Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More From the Inbox

From Barbara:

I love hearing about your sales AND your purchases! Seeing a realistic view of an normal, everyday person like you (versus these professional ebayers who've made a gazillion bucks over the years) making a go of it is really motivating! It's people like you who keep me motivated to want to continue selling on ebay (because it can really be a drag sometimes)! 

 Thank you, Barbara! An overwhelming majority of the comments on my post asking for questions said that they enjoy seeing my sales. I'm so happy to hear that! That's always an easy kind of post at the end of a long, tiring day, when my brain just can't come up with anything else to write about, but I didn't want this blog to be all about me bragging about my sales. Haha.

I don't know if I would call myself "normal," but yes, I am an everyday person who does NOT have a gazillion bucks in her checking account. :-D

Over the summer, I bought a lot of 25 WWE action figures from a woman on my Facebook group. I paid $10 for them, knowing absolutely nothing about them. I researched each individual one and decided that individually, they were basically worthless, so I put them in a lot for $129.99 or best offer. I got several very low offers. I counter-offered on some, I declined others.

 Then a month or so later, I got another 43 of them at a yard sale for $18. I never even took them out of the book - didn't clean them, sort them, research them, look at them - nothing.

The other day, I got a $50 offer on the original 25. I decided I had had them long enough, and the buyer caught me in an exceptionally good mood that day, so I accepted his offer. Any other time, I'd have probably gotten annoyed at a $50 offer on a $130 item, but I needed the money. Before I accepted the offer, I checked out his user ID and discovered that he resells these things individually (for an average of about $10 with free shipping). It just wasn't worth my time to mess with trying to sell them singly, so I decided I was still happy with that price and messaged him:

Good morning! I am going to accept your $50 offer on my 25 piece WWE Action Figure Lot. I have 43 others that I haven't listed yet. If you are interested in them as well, I will sell them to you for the same price of $2 a piece, for a total of $136 + shipping. Please let me know what you think.
 He immediately wrote me back that he was definitely interested, but could he see a picture of the other lot first. I sent him a few pictures and he offered me $65 + shipping on the second set. I gladly took it! No eBay fees, no cleaning, no researching. So on my initial investment of $28, I ended up making $115 + shipping, and I didn't even have to bother listing the second lot!

Lesson: If a buyer is interested in something that you have more of that isn't listed yet, offer it to them! This is NOT against eBay rules. You aren't allowed to discuss completing an eBay sale off-eBay, but my second lot was NOT an eBay listing, so it was perfectly okay. You never know when you might be able to drum up an extra sale.


This post is getting long already, so I'll go to machine-gun-style for these other three items:

Yesterday, I sold the last Miche shell from the very first Miche lot that I bought back in the spring.

Here are the final results from that lot:

This next sale was a real surprise. I cannot remember if I had best offer on it or not. I probably did, but it sold for my full asking price Sunday morning:

  • Acquired: 8/9/12 (road trip)
  • Listed: 8/22/12
  • Sold: 9/23/12
  • Paid: $3.00
  • Sold: $42.99 + shipping

And finally, I have a contact on my Facebook yard sale group who has nearly 30 pairs of Converse that she is gradually weeding out because they aren't supportive enough for her since she had back surgery. I've bought a few pairs from her, and they've all done well. These were my favorites - super-boring shoes, but exciting sale :)

  • Acquired: 7/12/12 (Facebook yard sale group)
  • Listed: 7/22/12
  • Sold: 9/24/12
  • Paid: $8.00
  • Sold: $50.00 + shipping

My next post will be about packaging and shipping, which Ashley wanted to know more about. I might split it up into 2 posts - one about packaging and one about shipping. Logical division, don't you think? :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Listing Process

Kathy wants to know about my listing process. Quite honestly, my process changes quite frequently. I'll tell you what's working really well for me currently:

I currently have 3 bins of unlisted inventory in my storage building, aka The Alcove :)  What I've been doing this week is taking pictures of 20-30 items and leaving those items out there until the pictures are edited and ready to go. This seems to make it a little less overwhelming for me.

I edit the pictures, and then each morning, I go out and choose 5 of those items and bring them into the house and set them at the computer. As I get a chance through the day, I'll sit down and list one or two of them. When those 5 are done, I take them back outside and put them away and choose 5 more. Currently, I am only doing 5 a day, but I will never get my inventory levels up if I stick with that. Next week, I will aim for 7 a day.

