Episode 25: Sarge and Red

Overview

This week we welcome John and Dee, better known as Sarge and Red.  They started their online selling journey to help fund the expensive process of adopting their first child by selling things from around their house as well as donated Magic: The Gathering cards on eBay.  Fast forward to today, and Sarge and Red run a successful vintage and collectible toy shop on eBay, are the parents of two vibrant children, and are opening a brick and mortar collectible toy shop in their hometown.

The Seller Community Podcast from List Perfectly is the #1 resource for the seller community across all platforms and hub for information on growing your business with List Perfectly. Find out more at listperfectly.com/podcast, leave a message or ask a question at https://anchor.fm/sellercommunitypodcast, or email us at podcast@listperfectly.com.

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Episode 25 Links

sargeandreds.com
Sarge & Red’s Vintage Toys YouTube
Sarge & Red’s Gaming & Vintage Toys Facebook
Sarge_and_reds Instagram

Transcript

Intro

Doug:

Hey, Liz, how’s it going? What’s up with you this week?

Liz:

Oh my gosh. Not much, Doug. It’s been a busy week for all of us in seller land.

Doug:

Yes, yes. But not all of us had a video that’s going viral. Or multiple versions of the video. So I’m going to address this. So, this was your secret project you were working on for a while and now it’s been put live this week. So, like you’re everywhere on eBay. You’re Miss eBay. Now.

Liz:

It’s crazy to me! Absolutely crazy!

Doug:

Did they send you a banner and a sash? A crown?

Liz:

(laughing) No.

Doug:

So quickly, tell us about that.

Liz:

So yeah, eBay reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of their seller spotlight series, where they’re highlighting just different, small business owners in the community. And I think my first knee jerk reaction was to respond back and be like, you know, this is Liz O’Kane, right? Like you didn’t confuse me with somebody? Because I’ve been watching all of the seller spotlight videos, and so many amazing people! But I’m just Liz in her basement, checking some clothes, right?

Doug:

Well, you know, Jennifer Lopez was just Jenny from the block, too. So maybe you’re the Jennifer Lopez of eBay!

Liz:

I’m just Lizzie in her basement. I don’t know. But here’s the thing. Through mentorship and talking to some sellers that have been through this before, it’s really about telling everybody’s story, right? So some of these business owners created a product that they’re selling on eBay. They found eBay during the pandemic and found their niche and have been killing it for the last year. You know, just all these highlights and their stories weren’t like mine. And I feel that my story is so common. I think most of the people listening, like our stories are so familiar. So I just felt like I had the opportunity to be the voice of sellers, just like us. Like sellers in the community, sellers that have found the community and lean on the community. So eBay asked if I would do a seller spotlight. I said, yes. And we worked out times and dates and interviews and they sent a film crew to my house to watch me work and ask me questions.

Doug:

Nice! And where can we find these various videos?

Liz:

On the eBay for business YouTube channel.

Doug:

And then you were also featured in the community at communitydotebay.com.

Liz:

Yes, that’s right, I was!

Doug:

Several questions with Liz O’Kane.

Liz:

Yes. So they did seven seller questions that are on the community page on eBay. And then I think a seller tips video that they pulled out of that, too.

Doug:

There you go.

Liz:

So yeah, pretty exciting. Pretty nerve-wracking. I mean, I don’t know. I’m sure that a lot of people listening are probably like me, like it was a lot. Okay, Doug, you know how hard it was for me to put myself out there and even come on a podcast. And what have I said, hundreds of times outside of podcasting. I hate video. I hate being on camera.

Doug:

Oh, that is true. You’ve said that you’re not a fan of doing videos of the podcast, things like that. That is true.

Liz:

Yeah. So it took a lot for me to do that, but I overcame it. And I think that the production company did a great job putting it all together.

Doug:

And we were there all day. You’re talking like 12 hours of footage, right?

Liz:

Yes. Yeah. They were here all day filming at the house.

Doug:

Well, you did a great job!

Liz:

Moving furniture…

Doug:

(laughing) Rearranging your house. This is not going to work for us!

Liz:

Right. (laughing).

Doug:

The director had a beret, a cigarette and a canvas chair. “This will not work for me. You must move this couch. No, I need more from you Liz.” (laughing)

Liz:

Please. “What does your neighbor’s house look like? Let’s go over there.” No, but it was really fun. It was really fun. And let me tell you, eBay did such a great job at walking me through the process. They were so kind and kept me in the loop and the production company. Everybody was amazing. So when I was filming, there were two people in my house, a couple of directors on a zoom call all day. Like they were on zoom all day, you know, COVID precautions, we kind of had to keep that in mind. So it was a little bit different because this wasn’t just filmed last week, you know, this was a couple months ago.

Doug:

Yeah.

Liz:

So we were, you know, we, we had to do that. There were eBay staff on zoom during the interviews, everything. So it took an entire crew to put this together. So hey, I’m super appreciative that, but just to let the community know that eBay is genuine about reaching out and telling seller stories and trying to be a part of the community and tell the community story. I know sometimes it’s hard to think that like, I even do it. I’m guilty. Right? I think that that’s probably what started a conversation with us was a post I made on Instagram a couple of years ago. I was frustrated and I posted out of frustration. And it’s hard to lose sight of that sometimes, especially when you’re frustrated and a change gets made, but in the big picture, I mean, eBay does care about their community and they invite their sellers to tell their stories, invite their sellers to participate. Kind of like today, it’s eBay open day. I hope everybody’s registered.

Doug:

Yes, it’s a big day! Hopefully you have all planned out your agendas. I’m looking forward to three days of fun and interesting things. You know, there’s a lot of seller involvement again. And I just wanted to say too, I totally agree that eBay does care about sellers, seller stories. I mean, that’s all part of the seller community. You know, Liz is very humble, but her story is amazing and inspiring. And a lot of sellers think that they don’t have a story, but everybody has a story. And one of the interesting things, Liz, is we’ve got a great story on the show today. My friend Sarge and his wife, Dee. Sarge and Reds. His name is John, but I’ve called him Sarge for years. But Sarge and Reds, and they have an amazing story that they’re going to tell us. So should we just get into it?

Liz:

Let’s do it, Doug.

Doug:

All right.

Liz:

Do we want to do I’m Liz and I’m Doug?

Doug:

Yeah! That’s our thing, Liz!

Liz:

Okay! I’m Liz.

Doug:

And I’m Doug.

Liz:

Welcome to the seller community podcast from List Perfectly. This is episode 25.

Doug:

And again, this was a fun one! And John and Dee are on. Toy collectors, an amazing story, but we’ll let them tell. I met John at the very first eBay retail revival in Akron, Ohio a couple of years ago. We were there a couple of days. And then, it snowed. I was super excited and then it snowed and it snowed and it kept snowing and it kept snowing. And I was literally outside in the snow, making snow angels and throwing snowballs and making a snowman. And no one would come out and play with me in the snow.

Liz:

That’s because you’re a So Cal guy, you don’t see snow that often. People in Ohio are probably like, this man has lost his mind.

Doug:

Well, all the eBay people were just standing inside watching me.

Liz:

(Laughing) How many times have you seen snow in your life, Doug?

Doug:

Early on. I was born in New York, so early on and lived there until I was 10. So I’ve seen my share of snow.

Liz:

Did they have snow in those days?

