Chris, 57 Jamie, 51 Taylor, 24
Taylor: So, let’s just jump right in. When did you first start reselling?
Chris: Oh, since about 2000. So, I’ve been reselling for 21 years. But, I’ve been hustling since we were younger, like my mid 20s.
Taylor: And how do you resell?
Chris: We try to do it wherever we can. Mostly the internet now. But of course, before COVID, there was vintage markets. I also will deal with certain stores in town that we know are looking for cool shit. Y’know we’re in Palm Springs, so it’s a modernism mecca.
Taylor: Right. You said you mostly sell on the internet. Which platforms?
Chris: Yeah, eBay is number one. Sometimes we do Facebook Marketplace which is really good for the big pieces. And we’ve found that to be effective actually. Craigslist has just become a complete farce. Anything else Jamie?
Jamie: I’m Poshmark and eBay. Depop just recently. But, it’s always been Posh and eBay for me.
Taylor: And, how did you get into reselling?
Chris: That’s a good question. Most people like working in banks and stuff, and when I had my actual store, people used to ask me how to get out of that sort of rut. Well, I had a dream, and I followed it. Because what else do you say. Remember, I’m from Venice, so we got those little hippie shops and I always thought, “Hey, that’s cool. I wanna do that. I’d rather do that. If he can do it then I can do it.” You know what I mean? It’s just a mix of being from Venice with not wanting a real job. I think it’s in my DNA. But, especially here in Palm Springs, I thought that these are cool stores selling cool things. It wasn’t always like that at first though. In 1974, we moved out here from Venice. We weren’t happy about it.
Taylor: What! Really?
Chris: Well, we got up and left the beach to live in this concrete desert. Our house didn’t have any grass. It was all gravel and cement. We’d never seen a yard that didn’t have grass but a pool, which we immediately jumped off the roof and rode our bikes into. We gave it the Venice treatment.
Taylor: Right on. So, what is your favorite part about reselling?
Chris: The money and the people. It’s that simple, really. And I guess the archiving. Being around the pieces and all the weird stuff.
Jamie: Well, you’re a bit of a collector. I think that’s how you kind of got started. He would collect these items whether he would sell them or not. Whether he was being unreasonable or not, that’s—
Chris: —what happens, you end up selling the stuff, you’re right. You end up getting so much stuff that you have to sell some of it, I guess. And then in 2000, not a lot of people were doing it. You kind of just had to discover it yourself. But, whatever. It’s just passion and fun and
design and oddities. I don’t think I’d be able to sell insurance, you know. But, you’re lucky. You have a phone. You got yourself and your phone to learn about all the pieces you come across. We had to do ours by old auction catalogs. That’s why I have all these auction catalogs from 2001 laying around because that was our reference. And Playboys. Old Playboys.
Taylor: Yeah, I couldn’t even imagine reselling without the internet.
Chris: It was tough. You had to go to shows. Like, I did toys for awhile, so I had to go toy shows and set up a booth with a bunch of toy nerds. And the prices were super expensive. Once the internet came to be, the same prices immediately dropped because more people were doing it. But, talking about ’95, ’96, it was a weird deal. Even eBay was strange. We had to take pictures on a film camera, then get those pictures developed, bring them back home, scan those, which was a nightmare, because remember how big the files would be, and you tried to add that picture to the auction.
Chris: And then don’t forget AOL. It would just cut you off. It would just knock you off in the middle of your auction, and it wouldn’t save anything. It was terrible. But we would get checks like two weeks later. We’d go down to the mailbox and I would have 10, 11 envelopes. It was checks, I mean, who uses checks anymore? I’d be skipping to the mailbox on Monday or Tuesday and we would have a shitload of checks in there. It was difficult. But, once we all figured it out, it became pretty easy.
Taylor: Ok. We’re gonna go on to Depop questions, if that’s ok. May I ask—what is Depop? Chris: (Pause) I was gonna ask you that. Hahaha.
Taylor: Well compared to eBay—
Chris: Right, right. Yeah, compared to eBay, I didn’t think there was any comparison at all until recently. eBay is just getting so big. And they’ve changed their pricing a lot. And it just seems too vast. It sounds weird because I used to say that that was the key to it. That there was so many more people at eBay that why would you want to use another site?
Jamie: I kind of think that Depop along with my Posh are a little more social-platform oriented than eBay is. Just by following people and liking photos and leaving comments.
Chris: It’s more like your favorite little shop as opposed to eBay. You don’t get a lot of repeat customers. I think Depop’s cool because you get to know your regular customers, and they get to know you. It’s like your favorite little vintage shop at the tips of your fingers. I like the idea of it.