Most of what I sell is stuff I know about - stuff I've sold before or have a good idea what I can expect to get out of it. Therefore, I don't need to spend a lot of time researching. Every now and then, though, I find something exciting that I know nothing about! I can get trapped in the research black hole pretty easily. I can spend WAY too much time researching an item I don't know anything about. First, I check eBay completed listings. This will give me a tiny view of the item's potential. Then, I check eBay current listings. This gives me an idea of my competition. Then I check Terapeak.  This gives me a year-long view of my item's potential. For example, if I am listing a Christmas item in October, 2 weeks of completed listings aren't going to give me a good idea of what the item COULD sell for 3 weeks before Christmas, so I will use Terapeak to see how much it sold for during the month or two before Christmas last year.

If I can't find my item on any of these venues, I'll do a quick Google search. This might bring up a Worthpoint result, or a Flickr photo, or any number of other things with information that I need. I try not to get sucked into it, but if it's just not bringing any results up, I can really spend way too much time on it.

Here's another example. I had a Christmas-themed Finland Arabia bowl that I wanted to list in July. I couldn't find anything on eBay, current or completed. I checked Terapeak and it showed one that sold last November for around $65. But because there weren't any currently listed, I suspected I might be able to get a little more for mine, so I Googled it. I found ONE lone photo of the bowl. One. That's it. So that told me it was a very hard to find bowl. I opened that one photo and saw that it was a Flickr photo. There were several comments under the photo from people saying, "Sure would love to get my hands on this one!" or "Wow! Gorgeous bowl! I've never seen this one before!" or .... you get the idea. So clearly, this was a sought after bowl. I listed it for $150 obo and sold it a week or so later for $120! In this case, a little extra research was worth the effort. There's a fine balance.

As far as my actual listing process - it depends on what I am listing. If it's books, they are quick and easy. I can knock out a bunch of book listings in just a few minutes. If it is shoes, I have a listing template I use for those. I just change a few details, pics, and measurements and I'm good. Same thing with clothing.

I used to list through SSB, but I have recently gone back to listing directly through eBay, which really seems to be going a lot faster than when I was using SSB. Whenever possible, I like to use Sell Similar. It really saves a lot of time - no searching for the right category or re-writing my terms. It's all right there to be tweaked a bit.  Also whenever possible, when you choose your 5 items for the day, make them similar items. I had a big stack of tops to list this week. I pulled the 5 men's shirts and did them all at one time. Then I pulled my 5 Ralph Lauren and Gap tops. Then I pulled my 5 white tops. Etc... That way, I'm not having to change my categories and item specifics with every item. A lot of it can stay the same, saving me clicking and typing.

Kathy, I hope I've addressed your questions and given you some helpful tips on how to streamline your listing process!

What Would You Like to Learn About?

I have to admit, I have lost all inspiration for my blog. Yeah, I could keep posting about my sales, but that must get boring after awhile. I want to help you learn. What should I post about? Do you have questions about this business? They don't even have to be business-related. Just questions in general. What's on your mind?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bits 'n' Pieces

It's been busy here. We are back to school (one in private school and THREE being homeschooled this year). We are also back into gymnastics, scouts, horseback riding ... busy busy busy. AND, my favorite reason for being busy right now is because my sales have picked up! Before the abyss that was the summer months, I was averaging around $100 per day. Over the summer, I was way WAY behind that average. The first 2 weeks of September, though, I am spot on that average. Woo hoo! Sales did really drop off the last 3 days, but I haven't been listing either. I plan to get some listing done tonight and steadily over the weekend, but we'll see how that goes. I also have one more bedroom to paint, and right now, that kind of takes priority.

I have narrowly escaped a couple negatives over the last week. One woman wrote me complaining that her Miche shell had a spot on the back. 

Ya don't say....  I responded with a variation of, "Yep, that's what the listing says." She wrote back that she had looked at several listings for this particular shell and didn't remember which one she got. <eyeroll>  She's not returning it. She had gotten 3 from me in that order and left me positive feedback on the other 2, no feedback on this one.

Then I sold a set of hot rollers for $34.99 + shipping. I always test all of my hot rollers, and this set was no exception. The buyer wrote me thanking me for quick and careful packaging. She said that yes, they heat up, but they smell like smoke when she heats them. I am pretty sensitive to the smell of smoke, so I absolutely would have noticed that, but whatever. She was very VERY nice about it, and told me she wasn't looking to return or get money out of me, but just wanted to let me know. I sent her a $10 refund, basically just to ensure that she didn't neg me. She left me a very glowing positive, so that worked out.

And I have a pair of shoes supposedly on their way back to me, but I haven't gotten them yet. It was just 4 days ago, so they may turn up yet. I'm bummed about that, because it was a $40 sale :(   That's why I include measurements in my listings. Ugh.

