Monday, February 27, 2012

Catching Up

Good news! I've apparently satisfied whoever it is that has accused me of "willfully infringing" on eBay's trademark. I still haven't heard back from eBay's spoof team about that email, but whether it was from them or not, I heard back from whoever wrote the original email:
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. We appreciate that you may have registered the domain name with the best of intentions and without full knowledge of the law in this area.   

We will consider this matter closed as long as the domain name remains completely inactive for the remainder of the registration period. Please be reminded that you should not sell, offer to sell or transfer the domain name in the meantime.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding in this matter and wish you the best of luck in your future business endeavors.

Pfft. Whatever.


I had an unpaid item case open this morning against the buyer of my fugly Ralph Lauren paisley shirt. Anytime I accept an offer, I immediately send an invoice. There have been times where my buyers never received the notice that I accepted their offer, so I always send this invoice just to be sure. Then, if they haven't paid by day 3, I send a reminder invoice, letting them know that a case will be opened against them after 4 days, and that if they need more time, please let me know. I didn't hear back from my buyer after either invoice, so on day 4, my unpaid item assistant automatically opened a case against him. Several hours later, I received this message from him:
Im paying on thursday no need to open a case, sorry for the trouble. Thank You
I was so tempted to write back and say, "Actually, yes there was a need to open a case. That's what happens when you don't communicate."  But considering it's an almost-$50 sale, I'd like to keep on good terms with him, so I wrote back and told him that the case was opened automatically, but that Thursday would be fine. We'll see if he comes through.


Yesterday morning, I had a potential buyer message me about a pair of NWT navy blue Talbot's wool slacks.

She wanted to let me know that she's been looking for these pants for a long time, but has only ever found them in black. She really wants to buy them and will pay for them on March 2nd, and please don't sell them to anyone else. So I removed the immediate payment required from the listing and wrote her back, telling her she can go ahead and click Buy It Now and confirm the order, but that paying on the 2nd was fine. I explained that doing it this way will remove them from my store so no one can buy them before her. Well guess what? She was too slow. :-(  They sold this evening! I'm thrilled that they sold. I do feel a little bad, but what was I supposed to do?
Sold some more play food this morning - the beverages this time. I didn't doubt that it would sell well, but I never dreamed it would sell as quickly as it has! I have sold 5 of my 8 lots for a total of $44.95!
Back in August, I bought a couple box lots of board games at an auction. It worked out to 33 cents per game. In one of the boxes was a Jenga game. I checked completed listings on eBay, and the whole game wasn't even selling for $5. But then I noticed that one other seller was selling it off by the piece, as replacement pieces. Brilliant! I decided to do the same. I have been selling them for $1 a piece. So far, I have sold 22 of them! So if you can find it cheap enough, and you don't mind sitting on the listing for a year while they sell one piece at a time, go for it! Just don't undercut my price ;-)
I recently cleaned out my own sewing pattern collection. I've only got 25 of them listed, with lots more to go. I'm encouraged that they've started selling. I sold 2 of them over the weekend. Hopefully more will follow...
My ears have improved a lot today. I've only had one dose of Motrin, so I consider the day a success! Of course I'm keeping up with my antibiotic drops (in both ears now, because my "good" ear started aching this morning), so I'm walking around in a fog of silence, with drops and cotton balls in both ears. My poor family ... and the poor boy at Subway this evening. I had to ask him to repeat everything he said. For 5 subs. Maybe he should speak up, and I wouldn't have had to be so annoying.

Inventory Tracking Spreadsheet

Several of you have purchased my inventory tracking spreadsheet that I have available in the Documents for Sellers tab at the top of the page. Now that you have had a month or so to work with it, would you mind letting me know how it's working for you? As I mentioned before, it is a very basic spreadsheet - nothing fancy. Are there any features you wish it had? Have you come across any problems with it? Any cells that aren't formatting automatically? Or any problems with the auto-calculations? Please take a moment to let me know how it's working for you.

