What do Barb Tobias (The “Thrift Talk” Diva), Tori Spelling and Carol Burnett have in common?
I was stunned to learn, after reading numerous reports on People.com, Omg.com, and Thefrisky.com, that real celebrities were raising serious money through holding all types of sales; garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, porch sales, divorce sales, downsizing sales, moving sales…and are now moving into the corridors of high-rise apartment buildings where city dwellers are holding “lobby sales”. And, here I thought that this Thrift Talking Diva had the corner on making good money at my fancy Diva Sales.
Yikes! Little did I know that I was going up against the likes of Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson. I’d been snookered and outclassed. And, I would have to imagine that my stuff was probably pretty paltry in comparison to their stuff.
Sure, I’ve yakked for years about the benefits of holding tag sales and purging homes of unwanted and unloved things. And, I’m still a strong advocate for the yearly cleanse (because it’s the only cleanse that’s capable of making a fast buck). But, I was still having trouble wrapping my arms around celebrities hawking their junk … like the rest of us.
I kept asking myself, “Why would outrageously wealthy superstars hold yard sales?” So, I started doing a little celebrity snooping, and, voila, Diva Detective was born. True, most stars hold sales through auction houses, but a few, such as Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson actually worked their own sales, albeit with professional and agent assistance. Many of them do it for charity; however, Tori actually pocketed the cash.
Star Willie Aames sold off his belongings at his suburban Kansas City home. Apparently dozens showed up while Aames bargained with treasure-hunters and even signed autographs. Hundreds of people stood in line to snap up movie memorabilia, taxidermy, antiques, artwork, furniture, and even his piano. And, the shocker…his production crews were even there to film a television documentary.
A cable network recently shot a pilot for the project, titled “Celebrity Garage Sale,” staring actress Illeana Douglas. Apparently the hook is that Douglas is on a mission to help her famous friends get rid of their unwanted junk by holding, you guessed it, a garage sale. They’ve brought in Tom Arnold to mix it up because his garage sale is said to have raised $5,000 for Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease.
Scott Baio’s sale raised funds as well as awareness for mandatory newborn screening in all fifty states after his daughter tested positive for GA1, a metabolic disorder. Fortunately, she is fine, after it was discovered that her results were a false positive.
Teri Hatcher raised $20,000 for her favorite charities through an invite-only, fifty-dollar entrance fee, yard sale and served Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee to her customers!
And, Pamela Anderson was reported have sold one of her homes with all of the contents with the proceeds going to PETA.
Now here’s one that shook the fibers of my “divaness”. Supermodel Erin Wasson held a garage sale selling off pieces from her personal wardrobe … the likes of Balenciaga and YSL. Now, rumor has it that these rags sold for under $100. Where was I when all this was happening? According to Erin she was attempting to “edit down my wardrobe and be very Japanese, where you have one rolling rack…I love the idea of being super edited.” Awww…
So what’s the difference between their yard sales and mine? So okay, the autograph signings are probably a draw. I’ll give them that. And, maybe their furnishings are a tad more elegant. And then there are the gowns, and posters and the jewels. Hmmm…
People often question why I continue to thrift shop … after all, I have more than everything I need. I guess it boils down to my love of the hunt. I love to scour the thrift shops and garage sales for items that can be made into something else. I enjoy creating new things out of old or used items. After all, I am a Diva and I love to change my environment … often.
I’m past worrying about whether I’ve made a purchasing mistake because I hold a Diva Sale at least once a year where I sell my “mistakes” and items I’ve simply grown tired of.
Another defining reason I shop thrift is knowing that I am saving so much money. In addition, recycling everything I own keeps my stuff out of our landfills.