A few sales highlights from the last couple weeks:

Honestly, I don't even know what this is, but my husband dug it out from the basement, wiped the crud off, shook the bug carcasses out of the box, and asked me to try to sell it. I think he got it at our local hardware store quite a few years ago and ended up never using it.
  • Acquired: ???
  • Listed: 7/27/12
  • Sold: 9/9/12
  • Paid: $10
  • Sold for: $19.99 + shipping

 More Converse. I heart Converse. These are going to the UK.
  • Acquired: 6/8/12 (Facebook yard sale group)
  • Listed: 6/14/12
  • Sold: 9/13/12
  • Paid: $5
  • Sold for: $30 + international shipping

This is the second lot of Goosebumps books I've sold in the last couple months, so definitely watch for them. They sell for around $1 a book in large lots like this, so I pay no more than 50 cents, but obviously I prefer to get them for a quarter. I had someone kindly offer me $7, "and I'll even pay the shipping."  haha. Um, no thanks. They sold for full price less than a week later.
  • Acquired: over the summer, a few at a time
  • Listed:  7/3/12
  • Sold: 9/5/12
  • Paid: 25 cents each for most of them
  • Sold for: $39.99 + shipping

I sold this thing twice. First deadbeat person didn't pay. I got 4 of these from my Facebook Yard Sale group, for $8 each. The first one I sold went for $39.99, so the other three are all straight profit.
  • Acquired: 5/1/12 (Facebook Yard Sale group)
  • Listed: 5/4/12 (relisted 8/20 after UPI)
  • Sold: 9/4/12
  • Paid: $8
  • Sold For: $50 + shipping

I got this TI-83 at my favorite thrift store out east when I road trip to my sister-in-law's. It's huge, and almost nothing is priced. Nothing is organized. There are piles and bags and bins, and you just have to dig. I could easily spend an entire day there, but I try to limit myself to 2 hours. This didn't have the instruction manual or cover. I asked the guy how much it was. He said, "Oh, that's the TI-83. It's a really good one!" So I'm thinking he's gonna overprice it, but he said, "How about 2 bucks?" Psshaw, seriously? Ok! Did I mention that is my favorite thrift store??  I had it listed for $89.99obo. When I got an offer for $50.99, I took it. Normally I would scoff at a $50 offer on a $90 item, but because the back-to-school season is over, I figured I'd better take it now, rather than waiting until January to maybe get $60.
  • Acquired: 8/7/12 (road trip)
  • Listed: 8/12/12
  • Sold: 9/11/12
  • Paid: $2
  • Sold: $50.99 + shipping

These are Birkenstocks. They are in like-new condition. I have sold Birks before, but they usually sit for awhile. I was going to just price these for around $40, but for some reason I decided to research them first. If you find these in good condition, scoop them up! They are called ANNAPOLIS. They are currently available on Amazon for almost $200! Mine, I am pretty sure, were never even worn, so I listed them high for the first month, just to get an idea of interest. I was planning to lower them the second month, but they sold during the first month for my full asking price. It's amazing how many times that happened this past month, mostly with shoes.
  • Acquired: 8/8/12 (road trip)
  • Listed: 8/27/12
  • Sold: 9/8/12
  • Paid: $4.97
  • Sold For: $69.99 + shipping

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Grand Tour!

Okay! Here it is! The grand tour of my new storage building!

When I first walk in the door, there are 2 storage areas that would not be approved of by certain government agencies, so I have chosen not to show them here.  :-D

After those forbidden areas, we come to the hanging clothes. These racks were generously (and quite randomly!) given to me by my dear friend Lesley last summer. She saved our yard sale, just in the nick of time!

Believe it or not, these clothes are somewhat sorted. I'll be getting size rounders in the next couple weeks, so they'll be sorted more thoroughly then, but for now, this is good enough. Once I get caught up on my listing, I will get back to digging through the clothing racks at Goodwill, so I will need a better sorting system then anyway.
Hanging clothes

After the hanging clothes comes this mess. Everything you see here is unlisted inventory (except the saw - the baseboard trim isn't quite finished yet, so the saw has to stay until it's done). Top priority over the next 2 weeks will be to get those K'Nex pieces sorted and counted, and place an order for replacement pieces. I want to have them listed by October for the Christmas shopping season. There are some BIG bucks in those boxes.

Unlisted Inventory
Next we have my glorious workspace. For 3 years, I have been working with a 3 foot by 1 foot work surface. This huge built-in workbench is divine!

12' x 4' workbench
Next up is the shipping supplies rack. I don't totally love this, so I'm sure I'll be fine-tuning it over the next couple weeks. My main complaint is the stack of boxes that hold my mailers. And really, my problem is that they are out of order. lol. That's a pretty easy fix, if I ever remember to do it. Since I took this photo this morning, the large bag of packing peanuts has been  moved to the loft. The blue bins at the bottom right of this photo will go up in the loft too, but it still has a few building supplies and extra insulation up there. Once that stuff is gone, the rest of this stuff will go up there.