Doug:

Yes. They had snow. It was man made snow actually.

Liz:

I’m just messing with you.

Doug:

And then once in Temecula in Southern California, where I lived It snowed on New Year’s Eve. And that was the first time I don’t know how many years it had snowed. So we get close, but you know, as you know, in Colorado, the land of perfect weather, everything has to be perfect for it to snow. So we rarely get all the ingredients for a good snow like you do in Colorado. In fact, I think you have a blizzard this afternoon.

Liz:

Yeah, probably I haven’t checked the weather. No, I think we’re coming up on our hottest week. Maybe not, but it’s been warm this week. Some sellers can relate to this. I just talked to somebody. Somebody is like, I just sold a pair of winter boots and I’m like, yeah, I sold a down coat this week.

Doug:

Yeah. People are prepping.

Liz:

Yeah. So seller pro tip, don’t hold on to seasons if you don’t want to. If you have it and you have nothing else to list, get it up.

Doug:

That’s right. And so what’d you think of our chat with Sarge and Red, John and Dee?

Liz:

They’re amazing. I’m so glad. So I read eBay did a spotlight on them. They did an article on their story. And I remember you telling me, Hey, my friend, John and Dee, Sarge and Red, and I’m like, I know that name. And I’m so glad that I got to meet them and talk to them and hear more of their story. And I hope everyone here enjoys their story also.

Doug:

And again, you know, it’s a great story. They’ve built a great brand around what they do. They’re launching a brick and mortar. That’s going to be a big part of the community they live in. And they’re really, really into what they’re selling. And then John and I have a fun, little Star Wars collectible story that we share.

Liz:

Well, instead of telling their story before they tell their story, what do you say we get started with our feature guests, Sarge and Red?

Doug:

All right. We can do that.

Liz:

All right. Remember the seller community podcast is produced by List Perfectly every week for your enjoyment and the show notes can be found at listperfectly.com/podcast.

Doug:

All right. Let’s get started with Sarge and Red.

 Family First, Nostalgia Always, With Sarge and Red

Liz:

John and Dee are Sarge and Red toys and collectible sellers. They have a really amazing story. So we don’t want to reveal too much right now. We’ll let them do that. John and Dee, so nice to meet you, Sarge and Red. Welcome.

Red:

Hello, hello.

Sarge:

Hello Doug and Liz, how are you today?

Doug:

Fine, thanks for being here.

Red:

You are quite welcome. Thanks for having us.

Liz:

I’m going to jump right into it if that’s okay.

Red:

Yes. Go for it.

Liz:

So tell me, how did the two of you meet?

Red:

At our wedding, the best man gave a speech and said that you told him it was the best, what?

Sarge:

The best $9.95 I ever spent.

Red:

But back in the day, like, you know, you can buy anything online nowadays, right? So we met on match.com way back in the day, my roommates were doing, you know, the online dating thing. And I thought, okay, why not? And it was like brand new. Right? And we had set up our first date and we talked on the phone. I knew he was a police officer and we set up our first date and he said he would come pick me up. And I told people at work that this guy I met and he was just gonna pick me up. And they’re like, are you crazy? That’s so dangerous. I’m like, I’m going to meet you there and said, he’s like, you realize if I’m an expert, you’ve already given me your address. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I did end up meeting him at the restaurant. I was very late. I was very late. I was very nervous. By the end of the date, he was like trying to book three more dates.

Sarge:

Listen, you got to book stuff out in advance. I’m a very busy man…

Doug:

So Sarge and Reds is a veteran owned business and John, you were in the military. So tell us a little bit about your service.

Sarge:

I was in the Marine Corps for four years. I joined straight out of high school and I was stationed in Washington, DC for my entire tour. There was nothing going on when I was in from 96 to 2009.

Red:

What’d they call you guys, didn’t they call you guys something?

Sarge:

Awesome.

Red:

But besides that, like pretty boys or something like that.

Sarge:

No poster. Yeah. Because we were out, we did all the ceremonies and stuff. So yeah. They only pick people or certain heights and all this stuff that was back there. I don’t know what they do now. It was fun. I learned a lot, but it wasn’t super exciting. It was almost like being in the Air Force…

Liz:

Probably a little bit harder.

Sarge:

I almost did four years in. And then I got out, I got a job in law enforcement in, first of all, Arlington County, and then I moved out to Lowdon County and did that forever and then retired.

Doug:

All right. So Dee tell us, tell us your background.

Red:

So I’ve been a corporate desk jockey for a lot of years. I went to school. I was going to be a veterinarian and just, you know, all I have to say, kids is like going to college and you hit the hard stuff. Even if it’s something you want to do, you don’t always have to use it in everyday life. You just have to figure out the game that you want to play. Right. But anyway, I ended up getting out of school. Look, I’m not sure what I wanted to do. And I landed a job in it because somebody knew somebody helped me get a job. And I had an amazing first boss. That was my mentor. And I’ve just stuck in the IT realm in corporate America since then. So the joke is always that I’m like Chandler from Friends. Cause nobody knows what I do.

Sarge:

People ask me all the time “what does your wife do?” I’m like, “I don’t know.”

Red:

She’s on the computer and the phone all day. But right now I do like telecommunications auditing. So, it’s not glamorous or anything, but I’m telling you it’s, you know, it gives me flexibility.

Liz:

Your store, Sarge and Red, is focused around toys. Dee are you into toys as much as John?

Sarge:

I don’t know how, how can we take that one, I don’t know.

Sarge:

Let’s just say action figures and kid’s toys.

Liz:

Let’s say action figures. So are you into action figures and the products you sell in your store as much as John and if so, what’s your favorite?

Red:

All right. So nobody is as into toys as this guy, like his aspirations were…

Sarge:

Vintage collectable toys…

Red:

Vintage toys, like toys from your youth, like his aspiration is to play for a living. For me, I have a major soft spot for Pound Puppies. Like, I don’t know if you remember them when you were little. Oh, I had a little red, her name. I don’t remember what her name was supposed to be, but I named her Ginger and like a little red squishy pounds. Oh, it was my favorite thing to carry around everywhere. And then of course, like My Little Ponies and stuff like that. So it’s actually really fun when, when we find something or he comes in with something and I’m like, oh, I remember playing with that. Like I do like stuffed animals or toys that like make noise and like do something. I think they’re so fun that, that those are my favorites. That’s my favorite. If it has, if it, like, I remember being obsessed with Tickle Me Elmo when it first came out and all that fun stuff. So, and I was in high school then I think I was a little too old to play with toys, but still…

Sarge:

You’re never too old to play with toys. I was playing with toys earlier today.

Red:

But as far as like…I think John’s got me beat though. He’s definitely the obsessive connoisseur of all the toys…

Liz:

But I get it, that eighties and nineties nostalgia..

Sarge:

Yeah. Yeah. It’s nice. It’s nice to have all of the…It brings you back to a simpler time. You know, you didn’t think about all the garbage that was going on in the world. All politics, all the conflict… You don’t worry about it. So it’s nice to be able to kind of go back, remember all that stuff and just go back to an easier time.