On a recent “sale” shopping week I recorded my purchases and calculated the difference between what I paid during the 50% off sale, what I would have paid at normal thrift store prices and what retail would have cost me. I was astonished…
|Item||Retail||Thrift||1/2 price Sale|
|Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Deep Skillet||$109.99||$ 9.99||$ 4.99|
|Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Omelet Fry Pan||$ 9.99||$ 6.99||$ 3.49|
|Pfaltzgraff Gravy Boat||$ 7.99||$ 3.99||$ .99|
|Smoothie Freeze juicer||$ 29.99||$ 12.99||$ 6.49|
|CX-CD241 Portable CD with AM/FM Stereo Tuner||$ 29.99||$ 6.99||$ 3.49|
|Audio phase CD and Cassette player/2 speakers||$ 59.95||$ 24.99||$ 12.49|
|Video tape rewind component||$ 15.99||$ 3.99||$ 1.99|
|Glass Storage Jar||$ 9.99||$ 3.99||$ 1.99|
|Drawer Divider||$ 5.99||$ 1.99||$ 0.99|
|Men’s Red Handkerchief||$ 4.99||$ 0.99||$ 0.49|
|Auto Flashlight||.||$ 4.99||$ .99||$0.49|
|6 – Faux Leather placemats (Bed, Bath & Beyond||$ 35.94||$11.94||$5.94|
|Ceramic Box||$ 9.00||$ 2.99||$1.49|
|Long black scarf||$ 9.99||$ 1.99||$0.99|
|3 – Dinosaur Eggs||$ 9.99||$ 2.97||$1.47|
|2 – Decorative throw pillows||$ 32.00||$ 8.00||$4.00|
|7 – (Tag-on new) pairs underwear||$ 41.93||$ 13.93||$6.93|
|5 – Variety Cooking Utensils||$ 9.99||$ 2.45||$1.20|
|2-Books||$ 49.90||$ 6.00||$3.00|
|7 – CD’s||$ 90.30||$ 14.00||$7.00|
|Crazy Horse Ski Sweater||$ 24.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|2 piece silk PJ set by Cerie||$ 15.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|Wise World Sweatshirt||$ 32.99||$ 4.99||$2.49|
|Pair (NEW) Diane Gillman Jeans||$ 46.00||$ 8.99||$ .99|
|Pair Liz Claiborne Jeans||$ 28.99||$ 5.99||$ .99|
|Pair ETHYL Vintage Jeans||$ 32.00||$ 5.99||$ .99|
|Pair Faded Glory Black Denim jeans||$ 14.99||$ 5.99||$ .99|
Totals $824.84 $184.09 $79.17
I call this type of smart shopping “investing”! Not only am I investing in my home and wardrobe, I am making wise purchases that can be sold at my “Diva Sales” after I’m finished with them or have found something better. This way my merchandise is almost always recycled and I often recoup my investment. I have started to put the difference between what I pay thrift and what my items would have cost retail into a savings account. To hell with retirement! I am dying to take a trip; Africa is calling me, Victoria Island is my spring fantasy and Australia is beckoning me . . .
Rochester Hills, Mich: Neighborhood gives back for 19th year
Here’s a tip: When visiting Joanne Marcil’s home, watch your stuff. Just ask her husband, Ray, who left a jacket lying around. Joanne grabbed it and sold it at her community’s Make A Difference Day flea market. When Ray later asked her about it, she just smiled.
The project began in 1992 as a garage sale, raising $150 to buy high chairs for a soup kitchen. Marcil, 77, had such a good time she enlisted family and friends to create bigger events every year. The two-day market is now tradition, requiring 150 volunteers and five families’ garages to store donated items.
In 2010, the sale raised $13,000 for women in crisis, the homeless, people with chronic diseases and others. In 19 years, the project has raised $71,000. It’s hard work but well worth it, Marcil says. “I’m doing something to help this world, not just wishing things were better.”
$10,000 Make A Difference Day Award from Newman’s Own goes to The Baldwin Center, Pontiac, Mich.
This year’s judges:
Charles Gabrielson: President & Publisher, USA WEEKEND Magazine
Brian Gallagher: President and CEO, United Way Worldwide
Michael Havard: Vice President of Marketing, Newman’s Own Inc.
Kim Martin: President and General Manager, WE tv and Wedding Central
Michelle Nunn: CEO, Points of Light, Institute & Co-founder, HandsOn Network
I am the queen of the unwanted; a collector of “orphans.” Over the years I’ve embraced the flawed, snatched up rejects others passed over, delighted in the blemished and greedily coveted the imperfect and scarred.
Like metal to magnets, yard sales, consignment shops and thrift stores still lure me into their murky depths to find wonderfully tarnished bits and pieces that I meticulously turn into treasures. Spotting décor that is unique or unusual has become my specialty … my signature talent. And, dramatic objects that ooze style or demanded attention make me blubber with affection.
After years of searching through the dimly lit recesses of garages, junk yards and barns, I’ve learned to ignore obvious defects, and concentrate on spotting the potential in every item. Identifying the latent beauty hidden beneath decaying layers of tarnish and grime became the rule as my skill and artistry grew.