Shipping supply center
This shelf is kind of bare. I see that I need to focus on toys during my next couple inventory trips. The Febreze doesn't belong there, nor does the Miche shell that is on the toy shelf. The top left box is completely full of Miche shells. The horizontal boxes in the center hold wall hangings. The next box is a huge set of books that is currently listed.

Second shelf: large Miche shells that don't fit in the box above, shoe creams/etc, a vintage hair dryer with WWE action figures on top of it (obviously, because who doesn't store their WWE action figures on top of their vintage hair dryer?); and a small pile of clothing that is listed but needs small repairs before I can ship (a missing button and an original tag that is just safety pinned on that I need to retag - both repairs will only take a few seconds, so I really ought to just get them done...)

Third shelf: toys, a random bottle of Febreze, and a rogue Miche shell.

Fourth shelf: 2 stacks of books that I have listed on Paperback Swap, and a box of odds and ends that need more parts before I can list them (ex: a lone Pyrex lid, a set of Mario NES games that's missing one game, one set of Scrabble tiles, ... you get the idea...)

Fifth shelf: 3 giant boxes full of Babysitters Club books. It's a sickness.

Sorry about this horrid photo. Morning sun ...

Top shelf: games, more WWE action figures (Hulk Hogan in the original box! lol), and a Mega Bloks set that I have sold several of for very good money - patiently waiting for Christmas.

Second shelf: random odds and ends

Third shelf: my glasswares and pretty shiny things

Fourth shelf: two stacks of turntables and 4 or 5 stacks of books that are currently listed on eBay

Fifth shelf: a couple odds and ends, and a whole lotta books that are sets that I am working on.

Bottom shelf:  empty! whatEVER will I do with that? Shop to fill it up, perhaps?

The loft:

And this ... this lovely lady is my eBay homegirl. That hat was in our welcome packets at eBay on Location last week. I was wearing it this evening, just because I was too lazy to put it away. I found myself in my building with it on and knew she would be the perfect place to keep my hat. She shoots daggers at me while I'm working, but she makes me smile anyway :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

eBay on Location!

Well! Just as I suspected, Tina, Lesley, and I had an absolute ball at eBay on Location this week. It was a whirlwind and entirely too short, but we had a great time. Oh yeah ... we learned some stuff too. :)  I'll talk about that stuff later.

Here we are at the Seller Celebration dinner. It was so loud and chaotic! I missed most of the conversation that night. Delicious dinner though! 


When we discovered the elite Top Rated Sellers Only Lounge, we felt very special. So special, in fact, that I forgot all about good posture....

We had a little time to spare after the conference on Thursday, so we strolled through downtown Philly for a minute or two until we got scared and ran and hid in Burlington Coat Factory. But we managed to catch some fabulous city sights first ...... 

In some other, most excellent news! I am officially moved into my new building! I have been working out of it for 3 days. There are still just a couple minor things that need done, but my part is complete. The window and door trim need installed, and one piece of baseboard trim needs installed, and 2 more lights. But it is completely set up the way I want it. I've been doing all my packaging there, and mostly just standing and smiling at it.

It's late, so I don't have pictures, but I'll try to remember to get some this week.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

eBay on Location Day 1

We are here! Tonight was the seller celebration dinner. We had a grand time and it wasn't even the actual conference! I am so excited to discover the new things we will be learning tomorrow during the actual sessions!

So fun to discuss eBay with people who enjoy talking about it, rather than the eye rolls we get from non-eBay sellers who get tired of hearing about it yet again. Ha!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Very Excited x 2 !

I know I've been a dud blogger lately, and for that I apologize. I have been very very busy. Today has been crazy. I am exhausted to the bone.

I don't have any pictures yet, but today was finally moving day! My mom came over and we spent 8 hours today moving about 75% of my eBay inventory from the house to my new building! I am absolutely in love with it! We have a fair amount of work to do yet, which we will do Friday afternoon/evening. But it's easy stuff. I have one wall of shoes to move, several bins of unlisted inventory, a couple small boxes of books, and all my broken down shipping boxes. We should be able to knock that out in 2 hours. Then we'll get straight to work on getting that bedroom cleaned up so I can paint it Saturday and get my daughter moved into it next weekend. Finally! My own workspace (outside of the house)! And her own room!

And the reason we can't finish that job until Friday:

I am VERY excited about this! There are some sessions that I am really looking forward to. And I'll be there with Tina and Lesley, which is triply exciting! Tina is already in transit. I'll pick her up at the bus station tomorrow morning and we'll head out to Lesley's for the next couple of days. Woo hoo!

So if you're also going to be at the Philadelphia eBay on Location tomorrow and Thursday, email me (link is at the top of this blog) and we'll try to meet up!

I'll report back this weekend!