Monday, November 30, 2020

More Live Sale Follow Up

     Sending everyone a detailed invoice from my live sales is definitely a good way to do things. That way everyone can check to make sure that the items they are pretty sure they claimed are on it and they can also see if something extra got in. That does happen, especially when I am dealing with 46 bags (like I was during this sale) and miniatures. It really is extra tricky to sell the miniatures during a live sale. I may have to consider not doing it, or maybe offering it as an add-on that people can claim when they send me their email addresses. I am not sure. Anyway, the detailed invoices help everyone, even though I don't put so much detail as color of things. But invoicing takes a long time. I pack the items for shipping while I am working on the invoices. Though I don't seal anything until the invoice is paid, in case I need to change something in the order. 
     Saturday I worked on invoicing and packing for 7 hours. Then I decided that it needed to be enough for now and I stopped. The bag on the left is all of the finished orders, postage attached, just waiting to go to the post office. The smaller bag on the right (which looks the same size because it is packed strangely) are the packages waiting for payment. When I took this photo I had a couple more that I needed to seal and put in the other bag. I also have one more bag in the closet that is open boxes waiting for dolls I need to make. Those will of course get packed and shipped as I finish the dolls for them. 
     I know a lot of people think I should take more time with packing and shipping of items. Surely most people don't really expect their Black Friday purchases (for example) to show up in the first week of December? And while I am sure most people are entirely reasonable and willing to wait at least a few weeks, if not longer, I don't actually do the quick shipping for my customers. At least not mainly. Yes, I do like to get things to people as soon as humanly possible, but as I have mentioned many times in the past, we have a serious lack of space here. The bags of packages to be shipped are blocking the front closet, if I need anything out of there they need to be moved so I can get in. It is also entirely likely they will be an obstacle to go around or trip on. I want my tiny amounts of walking space back, so I get them out quickly. 
     Even with months of work without pay (when you are making things and putting them away instead of selling, you are not getting paid) and the days of work that go into the sales themselves, I have found that the live sale format is still the one that works the best for me. People tell me they are fun to watch and after I get over my initial nerves they are fun for me too. I love being able to give prizes and I love looking for new ways to add something new and different to the sales. So even though they are a ton of work I think they are here to stay. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Setting Up a Live Sale

     There is definitely a lot that goes into holding a live sale. If you, like me, make the majority of the things you sell, you will spends months making and accumulating items so you have a good variety to offer. I do my lives with my phone, and everything shows up backwards when you flip the camera. So I print out everything backwards if it is something I show for people to read at home. I have a very small space available for my sales, but I am pretty creative with my use of space. The tripod and all of the items end up spaced out on my bed. This year I had a new pink unicorn tapestry (it can also be a table cloth for when we have live shows again) from my friend, Lynn Isenbarger
    The dolls are stored wrapped in paper towels so I make sure they are all unwrapped and laid out nicely. I make walls with pillows so things don't fall off the far side of the bed. I have everything I need to run the sale right in front of the tripod. This is my list of sales rules (also doubles as my script for the beginning of the sale when I am still freaking out), a clipboard so I have a hard surface for writing, a sharpie and a pen, and my printed name tags for the bags. For the miniatures sale I held in August I started doing the printed up name tags. Anyone who expresses interest in attending the sale and anyone who has purchased from my sales in the past gets a printed tag. This makes the beginning of the sale, when I am starting to set up the claim bags, run more smoothly. 
     I was tired at the end of the sale and I forgot to take photos until I had already started to clean up. I did have a bit of a mess, but it was not too horrible. Oh, another good thing I remembered this time around was to have my on-the-go extra phone battery ready. I know from experience that even when my phone is fully charged at the beginning of a sale, the amount of battery power the videos use will drain the battery and give me a low power notification before the end. My extra battery was not charged during the miniatures sale and I had to plug into the wall. It was not good. So I was prepared this time and only had to take a few second to plug in. I definitely need to get a ring light though. My room lighting seemed even worse than normal during the last sale. It is hard for me to show my sales items in bad lighting. 
      I have always put my claim bags at the foot of my bed until this sale. This time I made a pillow wall at the head of the bed and lined them up there. This worked so much better! I paid close attention to keeping them in alphabetical order and took a bit longer doing that than I usually do. I feel it was worth it. I spent less time stressed that I could not find someone's bag. No one ended up with a duplicate bag because I could not find theirs (this MAY have happened one time at a previous sale, but I am not positive) and nothing fell over. I think this will be the placement from now on. At least until I can safely have helpers with me. Then I will probably see about having Elecktra keep the bags in order. And maybe put the miniatures in the bags. I have not figured out the best way to have her help me. It's now been over a year I have been running the live sales by myself. The first one, Black Friday 2019, was because I had no idea. The rest were because of quarantine. But eventually I know I will be able to have her come and help me. 
     The setup and immediate aftermath of the sales is not too bad. I am usually very organized, can make excellent use of space, and I have enough practice doing the sales that even though every single one of them has scared me I think I have gotten pretty good at them. The only work I did on Friday, other than the sale itself, was to make a list of people who had claimed items. There was a lot more work to come. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020


