Jul 28, 2015

Oops! Where things went wrong with wholesale.

In January I started a new journey for my business by leasing a space at an antique mall and I took you all along for the journey and updated you as things went along. There hasn’t been much to report there but I have added a new dimension to the business with wholesale and want to share some of my experience with that as well.

Back in March I landed my first wholesale gig. I had just added my Boo Boo Buddies to my hot pack line and was encouraged to take my large hot packs and Boo Boo Buddies to a store in a neighboring town that supports local artists.  The first meeting went well and the company rep bought what I had on hand as a trial to see how they would sell in the store. Now when I say “bought” I say that in an accounts receivable sort of way. I was asked if mailing a check would be ok or if cash would be better. I was nervous and didn’t want to lose the deal so I told her whatever was easiest would be fine. 

The hot packs were a hit and a few days later I had my first big order. I dropped that order off and in about a week I received another order. Things were going pretty steady for a little while, but after about a month or so I started wondering when the check was going to come. I talked with the company rep and she said that sometimes it takes a little while to get new vendors into the system and that she would try to speed things up. I finally received my check but to my surprise it was only for the first two invoices. 

In an effort to stay proactive and encourage on-time payment I started sending an e-mail the week an invoice was due with a copy of the corresponding invoice and every week after until it was paid. I quickly found myself sending 2nd and 3rd reminder notices and time between payments became longer and longer. I finally had to tell the rep that if I didn’t get paid in full that I was going to have to stop selling to their company. She said she would talk to the accounting department and within a few days I had a check. There was still one invoice that had not been paid but it wasn’t late yet either, so against my better judgment I went ahead and delivered my next order. I am still waiting to get paid for that order. Needless to say I have stopped delivering product to that store.

I learned a couple of things from this experience.
  1. Talk with other vendors to determine how the company treats them before you determine to sell to them. Ask specifically about how timely they are in sending payment.
  2. If cash is offered take it.
  3. Don’t get so caught up in landing the deal that you put yourself into a bad situation. Find out exactly when you will be paid and get it in writing. Draw up your own wholesale agreement and include a late fee.
  4. Don’t be afraid to set a policy that payment needs to be made at the time of delivery.
  5. Talk with a lawyer so you know what you as a small business owner can do in situations like this. (Yeah … I still need to do this.)

I currently do not have any companies that I wholesale to, but I did find a consignment store that I have product in. They work on a 50% commission and pay on the 16th of every month. I’ve only had my product in their store for about two weeks now so I’ll let you know how that goes in a few months.

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Jul 17, 2015

Furniture Before & After >> Antique Rocking Chair

My 11 year old daughter came up to me the other day and asked me if she could paint something. I have to admit that I was a little hesitant because I had a bunch of stuff I needed to get done and really didn't have time to walk her through it all, but figured it was worth it so I let her choose from all the furniture I had and she picked this great piece.

For the color she picked Miss Mustard Seed's Schloss Milk Paint.

Milk paint is so easy to work with that I didn't really need to keep as close an eye on her as I thought I was going to need to. For the first coat on the underside I let her work on it while I worked on another piece and just gave her some tips here and there and then let her fly solo for the topside. We both worked on the second coat together to make things go a little quicker.

To seal the chair she applied a mix of clear and antique wax. then I buffed it to a shine.

She decided that using canvas was the way to go for the seat cover. She helped remove the old upholstery and I made the new cover. I had actually been avoiding this piece because I was nervous about working with piping, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I didn't have the right sewing foot to get a nice tight seem, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

I just love the carvings on the back of the chair.

Shared with:

Miss Mustard Seed
Craftberry Bush
MMS Milk Paint
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Jul 13, 2015

5 Great DIY Projects for the home.

I haven't had much time to do anything for my home recently, but I love woodworking and thought I would share some different sites that have wonderful DIY Furniture and Home Decor Building Plans.

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Jul 8, 2015

Where I Sell My Furniture

Do you have a passion for painting furniture and are curious about how to turn your passion into a business? Here’s a little snapshot of how I got started. 

When I first started selling my furniture via Craigslist. It’s pretty simple and if you know the rules about meeting up with someone it’s a pretty efficient way to sell although you can expect that you won’t get as much for your pieces as you could elsewhere. A short while later I opened my Etsyshop and tried listing a few pieces there. I was surprised to find that the furniture sold well there. At the beginning of this year I opened a small booth at Lone Star Gifts and have sold a few pieces there. It’s a pretty small booth so it can’t hold more than about two pieces of furniture which is perfect for right now.  Coming up in August I will be participating in a vintage & craft market called Summer Show ATX and will have a few pieces available there. I also post all my pieces for sale on my Facebookpage and have sold a few pieces locally through that.

Once I opened my space at Lone Star Gifts I started using Craigslist as an avenue to draw business to my pieces at Lone Star. I list them just as I would if I were selling them from my house but include a note in the description that points prospective buyers to the store. This really helps weed out the scammers and makes for a safer transaction.

