Ebay Listings October 30

We are listing 153 auctions on eBay starting at 8:15 pm Mountain Time this evening.

There are going to be some really awesome stones available.

Here is the link to where you can see the auctions.

There is a twice per year time artifact affecting these auctions, so if you are interested in bidding on an item please note that the auctions will end one hour earlier on the clock on closing night as compared to when they were listed.  This is because of our moving back to Standard Time.

Items on the website have been selling faster than ever, and we hope to spend the next couple of weeks trying to catch up with the work that needs to be done there… both restocking existing categories and adding new acquisitions from the recent Denver Show.

If You Don’t See What You Want…

We have been going through our busiest period in the history of Kathi’s Krystals. As fast as we can get stones loaded onto the website, they seem to get purchased.

If we had nothing to do but stock the website we probably would barely be able to keep up. Given our eBay work and direct sales, it seems, at times, like an insurmountable task.

The offshoot of this is that:

If you are shopping for a stone in a particular variety and the website is either out of stock or has very few options offered, we very likely have more stones down in the stockroom.  Please feel free to ask. We can always send you photos of pieces that have not yet been listed..

New Stones Listed

We have had an incredibly busy week.

We had 157 eBay auctions end on Wednesday night, and we had our second best cycle ever. Even though we have been crazy mailing out the sold items, and finished having advertising for Kathi’s Krystals placed on the back of our car, we managed to get 79 new stones added to the website.

The new stones are in 6 varieties (5 of which we have never had before). We are really excited to have them and still have many new ones from the Denver show to get up on the site.

The new stones include:

Arfvedsonite

These come from the same place in Russia as does Astrophyllite, and they put on an amazing show. The stones display loads of silver/gold and blue needles under even average lighting. We had been out of these for years, and are thrilled to have them again.

Silver Sheen Obsidian

From Jalisco, Mexico, these very large Palm Stones have fantastic silver shimmer. They are very high quality, and a great value considering the size.

Yellow Feather Jasper

The most rare of the new listings, this dendritic Jasper from Utah is just amazing. Besides the inherent incredible beauty, the amazing characteristic of this material is that the dendrites look more like feathers than the normal tree-like pattern seen with most dendrites.

Royal Sahara Jasper

Also a dendritic Jasper, these stones come from the Sahara Desert in Egypt. They have beautiful patterns in various shades of brown, with some of the stones exhibiting black dendrites.

Petrified Wood

We were lucky to acquire a large box of palm-sized tumble polished slices or slabs of Petrified Wood.  There is a great assortment of colors and patterns, and even some specimens from Arizona, one of the most prized varieties of fossil wood.  Even better, some of the stones have crystals, either in vugs or flush with the surface, and almost all of the pieces have some translucent areas.

Stromatolite

These specimens of fossilized algae are fascinating. Our new acquisition is stones from Bolivia, to go along with what is called Kabamba Jasper (another variety of Stromatolite), that we have had for years.

We hope that you enjoy browsing the new stones, and there is much more to come in the weeks ahead.

Testimonials Page

Yesterday we added a Testimonials Page to the website.

This is something that we should have done 5 years ago, but somehow never got around to.

Thanks to our wonderful clients who have already contributed comments, and if you would like to join them, just click on the email link on the page.

How Plans Change

It is very true that the process of running one’s own business, big or small, expands to fill all available time. Further, on any given day, the plans for that day may wind up being preempted by events or activities that represent higher priority. Yesterday was such a day.

I had planned to spend the day pulling, measuring and photographing some of our recent great Denver Show finds for the website. It never happened. That is because clients ALWAYS come first.

We awoke to find a $300 order from the website (what we call the store). That is larger than the average order, and was a nice way to start the day.

We have somewhere around 2,000 items in the store, and I had to find 9 of them (I usually do this part of order fulfillment). It actually took us a few years to get this part of the job down to an efficient process.

We have large plastic bins where we store all of the items listed in the store. The bins are labeled by type of stone (say Palm Stones), and if the type of stone requires more than one bin, the bins for that type of stone are alphabetized.  We have 5 Palm Stone bins.

Each bin contains Ziplock type bags; one bag for each variety of stone (say Amethyst) in that bin.

In each of those bags we keep all of the available stones in that variety, with each stone residing in its own small velour pouch just like the ones that we give with the stones that we sell.  The difference with these pouches is that they are all a pale yellow color.

Inside each pouch with the stone is a small piece of paper that has a number written in black Sharpie. The number is the item number for that stone (If it is Amethyst Palm number 5 the paper will simply have the number 5 on it). That paper is placed so that the number is positioned facing toward the outside of the pouch. The reason that all of the pouches are light yellow is that that it is the only color pouch available which allows us to read the black number directly through the pouch.

So, I pulled the 9 stones ordered by our client in Canada. I exchanged the yellow pouches for the more nicely colored ones, and put the yellow ones back to use again for more store items.

