Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I now have a much better idea of what works at a jumble sale'

In The Red

So, mission accomplished. I had my jumble sale, and I made a grand total of £140, which has just pushed me just over the halfway mark in my Save the Rhino fundraising drive (target: £2,000). I have to say, I'm thrilled. I was convinced – absolutely, completely and utterly certain – that I had barely covered the cost of my stall rental. Business just didn't seem to be flowing, and when it did, it felt like I was only scraping in the pennies, since very little on my stall was priced over £2. As it turned out, I was wrong: although the money may only have been dripping in, by the end of the day it had accumulated into a nice little pool.

I'm so pleased with the result that I've signed up for next month's Let's Get Ready to Jumble on 7 March, and am looking at other possible sales in my area. Hopefully, the second will be even better than the first. Now I've done one, I have a much better idea of what works and what doesn't – and it's not always what you think.

Despite predicting that my big sales would be the vintage shoes and bags I was offering, not one of them sold. Ditto the posh soaps. Instead, punters flocked to my second-hand CDs (one man, on holiday from Germany, almost cried after I told him the Miles Davis album he had been looking for his entire life was only £1; another, clutching the, ahem, eclectic selection of Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals, a Eurythmics Best Of and a Beethoven concerto, told me that we had "the exact same taste").

Second only to the music in the popularity stakes were my chocolate brownies. On this point, I'll entertain no false modesty: they are very, very, very good (much better than the biscuits I was also selling). Still, when I made them I wasn't terribly optimistic as to the saleability. Everyone I had spoken to claimed they wouldn't buy food from the same stall that they'd buy second-hand clothes from ("in case," as my boyfriend so elegantly put it, "they tasted of dead cat wee".) As it turns out, this is not a fear that is universally held. Indeed, my brownies sold right out! This was a particularly sweet victory, since baking them on top of preparing the rest of my goods had necessitated pulling an all-nighter, leaving my customer-service skills on the day rather lacking.

So next time, I'll still sell the clothes and the jewellery, but my CDs will be displayed front and centre, along, perhaps, with some books. And I'll be baking twice as many brownies as I did last time. £2,000: here I come!

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