Red:

I love it because you start playing and then you remember the scenarios that you had in your head and everything like the whole world just seemed open and an adventure and everything. So it just, it takes you when you start playing with stuff, it just takes you back there in your mind and everything. It’s just, it just feels good. Right? We’ve been stopped by people, you know, who have said, “oh, you do the vintage toys? Have you’ve heard of this game that I remember playing my grandmother way back when, and can you help me find it? Cause I’ve always been looking for it. I’d love to get it again.” Like, you know, that kind of stuff is just really cool. Especially when that’s like that, you know, there’s a reason behind it. It’s not like I just want another thing or, you know, whatever. But it’s the memory tied to the item, which is just, just so fun.

Sarge:

Yes. Childhood memories.

Doug:

Back to a simpler time when it was just the Empire and the Rebellion.

Sarge:

Right, exactly.

Liz:

I was going to say the biggest conflicts. I remember let’s see the biggest conflicts I remember growing up in my house were He-Man and Barbie. Oh yeah. That was the biggest conflict.

Doug:

John and I met at, in Akron, Ohio in the dead of winter, it was a Retail Revival. It was the first Retail Revival. John had said that eBay helped him start a family, helped you guys start a family. So tell us about that. And you know, how you discovered eBay.

Sarge:

I obviously knew about eBay. I used it back when I was younger. I still remember the first time I got on eBay was I was in the Marine Corps was probably 97, 98. I think I sold things here and there on there on eBay. But then the main reason we started selling is we were trying to raise money for an adoption. We just started selling stuff we had around the house.

Red:

So even a step back from that, like we went through an infertility journey, right, trying to start a family, the old fashioned way wasn’t working, and eventually found our way to adoption. And we were looking at domestic adoption. We’re looking at domestic private adoption and it’s expensive. So we were being industrious and trying to figure out, you know, how do we raise this money where, you know, where can we find it? So we just started selling everything.

Sarge:

If it wasn’t nailed down it was sold. if you lived next door to me and left something in the yard it got sold. The cops came once, and I never did it again. I’m just kidding.

Red:

But even so, his family up here were throwing a fundraiser. This is funny…

Sarge:

Actually, they were in Michigan and we had a time when we were in West Virginia

Red:

We were in West Virginia and they planned months and months ahead of time to throw this fundraiser for this big bowling fundraiser. Well, all the stars aligned and our son showed up and got to go to his own fundraiser. He was teeny. It was like a couple of weeks, all like he was a tiny little dude. Oh my gosh. He was a miracle, falling out of the sky. Like he has red hair. I’m like, like the story and everything. And the timing of everything he was born. Yeah. Actually this is a little sad, but he was born the same day my mom passed away. So like their souls passed each other in the atmosphere. And like, it’s just meant to be a hundred percent. So anyway, we go to this fundraiser and John’s childhood friends, which we are still in touch with today, were interested in helping. Right. And, but they didn’t have any money to give or anything. So what did they give you?

Sarge:

I got a duffle bag Magic: The Gathering cards. So if you’re not familiar with Magic: The Gathering, it’s like a collectible card game. It’s been around since like 93. Um, and I remember playing it. I remember playing it like in high school and I had some fond memories. It was, it was fuzzy. I don’t really remember how to play and all that stuff. Just the basics. But I did remember like some of these cards were valuable. I remember some cards were like $20, $30. So, you know, I get this duffle bag of cards. I’m like, cool, I’m going to go through these. And they’re all newer cards and stuff from like, they’re probably like at the time, 10 year old sets or something along those lines, and I’m looking through them and finding the old cards I remembered, I was like, “oh, this card is expensive.” And I looked up, I was like, “dang, they’re not worth anything anymore” because they reprinted it so many times it was like, so if we end up going through them all and finding, like, I didn’t realize that they had changed it where you could tell the rarity by looking at different things. So I’ve just, you know, started learning about Magic: The Gathering. And we started selling those cards and then buying collections and then selling those collections, and you know, cards, a single card. So those collections, and then we branched out into like, um, vintage toys.

Red:

But it really started with Magic: The Gathering. and the story is magical because their stories match. But he figured it out, because his inclination in everything is research, like figure out everything, how it works and everything and found out like there’s a stock market basically for magic cards that go up, they go down depending on what they do, what’s going on in the market.

Sarge:

Yeah. Certain cards get banned or if they become like there’s older cards that were worth like a nickel and then a new card comes up and interacts with this old card really well. So that card shoots up in price. I’m running back to the warehouse, pulling out all these cards. No, go back down. It’s crazy. There’s a lot that goes into it.

Red:

And so we just, he just kept doing it. Like he enjoyed it so much. So it did help us give us a big boost and everything to help pay the adoption expenses and everything, and just kept going with it.

Sarge:

Yeah. I mean, I was “okay, let’s just keep doing it. We’re making all this extra money on the side. It’s fun.” And I think we did that. All my son here, he’s going to be eight and we’ve been doing it for what, eight, nine years now selling and then it got to the point in my career, I was like, “you know what? I have enough time to retire. We don’t have any family down here. You know, my parents are getting older. I want my kids to know their grandparents and other family.” And we were up here looking at somewhere to buy for an actual brick and mortar building. You know, the place we looked at, fell through and we’re like, whatever. So it goes. And my parents said “there’s an open house over there, like three streets over.” So it was like, we walked over and looked at his house and I was like, “you want to move up here? We can just buy this place. We’ll move up.”

Red:

It was totally not, I mean, it was planned, but not planned. It wasn’t on the timeline, but the house showed up and we’re like, yeah, let’s move to your parents’ neighborhood. Let’s just do it.

Sarge:

Yeah. So that was kind of, it was kind of impromptu, we were really weren’t planning on moving and then I was like, “I’ve got time. Let’s do it.”

Red:

And then it was all tied again, still to kiddos because our daughter, we couldn’t move until our adoption was finalized. So, we bought the house in the Fall, I think. And her adoption still hadn’t even been scheduled yet. So we just, you know, bide our time and make plans and everything. And then when we, we moved up here in the Spring

Sarge:

And it was about April, right. April.

Red:

Finalized the adoption in January. And then by April, we had sold the house and we’re moving up here and by August, no, it was the next August. Right?

Sarge:

Yeah. In fact, this August will be one year.

Red:

Okay. So we were, so then I was like, okay, we’re here. And we’re starting to like, do everything online. And we’re like, okay, next step.

Sarge:

Well, let’s just find a place and you don’t have a little physical location. One, you can get distributors and everything like that. If you’re doing it online, a lot of places won’t let you. Like there’s distributors I have, I can’t sell on eBay. Like there’s certain products like “if we saw it on eBay we’re gonna cut you off.” So there’s a lot of benefits to it. Plus I wanted to make somewhere that would become a community, like just a gathering place, you know? And kind of, we were looking around our house. I wanted it to be somewhere in our neighborhood. Initially we looked at how many places? We looked at a bunch of different places.

Liz:

So was it your retirement and your move when you just bulked up and said it’s eBay and then started looking at the storefronts?

Red:

You were doing two, three, full-time jobs.

Sarge:

Yeah, I had a lot going on, but you know, having the opportunity to sell online and do all that stuff, kind of gave me the, you know, I don’t want to say push, but in the back of my head is like, “you know what, I’m making enough doing this. I don’t need to be out here. You know, pushing a cruiser at two in the morning.” And I was working a day shift, I got switched to a night shift and it was just hard with the kids and everything. I was like, “you know what, I’m too old for this crap.” I had enough time. And I was like, you know, use your time from the military and all that. I was like, “I’m out.” I just, uh, put it in my retirement papers. I got my retirement credentials.

