Monday, March 17, 2014

Legoriffic!



This past couple weeks there have been some great sales on Lego sets as retailers make room for the 2014 sets. Here are some of my highlights.


First, Amazon had a week of sales up to 40% off certain sets.  I scored 3 Lego City High Speed Chase (60007) at 0.06 per piece,  and 3 Super Heroes Spider-Cycle Chase (76004) at 0.05 per piece.  I sell Lego both on Ebay and BrickLink. On BrickLink, I like to part out sets. The part out value for High Speed Chase is 2.78x cost, which is quite good, and the Spider-Man sets part out at 3.08x, which is great.  I listed the minifigures on Ebay and have sold 1 Spider-Man already.





Next, Target had a Buy One Get One 40% Off Sale. I got 2 more High Speed Chase sets at a killer 3.66x part out, and 2 Chima Worriz Combat Lair (70009) - 664 pieces each! - at an astounding 4.30 part out, or 0.04 per piece, which is great for a set of this size.




Finally, Toys R Us has a Buy One Get One 50% Off Sale. In 2 orders I scored 8 Friends Mia's Lemonade Stands (41027) and 4 Friends Emma's Lifeguard Post (41028). I got these not because of a great part out, but because the Lemonade Stand set has the awesome Aqua Colored Scooter. These sell for more than half the price of the whole set. I got the Lifeguard Post sets to get the orders over $49 for free shipping and because it has a cool Light Blue Dolphin. I have sold 1 scooter on BrickLink so far.

I was at Walmart the other day and saw these 2 Galaxy Squad sets in the clearance section for $20 each. That is 0.03 per piece and a definite buy! They are listed on Ebay now.
The sales are coming to an end now, but yard sale season is right around the corner. My hunt for Lego begins anew! Adios!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Go Global Or Go Home!






A while ago I posted about shipping internationally. Since then Ebay has developed the Global Shipping Program. While I can see the allure of this, let me be the first to tell you it's completely unnecessary. I did actually sign up for it to see what it was all about. The main problem is the cost. It is more expensive to your buyer than doing it yourself. Another problem is they only offer shipping to 42 countries. Last time I checked there were almost 200 countries on Earth. Why limit yourself to 25% of your customers?
Let me be the first to say when I started Pioneer Valley Fashion over 3 years ago, international shipping was a complete mystery. For starters you had these confusing customs forms and special envelopes:


So I decided to not bother with it and just sold domestically. Eventually I changed my mind and tried it. By this time you could print international labels from Ebay. Boy did this simplify things. All you do is:

  • Offer calculated International Shipping in your listing. Ship To "Choose Custom Location". Select all 9 check boxes. Add $1.00 handling charge.
  • Go to the Applications tab in Ebay and find an app called ShipSaver. Sign up. More on this later.
When you do have an international sale:
  • Go to the "Print Shipping" screen.
  • Edit the description of the item. By default it is filled in with the auction title. Change this to a vague description. We don't want everyone knowing exactly what we're shipping, do we? For example when I sell Lego, I change it to "Plastic Toy Bricks". Ralph Lauren Shirt becomes Mens Shirt, etc.
  • Print your label. I recommend using plain paper and not a shipping label in case the package needs to be opened for inspection. This way the label can be easily removed if need be.
  • Tape label to the package, do not tape over the bar codes. (Taping over the bar codes is not bad if the tape is totally flat, but if you have bumps and bubbles it may not scan properly so I don't take the chance).
  • If your label has EDelCon (Electronic Deliver Confirmation) service printed on it, you do not need to buy insurance as it has tracking. There are several countries that USPS offers this to, Canada being one.
  • If your package is not trackable, go to your ShipSaver app and buy insurance for the it. The $1.00 handling fee you charged earlier pays for this. ;)
  • Mail it! 
There are a few countries that I don't ship to. They are: Afghanistan, Russian Federation, Iraq, Italy, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Nigeria, Somalia, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. These countries are not insured by ShipSaver so I don't take the chance.

I know you're thinking "but Lou, what if my package gets lost, if I used the Global Shipping Program I wouldn't have to worry about it, but because I listened to you, I'm responsible"!  Fret not! This is where that ShipSaver thingy comes in! I Your package needs to be lost for 45 days before you can file a claim. Do not issue a refund to your buyer until you are refunded from ShipSaver.
I have had several hundred international sales and have lost exactly....1 package. ShipSaver took care of it, I was happy, and more importantly my buyer was happy because she got her money back.
So give it a go for yourself and see what happens. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Almost Forgot.....

We also got a new....

Cat! Just kidding, he's a dog. He's my new walking buddy, although slogging through 2 foot high snowdrifts and puddles of water and ice and you get the picture, is hardly either of our idea of fun. But just wait till it gets warmer!