And while you're at it, are there any other spreadsheets that you think might be useful?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

I have done a 180° and I couldn't be happier!  My last post was a bit of a downer. But listen to how my weekend has shaped up:
  • My ear has improved markedly. I'm not even close to completely healed, but at least I didn't spend all day in bed today.
  • My in-laws took all the kids yesterday, and my husband was in school all day, so I had the house all to myself from 10:30am to 7:30pm. The quiet and rest did wonders for both my health and my frame of mind.
  • Based on several comments here, I am really starting to think that the snotty emails I keep getting from eBay about my domain name registration are probably fake. I talked to eBay yesterday and the customer service rep asked me to forward it to their spoof team. I haven't heard from them yet though.
  • The situation with our mysteriously missing computer files has been solved. I still don't know what happened, but I discovered that for some random reason, ALL of our personal files managed to spontaneously hide themselves. Once I figured that out, it was just a matter of going in to the Properties on all of them and unhiding them. It was all still there! All my business data, all our family photos - everything is back!!
So today, the sun shined a little bit brighter :)


Sales-wise, it was a fairly steady weekend. I wouldn't have wanted to be any busier. My husband was a real trooper helping me get my stuff packaged. Poor guy, I bet he made 9 trips back and forth between my eBay room and my bedroom, bringing my merchandise and packing supplies. And he struggled through printing labels. So it's good to know he can handle things in a pinch. I don't know what I'd have done without him!


Remember this Ralph Lauren shirt I sold?

It's looking like it's probably going to turn into an unpaid item case. Ugh. What a disappointment. $44.75 for a shirt that I paid $1.20 for?? I hope he pays, because I think the case will automatically open tomorrow.


I was thrilled to see these Borns go.

I've had them since October 2010! I'm surprised they took so long to sell.  They're a little on the cute side. Far from my personal style and taste, but I thought for sure someone would like them. Good riddance, I say.


Speaking of shoes, I have gotten a LOT pickier about what shoes I'll buy for resale. I'm tired of getting burnt when old shoes break, so my new rule is - no shoes older than 2006. Even that's pushing it, but I'll give that a try and see how it goes. This is easy with Clarks, because the date is right inside the shoe. With other brands, I'll just have to use my best judgment. They need to look like they've only been worn a couple times. I really left a lot of good brands behind during my last road trip, because they didn't meet my requirements.

I have SO many shoes to get listed. Sigh. I have so much of everything to get listed. I hope to make my way through the stuff that I already have photos of. I have a basket of NWT clothing ready to go, and a bit pile of uncut sewing patterns. That should be plenty to get me started...


I thought I might get a sale through Pinterest today. I had a pair of Borns returned to me last month because they didn't fit. In the month that I've had them relisted, I've got 10 watchers. That's a pretty good indication that they'll sell soon, so I thought I'd pin them. Within minutes, I got an inquiry from someone who apparently doesn't speak English as a first language :)   "Number?"  I assumed (correctly, it turns out) that she meant what size are they, so I replied with that information. She wrote back, "Big for me! Snif"  lol. Bummer. They'll sell...


Oh! I started watching Downton Abbey this week. I love my Kindle :)  I got through the first season in a day or two. Now I'm making my way through the second season. I'm enjoying it. Thanks to all of you who recommended it!


I'm off to try to get some listings up!

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Top eBay Moments - The "What a Week!" Edition

ugh. I'm not better, but I have a lot to write about....

This has been a really bizarre week. A couple weeks ago, I got a cease & desist letter from eBay, requesting that I immediately stop using the domain name ""  Just minutes after receiving the email, I went to godaddy and cancelled that domain name. I then replied to that email apologizing and explaining that I immediately cancelled the domain name registration. I thought the matter was settled, but apparently not. I got another nasty-gram from them today. Here's a snippet:

We remain highly concerned and disappointed by the fact that despite our good faith effort to advise you of our rights and seek to amicably resolve this situation, you have simply ignored our effort and continued your infringing activity with your registration and use of  Your registration and use of violates the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) because it infringes and dilutes the famous eBay trademark.  And now that you are operating an infringing site with full knowledge of our rights, you are considered a willful infringer and, as such, could be liable for greater damages.

While we would still prefer to resolve this matter amicably, if you continue to ignore our attempts to resolve this matter promptly, we will have no choice but to take whatever action we deem necessary to protect our rights.  For these reasons, and to avoid consumer confusion, eBay must insist that you immediately stop using and disable any site available at that address. You should not sell, offer to sell, or transfer the domain name to a third party and should let the domain registration expire.  