In addition to recognizing and purchasing promising finds, I’ve learned to fix broken legs, repair antique frames and mend holes in tattered throws. Discovering that a peeling piece of furniture could be transformed with a brisk sanding and a new color, spurred me to reconsider items I would have normally passed on. Oil stans became my best buddies as I turned the scratched and marred into things of beauty. I learned what products took offf rust, what transformed mirrors into bright reflectores and what oils thirsty furniture craved.
Before I considered a piece worthy of purchase, I would first consider its assets, examining it from one angle then another, thinking, “What can I do with you? How would you look in a different color? What would it cost me to repair you?”
Once I made the decision to rescue a waif, I would purchase the item if I felt that its condition warranted the asking price. Otherwise, I would make a reasonable offer hoping for acceptance or at least a friendly haggle.
Over the years I’ve transformed my home using amazing thrift finds that have turned a frumpy house into a fabulous home. And, my nondescript wardrobe now boasts $20 fashion statements that are the envy of my frugal friends.
Barb Tobias is a professional speaker and inspiring coach who renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of transforming trash into treasure, this savvy mistress of thrift shares her secrets to finding deals, repurposing before tossing, reconstructing the tattered and renewing things others view as passé in her recent release…Tossed & Found; Where Frugal is Chic. Her “tell all” book is not simply a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.
The idea behind my book, Tossed & Found, came as direct result of a sliding economy and corporate cut backs. After managing a sales team in the Midwest and Western United States for years, my team and I suddenly found ourselves … jobless. With few options available in an market spiraling out of control, I knew I had to reinvent myself – again. The inspiration for writing a thrift memoire came during my regrouping stage. I visualized a book that not only talked about my tumultuous life, but also showcased the shift to thrift that was occurring across our nation.
What was the hardest part about completing your book?
Two thing actually; learning all the parts to the entire process; from writing the book to getting it published. And, and the edits … the seemingly endless edits.
Well, there’s actually a third item I had difficulty with … letting go! After countless edits, I learned that my book would never be perfect; there would always be mistakes or a better way of saying something … a sentence or paragraph that could be written differently. And, there would continue to be a lurking temptation to do another rewrite – or two. At some point an author needs to let it go – give birth – push it out into the world.
Did you learn any lessons in the book creation process, if so what where they?
Having been a first-time author, I learned many, many lessons, the most important of which … staying on task, committing to writing every day, surrounding oneself with mentors, becoming a storyteller, and showing the reader versus telling the reader.
Did you enlist support in getting your book done?
Yes I did. Right out of the shoot I hired a coach. Although he was supportive and directive with my goals I quickly realized I needed to enlist the help of coaches that lived and breathed writing and publishing. I regrouped and hired a book coaching team the literally took my book from limp to alive!
What tips or advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Authorship is a lonely and complex process. However, a fledgling author does not have to attempt the process alone. There is an abundance of writers groups and a wealth of seminars and publishing gurus that can help writers sift through the glut of information and options.
If you self-published, what made you self-publish?
Launching my speaking career determined that I self-published. My book was my calling-card, so to speak. After dipping my toes into the publishing arena, I realized that traditional publishing would take me many more months to get my book out than I was willing to sacrifice. Additionally, I felt that it was judicious to retain all the rights to my creation.
If you had to do your book all over again, would you?
Writing Tossed & Found was a wondrous adventure; it was cathartic, revitalizing, wearisome, creative, exasperating, nerve-wracking, euphoric, tedious, liberating, frustrating and inspiring. And yes, I would so do it again … to feel the euphoria of holding my creation in my hand for the first time, the delight in doing a reading to that first audience, and the appreciation expressed by those inspired to reinvent their lives or lifestyles.
Are you writing or planning to write an additional book(s)?
Yes, I have a Diva sequel planned; Decorating like a Diva … On the Cheap.
But, there is another book begging to be published. I was a dog trainer for 20 years. I envision a book of dog stories; true-life adventures of the many dogs and situations I’ve stumbled upon during my tenure with dogs … from antics on fashion runways to heroic deeds of brave dogs and their owners.
What else would you like to share about you or your book?
The title Tossed & Found is really a double entandre. My book chronicles the journey of trash to treasure, contrasting those that toss things out versus those that find unloved items and turn them into beautiful furnishings or fabulous wardrobes.
And, it is also about my life … my journey. I believe my path parallels the journey of many people that find themselves tossed out of relationships, jobs or life. I also suppose that life throws us curve balls to teach us great lessons. So, it’s not whether we get tossed around, living a meaningful life is about what we do when it happens … whether we find ourselves again.
