Estate Sales Are Back

We are back this week with public estate sales for the first time since March. Six suburban homes were the feature with four in the northwest suburbs, one in the near north and one in the near west. Five of our clients patiently waited until our governor moved the state to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan on May 29, allowing any gatherings of 10 or less. With only a total of 10 people allowed in a home at any given time, I decided to implement an online sign-up and line manager system which determines the order customers can enter each home. This replaced a paper sign-up sheet or numbers written on pieces of paper. I created a webpage called where customers can sign up for a virtual number which they receive by text. Customers can start to sign up for a number at 5:00 PM the day before the sale day. When it is the customer's turn to enter the home, we summon them by text. The customer shows us their phone with the virtual number and then they are admitted. It will take a bit of time to get to the word out to the customers about our process and for our helpers to get the procedure down pat. Overall the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so I am confident that this will be the solution to fairly admit the customers to our sales from now on. Customers who live far from the sale sites do not want to travel to the home the night before the sale to sign up on a paper list. Sometimes we wrap up our preparation early and are not able to post a paper list the night before and it ends up being posted earlier. This way customers can sign up from the comfort of their own homes and know exactly where they stand.

To comply with Phase 3, we also implemented a few additional changes. Everyone inside the home must wear a mask, no children under 18 or pets are allowed and there is no public bathroom use. The limitation of 10 or less in the homes has caused customers to have to wait longer to enter which they are not used to. Hopefully we will continue on the track to move to Phase 4 by June 26, when gatherings of 50 or less will be allowed. We won't have to count the customers anymore as we would never let that many people inside one home at a time.

On the jewelry front, I posted three more lots of Native American jewelry for online selling. I am officially through the collection now! However, I am about 3 weeks behind in posting jewelry to my online store. The goal will be to have it all posted by the end of the month and then I will make an announcement through all of the selling channels, in case folks missed the postings the first time. In the five months since I have started posting this jewelry online, I have been able to build up a wonderful fan base who looks forward to new postings. All the hard work has paid off and it has been very rewarding. Below is a recap of this week's postings:

The June 2 lot featured some really fabulous pieces - I was able to find homes for both squash blossom necklaces (the smaller one included the matching earrings) as well as the rectangular belt buckle, both pairs of earrings, both rings and the two smaller cuff bracelets. The remaining pieces are available!

I tested out some new jewelry props with my June 4 lot. The background is the new Terrazzo surface by Replica Surfaces and I found the handmade ambrosia maple round table top on Etsy. This shot is called a "layflat" where the shot is taken from above. I was able to use my big 32" square Havox light box. I had to get new surfaces for this box because the black background provided by Havox scratched up like crazy in no time. I've been attaching felt pads to the backs of all my props when I can because I don't want these new surfaces to scratch, they were expensive! I purchased five different surfaces including Slate, Beechwood which is a pale wood color with greys and browns, Weathered Wood which is a dark charcoal black and Vintage Wood which looks kind of like birch. It is possible to mix these surfaces up and attach them together in 90 degree angles using their stands but I haven't figured out how to attach them yet. I discovered Replica Surfaces online. A lot of people use these surfaces for food photography and the one thing I don't understand is why they put the food directly on the surfaces without a plate, bowl, cutting board or other prop. You wouldn't eat food directly from your floor or countertop! Oh well, I'm going to be using them for jewelry group shots and home decor items, not food. I look forward to experimenting with them.

Other than the beaded necklace, the rest of the pieces are from Buffalo Dancer, handmade by silversmiths of the Taos tribe in New Mexico. I met the artists at this year's Tucson Gem Show. Their pieces are so charming and such great quality, I wanted to buy all of them! The beaded necklace has sold, as well as all of the ponytail holders except the one with the 8-point flower just to the right of the necklace. The barrette with the diamond shape Royston turquoise stone has sold in addition to all of the concho earrings without stones. Five of the concho earrings with turquoise accents including the one which matches the ponytail holder, the other two barrettes and the carved stone pieces are still available.

Last night for my last post of Native American jewelry for now I revisited the second posting I ever made, back on January 5. At the time, I was unknown in these online circles and did not sell any pieces. To wrap things up I thought I would present the collection again, five months later. This group features Zuni jewelry by the famous designer Effie Calavaza as well as some of her family members. She recently passed (she was in her early 90s) and the tradition of the snake-themed jewelry is being carried on. In Zuni belief, the snake is a positive sign that typically means renewal and life. They are darn cute to boot! The teardrop shape pendant on the right and the small earrings at the lower left are spoken for, the remaining pieces are available.

The goal for next week is to post 2-3 lots of Southwest and Mexican jewelry (I have so many incredible pieces to show!) and continue to work on posting the remaining Native American pieces to the online store, eBay and Etsy where applicable. See you next time!