Red:

And the plan was to retire and then go do Sarge and Reds full-time. Well, they would ask you all the time because your phone would go off at work and they’d go and they’d be like, “oh, what’d you sell?”

Sarge:

“Oh, you’re getting that easy eBay money.” It was like number one, it’s not easy. Okay. It’s a pain in the butt. Yeah. So I guess it was one of the things that helped allow me leave early and all that stuff I got hit head on by a drunk driver. So that’s fine. So yeah. I’m glad I wasn’t in my cruiser for that. I was actually driving back from buying a Magic card collection there. That some guy who was, he was 18 years old, but he was high or drunk and decided, “Hey, let me crash into this dude’s truck.”

Red:

That was what a year before you retired.

Sarge:

Right. Almost two years. I’m like, it wasn’t, it was something like that.

Red:

It’s all a blur like all that time, but it kind of changes things like something like that, like a major accident. And it teaches things too. It’s like, “do I really want to be doing this,” you know?

Sarge:

That, and it’s hard to like do, wear all the gear and be on your feet all day when your back’s hurting so, we are now doing this and working on this building, we looked at how many buildings did we look at?

Red:

Oh, a lot of buildings. I feel like we looked at a lot of spaces. We fell in love with one that wasn’t meant to be.

Sarge:

The place we ended up going with, I don’t know why…

Red:

It’s a sentimental thing too, so…

Sarge:

This place used to be a novelty shop when I was a kid and I would go up there and we’d ride our bikes. They sold like stink bombs and like costumes and all kinds of stuff. Like fake poop, big chatter, teeth, all that kind of stuff. So we used to go there. We were kids all the time and we would probably like stink bombs and smoke bombs. And so it was just a place we went and it was like falling apart. It was vacant. It had been sitting there since 1992. It wasn’t even listed for sale. And I was like, “man, this place is cool. Let me get ahold of this lady.” So I got ahold of her. So she let us in and we’re walking around and walking around. I’m like, “wow, this place is awesome.” Cause it’s still filled with all the novelty stuff. Like from, it has been vacant since 1992. It is filled with like old balloons and like you name it. And you know, being someone who sells stuff online, I’m like, wow… insulations falling down. I mean, there was a bucket of water. I was like, “is that leaking?”

Red:

He’s like “Dee, come look at this place with me, come on.” And I’m like, “oh my goodness, are you kidding?”

Sarge:

We really walked through it. There’s so much stuff in there. I think I’m on dumpster number nine. So yeah, we ended up cutting a deal with the place we had the inspector come out and look at. Is there anything major wrong with this? Well, he couldn’t see behind the walls clearly from what he saw, he was like, no, no he was actually surprised how nice it was. Well, I cleaned the place up. I got permission from the lady, “Hey, you know, can I clean this place out?” So I could have the inspector, see all the walls and see what’s going on. And she’s like, “yeah, you can have whatever you want.”

Sarge:

So I paid for a dumpster, cleaned it out and then, kept all the stuff that we wanted. And my realtor’s, just “you’re stupid. You’re going to try to buy this.” So he didn’t want to, he was like, ah, it’s, it’s worth it. Cause why do you pay for a dumpster? I was like, man, I’m gonna make my money back on that dumpster from selling. And I’ve already sold this, this and this. I’m like selling Mylar balloons for like $50. It’s crazy stuff that got thrown away. People didn’t save old balloons. They blow them up and they pop. Right. So just random stuff like that throughout the building. But this place, I mean, I don’t know if you guys have been on our YouTube channel, but we’ve just recorded the entire thing from the place, to tearing out walls and finding a post crushing through the ground and graveyards of squirrels. I still remember when I was pulling up the last piece of drywall of the ceiling or plaster in a corner of upstairs office where your office will be and this thing, the plastic comes down and then there’s installation what flips down and it doesn’t come all the way down, but it’s like the skeleton stuck in it. It’s like “Ahhhhhh! Oh my God!”

Red:

Speaking of finding things, we found a newspaper up in the ceiling.

Sarge:

The newspaper that fell out was from about 1914. Wow. The building, there’s two buildings, two halves of the building. So the back half used to be a house and I guess it was built, I think it was 1906 from the research I found how old it goes back. And then if you look at the front half, it’s like a one-story part that was added on in the sixties. And apparently the building used to be a dentist office. It used to be a daycare, probably a coven for witches at some point. And it’s spooky there at night. I’m not gonna lie but they’re protecting ghosts, so no break ins.

Liz:

I was going to say, I, as you’re telling me this, I’m like, yeah, I remember seeing some of that on YouTube and you’ve built a YouTube following. So you’ve, you’ve documented more than just this. Oh, you’ve had a YouTube channel for a while. So how can I just kind of go back and tell us how that YouTube channel come about?

Red:

How did it start? It started with, you would research how to do some things and you’re like, “oh, I can do this.” Like I think there was a time somebody sent something in really bad packaging and you’re like, “this is ridiculous. I want to do a video and teach people how to pack things.”

Sarge:

I never did a video. I think it basically started as rants, I think. And then just kind of doing some collections and going through stuff like that. And it kind of evolved into what we’re doing now, where we’re trying to, like, when I go buy a collection, now I’ll talk to them. Hey, do you want to be on video? We’ll talk about what you like, you know, give me, give me a little history on us and they can share the memories they had of this stuff. And you know, what their favorite things are and kind of give you the story of not just the item, but the story behind it. Like why, you know, the emotions, because it’s more than just an object. You know, someone is selling something from their childhood, their son, their childhood memories, you know, obviously they don’t necessarily want it because they’re selling it, but it’s important to them or it was…

Red:

It’s really interesting to hear the stories. They would tell stories about like they were selling it because the need was so much bigger than the emotions tied to the item. Like I think there was a woman that was paying for her sister’s cancer treatments.

Sarge:

Yup. That was the first, I think it was the first collection video we did.

Red:

And you know, it’s very, it’s just kind of like you were saying earlier, like just learning people’s stories. Like that’s the big thing about it, right? It’s not, it’s not just the toy, the plastic, but like the item, but definitely the story and everything that goes with it. That’s so special.

Liz:

Yeah. So definitely go, well, we’ll put a link in the show notes to your YouTube channel because it is, it’s not just watch us and if it was, it would still be interesting, but, but it’s, it’s multifaceted. Like it’s, it’s awesome.

Red:

What you bring up is really important to you because everybody, not everybody, but a lot of people have like a certain niche of things they work, but then like you can come together because you know, you’re going to talk to somebody who they’ve got a house full of stuff and they have like all these records and they’re like, “oh, I don’t know what to do with these records.” And then we’re like, well, that’s not our thing, but I know somebody who does want to do records.

