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Are People Not Reading Your Item Description? eBay and Etsy

Does it seem that people are not reading your item descriptions on eBay and/or Etsy? Are they asking questions that are clearly answered in the description if they just “bothered” to look? I see this complaint all the time and I’ve had it happen to me as well. And you know what? It might not be entirely their fault! Especially with Etsy and especially on mobile devices.

I can’t speak much about eBay, since I do very little selling there, but I can speak a lot about Etsy! They, as of this writing, oddly enough, make it, ummm, let’s just say, not very intuitive to find the actual description on mobile devices. Here’s a screenshot of how some books I currently have for sale appear on my phone:

………………..Oh, and before you say anything, I learned long ago, that no matter how easy it is to ship outside the US, something will happen ~for ME~ that either costs me money ($50 one time!!) or there’s a problem that costs me a whole day trying to sort out. That’s why I sell to the US only. It’s not them, it’s me. I might use the global shipping thing, and will usually ship outside the US if asked, but I try to keep my life simple. Now back to the problem at hand.………………..

Etsy Item Screenshot

So, okay. That “Item Overview” is not helpful at all. And the “Item Details”, (I drew the red box around it.) that you have to click a down arrow to see, first, should it be named Item Description instead of Details? And second, maybe we shouldn’t have to click on an arrow to read it? Here’s another:

Etsy Screenshot

There’s more information in the “Overview” – and those are pretty much the only choices we have to fill out except for things like “Holiday” and other unnecessary details – but thinking like a buyer here, “Hey, what’s that dark area in the middle of the wood that I can see in the picture? Where do I find out about that?” It just seems to me that if they’re going to show all the “Overview” stuff, maybe there should be a place for more of the important details and the condition. eBay at least has the condition where it can be seen. Sort of. (Not that I like the way eBay does things either, but at least “condition” is there amid the myriad of other things we might not care about.) And then there’s the whole, “Why should I buy this item” that we can talk about in the description….

Note that on the computer, the description on Etsy is actually called “Description” and they at least show about 5 lines before it is grayed out and you have to click to “learn more.” So it’s pretty important to state what could be a deal-breaker right upfront. Not an ideal selling tactic.

So, what can we do? We’re all busy people. We get in a hurry, see something we like and click on that “Buy” button, get the item and wonder why those vintage shoes don’t fit when they were my size or, “I thought it was larger than that” or “Hey! There is only one lid here!” (I once sold 2 bowls with one lid. The title stated it, the first line of the description stated it and all the pictures clearly showed it. But she somehow missed that pertinent information.) But again, we’re human. We get in a hurry. So, we can blame the buyers for not reading or we can blame the selling venues for not making it easy to see, we can complain on social media and complain to the venues, or we can do whatever we can to help the buyer see all they need to see.

Here’s my solution. I’ve only just now started doing this and who knows if I’m still doing it this time next year? And of course, there are quite a few similar solutions other people use. But mine, at the moment, is to make a graphic of the description, either in bullet point or even the whole description, but I believe the bullet point is probably better, and put it as the last picture. Similar to this:

In that particular listing, I ran out of picture spaces and combined the photo of the imperfection with the other condition notes.

Now, of course, not everybody will scroll through all the pictures, and not everyone will bother to read the graphic but in that case, I simply do not know of anything else to do.

What about when a vintage item has a ding/flaw/chip/nick/discoloration/whatever imperfection that vintage things tend to have? I’ve heard that some people use the “Personalization” area in Etsy to ask the buyer to say that they saw there was an imperfection. I tried that once and it confused the buyer. She didn’t want it personalized. Ha! I’ve also tried messaging and emailing the buyer prior to shipping. The last time I did that, she did not see either the message or the email. She was surprised when she got her item and must have gone in to message me, saw that I tried to reach out to her and decided not to complain but to apologize and say it was okay. However, that has saved me more than once when the buyer, in fact, did not see that there was some damage and wanted a more perfect item. It’s more work and aggravation for us sellers and really should be avoided by the selling venue doing a better job, but the venues don’t seem to see there’s a problem. So we do what we can. (Sometimes, it seems like Etsy doesn’t want vintage sellers, but that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms I won’t open here or I’d be writing for days! And that’s really not true. I don’t think. Of course they want us and our money. I think they just don’t understand vintage.)

Tell me in the comments what you do to try to prevent this from happening.

(You know who does a pretty good job of this? WooCommerce. It looks similar to most of the big online stores we visit. It’s free and I use it on this site. But dang, it’s a lot of work to try to sell on your own website! And I’ll admit to not adding things very often. I should do a better job of the blog all the way around.)

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Let’s Talk Flower Frogs – What Are and What Aren’t

Flower Frog Collection

Okay. So. Let’s talk flower frogs today. I was researching a…. thing…. trying to determine if it is or isn’t a flower frog, we’ll talk about that later, and realized there needs to be a short conversation of clarification of just what is and is not a flower frog.

