful in calling such things ‘old’. Certainly dating myself that way, given I was born before this radio was made or about the same time.

A few days to reflect and debrief after the two prior sales. In no particular order, here are a few observations that the Team has discussed and agree some modifications, total changes, additions are in order.

Reduce prices further. If we have nice times on the tables that are worthy of a $30.00 price tag (online research dictates maybe a $100. value) it wasn’t recognized by the several thousand people that looked at the pieces. They still sit there. So either the price is too high or the items did not fall within the tastes of the buyers. It might be better to pull those items off  the tables and take them inside to the ‘estate’ stuff and explore the other means of marketing those items.

With the reduced prices, what sat there the whole time, even at a reduced price. We could leave it out again, but space is limited even with two dozen tables. So, there will be a pulling of certain times for donations, to make room for more stuff from the rear, which will be priced low to move. 

We have all fallen into the ‘that’s nice’ trap and linked that to getting what we deem it is worth. If this is done over and over and over, we end up with a bunch of stuff on top of the tables and at a garage sale, those ‘nice’ items are not readily snapped up.

The marketing effort will be expanded to aggressively ID local shops and reach out to them. I did that with four shops and they responded and bought. We need to expand that more and even let them in a bit early if need be. I will call or drop by shops that handle the ‘vintage’ ‘mid Century’ ‘retro’ stuff and make the pitch. Maybe they will show or not but I think it will be worth the effort.

A Closet beneath a staircase full of costume jewelry. Jewelry boxes, old candy boxes, any container was converted to hold earrings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces and pins.

There was some effort to put out several hundred pieces of jewelry. A lot was sold, and the display was always looked at, but a lot of it was not sold. It was priced too high. Most of the ladies looking at the stuff did not care about ‘vintage’. The items were priced too high for most. A nice necklace at $12. again was not in the mode of ‘garage sale’ pricing. If it is going to be out then it needs to be prices much lower. If we cannot stand to do that then pull it off the floor for that special buyer. We have had a few that wanted to see all the jewelry and make a blanket offer. We frankly have so much jewelry that it would take days to pull it all together, but sooner or later that will have to happen.

At the beginning of the sale area, on the driveway, we have a 10′ x 20′ canopy full of nice stuff. People waltz right through there into the Carport and Garage. They seem drawn through the canopy and they fail to see what is there. Once into the Garage, Carport and Patio they don’t return to the Canopy. Odd. We think we will remove the nice stuff from there and push it into the other spaces. The front end will be less flashy and ‘nice’ and given over to the practical of typical garage sale stuff pulled from our homes and inside the house: tools, odds and ends that people typically go to garage sale for rather than beautiful vintage vases, candle stick holders or Italian glassware.

There is so much glassware, housewares, cookware. We are strongly considering pulling out the clothing. This is true vintage clothing in mint condition. This will definitely require vintage shop out reach to get them there to look at it. We don’t want to take up valuable space for clothing if it is nothing but a novelty. This will require some honest evaluation before we commit to this. A barometer of this was purses/wallets. We put out several dozen and they sold.

I mentioned the need for ‘typical garage sale stuff’. We really must focus on the home fronts to pull out anything that contrasts to the mid-Century stuff we are inundated with. It will have to be pulled out and transported to the sale site. This is a good thing, but diverts attention from the sale site. It must be viewed as a positive effort to prime the pump at the sale site and of course to rid oneself of stuff at home.

New signs will have to be made to replace the rain damaged, vandalized and torn signs. A few dozen new signs + the worthy old ones will be ready to go. I have a good idea of where the signs took a hit from vandal-assholes-meddlesome types. I will avoid those routes and figure out new routes. I will also do more immediate in the field  assessments of where a sign is down and replace them as needed. I have put up the signs the night before (Wed.). I am thinking I will put them up Wednesday morning or afternoon to get them a few more looks. Given how valuable the signage piece was in getting people to the sales, I will give it more thought and real time attention.


10 thoughts on “Post Sales: Listening to the Team & Adjusting

  1. Mara

    Gary, have you checked for markings on the 2 pitchers/vases on the left in the above photo? The designs look similar to ‘highly collectible’ Roseville works.

  2. Anyone who has held a garage/yard sale will largely agree with what you have written. You learn from each sale – what works and what doesn’t, who your typical customers are and what they are looking to buy, and when to mark it down or take it off the floor. It is hard seeing things that you know or feel are valuable being sold for a fraction of that value, but if the idea is to “move it down the driveway” then you have to accept that. I’m glad that you have an estate sale in the plans to deal with the items that don’t really fit into a garage sale. I think it is a pity when people who are charged with clearing out a deceased person’s home either cannot see the value of certain things (especially true antiques) or simply cannot afford the time to hold a proper estate sale. Where I live, auctions are a popular way to deal with estates, and while it is good for the buyer, it is such a shame to see valuables sold for pennies.

  3. I like all your lessons-learned from your sale. Selling those higher priced items can be a bit trickier, but I agree with you that you shouldn’t just let them go for yard-sale prices. It looks like they are much more valuable than that. A few yard-sale resources I’ve used are where you can sell antiques and other items online. And also where you can advertise yard sales and estate sales for free. Hopefully they can help you out too 🙂

  4. IJ

    I am a vintage clothing dealer. I specialize in Women’s vintage clothing from the early 60’s to the 1800’s. I am very interested in the vintage clothing that you have for sale. If possible could you please contact me? Thank you for your time.

  5. Sonya

    I have seen vintage clothing even with rips and tears sell for a LOT! Also has a lot of people selling vintage items. It feels as though it would be a full time job for a few years at that route, though… So, Any approach is fine 🙂

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