Sarge:

Actually. I’ve done that a couple of times with people like I have, it’s actually one. It is let’s get rid of, come out. There was a woman I met with the other day and she had a collection of old, like a battery operated, tin toys, like from the fifties and sixties, they were her husbands. He passed away. But he also was into trains, like the model trains with those tracks and all that stuff. And she’s like, “well, I have all this. Are you interested in this?” I was like, “no, I don’t know anything about trains. I don’t want it.” It’s a big train table. And like, I guess he was like 80 something. He’d go down there and just spend all this time. I was talking to her. I could tell she was getting emotional. She didn’t want to try to break them down individually. She wanted to, just to go, it’s hard for her to go through all this stuff and you know, cause she had the memories of it. So I was like, well, I can do this. I don’t have a huge following. We have like, like 9,000 and some people on our YouTube page. And then we have some more on our Facebook page. I said, “I can take videos of this and I’ll put it out. And if anyone’s interested in it, they can get in touch with me and I’ll get them in touch with you on buying this collection.” So it’s nice to help people out in situations like that because it’s not something I’m going to buy. And I really don’t know any train people, but I know I’ve had people before with the BMX bike, a buddy of mine, Brian, um, actually met him…I met most of the people I hang out with now through either buying a collection or selling them something up here, but he’s making the BMX bikes. And he saw that BMX bike that I had found in the eighties storehouse. I don’t know if you guys have seen that series, but that’s where we have this house and it was filled with toys. It was insane. There’s this old BMX bike and his buddy was big into BMX bikes. And he was big in the BMX bikes. So I ended up, “yeah, let’s do this. You want the BMX bike?” And he was helpful with some stuff at the shop. Like some of the construction. He was like, “I tell you what, I’ll pay you this in all the work I’ve done for that bike.” I was like, “you’re going to give me money to do construction work? Sweet!” He’s actually a really cool dude. We’ve been hanging out with a lot of people just through this because you have similar passions, you know, but I got a kid who does that. He sells old clothes like t-shirts and things like that. So if I have collections of stuff and I’ll be like, “Hey, I know someone who wants these old clothes, if you want to sell that.” So it’s good to network because if they find toys, which he does, he’ll sell the toys to me.

Red:

And it helps too because a lot of people get in that situation and they’re like, they have, you know, a house to clean out, you know, cause somebody has passed away or something like that. And maybe they are in their mind. They’re like, “okay, I have furniture. I know that’s where something, but I’ve all this other junk. Hmm.” But so some of that stuff really isn’t junk and we want to, you know, get the right person because it’s valuable to the right person. So all of that, you know, connection and networking, goes a long way. And it helps that person too, because they end up making and that’s where…

Sarge:

It comes into play too, being nice and being fair to people like this, this lady that I talked to the other day, hopefully she’ll know some people who have similar items. She knows I gave her a fair amount of money. Like I’ve had people just recently “just take it. It’s free.” I’ve got to give you some money for it. I’m not going to take it for free. You’re gonna give me money for this stuff. I was just going to, you know, what goes around, comes around. And I know there’s people that will be out there and they’ll basically, they know something’s worth $100. For example, I’ll give you $10 for it. It’s kind of scuzzy. You know, I get you out to make a profit, but don’t, don’t cheat me. I’ve had a lot of repeat customers or someone will call me about, “hey, you sold or you bought this collection from my buddy, Doug,” you know? And he said, “you were nice to give him a fair price.” And then, you know, ended up finding her collection as well. But if I was like a jerk to this person, you know, it’s not, it’s not going to happen that way. Speaking of collections Doug, how long was it?

Doug:

Let’s skip straight to this. I gave Liz a highlight. But so this will be an exclusive. John for the first time ever. Let’s tell the Star Wars saga story. The good, the bad, the ugly.

Sarge:

It was one Of your neighbors, right Doug?

Doug:

Yeah.

Sarge:

So one of Doug’s neighbors, she had all these old Star Wars toys, and Doug, knowing that I sell toys, calls me up, “hey man, I got these Star Wars toys. If you’re interested, I can get you some pictures.” So he sends me pictures and there’s all this cool Star Wars stuff. Some of it still has the original boxes and all that. Um, so cool vintage Star Wars stuff. And I was like, okay, sweet. Um, yeah, find out how much she wants for it. And I think what, I know I offered a price. It’s hard to offer a price when you can’t see something, you see a picture, it’s hard. Like it’s like saying, “oh, here’s a car. Are you interested in this car? I’m still getting, well, I can see the outside. How many miles does it run? You know, what’s going on?” It took a year Doug. I remember asking “what’s the situation?” Because first she was going to mail it to me. But like Doug said, “I don’t think she’s ever going to do it.” And I was like, “come on, man, I’ll give you a finder fee. Just go over there and get it all and mail it to me,” which he ended up doing. I think I gave him some money too. I can’t remember if I did a YouTube video on the box opening or not. I think I did a Facebook live, but it was like, what? Two huge boxes? Were there three? I was, I mean, there was a lot of stuff. And then I bought some stuff you had too.

Red:

Wait, did it have a helmet, a Mandalorian helmet?

Sarge:

it wasn’t a Mandalorian. It was Boba Fett. But yes, from my point of view, I was like, sweet. Doug’s on this collection and he’s gonna hook this up and get this thing out to us which you did. From your point of view though, Doug was I annoying because I think it was like a month or something like, “hey…” We started, what did we call it? We called it the, uh, we had a code name for it. What was it?

Doug:

We called it Operation Mandalorian cause Mandalorian had started up like several months into the saga. And I was trying to get over there to look at the stuff. And it was like, “oh, I can’t do it this weekend.” And we got a picture of some of the stuff. And it was like insane because a lot of them still had boxes and there was some stuff I’d never seen. There were like two Millennium Falcons. And then I had some stuff, my son who, it’s funny, he was super into Star Wars when he was young. And then he wanted to get rid of all of his stuff, which you guys got and now he’s into Star Wars again…

Sarge:

I can list it for him if he’s interested in buying it back.

Doug:

I’ll let him know. You never know. But we had a lot of back and forth and then there were photos back and forth. And then there was the struggle back and forth where she’s like, she didn’t want to, she didn’t want to pack it up. She didn’t know how to pack it up. She didn’t want to ship it. She didn’t know how to ship it. And so this is where the story gets really funny. So I go to the Home Depot, I get a bunch of big boxes and I pack this stuff up. We were going to do a boxing up and then an unboxing video. And then it was just that, that added probably another at least month onto the timeline.

Sarge:

Yeah the logistics of that would’ve been like, uh…

Doug:

So finally we decided that I was going to ship the stuff and I’ve got it all boxed up in the car. So I just go and John’s like just to ship it and let me know what it is thinking that I would go to the Post Office. But I went to The UPS Store because it was super close to my house. And I didn’t want to drive across town.

Sarge:

Because the shipping was insane from California to Michigan. It was like my forearm. It’s

Doug:

Something like that. And you’re like…and it was all via text…

Sarge:

“Doug! What are you doing!?”

Doug:

“You’re kidding right?” And I’m like, “no,” and you’re like…”oh”

Sarge:

Like Second Day Air or something crazy.

Doug:

And I’m like, “I wanted to get it to you fast.”

Sarge:

It got here fast.

Doug:

So, but that was, that was a shipping lesson for me.

Sarge:

There was a lot of cool stuff in there, a lot of figures. And actually there was a Yoda in there and a guy was watching our live video. He’s like, “I want that Yoda” because it was the one with an orange snake versus a brown snake. So I met a guy, Monte and that’s how I met this guy. Like, we’re good friends now.

