Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seller's Block, Shipping Complex, and Shop Envy

It's November 13 already (brrr, winter's coming!) and I'm a little embarrassed to look back at an old post from July 17 when I excitedly announced that I was opening up a new shop on Etsy - Sarsaparilla's Boudoir - and that you should keep your eyes open for items for sale there "soon."

My intention was to take a month's break from selling on eBay while I got my shop rolling on Etsy.  And then I planned to start up again on eBay in October - in time for the Christmas season.

Perfectly sensible, right?
Well, 117 days later and I still have an empty Etsy shop - and I haven't sold a thing on eBay since early August!

I seem to have a dreaded case of........SELLER'S BLOCK!!!

                             courtesy of Stuart NG Books
Psychoanalysis no. 1 (Mar./Apr. 1955) edited by Bob Stewart and written by Steven Ringgenberg.

I wish there was a virtual couch that I could lie down on, and one of my blogging friends could play therapist and help me figure out what my problem is.

Or how about a "Psychiatric Help" booth like Lucy's? 

Anyone willing to step in for Dr. Lucy?  I'll bet there are plenty of bloggers that would line up at your window/screen.  Just think of the money that would roll in at 5 cents a minute!

Has anyone else out there gone through a spell of Seller's Block? Any suggestions?

I'm so frustrated with myself because I have a house full of vintage things that I'd like to sell, and have even taken photos of a few of them...

But I can't seem to take those next steps to get them posted - and start making some money, which I could definitely use right now!  

I think part of the problem is that I have "Shipping Complex."   Because everything I sell is different weights and sizes, I spend enormous amounts of time finding the right size box and packing materials and making sure I've calculated the proper weight so that I don't overcharge for postage. 

That whole packing/shipping process is looming large in my mind right now and is dragging me down. I'm thinking, do I really want to get into this again? 

Part of me says YES, I need the money and I love the customer contact!  And the other part of me says NO, you don't have time for this! Start selling again and you can kiss your social life goodbye! 

I guess that NO seems to be winning the battle right now.  Thus, my Sellers Block.

Maybe a little "Shop Envy" will help inspire me and get me out of my slump.

cartoons from Bizarroblog by Dan Piraro, creator of Bizarro

I've got some wonderful followers (thank you!) who have fabulous blogs - and some amazing things for sale right now. 

Look at what I found at these lovely online shops!

Adeline's Attic Vintage on Etsy. The lovely Jill / Baroness Von Vintage modeling one of my favorites - a 1930's Lush Merlot Crushed Velvet Evening Coat

Createology on Etsy.  The talented Sherry made this wonderful Limited Edition Wearable Art Boa. Lots more gorgeous things here!  Check out the Caramel Cameo Choker Necklace too...

The Kitschy Collector Home of C. Dianne Zweig.  This book looks like great fun - just like her fabulous blog!  Here's her book, Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles, 2nd Edition, on Amazon.

Fiona aka "Straight Talking Mama" has an incredible selection of vintage inspired items on Notorious Kitsch. Isn't this a fun Anne Taintor What Can I Buy Today Coin Purse?

Lizzie's Etsy shop - FuzzyLizzie Vintage   I've always wanted a pair of Vintage 1940's Daniel Green Comfy Slippers.  And this 1950's Purple and Black Wool Plaid fitted jacket is so pretty!

Katsui on Etsy.  Kat and Suz, my favorite mother/daughter team!  Isn't the Vintage Repurposed Sparrow Necklace with Resin Bird Charm sweet? And the second one - Kat's Meow Vintage Repurposed Necklace - has a resin pendant of Miss Kitty flapper saying "Meow."  Fabulous!

Shona's online store, Heyday!  I love these Heyday Plum Ladies Swing Trousers!  Lots more pretty things there. I was crossing my fingers that I might be the winner of Shona's Fleur Dress giveaway.  But I will have to add it to my wish list!

Vintage-a-Peel from Miss Peelpants.  A fabulous John Bates for Jean Varon - 1973 Dress!

Able Gable  I love their custom order clothing - especially the Miss Ann Darrow 1933 Dress. The frock is worn by Miss Amanda Lee in Ivory and Mlle Fleur de Guerre in Kingfisher.

And one more dress from Jill's Adeline's Attic Vintage shop - because she's such a doll!  This late 1930's/early 1940's Wartime Raspberry Velvet Dress with Scalloped Trapunto Style Details would be perfect for holiday parties...

Oh my, that little shopping excursion was fun!  Especially because in the middle of posting photos, I decided to buy one of the darling handmade flapper figurines from Mitzi's Collectibles.  My new little mascot flapper has a polka dot dress and is named "Etta."   I'm so much better at buying than selling!