Please confirm in writing that you will agree to resolve this matter as requested. If we do not receive confirmation from you that you will comply with our request, we will have no choice but to pursue all available remedies against you.

This makes me angry. I am very far from being a "willful infringer." Not only did I NOT ignore them, but I immediately complied with their request AND immediately contacted them to confirm that I had done so. And all they have to do is type that URL in to their web browser to see that it doesn't even exist anymore. Ugh.


Some of you know I've been severely under the weather this week, suffering from the worst ear infection known to mankind. Seriously. I've had ear infections all my life, but this one takes the cake. I am still far from healed, but at least I was able to spend the evening in the living room with my family today. Ugh #2.


Something totally random happened to our computer today. I really don't think it was a virus, because we haven't downloaded any files or opened anything suspicious or anything at all like that. Out of the blue today, the computer shut down and all of our files are gone. My husband did find my eBay records spreadsheet (thank goodness!), but I had about 100 pictures taken and edited of items that were ready to be listed, and they are gone. Along with 6 years of family photos. I REALLY hope to take the computer to a magician next week and get all those files recovered, if we aren't able to do it ourselves over the weekend. Ugh #3.


In good news though! Remember how distraught I was about having to go for jury duty selection? The more time passed, the more upset I became, because I'm a stay-at-home mother of four who also homeschools. How on earth am I supposed to be away all day for who knows how long?? My husband and I composed a letter to the jury commissioners explaining this, and this morning we received a phone call that I had been excused! Hooray! I don't have to go for selection. What a relief! A glimmer of sunshine in an otherwise very bleak day....


Enough about that. I've had some fun sales this week, and I wasn't even able to feel excited about them. Because I haven't blogged all week, there are a lot of them. Here they are:

I sold these adorable little not-Birkenstocks this week. I got positive feedback tonight with this comment:

Sigh. Now let me show you a little something from the listing:

You can put the information right at their fingertips, but you just can't force them to actually read it. Sigh. At least it was a positive...
  • Acquired On: 1/17/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 2/4/12
  • Sold On: 2/20/12
  • Paid: 99c
  • Sold For: $14.99 + shipping

This was fun. It was a pre-Christmas deal. They were on sale for $10 each, free shipping with in-store pickup. I bought 2 of them, figuring we'd give one to our 8-year old for Christmas, and keep the other around in case a last minute Christmas gift need came up. None did, so I listed it. It sold for my full asking price of $19.99. How cool is it to buy 2 of something, give one as a gift, and sell the other for enough to pay for both of them?
  • Acquired On: 12/??/11 (
  • Listed On: 1/19/12
  • Sold On: 2/18/12
  • Paid: $10
  • Sold For: $19.99 + shipping

I sure thought these Converse would sell faster than they did. They're silver and glittery - what's not to love about that? I will continue to buy Converse, but they're not usually a quick seller...
  • Acquired On: 5/8/11 (from my sister-in-law)
  • Listed On: 8/9/11
  • Sold On: 2/23/12
  • Paid: $5.90
  • Sold For: $20.00 + shipping

I remember having some of these Gus the Ghost books when I was little. They were the half-off color, so I scooped them up. They sold pretty quickly. There weren't any lots of 4 to compare my pricing to. I suppose I could have probably held out for more, but this was after several really stinky sales days, so I was happy with what I got for them.
  • Acquired On: 1/11/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 1/14/12
  • Sold On: 2/19/12
  • Paid: $1.06
  • Sold For: $21.00 + shipping

This was my daughter's. My son sold a frog from the same company, with the goofy huge eyes. It sold very quickly, so I expected this one to too, but it didn't. It sat for nearly a year.
  • Acquired: ???
  • Listed On: ? (relisted on 12/14/11)
  • Sold On: 2/20/12
  • Paid: -0-
  • Sold For: $21.99 - shipping

I've been trying to avoid pre-owned clothing (except the obvious names like Ralph Lauren, some Gap, some Talbot's, etc...). But this shirt was the right combination of size (3X) and wild print, so I thought I'd take a chance. And it is from DressBarn, so it's not like it's a completely unheard-of brand name either.
  • Acquired On: 1/17/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 1/19/12
  • Sold On: 2/22/12
  • Paid: $1.99
  • Sold For: $21.99 + shipping