Liz:

You’ve kind of built this community outside of a selling community. So you kind of have a buying community kind of in your backyard, you know, like you’ve made those connections and you’ve talked to people that you stay in contact with. I know that we talk a lot about the selling community side, which I think that’s pretty cool to hear about the buying side that the two of you have formed in that community, but you’ve done a lot with eBay, some work with eBay and the eBay community. So, and you’ve done some events. Can you tell us about some of them?

Sarge:

The first one we did was one in DC. We went down to the, yeah, it was the DC Fly In and I forget, I think it was a sales tax. We were talking about doing the internet or the sales tax and they wanted the sellers to have to pay the state sales tax and all that stuff. And that was interesting. So they send out like a limo out to our house, the driving distance to pick me up. And then the next one, I think was the one in Akron, I believe because the veterans one that was after that.

Doug:

Part of what you guys have done is you’ve built up a really cool brand around Sarge and Reds. So you’ve got the, you’ve got the t-shirts, I’ve got stickers, I’ve got a hat, I’ve got pens. I have a t-shirt. And that came early on, right? The animated…

Sarge:

Yeah, it came on, that was pretty early. I’ve always been the way I look at it as if you’re a business and you’re a small business in particular, you are your brand. So would you rather buy it from a giant corporation that’s like a big faceless entity or would you rather kind of, you don’t know who you’re buying from? Personally, I would rather know the person behind it and kind of see where everything’s coming from. So I feel like you are your business and you want to put yourself out there. So I was like, let’s do all this. And she was like, “you’re going to do what you’re going to get these t-shirts? Why don’t you get these cheap ones? It’s like, ’cause these are comfortable. I wear these all the time. My wardrobe, you go and open the closet, it’s all the same thing.

Red:

Yeah. But I think we had a lot of fun with that and like, I really like writing and creating stuff. So it was just fun to like, you know, put it together and design it. And then he just took it. He was like, “we can have this made and we can do this.” And I’m like, “okay.”

Sarge:

On our business cards, our business cards were made on one side like a Magic: The Gathering token. Well, both sides really got all the information. So the first one was our son, as a goblin and the next one was our buddy Eric, one of the guys who donated a lot of the cards and he was an ogre. And the last one we did was the other friend, Paul, who donated cards and he’s like a necromancer with zombies. So that’s where we started with all that brand. Now we have one it’s me as Uncle Sam pointing out all the old toys around me and stuff. The one challenge with selling vintage toys and vintage anything really is sourcing and finding. There’s only a, you know, there’s a finite supply of it. I can’t call a distributor to send me a pallet of old He-Man toys, you have to go hunt the stuff down. And then you’ve got to look at it and okay, is this worth buying Because it’s missing all the pieces or it’s broken and I must spend X number of dollars buying it. And I have to spend time fixing it and doing all this stuff.

Doug:

That’s the insane thing about toys and collectibles, but especially Star Wars stuff is you’ve got the collectors that are so precise, but you’ve also got the, some of the weird variations and you, I’m sure you see a lot of like figures that people have customized themselves. There’s a lot of that out there too.

Sarge:

A lot of customized figures, you get a lot of them that have like the paint. People will paint the weapons when they were kids. There’s a lot of fake stuff and I wish eBay would do something about that. But you go out there and people are like, “oh, this is 3D printed.” And it’s like, make it look a different color at least, but you’re making it the same because you want it to be sold as real. So I mean, there’s ways you could tell, um, the fakes are getting good. Same with Magic cards. I’ve had people try to sell me collections. And I’m looking at them with like a jeweler’s loupe like “that’s fake.”

Red:

A lot it’s education. Like when you’re buying from somebody, you spend a lot of time educating them about how you check it. What do you know? Why are you getting it to this price level and things like that?

Sarge:

Yeah, you have to explain to people.

Liz:

You’re getting this shop ready. You’ve got your advertising in place, you have your name out there and you’re going to bring your online sales in the store. People will be able to come in to see you instead of you having to go everywhere and getting an education right there, kind of like a one-stop shop. Do you think it’s going to change your online sales at all? Or do you think it’s going to increase it?

Sarge:

I think it will increase it. I’ll probably list more. Like right now I’m so busy with getting this place built and everything. I haven’t even been able to list for months. And a lot of the good stuff that we’ve been getting. It’s like, I’ve been holding a lot of, like, you sent me this. I was like, no, it’s going to go into someone. It’s huge. Like when you come in for the grand opening, I wanted it to be “holy…oh my God.” Like this was like Toys R Us. I remember this moment. It’s just something that I want to have it to be that wall you walk in. And it’s all bunch of dumb stuff and garbage because I stole all the good stuff. It’s like, eh, I get this going to sell. Right. What are most of the shelves? But another thing, if people come in and they see all this good stuff and like, okay, this guy will buy good quality stuff. And hopefully if he, oh, I have a collection and I’m getting out of the hobby, I’m going to sell and I know he’ll buy it. And just kind of buildup that brand, that reputation for doing things the right way. But yeah, Denise actually, from all the advertising, people have recognized her in public.

Red:

It was so funny. I took my daughter to gymnastics and they have a separate waiting room. I sit in the waiting room. This guy keeps looking at me and I’m like, “okay.” And then finally he came over and he was like, “excuse me, are you Red?” “Yes. Yes I am.” He’s like, “oh my God I recognize you from Facebook.” He told me his wife was into something and he was into Star Wars and it was like, it was just really cool. I was like, “Oh wow.”

Sarge:

Okay. Most things about doing everything. Like, and that’s why we’ve been trying to build a brand because I’ve had people like stop and go, “hey, I watched you on YouTube. I can’t wait till the place is open!” Like, ah, it’s kind of fun. Then you build this place where it’s like almost a destination. So people are gonna, you know, you might be a couple of hours away, but you want to come visit and check out the shop, you know, talk, shop, buy some stuff, sell some stuff, whatever you want to do. So I don’t know if you’ve seen the video on our YouTube channel, the McDonald’s Land Place playground we have. That’s good right now. But yeah, it’ll be on the side. That’s just one thing, you know, people see it and hopefully they come and take a picture with it and we’ll have, you know, the hashtags Sarge and Reds on here, here, here. And, but if they’re seeing that and they want you to picture that maybe they’re going to come inside the building. So, you know, there’s more things to funnel traffic of people in the building and drive up sales. Obviously we’re not doing this just to have a fun gathering place and a museum, but we need to obviously make a living off of it. So, you know, it was all those different things that I’m trying to do to make it somewhere special.

Red:

We want to honor the history of the novelty shops. So we have, we have, like a jacket that is like one of those old, like satin puffer jackets from the novelty shop.

Sarge:

It was one of the only employee jackets it says “Novelty” on the back. And I’m going to have a little area where we sell novelties kind of a throwback to the building, like chattering teeth and stuff. That merchandise that we actually found in there, we’re going to be selling in there. So just to kinda, you know, make it something special. One we’re bringing back this building that was right on the main street of our town. That was dilapidated and falling down and covered in vines. I mean, once we’re done, I’m going to be doing a video compilation of like, you know, you walk in, this is a little, it’s like, now this is what it used to look like, but I know a lot of the people local they’re like, “I’m so glad you’re doing something with that place because it was ugly. It was an eyesore.” I mean, it’s still kind of ugly. The building is weird looking, but I like it. We have our own website and most of that stuff is just through Shopify. It links to eBay. So it’s one stop. I put it in there.