Seller's Block, Shipping Complex, Shop Envy...  I can just imagine you thinking - "Excuses, excuses! Girl, you've got to stop complaining, get off of that couch, and just DO IT!"

Okay, I will.  I promise!
The next time you see my happy face I will be the new Selling Queen.

Free therapy, and tough love. That's what friends are for...  :-)


  1. First of all, I am utterly honoured to have two items from my shop (with me in them) amidst this dazzling array of other beautiful goodies! Second of all, believe me, you are not alone!!! My particular personal issue is "mender's block." I've got a TON of vintage clothes that should be up in the shop but they need a bit of mending, so they just sit on my mending shelf taunting me. The bigger the pile, the bigger the procrastination. Let's break these cycles and JUST dive in and vanquish our mental foes!!!!!

  2. If you can be bothered doing huge blog posts like this one, you can be bothered selling. Go and get a whole lot of boxes, in all different sizes (I rescue mine and all my packing materials from skips so its all free) and a set of scales so you can give accurate postage quotes. In this way, you'll be arrnging things in such a way that you're eliminating all the excuses you're making NOT to get the listings done.
    For me, my rule is that I'm not allowed to blog unless I've done my selling stuff. Sometimes it means my blog suffers, as it has this week, but too bad, as the blog is not an income stream for me. Check me out at
    seller i.d. kitty_cat.123

  3. Kitty, that's so funny that you said that. I realized as I was posting this that I could probably have posted 4 items for sale in the same time it took me to write this. But blogging is so much more creative and fun! I truly appreciate your very sensible advice.

    Jill, very pleased to feature you! And I noticed right after I posted this that your gorgeous velvet coat had just sold! Good for you...

  4. p.s. to Kitty: I just checked out your eBay items! You've great some great things for sale right now. Those celluloid belt buckles and that lot of vintage fabric - wonderful!

  5. Very enjoyable post. You're a talented writer and your antiques are "seller worthy." You are quite capable of leaping over these mental hurdles. Watch an old Nike commercial and "Just Do It!" :-)

    - Michael

    P.S. Question: How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Answer: Only one, but the bulb has to want to change.

  6. Thanks for the kind note, Michael. And you are so right! This bulb is pretty dim sometimes...

  7. A note to any online sellers that stop by...

    Don't be shy! This is a good time to let me and any others who read these comments know where your shop is so that we can check you out!

  8. Hiya...I did exactly the same thing...announced my shop ages ago and there's still nothing in it. In my defence I've been busy and I have put stuff onto ebay instead. My shop will have to wait I think!xxx

  9. You have some amazing things! I sympathize about seller's block, because I often find it hard just to press "publish" on my blogs ;)

    Thank you so much for visiting Kitchen Retro, BTW! I will be back to visit yours again for sure, it is just my cup of tea!

  10. Oh you have lots of goodies,to sell, you have to jump into it, dear.But I sooo understand, I too think it is difficult with the shipping.
    Thanks for your sweet comment, on my blog.

  11. Hi Susan: It is like you read my mind with this post. I too have sellers block. I opened an etsy shop a very looooooooooong time ago to sell some vintage items and I have never done the photos or the descriptions therefore my shop is completely blank. I must get motivated.
    Thank you so very much for the links to my createology shop with the boas and jewelry. What a pleasant surprise this is.
    I love your photos and now that you have put your "block" out here for all of us to know you will be motivated now just because we all support your endeavors. That is how blogging so helps us. Happy weekend to you my dear...

  12. I right there with you, haven't listed anything to sell for ages. For me I think a big part of it that when the economy tanked so did my eBay sales. It's very discouraging to do all the work of an auction and not get even a single watcher, let alone any bids.

    Besides being a hassle, I find it a little embarrassing to charge what it costs for shipping, it just seems so expensive. But it's part of the deal. I do use flat rate boxes when appropriate.

    This could be one of those cases where you need to give yourself permission to set the bar low and work in tiny baby steps. Even one listing a day will move you toward your goal.

    And if that amazing jacket with the buttons on the back happens to be in my size...but no, I couldn't get that lucky!

  13. I need to know the measurements of that black dress! haha! I want it!

    Have you just tried getting the flat rate shipping boxes? Then it's easy to calculate how much to charge for shipping and the boxes are free at the post office. Just a thought!

  14. Love this post! Of course I'm suffering from seller's block too, even worse: as I even didn't announce that I was going to open an Etsy shop! Yep buying isn't the problem over here neither, postage on the other hand is too, as I love small items, but if it doesn't fit in the mailbox which only has a small lid (about 2"x12" max) it will cost 6,75 euro's (9.25 usdollars) to ship in the Netherlands. Another thing is that I am always afraid that customers wouldn't be satisfied and when you sell, I do it once in a while on a kind of Dutch ebay which has no obligations, you always meet the strangest people and not always the nicest, which is way different from blogging! Another 'problem' is what to sell first? First the things you really hate, or the things that really make a shop a fun shop and what about saving items for a theme sale?
    If you get the ultimate tip to get things started, don't hesitate to tip me too!

