I had great success yesterday selling yarns online.
I decided to expand my outreach toward area fiber arts guilds to nearby Westchester County. I came up with the names and contact info for a few guilds and inadvertently sent one email to a textile group located in New York City, which is way too far away (1.5 hrs), I imagined, for anyone to pay me a visit simply to buy some yarn.
Well, someone from that group did contact me the day she received the email about my yarns, and she asked to come up that very day. She drove all the way from BROOKLYN with her girlfriend and went nuts here, spending $328 on assorted yarn cones. Although I have to shake my head, don't people know better than to show up when you're buying something from a stranger without cash?? She did, and I would not accept a check (no way, no how) so she had to find a local bank and return. Which she did.
You could hardly tell any yarns are missing from my house, that's how many i still have. And the Brooklyn woman thought my prices were great, never mind that I had just hiked them from what I priced them at before, based on advice I got from some area weavers who, it turned out, had me price them way, way lower than they should have. They suggested pricing them at $1 or $2 a cone; I wound up originally pricing them at $2 and 4 a cone, I believe, but since then I priced them between $4 and $12 a cone, depending on size.
In addition, I also on Tuesday sold about 50 yarn tubes to fiber people on a Facebook destash site. In hindsight I also priced them way too low, at $5 each and a split of shipping costs, so even though I was selling these in groups of 4 only, to take advantage of a flat ship rate of $5.25, I only netted about $16 per box after ship and paypal fees on each foursome shipped, and I had 11 customers to deal with, all of whom wanted different colors.
I had no idea people would be so interested in these cute little yarn tubes, and I didn't have much success researching prices as this company, like so many, went out of business. People were responding online left and right, I had to keep sending paypal invoices out and then they would pay, then i had to pack up the right colors, sometimes i ran out of different colors and had to dialogue with them about substitute colors, oh my gosh it became so stressful. Then had to print out USPS ship labels, schedule PO pick-ups from my home and as it turned out, USPS screwed up and did NOT pick up 4 boxes from the front door today even tho they were here to drop off shipping supplies I'd ordered online and even tho I spoke to the mail woman and said YES I will have more shipments this week. Now I'll have to call them tomorrow to make sure they pick up.
It was all rather stressful and all told, my net profit from this learning experience was only about $180.
Yarns are generally lightweight so you wouldn't think they would cost much to ship, which is true, I think, as long as you can ship more than 1 or 2 at a time to make it worth your while. Becus the PO bases shipping charges on both weight AND the size of the package, so if you can't stuff your contents in a fairly small-sized box, you'll still get stuck with sizeable shipping charges. Which tells you why their "small" flat rate box is very, very small. It measures only about 8 inches by 5 inches. There's not much you can fit in that. Roving, which is feather light, would be easier to ship because you could fit it in an envelope.
There was one unpleasant woman who I spent a long time with helping her decide about colors, yada yada yada and she said she wanted to buy them but she didn't pay right away and hours later i sent a query, no answer....waited all afternoon and into the next day and finally, annoyed, I sent a note saying she wasted my time, she could have just told me she changed her mind, to which she replied that she wanted a refund (!!), to which I replied but you NEVER paid me, dingbat (i didn't use that word but i was thinking it) and now she's wailing that she's had problems with paypal before and she used some sort of prepaid credit card and she wants a refund, to which I replied I NEVER GOT any payment from you in any shape of credit card, debit card or paypal account.
I broke my own rule of not holding yarns for anyone unless they paid, and she was the only one I held these for, I guess becus she really seemed to want them. Anyway, I think I need to pick which yarns to advertise on this site next more carefully, based on my knowing what the fiber is (most of my mother's yarns are unlabeled) and what its true value is, and also, what's the most efficient way to ship it.
I prefer using the USPS Priority Mail flat rate boxes (they have small, medium and large sizes) becus it's one rate and you don't have to weigh it. My sense is that these flat rate boxes would make the most sense for faraway destinations like the west coast to limit my expenses, but for destinations up or down the east coast, I would probably do better to pay by weight. You can still print out your ship receipt and schedule home pick-up of your box online, but if you underestimate shipping, delivery will be messed up. I had been using my kitchen scale, but I did order an official, digital postal scale so all should be more accurate moving forward.
Plus I can tell the buyer upfront what the shipping will be once they give me their zipcode. The small box, as mentioned, is $5.25 to ship anywhere in US, but it is really very small and certainly you couldn't fit any kind of yarn cone in there. The next size up is more than double the cost, and the size up after that even more so.
I hadn't really planned on getting into shipping yarns as it does so obviously cut into my profits, but I would like to selectively post certain items and see how they do. My yarn tubes generated a TON of activity and I could barely keep up with the reply posts. OMG.
It is SOOOO hot and humid here on CT. Relief tomorrow afternoon, hopefully, after some storms roll in. I'm working at home tomorrow; not sure if that's a blessing or a curse, with this heat. Today I locked the cats in the basement before I left for the office becus they don't really seem to know to voluntarily go down there when it gets this hot. Of course, they didn't know I wanted them in the basement so I had to chase them around and round until they finally went down there to escape from me.
I had great success yesterday selling yarns online.