Sunday, 15 September 2013

Reselling: In it for love or for the money?

Topics covered: Scalping, resale value and pricing trends, mark ups, accommodating loss and dead-stock, reselling as a full-time job

Reselling for profit has always been a somewhat controversial topic.  People want to get a good deal and can become upset if they find out that they're paying more for an item than the seller originally bought it for.  Regardless of the feelings involved, profit and loss are present in every market, and the lolita community is no exception.  If you are planning to resell for profit, expect dead stock (stock that cannot be sold, so you're stuck with it) and if you buy based on what you think might sell instead of items which you personally like, it can become a source of pure loss (you paid out to buy it, but can't sell off and it is worth nothing to you personally).  That said, if you're new at it, or don't plan to do much reselling, buy based on your own interests.  Ideally, these items would be ones you have a personal interest in and wouldn't mind keeping if you can't sell them.  This way, even in the worst case scenario, you would still get some personal enjoyment out of it.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Brand whoring on a budget: Ins and outs of auction sites

Step three: A guide to navigating Yahoo! Japan Auctions and MBok
Topic covered: How to search, how to browse (item name, sort by price, BIN/reserve met), online translators, keeping within your budget, bidding tactics.

The key to building a brand wardrobe on a budget is to bid low and bid frequently.  To do so effectively, you'll need to spend a fair bit of time browsing through listings to find the best items with low starting bids.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Canada Post overview and shipping guidelines

Topics covered: Venture One, domestic shipping methods, international shipping methods, shipping slips, proof of shipment.

Lastly, an overview of Canada Post's (CP) services.  This is primarily written for Canadian sellers; however, it might be of interest of anyone who may need to ship to a Canadian address and is looking for some insight into how our system works to deliver packages once within our borders.

CP's shipping prices are largely tier based.  Sometimes, there are fluctuation of prices within each tier, but it is a very slight fluctuation considering the large jump from one tier to the next.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Shipping guidelines for new sellers

Topics covered: Shipping methods, tracking and insurance, creating accurate shipping quotes, seller responsibilities according to EGL Sales Comm rules and Paypal ToS

This is written as a guideline for new sellers to work from.  Every seller has their own preferred method of doing business and the only way to find your own way, is to try it out.  Keep in mind though that with shipping, it's better to be safe than be sorry, so if you're unsure about a policy you want to include in your terms of service (ToS), go ahead and include it.  If you later feel that it's unnecessary and might be scaring away potential buyers, you can always remove it on future posts.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Brand whoring on a budget: Auction sites, resale shops and sales

Step two: Low price; high value
Topics covered: Resale stores, customer to customer buying/selling, store sales, lucky pack overview, Japanese auction sites.

There are three main options when shopping for lolita clothing (although this applies to many other Japanese collectibles or limited releases), Japanese auction sites, Japanese stores (physical and online) and resale sites (ie EGL Sales Comm, Closet Child, etc).

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Japanese sizing and how to judge fit using photos

Topics covered: Where to find sizing information, Japanese standard sizing, Japanese size 9 mannequin, eyeballing fit, shoe sizing.

Most well known lolita brands have websites in with English options or descriptions now.  If you are looking at a specific item, try to find the sizing information using database sites like Hello Lace or Lolibrary.  You can also search customer to customer resale sites like EGL Sales Comm to find measurements taken by individual owners.  These are sometimes inaccurate due to the amateur nature of the measurement taker; however, personal testimony of these owners can often provide invaluable insight into the fit of the item on different body sizes and shapes.  Sometimes, official brand measurements will be inaccurate to some degree.  This is often as a result of tight shirring or not accounting for ease of fit (aka whether or not you'll be able to breath or bend over).  If customer testimonial and measurements are relatively consistent with each other, but also consistently different from the official measurements, it is often more trustworthy to rely on customer measurements as it can be a case of the item "running small".

Duty and taxes: The risks and benefits of marking down declared value

The final barrier of online shopping: Duty and taxes
Topics covered: Exemption limits, duty calculator, marking down declared value and declaring as "gift", insurance coverage, content description, confiscation.

Whether or not your package gets hit with duty and taxes largely depends on the amount you've purchased and the country you live in, but in some countries, duty can be a hefty addition to the final cost.  In this case, it's important to check with your shopping service (SS) whether they ship packages as "gift" or "merchandise" and whether or not there is the option of marking down the declared value for customs.

Brand whoring on a budget: Shopping services for auction sites (like Yahoo! Japan and MBok)

Step one: Picking a shopping service
Topics covered: Commission fee structures, final cost calculations.

Unless you are lucky enough to have friends or family in Japan who are willing let you bid with their account as well as play parcel forwarding service, you will have to find a shopping service.

Shopping services are businesses (either run by a single person or a whole office of people) that will bid on auctions on behalf of their customers.  Most will act as a proxy for online and physical store purchases as well.  There are some who will only make purchases from stores, not auction sites, so be careful to pick one that specifies that they will bid on auction sites if that is where you intend to shop.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Proud to be frugal: Introduction of a thrifty lolita

I've been wearing lolita for 9 years.  I've been through all the phases from looking completely ita to lace monsters (believe it or not, this was a happening trend at one point) to wanting the latest print, etc.  However, throughout all this, I've always been frugal with my purchases.  I've learned a lot over the years, from my personal experiences and advice I've received along the way.  I'm keeping this blog in hopes that some of my knowledge will benefit other lolitas or any other online shoppers of Japanese goods who may find their way here.

My frugality started out as a necessity since I was attending school full-time while living away from home and money was always short.  This turned into a habit and I found myself enjoying the hunt for good deals even after graduation and finding a good job.  Now a day, it's both an excuse and a means to support my love of shopping.

I'm also a big fan of financial management and like to micromanage my personal finances a lot, so you may see snippets alluding to that as well.

If you have some input or tips to share, please don't hesitate to comment.  I love learning new ways to save a few dollars.