  15. Hey thanks for the mention!

    I know exactly what you mean, not only do I run my traditional online store, I often sell on ebay to make some cash and all that photographing, packing etc is such a pain, however once you get in the flow it's not so bad.

    And I would have that coat with the buttons on the back off you like a shot, but doubt it is my size as my size is rather large these days :o(

  16. Mmm my eyes just dropped on your sidebar:
    Seller's remorse: 10 things I wish I ....ebay....
    I don't think I'm going to read that post again....;-)

  17. Susan, I can totally relate to everything you are saying. I constantly hear a little voice in my head nagging me to list more things on Etsy, or take better pictures, or whatever. I've found that listing things on Etsy is the most tedious of activities! But, I must say, it's very rewarding to look at your "Store" once there are some items in there. But the shipping issue.....what a pain in the rear! I thought I'd make things easy by only shipping in the US, but now I'm getting lots of customers asking if I'd ship to their country (apparently, there's a shortage of vintage hats in Australia. Anyway, I hope you can muster up the energy to get your Etsy store going. You have some fabulous things to sell....

  18. I totally understand. Selling is aggravation if your livelihood doesn't depend on it, and more so if it does! I have got piles of things in the spare room, just planning to e bay them...when I can be bothered!! You have got some gorgeous stuff for sale though! x

  19. The good news is that etsy listing is very quick and simple to do. I agree that maybe you should go with a goal of listing one thing a day. Or perhaps list 10 things initially, and then one a day.

    I cannot tell you how many times I've gone to the computer with the intentions of listing, and an hour later realized I've been browsing all that time!

    Thanks for including my items in your shopping list!!

  20. Thanks everyone for all your great advice!!

    It's also good to know that I'm not the only one who procrastinates with listing things for sale. It's so interesting to read what your experiences have been.

    I am hoping to list some things today, but don't hold me to it. I'm a little crabby today because my car got towed, because I was parked in the wrong spot for a snow emergency. 2 1/2 hours standing in line to claim my car, and $186 down the drain, just like that!

    The only thing I can promise is that I am not going to do any more blogging until I've listed at least 5 items. Wish me luck!

  21. THank you so much for visiting and following my baby blog :)
    I too am about to jump on the etsy bandwagon and am very chilled as well ;)
    I found another blogger who was willing to be very honest and help me 1. re-do my blog ~ 2. Is helping me set up a "sucessful" shoppe.
    Maybe you could ask for some advise from a few 'sucessful' vendors who are doing well?
    I have found that most bloggers are very generous and willing to share their 'secrets ;)
    It is a win-win situation for both.
    Kinda Karmic, if you will :)
    On the shipping, i've decided to ask one price, and sometimes I'll lose $$, but the next I won't. I hope it will work itself out.......
    Best of Luck and good Wishes!!!!
    I'll be sending good vibes your way :)

  22. I'm chronic for saying I'm going to do something,and then not doing it!So I try not to say I'm going to do things anymore!!hahaha
    O-that black frock is to DIE for!And the crinoline.And the hat case.AND all the other delights on Etsy!!
    I don't buy off Etsy because a?trying to keep my credit card clear,and b/the postage for us in this part of the world is prohibitive!But I drool over Etsy allll the time......

  23. Susan:

    "I think part of the problem is that I have "Shipping Complex." Because everything I sell is different weights and sizes, I spend enormous amounts of time finding the right size box and packing materials and making sure I've calculated the proper weight so that I don't overcharge for postage."

    You have probably thought about this already, BUT... how many of the things you are selling would fit in one of the USPS Priority Mail fixed rate boxes?

    Just a thought... now get your *ss off that couch!

  24. Hi! First give yourself a break and congratulate yourself on your beautiful blog. Sometimes life gets in the way a little bit. But . . . you do have some beautiful items to offer. I just love that little red coat. Wish I had a little girl who could wear it. (Maybe it would fit on Lady, my collie!) Also that long gold dress is very slimming and you know I love the old paper dolls. I was going to mention the post office fixed rate boxes, but see someone else has mentioned first. They do come in all sizes. It seems every day I write "blog" on my to do list, but some days it goes to the bottom of the list. Keep at it!

  25. All those nice pics of vintage stuff made me miss it so much! I've lost my vintage spirit, and I'm trying desperately to find it.. but your blog entry helped me! :)

  26. I, too, have seller's block, shipping block, etc! Lady Cherry is right in that if your livelihood doesn't depend on it, it's harder to motivate. But I've got to do it. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

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