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…
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.
It was great fun seeing old friends and making new ones as I toured the very chic consignment shops of Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA, confirming that all that famous and infectious southern charm is still alive and well!
Betty Anderson from Fun Finds and Designs in Canton, GA was the first to host the launch of my new book Tossed & Found. Her consignment shop looked spectacular, she put on an amazing spread, and her partner in crime (Terry) made certain that the patrons had a full glass of velvety wine.
Barb Tobias’s presentation at Fun Finds Consignments in Canton Georgia exceeded all expectations. Her new book Tossed & Found highlights her life-changing foray into the world of thrift and consignment. Her journey parallels one woman’s progression from small town farm girl, to fashion model, radio and TV personality, corporate executive to author and keynote speaker. Her message is profound and delivered in the most entertaining and thought provoking way. She will bring out the “Diva” in every woman and leave you with a smile on your face and renewed hope. She was a delight. ~ Betty Anderson – Fun Finds and Designs, Inc.
Tracy Dismukes from Collage Consignment in Birmingham, AL continued to spread that warm southern hospitality. Her well appointed fashion stores were stylish and oh so chic. And, her staff catered to every need as customers streamed in to snap up trendy fashions before my presentation started.
Jenny Eid, the amazing owner of two intriguing and spacious furniture consignment stores, one in Dunwoody, GA and the other in Alpharetta, GA put on a gala event in each of her fashionable locations.
And Bonnie Kallenburg and Betsy Johns of Finders Keepers in Decatur, Georgia rolled out the red carpet and made sure every detail was covered as I swept into town. Her store is amazing and her staff was beyond warm and wonderful.
Thank you for making the first leg of my Frugal is Chic Tour such a success!
The Diva Tour heads to Fort Collins, Colorado. Simply Beautiful Consignment Presents … An Evening with the Thrift Diva!
Frugal Fashions and Decorating Secrets
Have you run out of money or at a loss for new ideas for your home or wardrobe? Enjoy an engaging evening of networking, refreshments, an autographed copy of Barb’s newest release, Tossed & Found and a lively presentation from world-class speaker, author and entertainer Barb Tobias.
Date: Thursday, November 11, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Simply Beautiful Consignment
426 S. Link Lane, Fort Collins, CO 80524
$20 pre-registration or $25 at the door
To pre-register visit Simply Beautiful Consignment
Or call: 1-877 711 DIVA (3482)
Or: Send $20 via paypal to BarbTobias@ThriftTalkDiva.com – Comment: Simply Beautiful Event
Simply Beautiful Consignment
424-426 South Link Lane
Tuesday-Saturday 11-5:30, Sundays by appointment
For more of Barb’s upcoming events, please click here.
Q. Why do you refer to yourself as a Diva?
A. I struggled to come up with a title for myself . . . a name that would reflect my journey to the top of the proverbial pile so to speak. When considering strong, self-actualizing words for women, the English language provides few choices.
Was I going to call myself a Princess? Well, we’ve all pounded that word into the ground. And, I really didn’t want to defend my title against all the little, fluffy, cutesy dogs named Princess.
Perhaps calling myself a master of my trade would work. Naw, that term was obviously reserved for men.
Okay, so how about mistress of my trade? Well, that one is sure to make the tabloids, and not an image I wanted to portray. Plus, the word no longer carries (if it ever did) the element of accomplishment that typified someone who has walked the bumpy road to success.
A Queen? Now, there is a moniker that negates the thought of achievement brought about by hard, creative work. The term typically refers to a birthright not accomplishment.
Alas, there remained . . . the Diva. Strong, accomplished, talented. That could work. Of course, I knew that there would be those that would scoff at such a self-proclaiming title, but I would ask. What word has this culture cultivated to capture the strength, the magic, of talented, smart, resilient women?
Thus, another Diva was born . . . The Thrift Diva
Q. What exactly is Thrift?
A. Thrift or thrifting, as it is often called, is the act of purchasing secondhand items at a fraction of their original cost.
Check out my FAB 99 cent 60’s swing coat . . .
Q. Don’t most people regard the act of thrifting as a rather seedy, back-alley type of activity?
A. They used to, but times are changing. With the downturn of the economy thrift has stepped out of the closet . . . so to speak. Many people furnish their entire homes in fabulous but frugal secondhand finds. I have. I just talked to a fellow thriftier that furnished her 3,800 square foot home with used bargains . . . for $8,000 . . . and it looks fabulous.
Others build their wardrobes from posh designer fashions they rescue from thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.