Liz:

Do you face any unique challenges in the toys and collectibles market? Is it, or is it just pretty mainstream?

Sarge:

You know, the main issue we touched on earlier was with just sourcing because you’re finding all those items, but the other one is you’re dealing with collectibles. You’re dealing with something that someone wants and it’s, they’re passionate about this. So you need to make sure it’s packed well. I packed my stuff really good. I’ve never had someone say something showed up damaged because of the packing issues. I bought things on the other hand, someone shipping a bubble mailer, like you can’t put a vintage 1982, whatever Star Wars sticker on the card, you’re selling it for premium because it’s not open in a bubble mailer. I mean, how would you like it if I sold that to you for a couple hundred dollars and I just do a bunch of stamps on it and mail it, you don’t do that. It’s like spend the extra $2 and buy a box for God’s sakes. It’s not, I don’t want to get something in an Eggo box.

Liz:

Half of the value is in the box. You don’t want your box to be crushed because the main reason they bought your item was because it was mint. Like the box is a display.

Sarge:

It is a lot. And a lot of those just got thrown away, because think about it. When you’re a kid back in the 80s, you rip it open and then that’s gone. You don’t save the boxes. A lot of stuff. Now people buy stuff and it’s like, oh my one to open. I want to keep sealed because they saw what happened with the older stuff. The crisis kind of goes up on that. You know, that’s the thing. When you find a bunch of vintage stuff, that’s still in the boxes and still in the card and it’s rare. And that’s what makes it more valuable. And if everyone saves them, then there, you know, supply and demand.

Doug:

I know this is more recent and not vintage, but my kids freak out that I take Funko Pops out of the box.

Sarge:

But that’s what they’re meant for. You have a display, you just want to open it up. If you want to split it, open it up. But a lot of the new packaging, you can almost open up and keep it, you know, put it right back in if you want. Or buy two. I’ll sell you two. I don’t care.

Doug:

Do you have one single Holy Grail toy or collectible that you keep an eye out for?

Sarge:

Not really in particular…

Red:

I do.

Sarge:

You do? What’s your Holy Grail?

Red:

I want a Black Lotus.

Sarge:

That’s not a toy. You look for that stuff that’s rare or something. That’s unusual. I mean, I have like 300 of the same Luke Skywalker, but if you find it in the box, you know, it’s rare. It’s more work, more valuable. So you’re always looking for that kind of stuff. And the condition, there’s a couple of things I collect myself but…What y

Red:

What you want though is the unexpected. Like there, you know, you can go and buy a Black Lotus and spend a lot of money. What you want to do is like somebody cleans out their house and sells you a box of something you find like the valuable toy.

Sarge:

Yeah. That’s the house that we bought. And I keep going back to that, cause it was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever bought in my life is the contents of this house. But we were cleaning out the basement and it had gotten wet. It was disgusting. And there’s this dresser. And I was like, the drawers are seized up. We can’t open it. And I was like, well, we bought everything and this dresser’s mine. So my buddy Monte boom hits it with a hammer. Actually I went upstairs to get something and he’s like, “hey, come down here.” I go downstairs. And he’s like, boom, bust it up. And all the silver falls out like silver coins. Like it was a six drawer dresser filled with silver coins. I was like, “wow.” You know, so if we didn’t buy the entire contents, that’s something that we want to find the Star Wars toys, like the ones that were found in the closet that were buried under stuff like a bag of them. I would have never found that if I would’ve just bought the toys and I mean to buy just the toys, but he had someone else who was trying to buy everything like an antique store, like “oh fine, I’ll buy everything. We’ll make you an offer.” My offer was higher than the other guy’s offer. So we ended up with everything.

Liz:

So what do your kids think about mom and dad owning a toy store?

Sarge:

Every time a box shows up, they’re like, “Ooh, can I have this? Can I have it?” I mean, yeah. They live in a toy store where there’s an area in the shop with the attic area. It’s like the third floor we finished off as an attic. It’s got a giant seamless, big room. And I told them, I said, that’s going to be your guys’ room. That’s so you guys have daddy and mommy are working, you know, you guys have your playroom up there. You’re gonna have your TV, like, some toys and all that. And he’s like, my son “you need a shelf of these and a shelf of these toys”. Tell me what, like inventory I need to get, you know, if daddy has shelves and those, you can’t just go take them. He’ll come in with his like money that he has. Like, “can I buy this from your Dad?” And like, I’ll give you that money.

Liz:

I was going to say you two have gotta be the coolest parents ever. Like, what do your parents do? They own the toy store. Like seriously. How cool is that?

Sarge:

That’s fun.

Red:

I think the tough, tough part though, is there some things that they want and we’re like, you can’t have that. You can’t play with that. Like I’m sorry. And they’re like, well, why not? I’m like, because it’s older than you are. And if you break it well…

Sarge:

I’ll give him the old toys to play with, like the old beaters and stuff like that. But I mean, if it’s a, you can’t open up that like vintage Star Wars, sorry, kiddo. Here’s a loose one.

Red:

So our son now understands YouTubers. And he likes watching certain ones like some of the games and stuff he’s online. And he was talking about famous YouTubers and I’m like, “you know, mommy, daddy, we’re famous YouTubers.” And he was like, well, how many people? And I was like, there’s like 9,000. And he’s like, “that’s a lot. You are famous!”

Sarge:

That’s not a lot. Actually. We’re making a push for 10,000. So we need like 600 more. So if you’re not already subscribed…

Liz:

Go, subscribe, hit the bell, get notifications, tell your friends.

Sarge:

I think Doug subscribed. I don’t know.

Doug:

I did. We were going to do a Star Wars chat.

Sarge:

Yeah, we need to.

Doug:

Yeah, we should do that.

Liz:

Yeah, you should. So yeah, no, I’m super interested in, I know, you know, I’m in different parts of the community, different Facebook groups, Instagrams, and you know, there’s just a lot of that around, but you find somebody and you find a YouTube channel that really, you know, just has great stories. And this is what I really love about that. Like your finds. And like you said, telling the stories of people that you’re buying from and following your adventure of opening a store and all of the challenges, maybe you’re sharing those with us. And I think that that’s absolutely awesome.

Sarge:

If you just do it as only showing the good stuff, you know, it’s not as interesting, you know, when someone’s watching your channel on YouTube or anything, any kind of entertainment, you know, they want to be either entertained or informed. Cause you’re going on YouTube to learn how to use it or you’re going on YouTube to laugh or watch something interesting. So it’s like you try to make it something that’s interesting to watch. I mean, we probably don’t hit it out of the park every time or hardly ever honestly, but it’s always good to try to have that in the back of my mind when we’re trying to do content, like how do we make it? So people will come back and watch more. And then once we get the shop open, obviously, I mean, if someone comes in and then it’ll be almost like a perfect opportunity, so you want to sell something, we could do a video of your collection and all that stuff and talk to you there in the shop and just have that as another kind of area to do that.

Sarge:

I think it’ll be a lot more interesting to hear all those stories and there’s guys that I know they’re like, they are so smart in Star Wars. It makes me look like I have no clue what you’re talking about. Like literally like these guys are telling me all this stuff and I learned from a lot of these people. So I always try to get those guys, “Hey, come out, you know, let’s do a video and you can talk about this and, and just talk about your collection.” And I want to start going to people locally that have big collections and you know, do a video of like show off your collection, man show us what you got and then try to wheel and deal and buy a piece of it or something.

