SecondMoonshot Brand, Examples (past and present) and Explanations
I thought I would discuss a little about my brand philosophy and some product examples and rationale that support the brand. When I started this, and I mean really started it vs. just selling my comic collection and McD Happy Meal toys in the attic, I put some thought into what was important to me to make it worthwhile. It really wasn’t about the money, but not lying that it wasn’t a component, but the money without some other form of ‘do the right thing’ mentality puts me back into the same state which pushed me into this to begin with. So I felt there should be no (or little) compromises on a few key core value statements:
* If I am not happy, I will stop this. Non-negotiable.
* I don’t want someone to pay for something they don’t want. Non-negotiable. If someone doesn’t want what I sold them, then either I missed the boat or they did, but either way the right thing will always be to take it back and refund their money (all of it, including shipping and return postage if I want it back);
* The feedback is worth as much or more than the sale itself. Remains true to this day. One day I will talk about some of the feedback that I have received (in the feedback comments, as well as external to that). The short of it is that this is the way that tells me if I am pointing True North, moving in the right direction. A quick guess is that I probably receive 40-50% feedback from the sales, and probably 20% of those are “thanks” simple comments which I read as “I got it, it was as described, but nothing more…and possibly less, but its too close to call”;
* Packaging and personalization is important. I always try, sometimes fail here. I still love an older mentality that the sender of the package is a real person. Every packe gets a hand-signed flyer with a “Thank You”, a little about us, and return information. I am reminded by the movie “The Intern” with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. She goes to the warehouse and helps the shipping staff do proper packaging of her products. I did that with Zabrina on how to package books in our dining room, but its the same passion. I miss a few on this mark ever once in a while, but its still important;
* The things we sell are unique and something we would own ourselves. Frequently fail here, but getting better. This is a hard one and the one we probably stray from more than we should. Uniqueness could be that it has an attribute that isn’t often seen on a common product (condition, original box, etc.), something which has no comps and (within reason) so we can set the price based on what value we see it having, or it could be something that may have a lot out there, but it has a quality reputation and often sought after.
The last bullet is what I will talk through some examples. These ‘brand ambassador’ items are typically ones that I don’t want to sell too quickly, because their presence by themselves lets buyers know the types of products that we wont compromise on - ideally, if a buyer wants one of these, than they have to essentially come to me (this is an ideal and doesn’t happen too often). I have started to add a section to key new listings that I think represent the brand (or at least some of them) which starts off with “Why I like this?”…and followed by a few sentences on our rationale as to why we picked it and they should give it look. For the examples following, I will do something similar:
A. G. Redmond 360 Degree Fan, c 1940s-1950s (SOLD)
Why I like this? The condition on this was excellent. It had a switch that may need to be replaced, but only surface rust which I cleaned up and it worked just fine. I love the quality you find in vintage appliance and this is a perfect example. I could only find one other historical sale of a similar model item (actually, the same fan, but under a different name) and it was on Etsy and sold some time ago. I remember getting this at an online auction (Hoy Auction in Wake Forest NC, local pickup). It was exactly what I expected, but I was nervous because of how much I spent and I was used to spending $2 on books. Times have changed.
Hornung Gallery of the American Automobile, 100 Plates, 1965 (SOLD)
Why I like this? I am a car guy, so my sense of value is a little out of whack. This came in the original box, not often found, although you will find 1 or 2 available on eBay at any given time. The prints and condition were great while the box had a few issues, it wasn’t terrible. If I couldn’t sell it, I could sell off the plates individually (framed or unframed) and probably brake even…but I wont ever do that, since for me, the value is in the originality of an original full set. This is an item, I really don’t care if it sells, because I enjoy having it. I got this at an online auction (Hoy Auction in Wake Forest NC, local pickup) and its one that I clearly irresponsibly bid on and not having it wasn’t an option.
The Weaver Gallery, 1979 Steve Steigman, Blown Away, France, Framed Matted (SOLD)
Why I like this? I grew up as a teenager in the 80’s. This was what you aspired to be in coolness and we all wanted the best sound out of our cassettes. This one was printed in France. I came across this again at an online auction (GC5 Estate Sales and Auctions, local pickup) and ended up getting it (framed) at a great price of $60. I wanted it to be something special as it had some weak old oak frame and that wouldn’t do. Went and had it reframed like one I loved which had the 2 cut out mat, stunning. Sold it and made a small profit, but I would have been just as happy having this beautiful thing sit on the wall. Now all I remember is that I didn’t get one ounce of feedback from the buyer…getting used to that now. I remember picking it up from the framer and the title box was off alignment and I had to make a choice to spend more on a new Matt or just take it (Matt’s are not cheap with multiple cutouts). I took it, ordered a reproduction (which I fully disclosed in the listing) and put it on top so it had a nice aligned “Steve Steigman, The Weaver Gallery”. Bought it for $60, $185 for reframing, and $25 for the reprint. I didnt make a ton, but that was when I found out about the benefits of shipping discounts and large pictures…I would do more in this area where others don’t like to mess with. I have a feeling that this sale pushed others in looking at past sales to start charging more for the France Blown Away Posters….but the quality of the framing of any listing following is shameful, people asking $500 for this in a Walmart poster frame…sometimes my peers embarrass me.
And since Micheal’s did such a piss-poor job on the matting and mounting, this was the origin of how I moved into custom framing as part of the business and found I loved it. The one below it is one I framed all on my own.
Brass Sundial Bird Bath, Frog And Lily Pads, 10”, Time Is A River Without Banks (SOLD)
Why I like this? There are no comps, its solid, looks great with patina. It had a leak initially which I had to use some epoxy and seal, but doesn’t take away from the value at all. It’s just one those items I liked and would buy for myself. Got it as a JMS Estate Sale in Clayton NC, local pickup.
Antique Silvercraft Brass Oval Shaped Vanity Perfume Tray Lace Insert 10.5" x 5" (SOLD)
Why I like this? I remember getting this at a Liberty Estate Sale in Wendell NC. Was on my way to the checkout and just passed by it…it stopped me in my tracks and I picked it up not even looking at the price tag (obviously an outright lie). Solid, fully in tact, no chips or cracks of any kind. Some yellowing and aging as you might expect, but it was an attractive piece and sold quicker than I would have liked.