Swapper Notes

The Blue Box Is The Answer

Over the last 5 years I have relocated my online business three times as we moved from Eastern NC to Charlotte. I eventually settled into a 2000 sq foot warehouse. One of the challenges to having tens of thousands of live SKUs for sale on the Internet is keeping things organized.  When a customer buys a patch I need to be able to put my hands on it instantly and get it in the mail without digging.  To that end as I designed my new warehouse this year I knew one thing I was frustrated by was the bin boxes I was using on my shelves. 

Over the years I gathered a menagerie of boxes from other dealers and Amazon .  After all these moves many of them were pretty beat up from moving.  That prompted me to reach out to a manufacturing company to see if I could get a custom box made to meet my needs.  It took months of back and forth (including 2 failed prototypes) but I eventually settled on a simple design that is just right.  Yesterday a pallet was delivered with 400 of these new boxes.

The next step is for me to create inventory labels (I'm an old school whiz at mail merge in MS Word).  From there I'll start inventorying everything in my store as I resort it into these new boxes.  This slow moving project might take me the rest of the summer to complete but it's a necessary step.  In the past when I've conducted inventories I've come across many items that are not actually listed for sale even though I had every indication they were.

I'll share pictures of the finished project when I get through the stacks.  :) Jason

New Scouting Memorabilia Warehouse in 2020

In March 2020 I moved from my old warehouse location in Metro Charlotte to a larger (and frankly nicer!) location.  I went from about 1250 sq feet to 2000 sq feet.  Along with the new space also came the opportunity to finally display some of my collection on the wall and have room to organize things much better.  Here are some pictures of the moving process!

Building shelves in the new space with help from our troop's Scoutmaster!

This picture was during Week 1 of the move - lots of work still to be done for sure!

Live inventory now organized and on a shelf!

The smallest office is now set up for organizing my collection and trading stock.

This is the office where all the magic happens!  

2017 National Jamboree Patch Trading Stategy

At some point everyone going to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree that is planning to trade patches has to answer a simple question....what am I going to take to trade?  Those going to the Jamboree on staff or a contingent have space constraints because you are typically limited by how much room is on the bus.  With sleeping quarters shared with others in a tent that also puts some constraints on keeping your trade stock safe and secure. 

As a visitor going in for 7 days to the event I can only bring in what I can carry on my back.  Again making a choice about what to bring is to trade involves placing some bets on what you can trade and how much of it to pack. So it's with all that in mind that I share this photo of my basement (I like to call it the patch cave).  What you see in this mess is my attempt to find the right mixture of trading stock to bring.  For me that means going through totes containing parts of collections I've purchased through the years.   Some of these totes contain sets that I've been holding onto since the last Jamboree four years ago.  However, the bulk is random JSPs, CSPs, OA and other Boy Scout patches that I think might work.  They all share a common factor though - they are all paid for. 


Some people tend to think you need to go out and buy all brand new 2017 sets in order to have anything to trade.  They might be tempted to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars sending payments all over the country to councils that are selling their patches.  That's just not my game.


What I've learned from trading heavily at the last six Jamborees (my first was 1989) is that anything will trade.  I might get my feelings hurt if my hopes are to score the red hot popular sets that all the kids will be asking about.  Nobody is going to trade this year's Minecraft or Norse Gods or Monsters Inc. set for what I have on my blanket.  But again that's not really my plan.  I just want to trade 1:1 all day long.  My goal is to turn over as much inventory as possible getting patches from all over the country whether they be 2017 Jamboree or not. 

So don't believe those guys that suggest you can't win with this strategy.  You might not bring home the trophy sets that everyone is chasing after but if you just want to shake lots of hands and do that classic 1:1 trading you can't go wrong at a Jamboree.  I hope to see many of you there!

Girl Scout Jamboree Swapping Was A Blast

Friday night at the Girl Scout Jamboree we had a social that included a structured time for exchanging swaps and patches.  Now if you have not lived in the Girl Scout world then the word "swap" might not really register with you.  Essentially these are hand made items designed to be pinned on a lanyard or other surface that have a cute theme.  Some of them may include the name and hometown of the Girl that created them (think the old camp wide game cards from BSA Jamborees). 

In the end the trio of Scouts filled a gallon sized bag with all their trades.  They divided up the spoils of the night and at my urging agreed to share some of the duplicates with the other members of the troop that had walked back to camp instead of coming to the social. 

If swapping Girl Scout patches or true swaps is something you'd like to check out there are multiple Facebook Groups devoted to this (many of which I am a member of).  For ideas on how to create swaps just go to Pintrest and prepared to be blown away.

The Long Road To An eBay Alternative

Welcome to my Shopify store at ScoutPatchHQ.com.  For almost twenty years I've been online in the Boy Scout collecting community with the launch of my first website in 1999.  For most of those years I've tried to have a platform to sell Scouting memorabilia that cut out the 400 lb gorilla in my niche that is eBay.  Although I've been on eBay since 1998 as a seller I've always tried to work around paying them as the middle man.

In the very early days my Santeeswapper.com website was built using MS Frontpage and there was a store baked into it.  The next step was to launch a ProStore in 2007 that was my first step into paying a monthly subscription fee.  I eventually rebranded the ProStore as SanteeswapperStore.com and kept it going even after eBay purchased ProStores.  But eventually I slowed down putting new inventory on the website and my sales faded.  So I pulled the plug not too long before eBay decided to do the same for the entire platform.

My next go of reworking SanteeswapperStore was using a website that a buddy had built called ListItYourselfAuctions.com.  This was a pretty short lived (less than 1 year) experiment.  So after suffering frustrations I decided to task my web girl with finding me a software package that did not have a monthly subscription plan but could handle the task. 

She choose CubeCart as the back end and built me a beautiful site that we branded as ScoutPatchHQ.com.  I spent many months building up the inventory and trying to make the site successful.  However, the Achilles Heel of this web store was the images.  It got to the point where I couldn't even see images in the directory to link them to the listings.  I don't think CubeCart was meant to have a store with thousands of SKUs.  So the first iteration of ScoutPatchHQ.com also went down in flames. 

In 2012 I helped to create a Facebook Group just for Boy Scout patch collectors.  Eventually I developed my own strategy of using photo albums located on my FB business page to offer up patches for sale.  To make it easy to point people there I redirected the url ScoutPatchHQ.com to those albums.  To this day I still use that strategy as Facebook has been a great alternative for me.

The 3rd chance for the domain ScoutPatchHQ.com came in early 2017 when I attended a meet up session on Shopify.  When the presentation showed me how I could link it to my Facebook Page and even do point of sale I was sold.  So I got to work trying to figure out the Shopify world and rebuild from the ashes of those failed efforts.  As my new store launches I'm going to continue to leverage all my social media efforts and my eBay sales to send traffic to this store.  Wish me luck!

Subscribe to RSS feed for Swapper Notes