Q. I find the phrase Thrift Diva to be somewhat of an oxymoron. Isn’t thrift the polar opposite of being a Diva?
A. That is actually one of the reasons I began calling myself The Thrift Talk Diva. My mission is to take thrift out of the gutter. To show people how to decorate or dress using recycled products. Think of it. No packaging, no shipping costs, no advertising. Not only is thrift socially responsible, but we can all live in wonderfully appointed environments at little to no cost.
And . . . The Thrift Diva can show them how to do it.
Q. Why are you the expert on thrift?
A. I have been shopping America’s thrifty by-ways and high-ways for 30 years, I have outfitted my home and myself in fashionable thrift bargains, and I have taught countless Divettes how to create fabulous interiors for little to no cost.
Q. Am I right to assume that thrift shopping is becoming more in vogue with the downturn of the economy?
A. Although the art of thrifting has been around for years, it is definitely in vogue . . . it is the new black.
Q. Why does it matter?
A. There are several factors that make this frugal trend a hot topic:
- The economy is in the dumper but people do not want to give up their lifestyles . . . and they don’t need to. What they need to discover is a cheaper means to accomplish their goals, whether it is outfitting their families or decorating their homes.
- Women are hard-wired to nest, to create richly appointed, comfortable homes. Fashioning a home is the primer creative outlet for most women. It started when hides, caves and timbers were crudely fashioned into habitats. These abodes were adorned with drawings, beads, animal relics and other adornments.
- It is fun. The thrill of the hunt is as alluring in the halls of thrift as it is in the fields of prey.
Q. Do you consider the Art of Thrifting to be a business or hobby?
A. My fascination with garage sales, flea markets, antique and consignments shops started out as a hobby. I was a single mom on a tight budget and was thrilled at the thought of decorating my home at little to no cost. It wasn’t until years later and the change in perception that I actually turned my passion into a coaching and speaking business with the launch of my book Tossed and Found.
Q. Was thrift hunting an accepted activity 30 year ago?
A. Absolutely not. As a matter of fact I write about going to garage sales, incognito. I used to carry a pair of sunglasses and a scrunchy hat in my car to use whenever I stopped at a yard sale or thrift shop. At the time I was a fashion model and I was doing a lot of radio and television appearances. Back then my Divaness had not yet fully blossomed and I would have sooner died than been spotted with my head in a dumpster or in the back of some grubby barn searching for my holy grail.
Q. What is the best find you ever found?
A. I will share my most cherished possession because I feel that worth is not measured by the actual price that is paid, but the value that it holds for the huntress.
In the infancy of my thrifting addiction, I stopped by a fairly seedy sale hesitating as to whether to even go in. I did a quick scope of the interior of the garage and made the decision to leave when I spotted a dust covered picture propped behind some old boxes. Its back was facing me and I could only see the old and tattered frame. Turning it around and wiping the dust off the glass I was enchanted by the yellowed but fetching picture.
A turn of the century Diva peered out through her mask at a costume ball. I knew that I had to have her. Hesitantly I asked the proprietress of this fine establishment how much she wanted. Her tired reply asked for a mere $5.00. I knew that day, as I walked my treasure to the car, that I was hooked. I am a thrift-a-holic.
Q. When and why did you begin writing?
A. I have actually written for years, but I never brought any of my projects to fruition. It wasn’t until I lost my corporate position several years ago that I had the unfettered opportunity to follow my dreams. One day in had a serious talk with myself and threw the question out to the universe, “What course should I follow now?” The answer came back like a bolt of lightning…”Write a book about your passion.” Hence, the birth of Tossed and Found.
Q. Is there a bigger message beneath the clutter (so to speak) of Tossed and Found?
A. Definitely. I want to reach women and deliver this message: No matter how humble your dreams, no matter what your circumstances, you can reach that goal. You are powerful…own it. You are creative…embrace it. You are a Diva.
Q. Are experiences based on the events in your own life?
A. Absolutely. I talk about the experiences I have had on the road, on television and radio, on the runway and in business. I relate some of the amazing adventures I have had like having a gun pulled on us during a garage sale, finding true treasures for pennies, and decorating my home in thrift . . . at no cost.
Q. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A. Yes. I am writing my second book entitled Tossed and Turned. Whereas Tossed and Found is about finding and buying secondhand treasures, Tossed and Turned is about decorating with frugal finds. It shows, step by step how to turn a ‘noplace’ into a ‘showplace’ at little to no cost.
The emerging Diva
Below is an email that I received from a very excited client. We are working to transform her somewhat worn home into a chic and stylish habitat.
