A Tale of Three Whatnot Purchases

Erin L. Albert
6 min readApr 22, 2023
Photo from author — jewelry from this experiment

Caution: I have referral links below.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I’m a fan of….whatnot these days. If you don’t know what whatnot is, you can start with my first article about the platform, here.

Now that I have a whopping 2 shows/auctions under my belt as a seller, I’m also curious next about the packaging and unboxing experiences…from other sellers.

So, this past week, I went a little crazy and purchased from 3 different other sellers, just so I could experience the ‘unboxing’ experience with 3 different POVs. I also picked jewelry to purchase, because: 1. I like it, and 2. it’s relatively low cost to ship and 3. I needed a few show stoppers for a future jewelry sale from 3 generations (Crown Trifari and Weiss, anyone?)

That and I vowed to buy at least 2 lots from each seller so my shipping would be steeply discounted with further purchases.

Today, I popped to the USPS to pick up my purchases. The 3 boxes all arrived. Here below, I share the packaging experiment:

3 packages

Package 1: pink, medium box. Pretty sure it was recycled.

Package 2: plastic bag: thoroughly taped shut.

Package 3: larger square box, obviously recycled from a big box retailer.

All 3 purchases were jewelry. And first, let me state for the record that I really do appreciate it if sellers recycle outer packaging. We all need to do more of that, myself included. In fact, I have a corner of my basement entitled Mt. Boxmore in order to ship out my own whatnot items as a seller. Let’s all keep recycling, shall we?

Okay — onto package 1’s wrapping….or unwrapping:

Pink page 1 — unboxing

Pink package 1’s unboxing photos above, everything was carefully wrapped in tissue paper surrounded by bubble wrap, with a handwritten note of thanks on the receipt. (Although, I contend with whatnot that package inserts or invoices do not include postage, and they should. I digress.) Anyway, after the bubble wrap and receipt were cleared, I found dark pink tissue paper and 4 packages tied up with ribbon. There were 4, and each piece of jewelry was carefully packaged separately.

This seller was cool to work with me as she allowed me to bundle the first 3 pieces, and then the pearl Japan necklace I bought later for discounted shipping. (Yes, that piece in between the two painted metal flower brooches is a Weiss, and I may or may not sell it in the jewelry auction, because yes, it’s 20 times bling-ier than in the photo above and I may need to keep it for a hot minute.)

This seller is getting an A+ from me on packaging, safety of shipment, and aesthetics of the unboxing experience. (She also had the neatest layout of jewelry in any show I’ve ever seen on whatnot yet. Hard-core organized. AND, she was the most interactive and receptive to her audience/buyers. Well-played.) She’s clearly a professional saleswoman. That and she was working with her daughter during part of the sale — way to go, mom!

Package 2:

Package 2 unboxing

Package 2 was the only bagged package, and in plastic — taped thoroughly. I get that it’s waterproof and light, but it of the 3 packages wasn’t quite as exciting to open, I must confess. However, there still was a packing slip with a signed thank you, and each piece of jewelry purchased was carefully and thoroughly wrapped in bubble wrap — so it was safe during the journey in the USPS. This seller also gave me a bonus piece of jewelry for being a first-timer with them, which I think is great — and far greater than a random giveaway to anyone who happens to be in a room, buyer or not.

I was motivated to buy from this seller because of the Crown Trifari piece in the middle here (MCM jewelry is one of my vices.) Anyway, there were no bundle opportunities here during the auction, but that’s okay — they were organized and had everything pre-listed in their store (something as a seller I can fully appreciate, considering pre-loading a store is a huge pain and overwhelmingly time-consuming, but I think makes it much easier for people to preview and buy from…rather than sitting around waiting for something you might be interested in popping up.)

I’m giving this seller an A-, only because the outside of the package didn’t leave me super excited. It was, however, in terms of safety well packaged, and their auction was efficient.

Onto package 3.

Package 3 was the largest of the 3 packages:

Once again, the seller did a great job in having outer wrapping — closed with a sticker supporting the small biz sale, a handwritten thank you on the packing slip, and all pins separately wrapped up in tissue paper. I’m calling the jewelry here the “green” collection. I bought several lots here, because the painted metal flower pins were the pieces I was going for to round out my upcoming sale (enamel flower brooches right now are HOT on whatnot sales.)

This seller as I recall also organized her store in advance, in that she had pre-filled her store with lots and details before the auction. Again, as a buyer, I appreciate this, because you don’t have to hang out in a room where they have no product you’re interested in buying. That and I got into a little trouble in this room since a competing bidder was after the same stuff I was…lol.

I’m giving this seller another A+ here — well-packaged items, exciting to open, and organized at the sale too (although she had her own bundles, there wasn’t a lot of room to create bundles by the bidders).

Again, my intent with this experiment was to see how other sellers “sell” their wares, right down to the unboxing of the goods. Notes to self: I need to do a better job of this when selling myself. I’m trying to keep a list of best practices as I fumble through my own selling experience, and I’m grateful to have the resources to play buyer here and continue the experiment from the purchasing end of whatnot. That and, there are 3 other sellers I’ve purchased from, 2 of which had their own box styles (one had a card with her handle on it in the box, that was a cool touch), and I’m waiting on one final box to head my way from yet another seller that I had probably the most interaction with during my buying experience. She was super flexible on bundling.

If you’d like to see my hack sales techniques (and trust me, they’re amateur right now), tune in any Saturday evening over at whatnot on my channel, @pharmllc and watch the show at 7:01 PM ET. I admit that I’m a one-woman band when it comes to selling on whatnot, but I’m trying. And, if you’ve read this and have far more experience than I do on the platform, I welcome hearing from you in the comments below with your best tips.

If you’re new to whatnot, feel free to use my referral link if you like, or if you want to sell on whatnot, here’s my referral link to help you jump the line there.

See you at the show, and to the sellers I’ve purchased from — thanks for showing me what good looks like, along with your signature style! 🍿