Category Archives: Vintage

2nd Hand Flip

Reselling through Thrift stores, Antique Store, eBay and other retail outlets have combined annual revenues of nearly $17 billion dollars!  What’s even more impressive is that many people – Mom & Pop, are doing this business without needing to set up a brick-and-mortar resale store of their own.

Look at sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist; you can easily see that selling second-hand goods is a profitable business.  In fact, some people, using Phone apps such as OfferUp, LetGo, VarageSale, etc., get into this business for little to no money risked.  But How?  To answer that question, I wrote “2nd Hand Flip” about the business of reselling.

Flipping is easier now than when I first started out.  I became hooked on flipping when I flipped a Vespa Motor Scooter for a healthy profit in the late 60’s when I was in high school.  That flip allowed me to buy my 55 Chevy Nomad, which I later doubled my purchase price on when I resold it.  I took that money and bought my 56 Chevy coup.  I blew the engine, broke the rear springs racing (showing off), and yet, still sold it to another man for more than I paid for it.

In the 80’s before the internet, even before computers, I flipped used restaurant equipment.  I would stop into restaurants, small stores, or the kitchens of hotels, asking if they had any equipment that they were not using and they wanted to sell.  If they did, I would take the information on the item, including a price they were willing to take for it, and put that info on a 3×6-index card.  Then I would ask them if they were looking for anything in particular.  I made notes of their requests.  I did this all day long and in over a month, I had amassed a lot of cards and indexed a lot of equipment.

How I made money was looking what the item would cost new in an equipment catalog, then offering the owner a used price well below that.  We’d haggle and when we would agree on a price, I would either put it on consignment or pay them then and there.  If I paid them, I would load it up, take it home, and clean it, fixing anything that needed fixing and immediately takes it over to the buyer and sell it to them for a fair markup.  I never got stuck holding an item for more than a few days, because I knew what my customers were looking for and bought accordingly.

I tell you these things, not to brag, but to lay the background of being somewhat knowledgeable in this business.  I’ve had practice for over 50 years.  Since the time of my first flip, I have flipped many things, made a few mistakes, but my love for flipping grows.

Today I flip antique and vintage furniture and collectibles.  My wife’s love, on the other hand, is vintage linens and lace.  She and I love antiquing and she owns Mom & Me Vintage Linens, Lace, and Antiques.  (www.Facebook.com/linen2laceCS.  Yes, the store is housed in a brick and mortar antique mall and she has owned it since 2010.  Do you have to run a brick and mortar business to make a profit in the business of flipping?  No.  With sites like eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, and Amazon, you can make a healthy profit working in a virtual environment, and still have extra time and money to do the things you want to do.

Don’t get me wrong.  We are not filthy rich.  This is not a get rich quick scheme.  Flipping used or vintage is still work, but it is enjoyable work.  We pay our bills, have a roof over our heads with a home we own.  We drive comfortable vehicles and have managed to stay out of debt.  The difference with us however, is the fact that we can take off anytime we want to and do the things we enjoy, without sacrificing our business and income.  Many self-employed people can’t do that.  They become a slave to their business.  We have the freedom to travel, see friends and family, and explore other entrepreneurial interests.  We love the thrill in the find of some treasure that I can turn around and resell.  We enjoy the people we meet and have spent many hours talking to strangers, cementing long lasting friendships with many of them.  As long as I have a connection with my phone, I am in business.  Our investments are in our inventory.  Where else can you work your money and have it earn 100 to 300% return in a short period.

Should you risk your weekly paycheck on flipping?  It depends on how sure you are that you can turn something over quickly.  I have a friend who is a mechanic.  He buys good used cars, checks them over for mechanical issues; fixing what is needed and then hires his son to detail them.  He puts them up on Craigslist and sells them for a healthy profit.  He specializes in SUV’s, small trucks and All Wheel Drives because here in Colorado, he knows that these sell the fastest.  His objective is rapid turn-over, not collecting.  He is also a master of buying low and selling high.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking he is an opportunist.  Remember, American Entrepreneurship means profit and despite the past twelve years, the American Dream still lives on in every nook and cranny of this great nation.

So how much money should you risk?  It all depends on your financial situation.  How much can you afford to lose?  How good of a negotiator are you?  Do you have a market to sell what you purchase?  Can you use online resources to price and market your item properly?  Last but not least, do you like people?

Now the question should be, assuming you answered positive to the questions above, where do you go after you flipped your first item?  The answer is do it again.  How?  I answer these questions in the book.  Check out the suggestions I have in my eBook, “2nd Hand Flip” on sale now at Smashwords This eBook discusses inside the business and future of reselling in greater detail, including what sells and what doesn’t.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Academc, Antiques, Book Progress, New Book, reselling, Vintage, Writing

From Hand to Brain, a Pen is the Connection

For all you #parents, #grandparent, aunts and uncles who are struggling to figure out what to give your #graduating scholar as a special gift, know this: The Pen is Mightier than the Computer.  #Research #scientist have shown that taking handwritten notes improves comprehension. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/

I’ve known this for years, having experienced this with my children. For example, while my youngest has access to a variety of desk top, laptop computers; as well as iPhone’s and iPod’s, (don’t they all) she still takes handwritten notes in all he classes. Because of her very level of comprehension and retention associated with the pure psychology of hand to brain association, she also has a very high GPA.  The fact that she takes after her mother and is very smart is inconsequential, but it does lead me to suggest to you a great graduation gift for your academically student.