How can people find out more about your book?
Tossed & Found is available at local bookstores, on Amazon or by visiting www.ThriftTalkDiva.com.
Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, is an author, speaker, coach and the entertaining mistress of thrift. This radio and TV personality renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of turning trash into treasure, Barb shares her secrets for finding deals, repurposing before tossing and reconstructing the tattered in her new release, Tossed & Found. Her “tell all” book is not only a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.
After receiving a call from a local television to put together a thrift segment, every room in my home was decorated to the hilt. After all that attention to creating a holiday wonderland, we desided to take advantage of the decorated house and throw a serious holiday party. . . After all, it just seemed like the perfect excuse!
Memories were bountiful … and, here are just a few of the highlights.
At least five feisty divas braved the mountain roads and drove in from Boulder and Fort Collins to celebrate the holidays with us. Here Jill, Dixie, Patrica Michele and Vicki smashing in their holiday splendor, decked the halls with their Divaness.
Tara Becker, founder of the Elle Women’s Group, poses with hostess Barb.
Then the group gathered for the traditional gift swap. The thrifty exchanges this year were things that had been recycled, repurposed, restored or regifted.
Ladies in red …. Debbie Polkhorn, travel specialist extraordinaire, shares a Yule drink with Linda.
Kristin is one of the first to open her gift…chosen for the beautiful wrapping. Meanwhile Patrica Belanger watches someone attempting a sticky-finger maneuver with Kristin’s very cool M&M hotrod…too cute!
The soup was hot and ready to warm the soul. Well, we thought we would have snow with freezing temperatures. So, we figured that a steaming bowl of homemade bean soup would warm the innards of the frostiest guests. Hmmmm, the sun shone and the solar effect in the mountains pushed the thermometer to 65 degrees! What the hay? We enjoyed the soup anyway. Here festive Kai helps Barb dish it out.
Amazing filmmaker and friend Barry Bortnick celebrates the holidays with his darling wife Shanda.
Friends and neighbors gathered to wish each other cheer for the season. The partiers basked in the season of camaraderie.
Awww, neighbors, Karen and Michael, snuggle close during the gift exchange.
I am a hopeless thrift-aholic … saver of parts … collector of broken stuff … savior of discarded orphans.
I love to put together all the unloved pieces that people throw away to make creative masterpieces. And, no season brings more opportunity than the Holiday Season.
I begin my Holiday decorating by purging and sorting. First I pull out all my Christmas finds and begin the process. One pile is a group of “orphaned” items that will be used to fashion holiday displays.
This year I made a splendid centerpiece from odds and ends collected throughout the year from various thrift venues…garage sales, flea markets and estate sales. Earlier in the year I found a solidly built chrome stand that once held a globe … I presumed. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the piece, however I loved the height and heft of it and snatched it up for a mere $2.00. I was a little concerned that I might not find a lantern that would fit effectively within the ridged top, but felt it was worth a try.
I’ve learned, from being a hopeless thrift-a-holic for over thirty years, that patience eventually pays off. And, sure enough … four or five months later, I was delighted to find a cracked glass hurricane. I placed my new acquisition on my miscellaneous shelf where it sat until this holiday season.
Next I got busy creating my Christmas centerpiece. I took two random greenery vines, twisted them about the base and placed a fresh pine-scented candle within the globe. Now I had a centerpiece worthy for the most festive table … for under $10.00!
Greenery and garlands, collected throughout the garage sale season, are draped over mirrors, mantels and bowls. These festive ropes are often decorated with odd flowers, berries, balls and candles.
And finally, I enjoy decorating with some holiday humor … adding a little spice and personality to my rooms. Often, décor pieces that adorn my home year ‘round, are decorated with a bit of holiday whimsy.
We are women, mothers, wives and professionals who share a vision of uniting all women, expanding and creating new opportunities, living life to the fullest and sharing ideas.
Love Life and Lipstick is a complaint free environment full of support and uplifting hands. Join us each month and meet great new women, hear about exciting business ideas and plan on inspiration from the speakers for each event.
Women are amazing, we have the ability to create, to love, to grow and want more for others then we do for ourselves. When that power comes together into a room, great things happen … that is the purpose of Love Life and Lipstick!
This month we will feature Barb Tobias; professional speaker and inspiring coach … a woman who renovates lives by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.”
