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Some of These Were Steals..

Palm Springs Thrift Finds

emily_henderson_vintage_thrifting

Remember when we went to Palm Springs a month or so ago to thrift, and I told you that we didn’t exactly score hard? Well, that doesn’t mean we didn’t buy. With the launch of  The Flea (that feels almost sold-out already) we knew that we needed inventory. But first and foremost we needed new props for shoots. We had shot everything cool over, and over, and over again and it was just time to give the people some new props. In case you are wondering, you are the people. I thrift for you. I’m a really good person. So these were our scores. Check ’em out (and get some info on The Flea pricing):

Vintage_Sea_Scape_Painting

Some of these were steals, many of them were not. You know that I LOVE nothing more than telling everyone how cheaply I can find things. Typically it makes for good story-telling, but every now and again (like when I’m with, say, a client) I’m like ‘SHUT YOUR MOUTH EMILY. WHY ARE YOU TELLING THEM HOW CHEAP THAT WAS????’ It makes marking them up (which is a large portion of the business) feel super weird.

Vintage_Brass_Tray_Em_Henderson

Palm_Springs_Thrift_ShoppingSo while I would truly love to tell you how much things cost, I do fear that when you see what we are going to charge for them, some of you might be bummed. Many of you would understand that this is a business, and that 9 hours a day of thrifting does not equal an $11 dollar markup. But still, knowing that I found something for $12 and now I’m selling it for $80 just feels weird.

So you might be wondering ‘how do you decide how much something is?’

Good question. We don’t mark them up by a certain percentage or anything formulaic (we used to and that was a bad idea). It’s mostly about market value – how much I think its worth in todays market. That makes it sounds super scientific, but its actually way more emotional than that. Vintage shopping always is. You might notice that some things are $40 in The Flea and you might think ‘what is she crazy? That is so cheap!’ And then some things are $900 and you might be like ‘who does she think she is?’ A lot of the pricing is based on a.) how much I’ve used it, b.) how ready I am to move on from it, c.) how much I want to keep it and, most importantly, d.) how rare/unique it is. There are so many pieces that I’ve just used enough that I’m ready to part with them. Likewise, there are so many pieces that I’ve used in so many shoots and have become clutch, that I feel like I NEED,  which makes them even more valuable. Very contradictory, I know. I told you it was emotional. There are some things that I don’t really want to sell AT ALL, so instead of putting a big NFS (not for sale) on them I decided to name a really expensive price that I was comfortable giving them up for. Then if someone loves it enough that they’ll pay that emotionally inflated price, they deserve the piece.

Folding_Picnic_ChairThere might be some pieces that we bought for $80, shot twice and are selling for $80 IF that is the market value. Or there might be some pieces that I had to buy for a shoot that were expensive and I’m actually selling for less now that its been shot so much.

So basically what I’m telling you is that ‘market value’ is very tricky, but I feel they are all fair. I was trying to not make this a huge part of the business and instead just sell what we were already buying, using and needed to get rid of, but now that I see all those ‘SOLD’ stickers on everything, and I want to just buy and buy and buy. Not a bad problem to have.

Before I had Charlie I shopped A LOT. The first year with him he came and I still went out probably 3 times a month. But since he became a toddler it just doesn’t happen as much – that kid is looking to break every disgusting 99cent piece of glassware at toddler level and then shove it in his little toddler face hole. So I curbed it because just going out thrifting on my own during the week felt kinda weird – like it wasn’t really work and I wasn’t really spending time with him so I was just being selfish.

But no longer. I can now get back out there, with such good reason. I’m going to still try to use things in a shoot before I sell them, for sure.

White_Flower_Painting Emily_Henderson_Art_Thrifting

So here is a collection of the Palm Springs hoard. Some of them are already on The Flea (and potentially sold) but many will be after we shoot them, and I can emotionally disconnect with them.

Vintage_Brass_Trinkets

It’s all a learning curve. We might find out that after tallying up the shopping, gas, original price, photography, measuring, uploading, wrapping and shipping that we need to charge more. I’m hoping not. We also want to be able to have sales without losing money, so stay tuned for that. But for now, everything is handpicked by me. We may eventually have pickers do some of the legwork, but then things will get marked up even more in order to profit so I’m not sure how much down that route we want to go.

Luckily we are partnering with Shyp, a pretty wonderful shipping company that comes and picks up from you, wraps it all and ships it out for a STRANGELY affordable price (and yes, if its in your area you can do it to, its not just for businesses). So hopefully that will bring the shipping cost down, too.

Meanwhile check out The Flea and let me know if you have any questions. Happy Friday, y’all. Emily_Henderson_Palm_Springs_Thrifting

*Photos by Jessica Isaac. See the entire Palm Springs trip here: Our Happy Work Retreat.

 

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  1. Great stuff! I love your honesty about the pricing. Talking about money feels so awkward, but the more you do it the easier it gets!

  2. I feel exactly the same way you do about pricing. I have a little Etsy shop, French Toast Kitty, and when I price things, I take into account how much I still love/want the piece. If I’m tired of it or it’s just “okay”, the price is lower. If I really don’t want to part with it, I price it higher than expected, and then if someone wants to pay the higher price, I learn to let go! Plus, it justifies me finding new stuff!!!!