You guys are going to get so sick of hearing about these denim skirts. I can't believe the goldmine I've stumbled on! This one from Gap sold in less than 24 hours!
  • Acquired On: 2/17/12 (Goodwill Harrisburg)
  • Listed On: 2/19/12
  • Sold On: 2/20/12
  • Paid: $3.50
  • Sold For: $21.99 + shipping

I mentioned these Pyrex refrigerator dishes a few weeks ago. They sold more quickly than I expected too. I am loving all these quick sales! It's so nice to get stuff in and move it right back out again, without even collecting any dust on it :)
  • Acquired On: 1/17/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 2/4/12
  • Sold On: 2/21/12
  • Paid: $4.22
  • Sold For: $24.99 + shipping

Another denim skirt! Another quick flip! This was Union Bay brand. I suspect the camo is what made it sell so quickly.
  • Acquired On: 2/17/12 (Goodwill Harrisburg)
  • Listed On: 2/19/12
  • Sold on: 2/21/12
  • Paid: $3.50
  • Sold For: $24.99 + shipping

This is my first Bit & Bridle item. I took the risk because it was a faux-suede fabric. Thought it was worth a shot.
  • Acquired On: 1/31/12
  • Listed On: 2/6/12
  • Sold On: 2/20/12
  • Paid: $3.99
  • Sold For: $24.99 + shipping

I had REALLY good success with all the NWT Jansport backpacks I bought at a yard sale in September. I bought 6 of them for a total of $31.75. All 6 of them sold within 3 weeks for a total of $190.97. This black one, though, I bought at a different yard sale. It had never been used, but it didn't have the original tag. And it was just plain black. I guess those factors made it a slower sale.
  • Acquired On: 9/3/11
  • Listed On: ? (did a List As Similar on 2/10/12)
  • Sold On: 2/22/12
  • Paid: $5.00
  • Sold For: $29.99 + shipping

Here it is!! Remember this one? I knew it would sell, but I never dreamed it would sell so quickly or for so high!
  • Acquired On: 2/17/12 (Goodwill Harrisburg)
  • Listed On: 2/19/12
  • Sold On: 2/23/12
  • Paid: $3.50
  • Sold For: $39.99 + shipping
And last but not least...

Another fugly for ya. I had this Ralph Lauren button-down shirt up for auction for a week. It got a LOT of hits and had quite a few watchers, but no bids. I figured it would go high to the right buyer, so I priced it pretty high. I accepted a great offer for it this week. I am still awaiting payment though ... ahem ...
  • Acquired On: 1/25/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 2/6/12
  • Sold On: 2/23/12
  • Paid: $1.20 (yes! $1.20 for a men's Ralph Lauren button-down!)
  • Sold For: $44.75 + shipping

That was a REALLY long catch-up post. I'm worn out. My ear is back to hurting and throbbing again. I'm out. Pinewood Derby tomorrow. I may or may not post. Now that I've gotten this week's fun sales blogged about, I may be back out of commission for a few more days until I'm totally better....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012


I guess eBay got tired of hearing me whine around, so they finally threw me a bone. I had 7 sales today! Finally! My favorite one was this Gap denim skirt that I just listed last night:

I'm tellin' ya ... pick up those denim skirts! This one sold for $21.99 + shipping in 15 hours.


I've been working on consignment sale stuff this evening. I always enter half of my stuff under my own name and the other half under my sister's name. That way she can get in for the pre-sale as a consignor, even though she only consigns my stuff. It works well. It's a fun evening for the two of us to go to the pre-sale. I'm excited about this one, because this is the first spring one I've done, so it'll be the first time most of this stuff has been out for consignment. I'm optimistic!  I got all my items (under both names) entered into their system, all tags printed, and almost finished tagging them (a month early!) when my tagging gun jammed. Ugh. That's what I get for buying the cheap junk instead of a decent one.


I sold more play food today - the baked goods this time.

So I've sold half of my lots so far, for a total of $34.96. I'm pretty far ahead of the game already, and I still have half of them to go!


I've developed an ear infection. I don't even have anything else to say about that. Blech.