First, the basic definition of a flower frog is flower arranger. Flower stem holder. Something that goes in the bottom of a vase and has holes or pins or slits for the flower stems to sit in. This keeps them somewhat in position. (Only not if I’m the one doing the arranging. Definitely not one of my talents.) They come in quite a few shapes, sizes and materials. Glass is probably the most common. You’ll see these everywhere. Clear, heavy glass with holes. Some people mistakenly call these pencil holders or even candle holders. On the same line as these, are pottery frogs. They’re usually the same basic, round shapes with holes. Another style is metal with sharp pins sticking up. Think of a tiny bed of nails. There are “cages.” These can be metal or plastic. And last, is the more novelty flower frogs. Let’s take a look at some examples of flower frogs. These are some that I either own or have had and sold.

Cage Flower Frogs

As you can see, cage flower frogs come in all shapes and sizes. These particular ones are metal, but they can be plastic. I sold this group on Etsy back in 2015 for $42.00.

Spike Flower Frogs

Look at the different shapes of these spike flower frogs. And this is just a tee-niny sample of the different shapes they come in! These sold in my Etsy shop in 2014 for $35.00. And the ones below in 2021 for $35.00.

Spike Flower Frogs

Novelty and Figural Flower Frogs

Bird Flower Frog

This type is probably my favorite. From my personal collection. This particular bird flower frog was made in Japan. See the little holes?

Again, from my personal collection. I don’t know what you’d call this style.

The next one, sort of along the same lines, being as it’s wire, may or may not be a flower frog, but for some reason, I think it is. I’ve had it…. goodness! 15-20 years or so! Perhaps research back then told me that it was a frog.

Pottery Flower Frogs

Pottery flower frogs can be, along with some novelty and figural frogs, the most expensive and most desirable. Different pottery companies made them. Weller, Roseville, Hull, McCoy….. Some were plain like the one below made by Weller.

Some were similar to the bird above only with dancing ladies or fish or what have you.

Some were like a pottery ball with holes in them like below:

I have no recollection of this Gordy flower frog vase but it was in my photos from 2011. How could I forget this beauty?! It’s not even in my inventory list, but that’s definitely a picture I took.

Glass Flower Frogs

Glass flower frogs are usually clear glass. This one happens to be Depression Glass in the marigold color. It’s in terrible condition as you can see, but it found a way into my personal collection. I tend to take in the broken.

These Are NOT Flower Frogs!!

So, what’s NOT a flower frog? These. These are not, but I see them on eBay and elsewhere all the time listed as such:

These are plastic carpet protectors. They also come in round. They were put under furniture legs with the pointy side down to keep from flattening the carpet. They were only somewhat effective. Either the people who try to sell these as flower frogs are too young to remember or maybe their parents or grandparents didn’t use them. They just don’t know any better. I hope.

Is This A Flower Frog Or Is It Not?

So, we get to the item that started all this. I bought it with a bunch of other frogs at an estate sale. Who knows if the previous owner stored it with the other frogs or if the estate handlers put it with them? I tend to think it’s some kind of flower frog and belonged with the others. The color screams “floral” to me. It’s plastic, 3-1/2″ in diameter, and you would only be able to use short stems. If you’ve ever seen this and know what it is, frog or something else entirely, I sure would appreciate your letting me know!

So there’s my quick lesson on what is and isn’t a flower frog. I hope it has helped someone, anyone, out there. Maybe it has answered a question or cleared up a misconception. And do a Google image search or search eBay or Etsy. If they weren’t already, your eyes will be opened to the wonders of collectible flower frogs! (And you’re guaranteed to see a few carpet protectors.)

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Where Do Vintage Stores Get Their Merchandise?

Have you ever walked into an antique/vintage mall, shop or flea market and wondered just where do vintage stores get their merchandise? If you’re a seasoned vintage reseller this post is probably nothing new for you, but maybe you can add to the list? If you’re looking to get into vintage reselling this information should get you well on your way to your newest addiction.

Note: This is written from a United States perspective. It will differ slightly in every country.

Let’s get this party started!

  1. Estate sales and yard sales

    What’s the difference? Well, it’s a big one. One that I explained in >this post<. How do you know where to find them? The want ads in the paper, a community trade publication, local Facebook pages…. Prices are all over the place with these. If you’re just starting out, go to antique malls to get a feel for what things are selling for before plopping down your hard earned cash. But remember, it’s hard to go wrong with a quarter or less. Take that chance if you think it might be something that would sell. If it ends up a dud then you’ve spent a quarter – or less – on your education.
  2. Thrift stores

    Thrift stores are in every major city and town across the US and many smaller ones. A charity thrift store is dependent on donations with the proceeds, or at least some of the proceeds, going to help the charity it sponsors. These stores are Goodwill, Salvation Army, Hannah Home, King’s Ranch, etc. as well as more locally specific charities.