Then, I checked all of the stones against their pictures on the website. This, in theory, is not necessary, but usually about once a year there will be a problem related to us having made a mistake labeling a stone in one of the yellow pouches. It takes time to do the checking, but it is worth it not to be embarrassed by and having an unhappy client by sending him or her the wrong stone.

A worse problem occurs, luckily infrequently, when a client orders a stone which turns out to apparently not exist…. most likely due to a client having visited the house, buying a stone listed on the website, and us forgetting to remove it from the store listing.  That is very embarrassing for us and we are getting better at avoiding that one.

Anyway, after matching the ordered stones with their respective pictures and laminated information cards (Kathi does an awesome job creating these cards. They are both very beautiful and extremely informative), I then proceeded to pack everything for shipment to Canada.

Each stone is bubble wrapped in its velour pouch, and all of the stones and cards are packed with lots of protection in an appropriately sized box for mailing.

We also are i the process of having advertising for the website placed on the back of our car. At one point I had to talk to the provider doing that job in order to discuss a couple of issues. Then I signed, scanned and mailed back the authorization for the job.

We have another client in Canada who has been with us since Day One, and besides having a large box to mail for him yesterday, he had asked for about another 30 stones and I started working on that order.  He buys only the best of the best, and trusts us to select stones for him sight unseen.

After Kathi printed up our mailing labels, we went to the post office and mailed off the two boxes to Canada.

After we got home, I did a little more work communicating with our Canadian friend about his order in progress, and by then it was about time for dinner.

Even though we mailed out well over $1,000 of orders yesterday, by the end of the day I felt as if I had gotten nothing accomplished.

Hopefully, today, I will get more stones photographed and ready to go up in the store and Kathi will have time to work on more of her wonderful information cards besides printing and placing auction number labels on each of the 157 plastic bags containing our current eBay listings.

October 9 eBay Auctions

We have 157 auctions going up on eBay this evening.  They will end on the evening of Wednesday the 16th.

This will be the largest eBay cycle that we have run.

Of special note are the incredible Iris Agate, Dendritic Jaspers and a Dendritic Yellow Quartz, a crazy Black Moonstone, the brand new Silver Sheen Obsidian, a fantastic specimen of Arfvedsonite, one really awesome Malachite Worry Stone, and our brand new variety of Stromatolite.

One can often find some good bargains in our eBay listings, so we recommend dropping by if you have the chance.

Our eBay Store

October Auctions

Today we started the time-consuming task of getting our next set of eBay auctions listed. We are aiming to have them up by the evening of the ninth.

It takes Kathi and myself about 40 man-hours of work from start to finish of one eBay cycle.

This time I have 62 items to pull to complete the sheet that Kathi gives me showing what items will be relisted and what needs to be pulled fresh. The pull will take a couple of days of on and off activity. We usually have around 150 items in total in a listing cycle.

Then, I will probably shoot about 500 pictures, crop and sort them, and load them into the listing service that we use for our eBay auctions.

Next we measure the stones using electronic digital callipers, and Kathi records these measurements

Kathi will then engage in the tedious process of making and affixing labels for each of the small plastic bags in which we keep the individual stones inside of their own velour pouches for protection.

She then creates the auctions by inserting all of the measurements into existing auction templates for each type of stone, and schedules them for posting on eBay.

Once they are posted, she has to make an entire new set of labels for the bags.  These labels show the eBay auction number for each item.  It is the only way to keep things straight and avoid future mistakes.

Once the auctions are up and running, we watch for and answer questions from potential clients, and Kathi keeps track of which items receive bids and moves them into a separate bin.

On auction night Kathi does most of the work by pulling sold items and placing them and their related mineral information cards into client specific bags.  Some clients will buy only one item, while others will buy many.  The most that any one client has ever purchased in one eBay cycle is 40!

Sometimes auctions night is boring (there is nowhere near as much last second bidding as there used to be), and sometimes it is really exciting (when there are bidding wars).

After all of the auctions close, we both work on sending out invoices.

The next day is called “Pack and Ship Day”.  Kathi does bubble mailers and I do boxes. Kathi prints all of the mailing labels and I put them on the packages. The goal is to get everything that has been paid for to the post office by 6:30.

In our most recent listing cycle we sold 71 items.  P & S day is tiring but rewarding at the same time. It means that soon clients all over the world will be receiving stones that they will love.

After a couple of days almost all items that sold will be paid for and shipped.  There are always one or two clients who wait several days to pay, and we have to watch for those payments to come in.

After seven days we will send out reminders to anyone who has not as yet paid.  We almost never wind up with unpaid items which is a much more frequent problem for many eBay sellers than it is for us.

eBay is a lot of work, but it is a great way to generate new clients and also to increase awareness of our Kathi’s Krystals website.