This is a short & sweet entry tonight. The house is a wreck, I don't feel well. I'm out of here. But hooray for sales again!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greetings from the Black Hole

Helloooooooo! Can you hear me out there??

I know I've really complained a lot about this week's slow sales. It's been a real bummer. I didn't even make it HALF WAY to my sales goal. A slow day or two here and there is nothing unusual, but it has officially been a full week of really crappy sales. It's really hard to stay positive and optimistic after day 7. This whole week's sales added up to what I made in 2 1/2 DAYS last week. Ugh.


I just got a bunch of new listings up, so maybe that will help stir up some activity. I came home from my road trip with 12 denim skirts. After that last batch sold so quickly, I'm optimistic that these will sell well. I got a good variety, and I finished listing them all this evening.

Here's my "favorite":

How hideous wild is that? My sister thought I was out of my mind for buying this, but look what I found when I was researching it yesterday:

Yep, that's right. $41 bucks for that ugly thing! Mine's a size 2, so it will take longer to sell, no doubt, but I have it listed for $39.99 + shipping. I'm willing to wait for just the right buyer.


Speaking of my road trip ... here's the vehicle I wanted to take:

Here's the vehicle I could have gotten away with:

I didn't come home with nearly as much as I was hoping. I had optimistically budgeted a very large amount of money for this trip. And remember I said I wasn't going to buy clothes? Well, I had to resort to clothes. I was just not finding anything worthy of my time, money, or effort. Besides shoes and clothes, I found 3 turntables, 2 sets of hot rollers, 3 pieces of vintage Tupperware, 2 handheld video games, and a knick knack that was a stupid impulse buy. I think I was just so desperate for non-textile stuff that I bought it, even though I knew better. Bah.

Two trips in a row now Harrisburg has let me down. I'll be heading to Philly next time. My sister-in-law lives out there, so I stay with her for a long weekend. They are 3-day trips, and I come home with tons and tons of goodies. So for now, I'll just focus on finishing up what I've already got laying around, as well as my small weekly trips to my one Goodwill. I'll save up some cash and head out her way in May.


Not much else to write about, since I haven't been selling anything. I am VERY on the ball with my shipping these days. I have my packages (all 5 of them - sigh) all ready to go out in the mail tomorrow, but there is no mail tomorrow. So I'm a day ahead! Wow!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Top eBay Moments This Week

I'm home and recovered from yesterday's road trip. It was a big day. I didn't buy anything fabulous or exciting, but got lots of good consistent inventory. I'll write about that tonight or tomorrow.

This week, I sold 66 items, only 2 of which were shoes. My lack of shoe sales is making me kind of sad. I really enjoy selling shoes, but I must be left with a bunch of real duds, because they just aren't selling like they used to. There was a time where I was selling 15-20 pairs a week!

You know, now that I'm mentioning my favorite sales throughout the week, I'm having a hard time coming up with interesting sales to highlight in these weekend posts. I may just skip the weekend summary posts after today, because I don't want to highlight the boring stuff, and I don't want to repeat stuff that I already talked about...

An eternity ago, my sister-in-law asked me to sell these Scout uniform pants for her. There wasn't any interest in them, but I left them, because for only 5 cents a month, it doesn't hurt a bit to leave stuff for a year. It's probably been close to that long. So glad they finally sold this week!
  • Acquired: ???
  • Listed: ???
  • Sold: 2/15/12
  • Paid: $0
  • Sold For: $20 + shipping

I'm surprised this Columbia dress took as long to sell as it did. It was from that huge yard sale I went to last fall. I have done very, very well from that sale, and I'm looking forward to going again this fall!
  • Acquired: 9/3/11
  • Listed On: 10/18/11
  • Sold On: 2/12/12
  • Paid: $6.25
  • Sold For: $22.99 - $2.65 shipping

I mentioned this Esprit top earlier this week, but I wanted to mention it again because it was such a surprise. Add Esprit to your BOLO list. It sold very quickly, and for my full asking price!
  • Acquired: 1/31/12
  • Listed On: 2/6/12
  • Sold On: 2/16/12
  • Paid: $3.99
  • Sold For: $26.99 + shipping

This was another Columbia item from that yard sale.
  • Acquired: 9/3/11
  • Listed On: 10/19/11
  • Sold On: 2/17/12
  • Paid: $6.25
  • Sold For: $27.00 - $2.48 shipping

