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My First Year as a Lego Reseller and What I've learned from BrickPicker

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Bravo. Well written. 

You don't really offer insights into what the plan is year 2. Scale it up? Or down?

I'm curious. I've been investing & selling for a couple of years now and it's just harder work for the same $$ as years pass

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Good stuff, Phil. Glad to hear about your experiences. This is a lot of good advice for those just starting out as well as for us long timers who may have lost touch with some of these points. Thanks for sharing, and keep on picking!

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Great article. I missed the part about Lego being better than gold or did I skip past it? :)

I was trying to read it while inventorying my cheese slope collection that should be worth thousands soon!

 

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That article hits it on the head. My strategies and tactics have changed over the years.  I have only been back in the hobby for five years. I have watched my collection go from a single closet to over 600sqft of dedicated space. I went from quick flipping everything to hording everything I could get at 50% to being a much more selective hoarder. I am by no means a big time seller but I do manage to sell about $12,000 worth a year. I mainly just sell on Craigslist and I do sell on Amazon through a buddies account. I have been seriously putting thought into a Bricklink store....we shall see.Now that I have a space set aside for my Lego city that I am finally getting around to building I find that my purchases are about even between sets to sell and sets for the city. The one rule I always stick to is that I never buy a set that I either wouldn't want to build or didn't want the parts for the city.

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6 minutes ago, ZULU said:

Bravo. Well written. 

You don't really offer insights into what the plan is year 2. Scale it up? Or down?

I'm curious. I've been investing & selling for a couple of years now and it's just harder work for the same $$ as years pass

The plan for year 2 is to start listing the sorted part of the remaining 90k bricks, while laying low until my real job has gone  through a critical, decisive make-or-break phase. Been running my own company for almost two years now, and now is the time to finally start raking in profits or calling it quits. Let's hope for the former.

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Required reading for everyone, not just new members who are starting out and buying indiscriminantly. It's surprisingly easy to lose money in the Lego investing game even when you have a plan, which people new to the reselling scene, enthused with viral Legold hype, tend to overlook !

I've found enjoying Lego for the build so important to keep  my interest in reselling alive. Otherwise the margins and time would make me quickly decide it's not worth the effort.

Phil, I've found you to be an utter gentleman on here with many helpful and thoughtful replies and advice since I joined.

Here's to many more years of continued contribution.

Edited by Anomander
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Excellent read, @Phil B ! Having started with buying Lego for reselling around September 2015 so about the same time as you started, a lot of your experiences sounded familiar to me. Even though I've been working on a much smaller scale than you have. ;) 

First year of experiences under the belt, and now ready to move on to year two. May there be many more awesome deals, hidden gems, unexpected retirements and continued interest in discontinued Lego sets by potential buyers! :) 

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Really great article.  I'm approaching my first year anniversary, and although I'm not nearly prolific as you are, Phil, many of the lessons you describe are precisely what I have come to realize.  For any new investors, this is an excellent read, and to be honest, I think Phil is very generous in sharing his experiences.

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Thank you for taking the time to write this and for keeping it real.  Truly one of the best articles that I have seen while on BP.  

At the same time I can't believe you've only been here for a year I've always assumed that you've been here for ages based on your post count as well as the quality of the your posts.

Thank you sir!

 

In the interest of sharing, the one thing I've learned after more than a year here is that I don't have the patience or time for reselling.  That said I still feel comfortable and welcome enough here to spend hours and hours on BP.

 

Edited by kd123
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First of all: Very nice article! I also started this game in 2015 (August) and many of your thoughts apply to me and my experience as well.

I had a very intense discussion with a friend of mine wether to count points / freebies as a price reducing or not. But I calculate it the same way as you. Nice to see that I'm not completly alone ;)  

22 hours ago, Phil B said:

And unlike many other platforms on the vast World Wide Web, Brickpicker is a very civilized, high-intelligence online forum. Conversations are kind, well articulated and insightful. Moderators intervene at the right time, and with clear principles. And everyone likes a giggle.

This part is very very true! Been to many forums / chats / reddits and what so ever in my live but this one here is by far the most civilized forum I know!
Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank this community and mods here for the great work (all of you)!

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12 minutes ago, Chillreign said:

I had a very intense discussion with a friend of mine wether to count points / freebies as a price reducing or not. But I calculate it the same way as you. Nice to see that I'm not completly alone ;)  

I stumbled into the same method of paper accounting, though my mental accounting does tend to look at purchases made with good promos as a more favorable price than my actual dollar expenditure that day.

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5 minutes ago, Sfcommando14 said:

I stumbled into the same method of paper accounting, though my mental accounting does tend to look at purchases made with good promos as a more favorable price than my actual dollar expenditure that day.

This is true for me as well.

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Thanks Phil for the great and very informative article.  You should be by far the newbie of the year award winner if there is such a thing!  You captured the essence and nuances of Lego reselling and it is hard to believe you have been doing this for only a year.

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Terrific article, Phil! I also started reselling around the same time as you, and really got a kick out of reading your experience. I also started parting out Pirates Chess and Brick Boxes (those 16x16 white baseplates are gold this time of year.)

Fun and thorough article; thanks for writing it!

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Great article. As a new member to the site I found it very informative and I think you brought up some great points. 

Thanks for the good read, for all your input and congrats on a good first year!

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On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

First of all, a little background. What really got me out of my Dark Ages was LEGO Trains, actually, it was a Fleischmann N-scale model train set that I used to have when I was a kid and which my dad brought over from Europe to the US 2 years ago.