Just last garage sale season, Jo learned how to shop using a newly frugal but creative eye. She quickly learned to spot the potential treasures beneath the tarnish.
After holding a garage sale of her own, we spent a few fun and productive weekends looking for bargain furnishings to replace the items we literally hauled out of her house and sold on the spot. Remember the old addage; One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure? (Okay, so it is close enough.)
Jo was very hesitant at the beginning of our project. She was skeptical of finding quality items at local thrift venues. Now, she is an ardent believer and often ventures out on her own to find her bargains. She has learned that imagination and resourcefulness are key factors in finding the right deals.
I just made the best buy of the day… a– FREE, courtesy of Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because the library is closing for good.
I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pull a love seat from the back room and pushed it onto the sale floor.
I was the first to look at it, then another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it. Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales person let me have it. Can you believe that?
I felt like I just gave myself a big ole’present. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s beginning to feel more like home every time I add something.
Oh, and I picked up a fabulous lamp Goodwill for $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount! Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.
I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to next garage sale season! I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert! This is fun and it is not costing me any more money because I am using the funds that I made when we held my garage sale.
Thank you so much . . . and, Happy New Year!
To your success,
Denver Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group
What is Divawear?
Divawear is clothing that makes you feel wonderful, special. It carries a certain flourish, a unique style. It is about combining styles and creating your own special image; a personal and unique signature. Most people don’t think about the fact that they are, indeed, telegraphing to everyone they meet who they are and what they think of themselves.
And, Divawear is fun! The great news for women is that we aren’t relegated to being monochromatic. We don’t have to dress in suits in varying shades black, grey or blue. We are peacocks! Celebrate it! Live it! Choose it!
I have been shopping with my girlfriends countless times. Invariably they will pull something off a rack, hold it up, and with complete conviction say, “Barb, this is so you.” What they are saying is that I have created my signature look, a style that represents me; my attitude and significance .
My Michigan Divafriends are glorious. . . they are very Diva, and have the zest for life that is magnetic.
The night before my wedding we decked ourselves out in our best Diva westernwear. Needless to say, they even outshined the bride.
This group of gals are spirited, talented and have hung together through twenty years of marriage, divorce, business startups and business failures…all of which cemented our friendships and fortified our personal mettle.
And, Divawear doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I was shopping at my favorite DAV store on a recent 99 cent day and ran across this fabulous 50’s coat. I snatched that baby up in a hurry, and just in time for the holidays. My husband took a picture of me before we went out. Hmmm….so glam.
My personal dress message announces, “I am wonderful. Come hang with me. Get to know me. I am fun. I am playful. I am successful. I am a Diva.
Selling used goods from a driveway, a garage, a yard, or the interior of a home has been referred to as a garage sale, yard sale, or tag sale. Typically these events are held to get rid of unwanted household items with the secondary benefit of raising money.
I contend that every sale should be approached in the opposite way because people are usually motivated by positive results. Therefore creating abundance should be the primary goal. Along the way, the process can even be enjoyable, cathartic, or rejuvenating.
- The benefit to purging a home is often seen as much as it is felt. When a homeowner bites the bullet and does a thorough organization and purging of their things, magical things happen. Their home is organized, soothing space is created, and the overall feeling of orderliness takes over. The results are often tangible. A feeling of well being pervades the home, inviting inhabitants and visitors alike to a warm and inviting welcome.
- Setting up the sale should be viewed as a study in creativity. People like to shop, and tend to buy more items when they are surrounded with interesting items that are beautifully arranged. Take the time to arrange furniture in rooms, and make attractive table arrangements. The time spent doing this creative arranging is rewarded by a more profitable return for your time.
- The actual sale should be a festive, friendly occasion. Friends are a great help and often will bring their own things to sell at the sale. A community effort is a lot of fun. Helping hands reduce the burdens involved with running a sale alone and there are more people to assist customers and keep an eye on the merchandise.
The entire process from start to finish can be truly cathartic…and profitable.
I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of the inspired and those that inspire. They come in many 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 seeming innocuous whisperings, we know at a core level that we have connected with resonances of a higher power.
The following sites not only inspire but allow women to connect with other women from all walks of life. Businesses can be promoted, information shared, and a blog or forum started. Here are some of my personal favs.
- Brave Heart Women – For women who chose to be Inspiration in Action
- Women, health, family, love, beauty and entertainment
- Read a blog or start your own blogs on women’s issues
- Celebrating women…50 and better
- A Women’s community of strength support and creativity
- Empowerment, Inspiration, Connection, Success!