I have yet to have any luck with fairs, but am hoping that will change with this show in August and would really like to participate in one of the Vintage Market Days shows.

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Jul 3, 2015

15 Best Places to Buy Vintage Furniture

So you’re looking to fill your house with gorgeous vintage or antique furniture … where do you look to find a great piece at a good price? Here are a few places I have found to have reasonable prices on ready to buy and project pieces. These are all going to be a little hit and miss, but a good find is worth the search. 

Any Day Stores:

1. Family & Friends - let your family and friends know that you are interested in finding some vintage or antique pieces for your home.

2. Antique Stores - let’s face it traditional antique stores have a tendency to be a bit on the pricey end, but there will be some stores that sell pieces at a reasonable price.

3. Antique Malls - the malls tend have lower prices than a traditional antique store and will carry traditional pieces as well as painted pieces in a variety of styles.

4. Goodwill - is a little hit or miss but if you have a store near you it is worth stopping by early on a Monday to see what they have available. They put their best pieces in the auction which is usually held on Saturday.

5. Thrift Stores - I personally haven’t had a lot of luck with local thrift stores, but I know many who have had lots of luck.

Comfort of your own home:

6. Craigslist - just make sure you ask lots of questions before meeting someone and take someone with you.

7. Etsy - this is a great place to browse in the comfort of your own home and support small business. You’ll find lots of quality and unique pieces here, although you will need to count on adding about $250 for shipping depending on the size of the piece.

8. Chairish - this is another great online outlet that supports small business.

9. Facebook - look for local garage sale groups on Facebook.

10. Ebay - I don’t really have any experience with ebay, but it’s an obvious outlet so had to mention it.

Weekend or Seasonal

11. Vintage Markets - probably the best place to find great pieces in one shot. Vintage markets are loaded with tons of different styles and all vendors have been screened so you know everywhere you turn you are going to find something great.

12. Flea Markets - It’s hard to find a good flea market but they are out there. Check them out online and check with friends and family to determine if they are worth the time. There’s one near me that never requires their vendors to be open during flea market hours so only about ¼ of the vendors are actually there.

13. Auctions - takes a lot of time and patience and are more fun with a friend.

14. Estate Sales - If you go on Friday you will find a larger variety but prices will be at their highest. If you wait till Sunday you’ll find lower prices, but will have less to choose from.

15. Garage Sales - I hate going to garage sales, especially in my area, but they can still be a great source.

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Jun 30, 2015

Before & After >> Upcycled Hoosier Cabinet

My mom picked up this cabinet for me last year and I finally got around to doing something with it. The thing that drew me to it most were all the doors and latches. After looking at it I discovered that it was the top piece to a Hoosier cabinet that had been separated from its base and had some doors installed in place of the rolling door.

I forgot to take pictures of the cabinet before removing the previous layers of paint, but just picture the cabinet with several layers of gloppy paint and imagine that piece sitting in a garage for several years and you'll pretty much have it pictured.

I used Citrustrip to remove enough of the old layers of paint to get a smooth surface. Normally I would have removed the doors, but some of the hinges were nailed in place and it would have been more trouble than it was worth so I just used some wire brushes to remove the paint from hard to reach areas.

Once the old paint was removed I added some 14" legs to give it a little more height and make it a little more usable. I wanted to try and keep the new color close the the original blue of the cabinet so I mixed together equal parts of Miss Mustard Seed Eulalie's Sky and Shutter Grey Milk Paint and the inside was painted with Trophy milk paint. After painting, distressing, and sanding the cabinet I felt like the cabinet was too much of a blank canvas so I added some hand painted flower branches in using Ironstone milk paint. My flowers were inspired by the piece Marion did to introduce Mora to her line of milk paint. I finished everything off hemp oil. I really prefer the look of wax, but hemp oil is so quick and easy and I really needed to finish it up so I could get it into my space at Lone Star Gifts.

Shared with:
Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint
Silver Pennies
Home Stories A to Z
Snap Creativity
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Jun 24, 2015

How my friend saved my daughter from a painful procedure.

At the beginning of the year I introduced you to Jae from Benjamin Soap Company.

I have since used more of her products and wanted to share a personal experience with you. My daughter likes to clip her toenails super close and ended up getting an infection from an ingrown toenail. After talking with a Dr. about it the recommendation was to put her on antibiotics for a week and then do a partial toenail removal. 

I texted Jae about some options and she recommended using her Rosemary Mint bath salts and her Tea Tree soap. Every night I had Emily soak her feet in a tub of warm water with a tablespoon of bath salts for 10 minutes and then had her wash her feet really well with tea tree soap. 

When I took her back for the toe nail removal the Dr said it was no longer needed.  You can imagine our relief. You can check out all of Jae’s wonderful products on her website or if you happen to be in the Dripping Springs area you can stop by my booth at Lone Star Gifts.

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