Sunday, February 20, 2011

Converting This Trip into a Business

Now that I've had some time to recover from my recent RV trip, I'm moving ahead with my new business.  If you followed the trip, you will remember, especially on the return, that I decided to leave my past career in human resources, and start a business that would combine my love of travel, thrift shopping, beautiful textiles, and quality clothes.  How about an on-line store!!?

In Phoenix, Palm Springs, and San Francisco, I started to seriously collect women's preowned upscale clothes for resale.  By the time I got home, my passenger side was filled to the top and safety-belted in to hold it in place.  I bought racks and hangers from a local retailer closing shop which filled my living room, I set up a photo studio with changable backdrop, lights, mannequin, camera and tripod in the bedroom.

My goal is to start selling by March 1st.  That means completing the full 800 pages of "Starting an Online Business for Dummies" (I'm 3/4 through), taking a class on the same topic at the local college (so much crammed into one day), getting more inventory, taking the pictures, figuring out shipping, and putting up a store-front on line.

Wait a minute!!  I just wanted to have fun shopping...this sounds like work.

Maybe I need a smaller first step.  I had already dismissed eBay since I had bought a necklace in their early years and was very disappointed. I knew they had grown and changed so after a second look, I was amazed.  My search for "Jams World" pulled up those mouth-watering designs of this Hawaiian manufacturer of surfing clothes.  I had visited their factory and retail stores while in Honolulu a year ago ($100 for a mans shirt) and had since found two "like new" pieces (total $6 at a thrift store).  I hang the shirt outside my closet just to enjoy the happy prints and bright colors.  (For more on Jams World, go to Walker Mangum's tribute and collection of over a 1,000 designs: )  

Well, not only was I amazed at the professional layout, I was able to check on comparable selling prices of my own inventory.  Just for research purposes of course, I set up a PayPal account for buyers (quick and easy) and ordered a butter yellow Jams shirt with big flowers.  The shipping was free and sales tax (high in this state and fluxuates even within counties) was not mentioned. I wanted to see how the item was packaged and its condition on arrival. More on that after it comes.

So, with the guidance of friends who are eBay experts, I'll be moving in this direction first. Local friends have asked for a "trunk show" which I'll be doing weekly. Meanwhile, today I went shopping and found a beautiful Tori Richard Aloha shirt with blue and red sports cars.  Some XXL man will be very happy to own this soon.  Meanwhile, it's decorating the wall of my office.