I can't remember if I mentioned this Studio I dress or not. It was another pretty quick sale. It is plus sized and classy career-style, so I guess that's why I went quickly. I've never heard of Studio I before. Anyone know where it's from?
  • Acquired On: 1/11/12
  • Listed On: 1/13/12
  • Sold On: 2/12/12
  • Paid: $4.99
  • Sold For: $30.00 + shipping

I was excited about this one! I had this laying around forEVER because I didn't want to count 900-some pieces. I finally got around to counting, and I came up short. I didn't want to recount them, so I put it back in the pile. Then in November, I was desperately trying to get all my inventory listed before Christmas, so I dragged it out again, counted (got the right number the second time), and listed it. It sold this week for my full asking price.
  • Acquired On: 8/20/11
  • Listed: 12/20/11
  • Sold On: 2/13/12
  • Paid: $3.17
  • Sold For: $49.99 - $6.70 shipping
How'd you do this week?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Still Looking for Terapeak Stories!

Last week, I posted that Ryan from Terapeak is looking for Terapeak success stories to post on the Terapeak blog. The first post of that series is up today! Ryan is still looking for more Terapeak success stories.

Do you use Terapeak? Has it saved you from underpricing any items that turned out to be home runs? If so, please share your store in the comments here. I'll forward it to Ryan, and you may see your story on the Terapeak blog!

If you don't use Terapeak ... what are you waiting for??

Terapeak is an extremely useful tool for eBay sellers! Suppose you've found something that you'd like to list. You bring it home and do a search on eBay, but nothing comes up. So you search completed listings ... STILL nothing. How do you know if you've got a rare item or an item that's such a huge dud that no one bothers to list it?

Completed listings on eBay only go back 14 days (90 days in some categories). But let's suppose that item is a Christmas decoration, and it's June. It's probably pretty likely that this item sold better before Christmas than it has sold in the last 14 or 90 days. But how can you find out for sure?

You check Terapeak, that's how!  Terapeak will allow you to search back through a full year of eBay completed listings!

So returning to my original example, let's suppose you've found a Christmas item that didn't show up in current or completed listings. Using Terapeak, you can search back a full year to see how that item did at Christmas time last year.

Once you log in to Terapeak, you'll see this:

We're going to do Product Research. Just type what you're looking for into the "Search for a product" field, and click on Go at the right. The first set of search results that come up will only go back 90 days. They are sorted by ending price, highest to lowest. Items that didn't sell are listed last. This way, you can tell at a glance what the potential is for your item.

But again, if it's June and you're looking up a Christmas item, you'll want to go back further than 90 days. So you need to find the current date range and change it by clicking on "Custom." This will bring up two calendars. Set new starting and ending dates, and click on "Go" again.

You can do that 3 times, for a total of 4 sets of search results. By doing this, you can get a better idea of how well seasonal items can sell at the right time.

But that's not all! Terapeak has several other features that can really help eBay sellers out! Let's take a look at the Title Builder. It's the top right tab on the Terapeak website.

Let's say I'm trying to sell a set of 3 Wise Men candle holders. I want to build the best title I can, using the most effective keywords to get the most searchers, which will hopefully lead to the best (highest-paying) buyer.  So in the search field, I'll type in "3 Wise Men candle holders" and Terapeak will give me suggestions for other effective keywords to add to my title.

I can see that the highest-priced listings include the keyword "Wisemen" in addition to the "Wise Men" that I had originally. "Wise" and "Men" are both on this list separately, so I'll include both variations in my title. "Holder" and "Nativity" are also on the list, so I'll add those in. It looks like it would help to write out the word "Three" and include the word "Christmas" too. Obviously, only use the keywords that are pertinent to your item. If my candle holders were made in Japan, I'll add that as a keyword, but if they weren't, then I won't use that.

The Title Builder can really help you catch more searchers, which increases your listing's exposure, which increases the chances that it will sell!

But that's STILL not all! What if you just can't decide what to sell? You like to sell toys, but you aren't sure what the hot toy sellers are right now. Terapeak can even tell you that!

Let's check out the Hot Research tab. You don't even have to type anything here. Terapeak will automatically show you the current hottest-selling categories.