  3. Looking through your finds in the “Flea” is fun- you are a good curator!

    A bit of feedback for you though- I think it would be nice if you showed the price on scroll over so I wouldn’t have to click through just to see the item is way outside of my budget.

    1. I totally agree! I love your stuff and would love to know how much it is without having to click over on to every page.

    2. I totally agree with the pricing showing when you scroll over. It makes me not want to consider something when I have to click open every item. Sometimes, even with my fast internet, loading the flea page take a bit of time and that discourages me from checking pricing on items I might like to buy.

    3. Agree with this!

    4. Re scrolling over to view the price: I second that emotion.

    5. I second Jenna’s comment. It would be nice to see the price without having to click into the full product page!

  4. I loved getting to see more of the behind the scenes of The Flea! Its always so fascinating for me to see how business owners to what they do! Now to spend my afternoon drooling over all your pieces on there!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  5. My parents were antique dealers when I was growing up. They used the same way to price things. I can remember my Mom pricing things that she loved and wanted to keep SUPER high. She was always suprised when somebody paid those silly prices for something. Sometimes it was another dealer that paid the high price and then the other dealer would put it in their booth at an even higher price and it would STILL sell. Moral of the story? People will pay a bunch of money for really cool stuff.

  6. Loved the brass open/close sign, but wow, the price ($85)! Immediately went to Etsy and found it for $12 and purchased there. Just some feedback …

  7. I totally get where you’re at with pricing and I think you’ve done a great job! Plus I trust you since you’re the one out and about seeing how things are happening in the market.

    Absolutely loving that little tiered photo holder and heart shaped cut out brass holder – adorable!!

    Love your product shots on The Flea and can’t wait to keep checking what you’ve got!

    xo Christa

  8. “Emotionally inflated price”….exactly how I handle my favorite pieces that I reluctantly throw on my Etsy shop. I get you, Emily, I really do 🙂

    Great post, lovely finds!

  9. Thanks for the info on the pricing! I love the Flea so I hope you keep doing that. About the new site, I was wondering if yall are still moving old posts over? I like to look back at them for the resources that you include but some of them are gone! For example, the most recent living room tour post seems to be gone which is a shame since I was curious about some of those resources.

    1. HMMM. That should not be gone. They were all supposed to be repaired. I’ll look at that now for sure … thanks for the heads up. And thanks for wanting to look at old posts 🙂

  10. This sounds like criticism but I mean it in the spirit of being helpful… I don’t like seeing the sold merchandise. I’d be more inclined to shop there if instead of being marked SOLD, ads were just pulled as the item sold. Maybe that’s not possible. It just invokes a bitter feeling to see items you missed. I wouldn’t want to see NFS, either, though. If it’s a spot for stuff for sale, I’d rather just see the stuff for sale.

    1. I see what you’re saying, but I personally don’t agree. For me, looking at the items is more “aspirational”–as in, “what are people buying? what does Emily like? what do her readers like?” This information is interesting to me.
      Maybe the “sold” items could be corralled at the bottom of the page or something (or on a different page?), so that if you aren’t interested in sold things you can easily skip over that section.

      1. I LOVE SEEING THE SOLD ITEMS, even tho I’m sometimes bummed about what I missed out on.

      2. I agree, sold items should automatically be at the bottom (if on the page at all).

        Also, are newer items automatically going to post to the top? I hope so. I don’t want to have to scroll through the entire contents of the flea to see what the new items are. Perhaps a “just in” section would be helpful, too!

    2. I think what we’ll do is every week or so clean them all out. I just didn’t want there to be like 4 things left. And I kinda agree with what Susie Q said below- i just like seeing what is sold, etc. But its good feedback and something to think about. If we can keep the store super stocked up then I think we’ll remove them once a week (or even more often). Its just more work to have to go in and remove constantly and I think that when people see ‘sold’ signs it makes them, well, buy faster 🙂

  11. Interesting to hear about how you price your stuff– you are also selling your ‘eye’ (your aesthetic) and that s/b reflected in the price, too, I think. I am a huge thrift store shopper as well, and your blog, together with The Flea gives me such great inspiration– With a growing family, I may not be able to afford expensive pieces, but I can keep a lookout on my thrift store jaunts for items with a similar aesthetic at a price point that works for me. Thanks for all the inspiration!!

    1. Thank you. You hereby have my very happy permission to come here, look, and then go shopping xxxxx

  12. Love browsing through The Flea! One suggestion would be that the price would show up in the pink box when you hover over an item? Clicking back and forth just isn’t my thing 🙂 Certainly wouldn’t keep me from shopping, but would make the experience a little quicker/enjoyable for me.

    Can’t wait to see how this evolves too! Living in the Midwest, we often can’t find the amazing things you can! Thanks!

    1. Yea, that seems to be the consensus. Working on that now so stay tuned.

  13. Um… can you hurry up and shoot that folding rattan chair already so that I can buy it??? It’s soo good.

    1. Will do this week! I forgot we had it til I saw those pics. But what about that future picnic that I was surely going to have that just neeeeeeeeds that victorian folding wicker chair????