    Wednesday in government (class) we had 19 minutes because it was a half day. We watched the above 14 minute video on procrastination. It is absolutely worth the watch. Plus, the rest of this post will make sense if you watch the video. 
      I don't really possess an instant-gratification monkey. I have said several times before that I am bad at free time. It's true. I have goals and while I do procrastinate a bit here and there, having goals and deadlines makes me productive. Lots of things count as deadlines for me. Having a custom order is like a deadline for me. I don't like to make anyone wait longer than a week or two for their dolls. If the order is complex, or if I am extra busy, it might take me a bit longer to get the doll finished. At that time my panic-monster will wake up. I definitely have a panic monster. He's loud and insistent and is often telling me that I am slacking off. My panic-monster is mean. 
     I have had a lot of people ask me, or just wonder, how I get so much done. Some of it is deadlines. And goals. A lot of my deadlines and goals are completely arbitrary. There is really no real reason I HAVE to get a doll done within a week or two. I have just decided that is how it should be. I don't like to make people wait. I love getting orders, but having them in my book is stressful. I want to get them out of there as quickly as possible. I don't HAVE to get a ton of items made for my live sales. But I figure if I am going to go through the effort of putting together a sale, which is a ton of work, I might as well make it worth my while and worth the while of everyone who attends my sale. I like to have a big variety and at least a handful of each type of item. So when I decide on the date of the next live sale I figure out how much time I have before the sale. I then decide how many dolls I want to have available. I break it down by how many I HAVE to make per week. And then I start to work. I don't really procrastinate, I am more likely to try to get everything done NOW. When I am judging a photo show I will often get it done in a day. I figure, if I can judge a live show in a day there is not a lot of reason I can't get a photo show done in the same amount of time. Or maybe 2-3 days. The problem, for me, comes when I clearly cannot get everything I want to have for a sale done right NOW. 
    The panic-monster wakes up. 
    He's not too loud, or too mean, right away. He just whispers at me. He tells me I am behind. I don't have enough stuff made. I don't have it planned out well, I will never make it. My panic monster comes at the beginning of a project, not at the end. It upsets the whole system and I have to work ALL THE TIME. I have to see if I can get 6 dolls finished in a week (the answer is yes, I can). I have to also work on the small stuff at the same time, I can't focus on just dolls. The result of that is several months before a sale, I am super busy and freaking out part of the time. It's rough. 
     I don't have a solution to this. But I am working on it. Over the quarantine I was working on doll things, helping Ethan with the house, but I also made sure to take all the opportunities to hang out with my guys. For this live sale that just passed I did not reach my doll goal, I was 2 short. And I was OK with it. It was important to stop. I told the panic-monster to zip it and that it was fine. I had enough stock, I had planned enough, and done enough. And I stopped. I watched Criminal Minds with Ethan and didn't do (much of) anything while I was doing it. I did end up answering sale questions in emails and messages, but not too many. I spent time with Travis. We went and did errands, went and got a music stand from my mom. Just spent some time not working on dolls. I worked on judging the Field of Dolls Online show. I have still not seen all of the photos since I am only currently looking at the divisions I am judging. But damn, I wish I could give prizes to everyone (oh wait, I can!). The amount of creativity in the show is amazing. And seeing the photos has been a nice break. And technically I guess I am still working, but it is different work. 
    Anyway, this was just a long-winded ramble with some hints into how my brain works. I believe in goal setting and doing my absolute best to meet my goals, as soon as possible. I am also bad at slowing down some of the time. I do spend large portions of the year doing much less, but I do work a lot. Sometimes. I have another couple of weeks of frenetic activity, but then I can chill a bit. I have already started. This week I need to work on shipping the stuff from the Black Friday sale and working on some math for the show. Saturday is the live stream of some of the results. Then the week after will be shipping show prizes. But then maybe a break. I am definitely still working on being better at free time. 

Small Business Saturday

      I have a variety of accessories and miniatures available. If you purchased from my live sale yesterday (11/27) and would like to add anything to your order please let me know. If you didn't make it to the sale and there is something here you want, let me know that as well. Shipping is $5 to the US. Please ask for a quote for everywhere else. If you purchased from the live sale these items can be added for no additional shipping. Happy Shopping!

Large mens cutting chaps $30 each: caramel, black
mens cutting chaps $30: tan
ladies cutting chaps $30 each: sand, tan
Open front jump boots $15 a pair: red
hot pink
 fetlock boots $15 a pair: green
hot pink
pale pink
saddle pads $15 each: coffee and donuts
burgundy glitter
solid black
cross country kit $35: pale pink

The rest of the items in this post I have many more than 1 of. Feel free to buy multiples. 

rubber chickens $2 each
pair of flamingos $5 
folding chairs $5 each
red bull $3
Coke Zero $3
Diet Coke $3
vodka $5
Jack Daniels $5
cell phone $5
handcuffs $5
To go coffee $3 each: Pale blue
lime green

hot pink
dark brown
Mugs $3 each: hot pink
pale pink
light blue
lime green

Friday, November 27, 2020


    Recently Danielle Dunn shared these photos on Facebook and I asked if I could use them on the blog. I absolutely love these pictures! I can't see how most of them could be used in a show, but that is part of what I love so much about them. The backdrop and footing are perfect, everything looks super realistic, and they are just for fun. For years I have felt that so many collectors are focused on whether or not they can show something. Every horse of every make does not need to be a show horse. Every performance setup, photo or otherwise, does not need to be showable. Sometimes having fun with our collection is all that matters. I imagine Danielle got a lot of joy from setting up and taking these photos. I know they are bringing me joy. I think that is the same with Little Elecktra's travels. Sure, some people will have her do some performance photos, but a lot of the things are just for fun. When my arena comes in I will definitely be setting up some things just for fun. 
    Thank you Danielle for sharing your wonderful photos!