It looks like gun stuff is selling pretty well right now - loading equipment, powder measures, smithing equipment... Maybe that's because hunting season is over, and hunters are using this time to fix up their guns, reload their shells, and get them all ready for next year.

Shortwave radio stuff is selling well now, as are certain stamps and coins. But I know nothing about any of those categories, so I'll save myself the embarrassment of even attempting to comment on those :)

You'll want to look over this list from time to time and make mental notes. Then, if you happen to spot reloading equipment or coin albums in the thrift store, you'll know to scoop them up!

You can also check and see what your competitors are selling their items for, by using the Competitor Research tab.

The Category Research tab is interesting. Take a look at this:

Let's say a pet supply store in your town is going out of business. Take a look at the pet supplies section. According to this chart, you'll want to focus on the Dog supplies and Aquarium/Fish stuff, but you won't want to bother with Bird, Cat, and Horse Supplies. This could come in really handy!

I've given you lots to think about. Terapeak has a lot of awesome features, not just the ability to search completed listings. It's GREAT for researching what to sell. If you're interested in signing up, you can find out about their different plans here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Printing International Shipping Labels From Home

Ashlee asked me to talk a little about printing international shipping labels from home. I couldn't write that post until I actually had an international label to print. I got a sale to the UK today, so here you go!

Really, there is almost no reason to ever have to go to the post office. I only ever go if I miss my mail lady in the morning (and even then, I send my husband so I STILL don't have to go :-D )

The first thing I am going to do is go into my Sold Items and click on "I need to ship X items."  Then, I will click on "Print Shipping Label" beside the item I'm ready to ship.

I'll see this screen:

Zoomed in:

Look at the top green circle. I want to make sure I'm choosing the best shipping method, so I'll click on "Compare Shipping Rates"   This is the screen that comes up:

My buyer paid for a Priority flat rate envelope, so that's already selected. First Class International is cheaper, but I can't use that because he paid for Priority. I'll double check and see that regular Priority International is more expensive than the flat rate envelope, so I'll stick with that.

Enter your package dimensions and weight. Mine are pre-filled based on the information I entered when I listed it. I double-checked the weight, and it's actually 15 oz, so I changed that. Next, click on "Save."

It will take you back to the previous screen. Here is the zoomed in version of that screen again:

Next, I'm going to change my printer. My thermal printer is my default printer, but I can't print international labels on that one, so I'll need to change it to my desktop printer. I don't want the postage cost to show up, so I'll make sure that box isn't checked.

Next, I'll click on "Continue to Customs Form" over on the right.

This will open up the customs form. The top half will automatically be filled in based on what you typed on the previous screen, but here is the bottom half:

For description, we don't need to be so specific, so I'll just change that to "men's coat." The Qty, Value, and Weight fields will be automatically filled in. Leave all the (optional) fields blank. The country of origin stays at United States (unless you're shipping from somewhere other than the US, of course). "Type of items in package" will stay Merchandise. This is important. You WILL get international buyers who ask you to mark their items as a gift. This is ILLEGAL. Do not do it!

Lastly, put a checkmark next to the red arrow, showing that you have read the prohibitions and restrictions. You can either click on that link before printing your label, or you can bookmark the International Mail Manual. If you are brand new to shipping internationally, it is really important that you actually double-check these restrictions. You'd be amazed the things that some countries don't allow, so until you get a wide variety of international shipments under your belt, it's a good idea to check them all before shipping.

Once you've checked that box, click on "Pay and Print". This will bring up the Finish Printing Your Label Screen:

Click on View and Print Label, which will create your label and bring up your printer dialogue box.

Go ahead and send your label to your printer. For First Class International or Priority Flat Rate Envelope, one page will print out. For regular Priority, 2 pages will print out. Either way, the customs information will automatically be included on your label, so there's no need to go to the post office to fill out a customs form. I'm shipping in a flat rate envelope, so here's what printed out:

I cut the bottom half off and cut it into scrap paper. Sign and date the top. Then I like to put it into a customs sleeve (if the package is big enough for it) and stick it onto the package. This saves my packaging tape.

Whether you use a sleeve or tape doesn't really matter. Attach it to your package and put it out for your mail carrier! That's it!