I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful repeat customers. most are pen pals.. some have become friends over the last 10 years (ELEVEN years next month!). my family & friends all think my "job" is a piece of cake.. and essentially it is. Shop for a living? you betcha its fun!
but they really don't "get it". its a lot of work too! i'm not complaining. not for one second. i absolutely love what i do, i love what i sell, and when i'm not shopping, i don't have to put on makeup, i don't even have to get dressed ~ unless a repair man or someone is coming over. lol.. friends popping in already know to expect me in a zip robe, lounger, or in summer ~ a long maxi cotton sleeveless comfy vintage sundress.
after an estate sale, my procedure is to leave everything in the garage. everything. then the bags go to the back porch, where each item is inspected and hung. despite being in the most beautiful homes in the area, i have still detected a bug or two. and momma does NOT like cockroaches, moths, carpet bugs or anything creepy-crawly.
So the goodies hang outside to be aired out. i'm anal. everything is hung color coded.. all the whites on one side of the porch, pink on another, blue yet a third area.. pretty crazy, but it helps when i wash them, after they have aired for a day.
Then the laundry begins.. everything is washed by color; thus the time saving color coding as mentioned. then hung back outside to air dry. Usually a whole day is spent on washing then steaming or pressing.
Next the mannequin is drug out, and i try to take as many pictures in one day as possible. after the photo shoot, the clothing then precisely folded and added to the "ready to go" tote.
Did i mention inspection?? yep. lots of it. of course i try to check at the estate sales, but its hasty. then its checked again when its hung originally. another after its laundered and hung. again while its being put on the mannequin.
As i write each item up for the listing, i inspect AGAIN as i'm measuring it. Once sold.. yep. i try to check it over again as i'm packing it for shipping.
That's a lot of scrutiny isn't it?? i know i'm not alone in this habbit.. i bet i could name 5 other sellers just off the top of my head that also inspect just as much.
and yes.. very occasionally something slips past. pretty hard to believe, but it does. hey, we're all human. do our customers understand this? most times.. occasionally we get someone unreasonable, but for the most part.. again.. our customers are understanding.
i recently sold a new with tag miss elaine nightgown..my customer was absolutely wonderful. i got the nicest email imaginable as to how happy she was with it ~ but.. under the collar, along the seam it was un-sewn. NOOOOO! how on earth is this possible? did i "assume" since it was NWT, even tho it was vintage, it was perfect?
and the incident put me on my toes.. don't think because something has the tags on it, its perfect. :D
after the photographing, there is downloading the pictures, croping, editing, and uploading them. Have i complained lately that i'm working with an almost vintage, hand made circa 1998 computer? lol.. and yes, its slow as molasses. in fact, i recently took it to my little computer guy and he laughed. he actually remembered installing a cd drive (not a dvr, just player) in it a few years ago. and he said he loved me, but had the right to refuse service.
and i have aol.. and i'm on dial up. uhhhh huh. big time slow.
so each listing takes at least 1/2 hr. just to write it up (ok, i admit, my listings are WAY too lengthy!) then uploading the picture. then the item is assigned a number, added to my running inventory list, and noted which site it is listed on. so at least an hour per item most likely. i honestly don't like to think about it, cause it would mean i probably only make fifty cents an hour.
then the item is stored.. again.. anal.. i have shelves marked for items. nightgowns, blouses, robes, slips each have their own shelf; and are stored numerically per the assigned number when listed.
huge totes store listed coats, long dresses or anything bulky.
it would seem to the average person that i would never make a mistake listing. that i would be able to find an item just by the number and the appropriate shelf.. but it isn't always so! every once in a while, something is placed in a tote instead of a shelf.. or worse.. the wrong tote. meaning i have to tear everything apart to find one item.
yesterday was the day! i heard from my kind, understanding (and forgiving!) customer about the split seam in the nightgown, Then i discovered a payment in paypal for an order they never notified me of, so i had no clue the item was sold. a hasty apology to the customer for the "over sight".. grab and pack that order, then spent 1-1/2 hours trying to find a maxi dress for another order. how on earth do you loose not only something big, but bright! it was yellow, blue and red.
i finally found it.. packed the items, and made it to the post office before they closed to ship. .. but you'd think with all my "wonderful" organizational skills, eleven years of doing this, my little business would run a whole lot smoother. but i realized.. everything turned out well, and nobody's perfect.