A “Cross”, “Pelikan” or “Mont Blanc” roller ball or ball point pen from my vintage collection for your graduate, will go a long way towards insuring their successful college experience.  You can see my vintage collection at both American Classics Marketplace in B26, or my newest site in case #26 at Antique Gallery on S. Wahsatch, downtown Colorado Springs.

As we are talking note taking here, I do not suggest a fountain pen, even though I love writing with them and have some beautiful ones for sale. For the student, fountain pens need a longer drying time which hinders rapid note taking.

Every Cross, Pelikan and Mont Blanc has a lifetime warranty, regardless of age. Pens in my collection are all made in the USA or in the case of the Mont Blanc’s, Germany. Refills for these pens can be found anywhere, including college supply stores which insures that they will not end up unused, sitting in the bottom of some backpack.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academc, Pen History, Pens, Stationary, Student, Vintage, Writing, Writing Tools

Christmas 1957

Not every present has to be new; it just has to have love and a special meaning attached to it. 

Every year, as the temperature starts to drop and the leaves turn brassy gold, an old memory comes back to me.  It dates back to my early childhood in Michigan, specifically the fall of 1957.  The air was crisp and filled with the smell of pine burning in fireplaces and nutmeg.  Leaves from the six oak trees that bordered our yard had already fallen and the squirrels had harvested all the acorns their little nests could hold.  Winter was fast approaching –“softly,” as my grandmother would say, “like the whisper of little duck feet paddling through the grass on their way to water.”  Dad was out in the garage putting the finishing touches on the converted house trailer that held the 22 foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser he had built.

“Son,” he called out, “come on, we’re going shopping.  Get in the car.”  To go shopping with my Dad was a big deal for me.  I piled into his pink (yes I said pink) 56 Buick convertible and threw my arm up on the windowsill that, at nine years old, came just about level to the base of my earlobe.  An awkward position I had put myself in, but it was semi-warm, Dad had the top down, and I looked cool.

Off we went until about ten miles later we stopped in our first antique store.  “I’m looking for a special something for your mother for Christmas,” he said turning to me, “so you have to keep this trip a secret.”  I swore I would, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what my mother would want from a store that sold old junk.  Never mind, I was with my Dad.  Three hours and four antique stores later, I was less enthused.  I was tired and bored out of my nine-year old skull.  I hadn’t learned the art of antique buying, nor for that matter – patience.  Besides, there were toys I couldn’t play with, tools I couldn’t touch and God forbid if I stepped too close to a shelf full of antique cut glass.  Dad however was in seventh heaven.

As I stood looking at a set of WWI medals and Meerschaum pipes sitting in a glass case, I heard Dad say, “That’s it!”  As I turned, he was reaching for an old dingy, dirty and bent brass ships bell sitting on the floor this old store.  Holding it in his hands, caressing it as if he were gazing upon the Holy Grail, he headed towards the counter where an old grey haired man and his wife sat; she crocheting while humming to herself and him, watching me out of the corner of his eye.

“How much for this old dirty bell,” my Dad asked.  “$15” the old man said without hesitation.  Remember – in 1957, you were “well off” if you made $5200.00 a year.  $15.00 was a lot of money and a weeks worth of groceries.  Dad put the bell down on the counter quickly stepping back as if it burned him.  “It’s not made of gold is it?” he asked.  The old man smiled but didn’t waver.  “Here’s what I’ll do” Dad said, I’ll give you $7.00 for it.”  The old man shook his head no.  “Make it $10.00 and you have a deal,” he grunted.  Dad shook his head and handed the bell to me.  “Here son, go put this back.  We’ll have to find something else for your mother for Christmas this year.”  Then turning back to the old man he said, “Sorry old timer, all I have is $8.00 to spend and I still have to buy my boy dinner after we leave here.”  Dad hung his head and motioned for me to hurry along.  “Ok,” the old man said, “You can have it for $8.00 but you’re killing me.”  His eyes were smiling as he and Dad shook hands.  By this time, that old bell was getting heavy.  “OK boy, carry it to the car,” Dad said as he paid the man.  On the drive back, Dad pointed out that what he had done was called the art of negotiating.  That was the first time I had ever heard that term.  “We made of great deal,” he said as he carried a Cheshire cat grin with him all the way home.

Christmas day that year brought snow – lots of it.  Early morning, after my brother and I opened our presents and Dad opened his striped tie we got him, Mom started to busy herself with cleaning up the discarded wrappings.  Dad left the room and came back with all of our coats and scarfs, announcing, “I’ve got one more present but it’s outside.”  Bundled up like refugees from a Siberian mining camp, we all traipsed outside, where Dad led us to the garage.  He told my mother to close her eyes.  As she did, he opened the garage door hiding the boat.  There on the stern of his newly built boat just above the dark blue fiberglass waterline were the words “The Shirl J” in gold letters with a red outline.  My mother’s name is Shirley.  He had never told her what he was naming the boat.  There was also a ladder leading up into the interior.  After Mom hugged my Dad, with tears in her eyes, he led her to the ladder.  She climbed up into the boat and there – just past the spot where the flying bridge windshield would eventually go, sat the newly polished – newly restored brass bell with the words “The Shirl J – 1957” engraved on the bell skirt.  They kissed so long this time, we kids were told to go back into the house.

I learned two things that Christmas.  The first was that not every present has to be brand new; it just has to have love and a special meaning attached to it.  Secondly, antiques – like found treasures, are great for conveying that special meaning.

Leave a comment

Filed under Antiques, Autum, Fall, marketing, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writing