    2. but I want it… ????

      1. err those question marks are supposed to be a WINKiNG EMOJI!

  14. Your market value explanation is really helpful for a lot of people to hear/read I believe. And thrifting totally HAS emotional value attached it. I used to do furniture rehab and sell a little here and there then I ran into storage issues when I moved into the city. Those brass hearts are pretty cute.

    http://www.citycomfortsdc.com

  15. it’s sweet that you feel bad about marking up/making $ but….yeah, don’t. market value can be tricky but you’ve also put time, money and effort into marketing your blog and your business and that’s worth something. Some people have more time than money, others more money than time. That’s why it works.

  16. The flea had totally enhanced my life. Seriously!
    I also think your prices are totally fair.

    1. Yeah!!! Thank you. xx

  17. I love the flea!
    I wonder if there’s any chance of knowing when new things will be listed…my dreams of every Friday may not be realistic, but perhaps the first of every month? Or something. That way I can make sure and have money ready. 🙂

    1. Love this idea! Once a month sounds like a reasonable frequency to restock a “side” business.

      I also agree with another commenter who suggested sold items could be moved to another section. I like seeing how much stuff is selling for, but it is distracting/frustrating having to scroll through it to see what is still available.

      Thanks for the pricing info!

    2. I think so. I think we’ll do like every 2 weeks on a friday and post about it the day before on instagram or something. OR maybe we’ll have a newsletter that gives people sneak peek into what is about the be sold with pricing so that people that receive the newsletter get an advantage … yea, maybe that’s what we’ll do. xx

  18. Totally understand the pricing and frankly, I think it’s your shop and you can do what you want. I’d like to make another request re: functionality of The Flea site. Can you make it possible to sort by what’s available so I don’t have to see all the stuff that’s already sold mixed in with the stuff that’s not, and feel sad about what’s escaped my clutches?

    1. Good idea. I’ll look into it. We’ll take down the solds VERY soon (as soon as we replenish) so you aren’t having to scroll through everything.

  19. Thanks for being so upfront about pricing, Emily! That takes a lot of the second guessing and wondering out of shopping vintage. I’m often so confused by the huge variation in pricing of vintage pieces – other stores could use this advice!

  20. I love the stuff in the shop, but I also really liked reading the descriptions for each of the items. The descriptions are so fresh and casual and really help you imagine living with the piece! I’m a writer so I know how much time and effort goes into writing those kinds of things ????

    1. Sorry, those question marks in my previous comment were supposed to be a smiley emoji.

      1. ??? :):):)

  21. Almost everyone can relate to having bought clothing in a second-hand situation. Often these clothes are picked up for pennies on the dollar and resold for the price of new (or higher) depending on the market value. I have a friend who used to be in this business and she tells tales of buying items for under $5 and then reselling them in the E Village of Manhattan for over $100 a piece. And they sell like hotcakes b/c people want the stuff. Furthermore, her shop would even rent items to shows for use in styling the actors and then take the items back and put them up for sale. So know you have earned every penny that comes to you from The Flea and you may want to sell even more at higher prices. Econ 101: supply and demand.

  22. Cool stuff..that hot air balloon is so darn cute. I like seeing what’s sold & what people buy so please don’t delete them.

  23. I love these pieces. I sold vintage good on Etsy for 2 years. I found LOADS of vintage at thrift stores + estate sales living in Minnesota. Sadly not so much now in NC. I agree that pricing has everything to do with market value.

  24. I love thrifting! I can only imagine how good it is in Palm Springs! When I go to thrift stores here in Atlanta, my goal is to find the blue and white! Most of what I find is not fancy (no flow blue), but I love filling my house with it! Thank you for sharing your finds!

  25. I hadn’t checked out the flea yet but it is so beautifully done! Y’all have found some beautiful treasures and I love that it is presented in a way that is very you. Can’t believe I missed the pink hanging lights ???? lovely job!!

  26. Bravo.. and thanks for sharing! I too have a small online shop and sometimes when I tell people (who aren’t used to the pricing) the prices of things their mouths drop. Many people don’t understand the hunt is part of the “price” 🙂 Keep it up, I love the Flea!

  27. This is the reason I love thrifting…you never know what you’ll find.

  28. Congrats Emily on the launch of your newly revamped site and shop! From one vintage shopper to another, believe your prices are spot on and love how your product shots reflect your fun personality.

  29. I’m actually glad so much stuff that I love has been sold. I’m not bringing anything new into the house until I get rid of stuff. However, knowing about The Flea will be motivation for me to clean out what I no longer need so I can buy fun stuff!

  30. Found the round circle stool with the original caned (perfect condition!) seat for $15.00 at a vintage shop in downtown Afton, MN. So excited for my find, and then really excited that you featured it in this story! Good taste!

  31. Wondering…

    1. Does the Army Green Trunk comes with the key?

    2. What’s the best way to ask questions about items up for sale?

    Thanks,
    Kelly