Liz:

I was wondering, how do you know this stuff? Do you do research? Do you do Terapeak or WorthPoint? Do you just know this stuff through the community? Or is it just a passion?

Red:

He’s got the passion to learn it in the first place though. Like…this man has more tenacity…

Sarge:

Wait, is that a bad word?

Red:

That’s a good word. He gets up. He does not quit on things. So if it’s like, “oh, I don’t know that.” He’ll figure it out.

Sarge:

We’d be living in a van by the river if it was up to Denise, no, a lot of, I learned as I go, you know, this is all a learning experience. I don’t, if I go, I’ll go back and watch some of my earlier YouTube videos kind of like, just to see how everything’s going. Like, “wow, I didn’t know that back then.” And like, you’ll see some people like, how do you not know this? You have a toy shop. I was like, yeah, I’ve just started doing this. Right? Like learning all these new toys. I remember a lot of this stuff I had when I was a kid, but a lot of stuff I didn’t have, so many things I’m learning as I go. So you’ll see like older videos and I’m like, “I don’t even know what the Hell this is,” but now I’m like, “oh, this is so-and-so and this is this, and this is this.” And you just learn as you go like with Magic cards again. I mean, now I can go through a collection of magic cards. I know this is like a $2 to $10 card, or this is a $5 to $10 card and have an idea. Or this is just bulk garbage. You just learn as you go. I’m sure I bought a couple collections that were whammies. You know, when I first started, but now, it’s like you just, the more I do it, the more I learn.

Red:

You’ve learned the tools to use, to like, you know, a lot more about where to go, like have different resources to look things up…

Sarge:

Oh yeah. I mean, a lot of it, you learn as you go, but like you were saying like Terapeak work, I normally use WorthPoint, or eBay to try to find prices. But again, with vintage toys, you have one, that’s an it’s, you know, it’s loose, it’s dirty. It’s not completely off on that’s mint in the box. And you have to find comps that are reasonable. And a lot of things, I don’t think people get when they’re trying to price stuff, this is, you know, the cleanliness, the completeness of it, you know, it’s, it all matters. The condition of it. Those are the three Cs: cleanliness, condition, completeness. And those all add to the value, I came up with that, I like that.

Liz:

Now I learned something.

Red:

But I tell you what people like to check, check you up. Because even my son, we went to a medieval thing the other day, and there was a guy there selling these Minecraft figures that he was making. And my son was peppering him with questions about, well, “does use this weapon and does it do this? Did you know this?” And like, the guy was like, he only knew like a little fraction of what my seven year old was throwing down and he’s like, “dude, I just make ’em I don’t know how many YouTube followers they have.” They have, but you get like, cause some people like they’re passionate about this, like one little thing and they learn everything about it. So, you know, when you’re a little bit broader, you can’t know it all, you just won’t know it all. So you just have to be open like a hundred percent. You have to be open to learning more. And I think that’s what makes some people successful, especially in this environment, like being open, okay. I don’t know, “teach me, like I’ll learn” versus “I know everything, you can’t tell me what to do.”

Sarge:

Anyone that says they know everything about everything is a liar. Like I’ve had guys like “how do you not know all these toys?” Like if you, if you’re telling me you know every single toy on the planet, you’re a liar. There’s stuff I didn’t have. I wasn’t like some rich spoiled kid that had every single toy. And if I was, I probably wouldn’t remember half of them because I was a rich spoiled kid.

Liz:

I have loved learning about the two of you more than I thought that I would. Do you have anything to add? I’ll just go ahead and kind of close it up. So do you have anything to add?

Sarge:

Just a point of advice. Anyone looking to get into reselling, just find something you’re passionate about something you enjoy doing. Cause if I had to sell clothes every day for a living, I would be a shallow husk of a man that no one wants to be around. No offense. Whereas I’m not saying, I’m just saying, because you like the clothes. I don’t. Like I said, just find something you’re passionate about. I mean, it sounds like you’re passionate about the clothes and I know Doug’s really passionate about music, and stuff like that. If you find something that you enjoy It’s not a job. That’s my words of wisdom.

Red:

And be your hardest boss. You’re the hardest boss.

Sarge:

No, you’re the hardest boss.

Doug:

I told Liz it was going to be fun. So I love your story and just all the interesting facets of it. You know, the kids and the family, how it got started, the store you’re opening up. I want to come out and see it if I can someday.

Sarge:

You’ll have to come out and do my grand opening and come out whenever. You’re welcome whenever, obviously.

Doug:

All right, come hang out. “Don’t play with that!”

Liz:

I’ll pick up buttons and I’m putting them in my carry-on!

Sarge:

I have so many buttons, I will give you two pounds of buttons.

Doug:

Thanks for joining us today, John and Dee, Sarge and Red. We’ve been chatting with John and Dee of Sarge and Red’s toys and collectibles, and you can learn more about them at sergeandreds.com and we’ll include all the links in the show notes. But thanks again, guys.

Red:

Thank you.

Sarge:

Thank you, this has been fun.

Liz:

Thank you, it has been great meeting you.

Sarge:

I appreciate your time.

Outro

Liz:

I hope our listeners enjoyed hearing the story of John and Dee from Sarge and Red.

Doug:

Liz, that was a great chat. Obviously, people got to learn their story and just some advice from them too, about building your brand about, you know, thinking of yourself as a business, which is a theme we hear a lot. And then just a lot of fun, little tidbits about, oh! Star Wars, squirrels, buttons, McDonald’s play sets.

Liz:

So yeah, and I did. I have started watching that series that they have on YouTube. And it’s so fun. I’m not much of a YouTube watcher, to watch like hall videos and stuff. It’s just not my thing. I can see the value in it. But, it’s just not the content that I consume and that’s fine. But they’re like going through this house that they bought, like all the contents, and it’s amazing to see what you can actually buy as a seller. Like entire houses worth of stuff.

Doug:

Fit in this house was filled with 80’s toys and stuff.

Liz:

Yes, and then building up their new building.

Doug:

That’s right. Yeah. Building that. They’re documenting that. And then there are a lot of videos with John and his dad that are really, really funny. And you don’t have to be into toys and collectibles, and they’re very entertaining. So, you know, give them a checkout Sarge and Reds on YouTube and we’ll put the link in the show notes.

Liz:

Thanks for joining us this week on the seller community podcast from List Perfectly.

Doug:

You can find us at listperfectly.com/podcast. And that’s where the show notes will be. Leave a message or ask a question at anchor.fm/seller community podcast. Email us at podcastatlistperfectly.com. You can post a question in the List Perfectly Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/listperfectly use the hashtag seller community podcasts and mention Liz or Doug.

Liz:

You can listen to us anywhere you listen to podcasts and be sure to subscribe and tell your friends. We’d also love it if you listen on Apple podcasts, leave us a review, let us know what you think. You can also follow us on Instagram at Coloradoreworn and Doug at Snoop.dougie and of course follow at List Perfectly.

Doug:

All right. Thanks Liz.

Liz:

Thanks Doug.

Doug:

And we will…

Liz and Doug:

See you next week!

Doug:

That was close! (both laughing).

Liz:

That was so far off!

Doug:

For harmonizing.

Liz:

We’re getting there, maybe by episode 50. Stay tuned!