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