    In recent years, many of these stores have gone crazy with pricing. It’s getting harder and harder to find things you can make any money with. I guess they got tired of all the eBay sellers making all the money. Of course, the item they price so high just sits there and gets broken, if it wasn’t already, and never sells, because the shoppers who will pay those prices are shopping in the antique shops and malls and eBay and Etsy…..

    Many individually owned businesses call themselves “thrift shops” even though they are totally for profit. Perhaps they believe their prices are really low or they hope we’ll think their prices are low because they called themselves a thrift shop. Meh. Still, never rule them out. Good deals can be found there.
  3. Flea Markets

    I believe in the UK these are called boot sales. It’s kinda like where two or three are gathered…. Flea markets are a bunch of people taking their things and setting up a table or two or three, in a particular spot, like maybe a field next to the highway, and are usually, but not necessarily, regularly scheduled “events” that are always in the same spot. I mean like once a month or every weekend, people show up, pay for a table or two and throw out their stuff for the world to see.

    There can be regular dealers trying to get top dollar to Grandpa cleaning out his barn. I’m gonna say right here that the grandpas cleaning out their barns or the Aunt Lucilles getting rid of their kitchen and household junk are getting harder to find.

    A lot of people absolutely love flea markets. They’re not my favorites for bargains but I suppose it depends on your location.
  4. Friends and family and strangers

    Sometimes friends and family will give you stuff they’re tired of. Sometimes they want to sell it to you. Sometimes they know someone who needs to clean out a house quickly and they tell them to call you.

    I was at an estate sale recently and was a small part of a conversation. The man said they’d been in the business so long that people call them with stuff. They had to go clean out a house that day. I mentioned how much work that was but secretly, I was thinking, “I wish somebody would call me with a house full of stuff!” Forgetting that that has actually happened a few times and lawdy! It’s work! Still, I’d jump on it again if anyone called.
  5. Which brings me to —

    advertising that you buy

    this thing or that thing or whole estates.

    I don’t guess there’s much to say about that. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Another version is to advertise that you’ll clean out the barn or house for free just to get the stuff.
  6. Buying from want ads

    such as in the paper, Facebook buy and sell groups, Craig’s List, etc.

    Personally, I don’t have any luck with these. I never see good deals, plus I’m kinda shy. Sure I write boldly, but I get really shy in those situations. However, I know people who watch these religiously and always get great deals. I’ll see or hear that they got this wonderful thing for $xx or $xxx but if I had seen it first it would have been $xxxx! More than I would be able to sell it for. But give it a try yourself. You may be one of the lucky ones.
  7. Off the side of the road!

    Oh, yeah. One of my favorite and yet least favorite places to find things to sell. I’ve made some serious cash on things I found put out for trash on the side of the road. But it can be dangerous if it’s in a high traffic area, or embarrassing if you know people in town but not well enough that they know you’re not above trash picking. It can also be nasty. Visualize a landlord throwing out their nasty renter’s things left in the house or apartment. Ewwww! Or used hypodermic needles. Yes, I have heard of that happening. At the mess on the side of the road pictured above, as a matter of fact.
  8. At antique malls and shops – or in other words, from other dealers.

    A lot of people swear by this method. They comb booths in antique malls and leave no stone unturned in shops looking for something that is underpriced. What you’re looking for in this scenario is something the dealer didn’t realize the value of or maybe something that they can’t sell to their customers that would go well with yours.

    I had a “happy-stance” once. I thought I recognized a piece of pottery on the front desk of an antique mall holding their pens. I casually asked if it was for sell? They thought about it and said, “How about $5?” Yeppers! Research told me I was correct and it sold for…. um…. a substantial bit more than that.

    Let me say that you have to really know your market and hunt harrrrddddd! Sometimes you’ll luck up and find a booth or shop going out of business that hasn’t been picked clean yet. Sometimes you’ll find a dealer who simply prices according to what they paid. Sometimes you’ll just find something that you’re more familiar with than the dealer.
  9. Real-Life Auctions

    eBay isn’t the only auction place around. Perhaps there are real-life auctions near you. Each auction house has its specialty. It might be new things like tube socks or household junk or antiques or livestock or a mix of any or all of the above. You find out about auctions usually in the local want ads, but there’s also

    Remember, if you try out auctions, to set your limit on a certain item and don’t get caught up in the bidding frenzy. Also remember that there might be a “buyer’s premium” added to the total. Yeah. They’ll tack on an extra 5-10% or more of the selling price. So don’t forget to think about that when setting your limit.

This list covers the basics. Can you add to the list? Have a favorite? Just starting out and had no idea? As for me, I prefer to stick to estate sales, yard sales and sometimes thrift stores. But I never rule out any of the others. Those seem to be the best use of my time. Others’ mileage may vary.

You might also like to see 21 Places To Sell Your Antiques and Collectibles.