Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jeweled Scarf Necklaces Review.

Review of Jeweled Scarf Necklaces.

What are they?

They are lightweight scarves with a pendent of some kind on them.   The pendants are movable and removable so one can purchase multiple scarves and move pendants from one scarf to another.   A great accessory to dress up your outfit. Or in lieu of a necklace. Some pendents are hearts, leaves, elephant, flowers, butterflies, owls, medallions and abstract designs.   Our website will show you the various designs we have had.

There are dozens of companies out there selling this item.  You will find all types of scarves made out of all types of materials and pendants.  Colors kind of follow the season, in the summer we got lilac, white, tan, silver and coral. In the winter we got black, brown, blue and plum and for the spring we are getting red, pink, white and silver again.  Some companies are sending yellow, light green and bright pink. 

You can find them retail as low as $4 and as high as $60!  I have seen this Im not kidding.  Yes Majority are made in China! Some vendors actually bundle them up for transportation giving them the wrinkle look. 

We have an average price based on the cost provided by the vendor.  We have also gotten them from 4 different vendors now.  We sell them anywhere between $12 and $18 depending on which vendor we get them from. 

These scarves are currently my biggest seller.  In December we went thru 5 dozen in 3 weeks!   Thanks to my landlords wife! Shes been promoting these like crazy and all accidentally.

I have not sold them on my business website because the inventory rotates so much I dont think I could keep up with them but I hope to in the future.

*There are people out there claiming to hand make them - we are sure there are crafty people out there making their own but be warned it may not be true.*

Keep posted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whats with eBay and Amazon siding with buyers in a dispute case

Ok so we have all had our share of buyers filing a claim. On eBay or Amazon someone gets something they are unhappy with or they claim to never have received the item at all and they file a claim.

This is nothing new but they both do the same thing. The total funds get placed on hold awaiting you to fill out your side of the story. I have come to a point where I refuse to issue a refund until the item is returned. We have the right as sellers to request that the item is returned. On both platforms you can request that. Then at least you would get the product back and lose out ONLY on the shipping fees. There are times when the buyer would 'escalate' the claim.

I had someone that basically threatened me and said I better do the right thing or they would leave the worst feedback I had ever received! I reported this person immediately.

So the buyer escalates the claim and they find in favor of the buyer but dont find you responsible! So the money basically comes from where? Not your pocket, should you care? YES!

These are cases that we cant do anything about once a decision is made. But it gives the buyers the impression that they can say what they want, keep the item AND get their money back!

The most recent claim came from a person on my Amazon store. They claimed the package never arrived but the tracking information says it was 'DELIVERED" the day before. Not only did this person go on and on harassing us about UPS this and FedEx that, both services did not have the package, they said it should be in their 'office' and it never showed up. I tried to assist, sometimes the packages are marked delivered and left next door, or tossed, or someone keeps it. Its happens!

Anyway, this buyer went on about their chemo treatments, being tired, needing to sleep and how they didnt not want to 'trifle' with such a small amount. (Total of $9.07) So image my surprise when the 'claim' came thru two days later!

Of course both platforms give you the option to issue a refund when these come thru. I have never just issued a refund. I always fill out 'my side' of the story. In the end they sided with the buyer but did not fault us at the same time. So the $9.07 came from Amazon and not my account. This person keeps the item AND gets a refund.

I once asked eBay about this method of dealing with customers and they said sometimes they do things to appease the buyers. It makes me wonder how many times they go around 'appeasing' the buyers with such small amount. When will they start 'appeasing' the sellers?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

eBay buyers refusing a cancelation request?

How does one deal with this?

Well it does not happen often but sometimes I have a miscount, or something will sell in my physical store or in another market place and I forget to remove the listing from the other market place. Or it was swiped in our store. Its happen to all of us I am sure. For us this is usually the main reason for requesting a cancellation.

When it happens I email the buyer explaining that there was an error and we no longer have the item. I issue a refund and submit a cancellation request. Now the buyer got my message about the mistake and their money back! Im not one of those sellers that 'hold' their money until the accept the cancelation request. I have the most to lose since the buyer can say no to the request just to be mean and they can leave a negative mark for me.

If I did everything correct why would a buyer refuser my request?

Now the message says I have to complete the transaction with the buyer. How can I? Im a seller that buys wholesale and sells retail so I can obtain more. What sucks is that the item is on back order until the end of February! So does this order just sit in my 'awaiting' pile? I already refunded this person so I dont have their money so its actually 'awaiting payment' - should I send an invoice? Remove it from my list? Just leave it there until the end of next month?

What to do?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I hate my utility company.

Ok thats a strange topic but I wanted to cover it.

I have the same utility company for my business and my home so I hate them twice as much. I wont name the company but you can figure it out by where we are located.

Do you cringe when the bill comes in? Who doesn't! Its not that we over use the electricity or that the rates are high. Its whole monopoly thing - where you are stuck with that company as long as you live in that house. Its the horrible fees in billing.

What do I mean?