As a kid, my father and I had a N scale train setup (Atlas brand if I remember correctly). The scene was never fully completed but a fun project while it lasted. I kept at least one tiny locomotive ("Little Joe" I believe) as a personal memento for later.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Since I’m a train guy, you won’t hear stories from me about having to have this or that Star Wars ship, or those exclusive SuperHeroes minifigs.

Good, because I've had it up to here hearing "Star Wars this, Star Wars that". :blum:
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Just because it’s 50% off doesn’t mean you NEED to buy it.

This could be its own key point and a good one both for investing and collecting. I don't find many in-store sales (or at least much of anything significantly noticeable) but often the items are ones I do not particularly care for and/or would benefit me less than something currently at retail offering more of what I actually want or need. Like those Classic sets LEGO has released these last two years, they may be filled with a diverse few hundred to thousand bricks yet unfortunately the amount of each said part is rather abysmal.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

What works one month might no longer work the next month.

The same example can be seen in any of the various collectable card games available. You may have a super strong deck right now.... but the inevitability of new cards alongside the possibility of new abilities or stats being released all the time, certain cards or even almost entire decks may need to be swapped out to adjust to these new situations.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

There is too much going on (what with LEGO producing 800+ sets a year as mentioned before) to play all fields.

I think there is phrase going something like "You can do a little of everything or a lot of something but not a lot of everything".... or something like that. Now there is nothing wrong in giving each method a go and see what all fits for you especially if you have a game plan with plenty of backup strategies just in case things do not go precisely to plan (reality dictates they seldom always do).
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Keep track of what you spend and how much you earn. A spreadsheet is good enough.

That is definitely one thing this site and its Brickfolio concept inspired me to do shortly after joining long ago. Now I truly know what all I have in my collection.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Don’t be a sheep.

Bah ram you! :sheep: ....I'm sorry....no I'm not. :P
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Master the art of stacking.

I know here you are talking about coupons & such but let us not forget about proper box stacking when it comes to storage. Who knew that teeny tiny odd sized set could bow such a large box after a few days of just sitting there. Tons of good examples to be found in the collection thread I think.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

unlike many other platforms on the vast World Wide Web, Brickpicker is a very civilized, high-intelligence online forum. Conversations are kind, well articulated and insightful. Moderators intervene at the right time, and with clear principles. And everyone likes a giggle.

Anyone who has been here since around the beginning knows the forum has not always been "strawberries & cream" but even so still nowhere near bad as let's say YouTube's comment section can get. Trying to balance the unrelated banter might be the trickiest aspect. It is natural for everything to go a little off-topic once in a while (I should know, I caused a few many lots most of them myself) but sometimes things can stray a little too far or too long and need a quick detour back onto the main road.
 

On ‎11‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 0:15 PM, Phil B said:

Be helpful and you’ll be better off for it.

If there was only one takeaway from this entire article, this would be the one. Indeed there will be individuals whom take advantage of such kindness giving nothing in return but please do not let the selfish few dissuade you from being altruistic or public-spirited.
 

Well anyway, a greatly written article Phil B with lots of content pulled straight from experience and the heart.

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Thanks Phil, great read with excellent advice. 

Coming up to my first year myself, Just read this while sat in my office surrounded by loads of boxes branded with the lego logo.(not much room for myself anymore) A few of them ,but thankfully not too many,  purchased at full rrp early on in my investing, including the 3 75060 bought last january gathering dust for the time being taking up funds which I could have put to great use during the tesco 3-4-2. :(

here's to the next year :)  

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As someone who started in the game last year like you, I agree with a lot of what you said, particularly about the game changing continuously, not being a sheep , loyalty programs and the most important, get approval from SO. There are a few items I think you're a little too black and white on though.

1. Buying part is easy - no it's not, if you said buying everything is easy, then I'd agree, but buying is hard for the simple reason that a lot of the time we want to buy everything and stopping yourself can be very tricky. Restraint can be hard and needs to be learned, especially when you can just stick a purchase on your credit card and forget about it for a month.

2. It's all about the buy-in - it is, but not necessarily about getting the best discount, you want the best buy-in on the best set. If I had waited for anything more than a 20% discount on say Indominus Rex here, then I wouldn't have got any, as it is I'm very happy that I have. Much happier than some sets I bought at 50% off.

3. Pick one strategy, one that suits your lifestyle best - I think the days of picking one strategy and sticking to it are dead and your point about the game changing continuously illustrates the need to be on your toes and evolve. When I started, I had 2/3 year holds in my head, but quickly I saw that to do that with some sets, I'd need to churn over other sets to be able to grow quickly. So while I have had targets for investment all year and picked them up as I could, I also find great deals which I list straight away and constantly reinvest. 

 

Not meaning to pick apart your blog, you do make some great points, did I mention getting approval from SO (or hiding 50% of purchases from her).

The big lesson I've learned from my first 18 months in the game is that the old military adage of no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, could easily apply to what we do, we can plan all we like, but dangle that big shiny discount in front of our face and all plans go out the window, (hence this months credit card bill will be well hidden from SO) :thumbsu: So adapt or die.

And like you said, if we help each other out, then we'll all do ok and enjoy the experience even more, this is a hobby for most of us after all. Join in, have fun, take the piss, post silly memes and remember

 

Image result for be excellent to each other

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Guest TabbyBoy

Anybody coming to the party now should just sit back, read through the deals and just pounce on one with all their weight once a cracker comes along, like Tesco 3-for-2. There's some superb advice on this thread that I wish I could've read before buying all those sets at RRP back in 2012 that have NOT retired yet!

Honestly, I still find it odd that we're all competitors yet willing to help each other out.

I wonder if we're big enough to form a LEGO cartel? ;-)

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