As usual during wedding season, my workroom is stuffed to the rafters with items waiting for my twin sister and I to find the time to refurbish and flip. It’s normally July or August before we can get to things due to our crazy schedules from March to June. Client meetings, appraisal appointments, fundraisers, & appearances keep us hopping!We had a little free time last week to stain the Hooker office chair and clean the leather so I pulled out the Chippendale sofa and was horrified (as usual) to find a rip on the back of the sofa we had overlooked when we took it in trade a few weeks ago. I’m never happy when I find a “surprise” that we missed on a trade that will cost me money.
I quickly put in a call to my long time upholstery guy, Terry Gilbert and asked if he could repair the top corner on the back. After viewing the photo on the seam, he gave me the bad news-no. The entire loveseat will need to be reupholstered.
When this happens, it’s a domino effect because I had planned to use the funds from what I thought was a ready to sell loveseat that just needed minor cleaning to refurbish the two curved chairs I took in trade from another barter. Now, the two chairs will be sold as is! I’ve listed them but we are planning to go view a trade involving an organ that may put me back on track with my plans for these unique chairs.
I make mistakes all the time on trades. The truth is that the bartering business isn’t always profitable! People contact me thinking that it’s easy to “hit a lick” but what they don’t know is that the beautiful items listed in my storefront looked awful before stripping, staining and reupholstering them. The work involved isn’t cheap or easy. Depending on the size of an item, the amount of fabric needed weighs heavily on my bottom line. Also, larger items are far more expensive to upholster based solely on the size. IE: a chair or loveseat will run me $175-295 but a sofa is easily $350-469 in labor costs.
Cindy and I thought we got lucky on the Hooker chair but the casters were missing. I believed this to be an inexpensive quick fix but after buying several sets, quickly learned they aren’t universal. So far between the stain, leather cleaner and conditioner, we have $127 in the items necessary to get it “sale ready.” I’ve listed all the other sets of casters in my storefront. One of the problems? This chair has 5 legs and casters are sold in sets of 4.
Having so many items in various states of repair means I can’t sell them and meanwhile am covering events out of my own pockets. I’m frequently quoted as saying it takes money to make money because it does.
I recently wrote a blog regarding bartering and gambling because technically, a barter is a gamble even for experienced appraisers like Cindy and I because it’s true. If you haven’t read it, here is the link-Dream Events, Disasters, Drama, & More With The Pawning Planners.
Occasionally, we take it on the chin. Now and again we do get lucky and make a good profit but you can’t expect that everytime because you’re being unrealistic.
Running from one event to the next, I reviewed an email from one of my readers wondering if we only do weddings. No we do so many different events it’s crazy! Texas Twins Events and The Pawning Planners do house blessings, baptisms, family reunions, rent parties aka pawning parties, estate sales, public speaking or brand promotion events, fundraisers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, vow renewals and more. No event is “too different” for us to consider. In fact, we love variety!
This morning another reader wanted to know what percentage of our clients are LBGTQ. The answer is 40-50% because we have many ties within the community and support various LBGT causes. Some of our most memorable events have been with LBGT couples that other vendors turned away simply because they were LBGT.
Today my team loaded up to support TCGPWA and their annual Easter egg hunt. Yes, yes, I know Easter was a few weeks ago but this event is for children and fundraising and our grandchildren love it. Yesterday, I climbed into the bounce house with Madyson for her very first try. We get so much joy from the Little Pawners and our adventures! Latest Little Pawner Madyson enjoys the twins company above anyone else in our family.We have many friends within the LBGT community and always look forward to seeing them and supporting their organizations.
Recently someone asked why I sell vestments.
I have my tried and true favorites but occasionally I trade for one that’s too heavy or the collar isn’t comfortable or for one reason or another I just don’t like it. I spend a lot of time in vestments and want them to be comfortable. Trying to dress in a couples “wedding colors” I have a vast array of vestments from all over the world and prefer a lined vestment with a poncho styled neckline.
Since a few readers are wondering why we have 3 photographers on staff, it’s because my son, niece and daughter in law all have different styles and (in my opinion) different ideas for photography. If you want to hire a team, Robert & Stephanie Hafele work together. If you only need one photographer, Robert & Leigh Ann do solo photography sessions.
Occasionally, my twin sister snaps her own action shots on location and I’ve been told I’m bossy so I try to stay out of leading the parade since this photo caught me in action-lol. I was just trying to help.
Cindy isn’t interested in antique or furniture flipping because she knows the cost involved to flip it. The jewelry you see listed was taken in trade and valued or priced by my sister who’s “specialty” is jewelry.
Since this next question seems to come up a lot, I will answer it as well. “You and your family have a really good time helping others and look so happy. You must love what you do!” We do. The best clients are fun loving and full of spirit- their event is a celebration. It’s important to them because without us-there would be no event. We changed the gap of consumers struggling to afford a Life Event because I knew the need existed.
Our mini me twins have been involved in weddings since they were two years old. They love every aspect of a wedding and spend all of their time outside of school with us meeting clients. From Appraisal Appointments to Planet Fitness on our weight loss journey to events, these two sets of twins enjoy every aspect of my three unique businesses-Texas Twins Events, The Pawning Planners & Texas Twins Treasures. Latest Little Pawner Madyson is also a brand rep & Instagram model.
Why do many of your clients use borrowed bouquets and boutenniers? If you can’t afford a venue or photography, most likely you can’t afford flowers, a cake stand, champagne flutes, etc. I created an inventory to loan these families so they have a beautiful event and beautiful photos.
Creating an inventory to loan clients gives you a “better idea” of just how far my team and I will go to give our diverse clients from Texas Twins Events & The Pawning Planners a Dream Event. Families who come to us for help often had nowhere else to turn before my sister and I came up with the idea to take trades by merging Texas Twins Events and Texas Twins Treasures to Create The Pawning Planners. We make Dream Events possible for any income level.
Why do you require a contract for Texas Twins Events and Pawning Plannerd clients? I want clear outlines of what the “deal” is. Often a client “comes up with their own ideas” that don’t work for me. What are they? Keeping my inventory, wanting my photography team on location for over 5 hours. Asking us to set up and tear down your event without compensation. I could go on and on here. The contract protects the client and me from any miscommunication.
How do you decide to sponsor a family? It’s easy. We’ve been to their house and seen where they live and know they don’t have anything of value or any money. These families benefit from free services because my sister and I have decided to gift them an event.
We do have families who “claim” to have no money or trade. I effectively weed them out with my sister at required Appraisal Appointments in order to evaluate their real circumstances.
Why don’t you talk about funeral ceremonies? Due to the delicate nature of death, I rarely (if ever) will discuss a funeral or family. It’s not a celebration for them or me. Death is final and for those reasons, privacy is warranted.
What is a divorce party? It’s a ceremony of sorts to put the past behind you and move on. This type of ceremony or party isn’t for everyone. Divorce is like death in that it’s also final. It’s also painful and it’s also the end of something that started happy and joyful. I’ve never celebrated a divorce and neither has my sister because divorce is loss for both of us and certainly not something we ever wanted to celebrate.
As I head off to go pick up another unique item, it may be trash or treasure but we won’t know until we see it in person. Walking a trade is essential in knowing the actual condition that a photo doesn’t always portray and I will pay closer attention to the back of furniture even if the front looks fine because I’ve once again-learned to look before I list an item…
Wendy M Wortham