Mr. Clean (Lego Division)



When and wherever I buy bulk Lego, one thing is certain....they are usually fairly gross. Dirty, dusty, hairy, sticky, not to mention the icky stuff you can't see. When I sell Lego at my store Pioneer Valley Bricks, I like them to be nice and clean and shiny, and I'm pretty sure my buyers do also. The last thing anyone wants is for themselves or their children to get some creeping crud from the Lego they bought from me. So, what do we do about this?
The answer is simple: Wash Them! But how, you ask. Well there are several ways. When I first started, I would dump them in a suitable container with hot water, some soap, and some bleach. Swish around a while, rinse and strain in a colander. This fell out of favor quickly, mainly because I could only do small amounts at a time. Then I found a great article on the web at TheBrickBlogger.com. He describes how to clean Lego in.....the washing machine! Hallelujah! Several things to keep in mind before you go dumping 10 pounds of Lego in the washer:
  • Buy some bags for washing delicates (lingerie) like this:
I get mine for 0.97 at WalMart and I can fit a few pounds in each one. Zip them up, toss them into the washer. (do NOT put electronic parts, or things like whip antennas and bars that can get caught in, or fall out of the bag).
  • Use the Gentle Cycle!!! Unless you want your Lego to get scratched to heck. 
  • Warm water, laundry soap, 1/4 cup bleach.
  • Run the cycle, kick back, and wait for clean Lego goodness.
When the machine finishes, DO NOT put them in the dryer. The heat from the dryer, not to mention the banging around will damage your Lego. My preferred method is to spread them out on a blanket, sheet, towel, whatever, and aim a fairly powerful fan at them. They will be dry soon enough.
Stare lovingly at your beautiful, good-as-new Lego!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm Baaaaack!

First of all, let me say that I apologize for virtually disappearing from the blogosphere without much notice. I can't really blame it on any one thing, more a combination of things that has kept me from posting. That being said, I am going to try to keep things updated as much as I can.
"What's new" you ask? Well, quite a few things. On the non-thrifting front (yes, there is such a thing) we got our 13 year old dog Saphire who is plagued with hip problems a wheelchair to help her walk. Getting her used to the chair has taken up quite a bit of time. She is now used to it , but her back legs continue to get weaker.
We used to go thrifting every Wednesday, which in our area is 50% off day at the Salvation Army. This was a great way to get new merchandise, but the expense was adding up quickly. We have since decided to eliminate these trips and focus on going to the Goodwill Outlet Store instead. For the unfamiliar, the Bins as they are called, is where items (clothes, shoes, housewares, books, etc.) go when they do not sell at regular Goodwill stores. Items are sold by the pound here and at 50 pounds or more, you pay 0.79 per lb. So this has become our main source of inventory now. Every time we have gone, I have gotten at least 50 pounds so it is well worth the trip (about 3-4 hours there and back) plus we spent at least 6 hours or so there.


I have branched out into the Lego world. I have opened a store on BrickLink called Pioneer Valley Bricks. I have had great luck this summer scoring Lego at yard sales and have decided to expand out of Ebay. BrickLink focuses on Lego exclusively, and buyers can buy as many or as few parts as they wish. So if you only need 1 part to finish a set, this is the place. I currently have over 7000 parts in my store and have a ton more to add.
Yard sales have been quite good this summer. The season is slowly winding down, but we continue to make some great scores. Best find so far: a White's Coinmaster metal detector that we got for $20 and sold on Ebay for $160.00.
That's it for now, stay tuned for updates when I have something interesting to post. Adios!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Guest Author


I am taking today off, so please welcome my guest writer, Sylvester. She is 20 years old and her likes include napping, a nice warm sunny day, napping on a nice warm sunny day, Tasty Treasures, eating Tasty Treasures on a nice warm sunny day followed by a nap, and (as of today) writing a blog.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thrift Store(ies) 12/26

Yesterday was the single greatest thrifting day we have had yet!  We wound up hitting 4 thrift stores (3 Salvation Armies, and 1 Goodwill).  The total haul includes:
  • 21 Shirts and Jackets
  • 9 Pairs of Shoes
  • 6 Pairs of Pants
  • 3 coffee cups
  • 2 Pyrex
We left the house at 9:30 am and did not return until 6:00 pm!  The best part was that we found items at all four stores.  Usually when we go to multiple stores, 1 or 2 will suck, and the others will be good.  So without further ado here is the breakdown:


The shoes include:
  • 5 pairs of Converse (including a pair of the knee highs)
  • Nike Alpholution basketball sneakers
  • 2 Pairs of Clarks
  • Dansko Jade Maryjanes

Jeans:
  • Coogi
  • Big Star Boot
  • Carhartt
  • Citizens Of Humanity Ingrid Stretch #002 - SOLD! $45.00
  • Miss Me Gabrielle
 
T Shirts:
  • 2 The Mountain
  • 2 Life Is Good
  • Jimmy Buffett 



  • Mirage Notre Dame Collegiate jacket (reversible)
  • Tommy Bahama and 4 Ralph Lauren polo shirts
  • Robert Graham dress shirt
  • Tommy Bahama fleece jacket
  • Also (not pictured) 2 Carhartt, 1 The North Face, and 1 Kenny Rogers Short Sleeve shirts
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Blake shirt
  • 2 Tommy Bahama Silk shirts
  • Carhartt Long Sleeve work shirt
 We came home with 41 items! That works out to less than $3.00 per item, so we should do quite well with this.  We also had a nice lunch at Five Guys on the way home.  Today the listing begins, and I should be done in a few days.  My plan is to list 10 or so items a day from now on, and i have been successful so far.
In other news, it has been snowing for about 10 hours now and we have a few inches on the ground.
Have a great day!