Jamie: eBay has missed the mark on that completely. You can follow people on eBay but it’s a totally different feeling.
Taylor: Yeah, exactly. There’s no social aspect to it at all. That’s why Depop is such a breath of fresh air for al of us. It’s so enticing to the younger generation since we grew up in this hyper- socialized environment. But anyway, let’s talk about trends. Do you keep up with any of the new trends? Jamie, I know you have a Tik Tok, so you might know what I’m talking about. Like, cottage core and—
Chris: Oh, like shabby-chic. Is that what you’re talking about?
Taylor: Yeah, ok, kind of. A little different. These trends are more like having a persona rather than a type of style, I would say.
Taylor: There you go! So if you had to sum up your shop’s style or aesthetic it would be...? Chris: Vintage-core? Hahaha. Like vintage t-shirts. A “grail person” with real rock n’ roll shirts. Real Led Zepplin, real Rolling Stones from the seventies.
Jamie: It’s not like we have a specific vintage style though. It can range from 50s to more modern pieces I think.
Taylor: Are you cross-listing? Do you post the same items over multiple platforms? Chris: Oh, yes. eBay, Facebook, Depop, Instagram, yeah. Taylor: How do you keep track of it all though?
Chris: Haha, we don’t! That’s why we had to simplify at one point. We made sure to keep the items listed on eBay fenced off in the garage, so we don’t accidentally take it with us to a market or something.
Taylor: Right. This has literally happened to me. I sold a top at a market and completely forgot to take it down on Depop and somebody purchased it the next day. I was tearing my house apart trying to find the top. Needless to say, the customer was super understanding and we worked it out. I lucked out for sure.
Chris: Yeah, that’s why we don’t do that anymore. We’re old, so we have to stay organized.
Jamie: So, some things will just be posted on certain platforms and stay there. It’s just easier that way. I don’t know if that’s not considered to be cross-listing anymore, but whatever. It works for us.
Chris: But also, if you want an idea, I have about 20% of inventory actually posted across all the platforms. 80% is still in the garage.
Taylor: Woah. Ok. That’s something I feel like a lot of resellers can resonate with, haha. So how do you stay motivated to keep doing what you’re doing?
Chris: We just love it. It’s as simple as that. Jamie: Yeah. I like the hunt. It’s very rewarding. Yeah, rewarding. And we get to spend time together. When Jamie was working a job, I had to watch the kids, so I would take them with me and go hunt for things while they ran around. We didn’t want to put them in daycare...maybe we should have.
Taylor: So, how about haters? Do you have any? How do you deal with it?
Chris: We don’t have haters necessarily. I mean, I’ve come across a lot of assholes in this game. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. They’ll ask me if I’ve found anything good at a sale, and I’ll say, “Nahhh, nothing really,” while I have a full truckload of shit I picked up. I mean, I know the internet is different. There’s a lot of people that can say stuff anonymously that they would never say to my face.
Jamie: Keyboard courage, as I like to call it.
Taylor: Ugh, exactly. I’m pretty sensitive, so somedays are a little rough for me when I receive negativity towards my store.
Chris: Yeah, I guess I have ways to curtail that. I’m not afraid of anyone online. At all. I’m not afraid of anyone at this point in my life, y’know. So, bring it on! I got a message to send right back to you. And I will send it with my inmate ID number.
Taylor: Ok, awesome. Both of you have done such an amazing job. One last question before we wrap it up— Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to start reselling? Or even better, anything you wish you could tell your younger self?
Chris: Just stay consistent. I think it is already in us. I don’t think anyone can put it in you. You just got to be able to discover it within yourself, if that makes any sense. Calm your ego down, too. When your shit gets popular you have to stay humble and not become arrogant. Be a good person.
Jamie: Be humble. Continue to work. Constantly. Don’t give up.
Chris: Never give up. Ever. Y’know. Just stay funky. You lose a lot of money, you make a little money. It’s just fun. Hopefully in the end you can grow. I’m trying to get it past just me, just us. I would love to figure out how to make a Vintage Walmart. Haha.
Taylor: Absolutely. Straight facts. Thank you for this. And, last but not least, what is your store’s name?
Chris: On Depop, we are @automaticmodernlove and Instagram is @automaticmodern. eBay is atomictoy8. Proud member since 1996.
Taylor: Perfect. Gosh, y’all are amazing. That was fun. Let’s eat some lunch now.
By Taylor Askins @homebodyvtg