Well we are in a location were our county does not produce its own power, or something like that. So we have to have it delivered from other locations. What does that mean? We wind up paying sometimes triple the usage amount! Think Im kidding?

Example from my business bill (actual numbers):

Basic Service charge (just to have the privilege of the connection - and it adjusts every month) Between $30 and $40 a month (for both electric and natural gas).

In November we didnt use gas but that part of the bill is $17.71. (Remember we didnt use the heat!)

For the electric portion we used 189 KWH in 31 days.

Now in NY I have read its the highest in the country with about .09 cents per KWH. So in a normal location that bill wouldn't be much right? Just about $17 for the electric portion? Wrong!

Where we are we have to pay that service charge $15.27 , metering charge $13.79, supply charge, $16.20 AND $10 for the actual usage of electricity! PLUS all the other little fees $.66 - The electric portion of the bill came to $55.92!

So the total utility bill is $17.71 + $55.92 + (tax) $5.98 = $80.63!

Did you read that right? My little $10 USAGE of Electricity turned into a $80.63 bill! Im so lost on how this is possible and there is nothing I can do about it.

When I first saw this bill I nearly died and I didnt even turn on the heat! Im so nervous as its been cold and well I had to turn on the heat cause I was freezing. Im afraid to see this months bill.

At my house we do not have natural gas, we only get an electric bill. The rates are actually the same. The usage is just as low as we have solar panels at our house. We still end up paying over $50 a month for minimum usage. I shouldn't complain since so many people are paying in the hundreds for their service.

Its just a shame.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Finding new product!

How do you find new product? Retail magazines? Expos? Wing it?

I have a number of ways to find new vendors.

When I first started out I used to shop in the wholesale district in NYC. There are a TON of stores that you can purchase items at wholesale prices. Now I have to say that SOME of the items are not the best quality. Not only that, the sellers are mainly distributors so you may wind up paying a tad more than what you would normally pay if you purchased from a manufacture.

You can get on a ton of mailing/emailing lists which will usually 'sell' your info. This will FILL your mailbox! I cant tell you how many magazines and offers I get via email and mail. I personally like magazines and catalogs. I like to sit and take my time viewing products. Im not a fan of buying from websites.

Ive also found things at other stores that I thought were cool and wanted to carry them. Most of the time you can find the manufactures information on the package it self. I stood in a store and looked for a barcode. Once you know the manufacture you can locate them online. Find contact information and your in business.

Sometimes the problem with buying directly from a manufacture is the minimum requirements. There are some that require a purchase of 100 pieces or something like that and for small businesses, quantity can cause of problem. Even high minimum dollar amount requirements can be tough to meet.

My favorite and where I find I spend the most money is at an EXPO. There are TONS out there. Some specialize in certain categories, others are general, some high end. What ever your looking for you can find an expo for it. I used to go to as many as I can find but these days Im down to a handful of shows.

Who to buy from? You have sales people, manufactures and distributors. The Manufactures make and sell the products, you can find the best buying prices with them but they may have the highest minimum quantity required for purchase. Some even charge you a percentage to use your credit card! Distributors basically buy the product from the manufactures at a high volume and sell to retailers that dont want to buy more then a dozen widgets. Sales people represent the manufacture, they make a commission on the sale to the buyers. Usually they prices are the same as if you just purchased from the manufacture. The thing with sales people is that since they usually represent multiple companies you may find yourself stuck buying from other lines they represent! Another issue I have with them is that you have to buy the minimum from each line they represent. So if you liked only the widget from company A and the other widget from company B you can not put them together to make one purchase, you would have to purchase from both companies.

I have had sellers actually walk into my store asking if I can sell their product. If I liked it I would offer it on consignment. No money out of my pocket and only give them money if its sold, what better way to try a new item?

Either way there are many ways to locate products and many products trying to locate you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Personalized Products - Paparte - Product Review

So we have been carrying Paparte Mugs and Pens for almost a year now. It was slow going at first and I was scared.

I put them on my website and they have been moving. Excited I added bottle openers, keychains, bookmarks, tumblers and iPhone cases to the list! I love them all and Im hoping these items will move just as quickly.

All items can be personalized with what ever name, initial or slogan you want. We can even add a logo to certain styles. There are dozens of color and design combinations available. You pick the design, the color choice and word you want on it. We print while you wait! The smaller items take about 5 minutes to put together. The tumblers are a little more detailed and the mugs are the most time to take to put them together. But the longest you would have to wait is just about 15 minutes.

The mugs are 16oz, stainless steel with plastic on the outside. They should not go in the dishwasher or microwave. Price point is about $19
The tumblers are BPA free plastic also 16oz also should not go into the dishwasher. Price point is about $16
The iphone cases have silicone type in the inside with a hard plastic shell on the outside. The insert comes in various colors that usually match the colors you chose for the personalization. The price point is about $20
The pens are large with refillable ink - the price points is about $9
The Bottle opener, keychain and bookmark are small and a great little gift. The price point is about $5 for each item.

Makes great gifts for just about anyone.