Barb speaks with candor about her journey; the pitfalls, the heights and the call to reinvent oneself. She is quoted as saying, I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of inspiration and those that inspire. Prophetic whisperings may come to us in different forms; a song we hear in the background, a headline or even a book title. Maybe the Universe is trying to give us a nudge or some divine spirit is vying for our attention. Regardless of the venue or purpose of these innocuous inklings, we know at a core level that we have connected with a higher power.
Event Date: Wednesday November 17, 2010
6:30-9:00 p.m.- 26476 E Peakview Drive, Aurora CO 80016
This events Cost: $20.00 Cash event (includes book)- feel free to bring your business cards or brochures to share.
RSVP is needed for this month’s event to ensure that we have plenty of books and seating.
Friday November 19, 2010
Barb Tobias, is an admitted thrift-aholic…a veteran radio and TV personality, former fashion model and professional speaker. Barb crisscrosses the nation in search for “fabulously frugal finds”.
Join Barb for a free presentation and book signing.
I began thrifting because it was fun and, quite frankly, I loved to shop. Okay, I still do. But, initially there was a deeper motivation for my need to haunt the secondhand shops that peppered my town … I was broke. I loved the fact that I could buy fabulous things for pennies on a dollar. It didn’t take long for me to get hooked on the thrill of furnishing my homes or fashioning chic wardrobes found in thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, consignment shops and auctions. I became a veteran power shopper, quickly falling in like with each venue I tested and every tarnished treasure I uncovered.
It wasn’t until much later that I began to realize I was actually recycling, inadvertently turning into a green queen rather than adding to the burgeoning problem of waste in America.
It began to occur to me that how we dispose of our used goods was critical to the overall health of our planet. Although we are encouraged to recycle our wastes, the truth of the matter is that this country still leads the world in the amount of trash that it produces.
I was astounded to learn that Americans generate over 200 million tons of garbage every year. That didn’t resonate until the EPA broke recycling figures down to the fact that each person produces about 4.5 pounds of solid waste per day! Yikes, that got my attention.
I thought that our country was pulling its weight in the recycling movement, but a full 67% of our junk is still tossed into landfills, while only 17% is recycled and 16% is burned as an energy source.
What really blew my mind was how much of our resources consume every year. The average person, over a lifetime, will use up;
- 411 trees
- 900 wire hangers
- 43,000 cans of soda
- 3,895 paper cups
- 2,025 rolls of paper towels
- 15,334 plastic water bottles
- 18,306 shopping bags
- 12 shopping carts full of wrappers from candy bars!
Recycling is certainly the answer for those that are intent on the greening of America, but only 17% of our nation has yet to establish an effective way to dispose of their used goods. According to the Wise Geek, 35% of the total material filling up landfills is packaging;
- new product wrapping
- fast-food containers
- office paper
- disposable diapers
- Styrofoam inserts
- and plastic bags
A partial answer to the country’s recycling woes might be eased if more people proactively chose to purchase used goods from the wide variety of thrift venues that pepper our nation. Shopping for goods at these thrift outlets could all but alleviate the 67.9 pounds of used clothing each person tosses out every year. That individual number quickly adds up to a whopping 20 billion pounds of used clothing and textiles that make their way into our landfills yearly.
In the end it is up to us. Companies have little incentive to use recycled materials because it is expensive … a cost that is passed on to the consumer. It is simply cheaper for them to use new materials to make new products. Therefore, buying used clothing and household furnishings eliminates the time, energy, labor, and money that go into making new products.
In summation, buy less, buy used, reduce the amount of garbage we produce, chose items with less packaging, reuse what you have and donate items that are no longer needed.
Turning Garbage into Gold – http://www.solidwastemag.com/library/garbage.htm
Reassessing the History of U.S. Hazardous Waste Disposal Policy – http://www.fplc.edu/risk/Vol8/summer/Brown+.htm
Environmental Protection Agency – http://www.epa.gov
Start you own High Profit Thrift Store -http://startthriftstore.com/index.html
Wise Geek -http://www.wisegeek.com/s/recycle
Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, is an admitted thrift-aholic. This veteran radio and TV personality has crisscrossed the nation in her search for thrift. She is a master at teaching people how to find deals, repurpose before they toss, and reconstruct the broken.
A professional speaker, author of Tossed & Found and entertainer, Barb’s passion has become her profession; sharing her cost-conscious secrets with the nation.
Visit her at www.ThriftTalkDiva.com.