Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sourcing Experiment What?

Okay, so experiments are about learning, and sometimes they fail. This one sure did. There were way to many barriers to me getting to the Goodwill Outlet this week. So instead I sourced at Best Thrift (because I had a $10 off coupon), and Second Chance Thrift (where I earned a $20 coupon).

I think if I lived closer to the GWO it would be totally possible to source entirely from there. Have you seen Maxine the Full Time Ebay Seller's blog? She makes great money and does all her sourcing from the GWO.

Maybe in the future I'll revisit this experiment... but for now I'm busy with my eBay plan...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Difficult Buyer

**Mugs and other small breakables may be shipped in a priority flat rate envelope, after being wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard, if you prefer another method please message me for a revised invoice before paying**

This is part of what I paste into every listing. It costs $11 to send a mug from Virginia to California. I'd much rather use the flat rate envelope method, but I do understand that it's been a problem for some people, which I why I put it in my listing. I've never had a mug arrive broken, and I've always shipped in a box when asked by the buyer to do so.

I made a mistake when listings three identical mugs this past summer. I listed two together, and then used the "sell similar" button for the listing of the single mug. Today someone bought the mug (the single mug pictured) but the listing said "pair of two"

When I realized my mistake I messaged the buyer. To be honest I find most eBay buyers to be understanding (also they usually just look at the pictures so I was assuming she saw the one mug pictured) so I quickly sent off this note:

Hi I just saw that there is a mistake in this listing and that it says that there is a pair of mugs. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that it was only one pictured. I do have another listing with the two mugs but the price plus shipping will be higher. If I don't hear from you I'll assume the one mug is fine and I will ship it out tomorrow thank you.

While waiting for a response I saw that she left me positive feedback... oops her mistake.

THEN this was her response:

I did think I was purchasing 2 since it did advertise that it was for a pair, that's why I jumped at the chance to get them at the price listed. If it was only for one then I'm a little disappointed since it was advertising a pair at that low price. I don't feel I should have to pay more since the items for sale said a pair of 2 at $8.49. I don't know what to say about this situation. I'd accept a compromise of 1 mug but I want it shipped in a small box, not an envelope. Every mug I've ordered has been sent bubble wrapped in a small priority mail box and has arrived in perfect condition. I don't want it shipped in an envelope...that's only likely to arrive broken. And I won't pay more for the box that's my compromise if it's not sent as I requested I will file for false advertising and demand a refund and keep the one mug sent, since you advertisedon't it as selling a pair of 2.

I quickly refunded her, blocked her, and messaged her:

I've issued you a full refund via paypal. I'm sorry we could not complete this transaction. Thank you.

What do you think? What about her wording? If she had left negative would I have had a case to get her feedback removed, even with my mistake? If she hadn't accidentally left positive I would have been left kissing her butt, eating the cost of the mug, plus shipping to California. Yikes!

The Next Step

We're in that time of year where our warm weather, and cold weather clothes are out at the same time, laundry is piling up, every time I walk into my kitchen I trip over soccer gear, a 25 pound bag of flour and six bottles of corn syrup (a challenge to myself to make our gingerbread houses this year). Suddenly eBay crap is everywhere. I'm feeling overwhelmed by stuff. This after your many kind comments on how organized everything is.

I never dreamed of success. I worked for it. 
Estee Lauder

I've been considering what my next step with eBay will be for awhile. As you saw last week, my storage is pretty much full. I'm at an impasse with eBay. I can stay where I am hovering at 400ish listings, and only source 20 things a week to replace those I sell, or I can take the next step. I'm choosing the next step. I gotta get this inventory outta my house.

I need a space. My space, where I can go and eBay the hell out of all this crap.

So here I am, a lady with a plan. A plan to meet some big goals. A plan involving a lot of hard work, a space, and eBay.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 10/16

I made $475 this week. I'm very happy with that number. $97 of that was flatware. I think people are filling out their sets for Thanksgiving. I also had one big sale that really boosted my total. It was a pair of my own boots. They were special to me because they were a birthday gift the year I got married, and I actually got married in them. I never wanted to sell them, but I was one of those people who's feet grew during pregnancy, so it was a real bummer but these boots just did not fit anymore. 

Corral Vintage goatskin leather with lizard inlay boots
Sold within two weeks for $165
This is a good example of not undercutting yourself on price. 
Ask what you know they are worth!

I've consistently sold mugs and flatware the past two weeks. 
Fall means cool weather, and family meals.

I sold these Reed and Barton teaspoons for a best offer of $27
Yes, $27 dollars for five spoons!! Ahhh I LOVE selling flatware.

I'd had this Strawberry Shortcake mug listed for a long time, I paid $.45. It sold on sale for $21.24

NWT Paradise Found Men's 4XL Hawaiian Music Shirt
I can imagine a cool blues musician wearing this shirt.
I always pick up 4XL shirts in good condition, and they always sell.
Paid less than $4, Sold $39.99 a week later

IBM Selectric Typewriter Manual and six typing balls
I bought an IBM Selectric months ago, it came with these typing balls and the manual. I paid $11 for it as CHKD. I was SO excited about it. I was going to keep it for myself, but it worked for literally two minutes. Long enough to plug it in and get excited. Sigh. They sell broken for $50 bucks, and working for over $200. I re-donated the broken typewriter, but kept and sold this lot to salvage the $11
Sold $45

So that sums up my sales this week. I did not stop at the yard sales Saturday, although there were MANY. It was difficult. But I'm trying to balance my time and sticking with my plan for the next two weeks. I'd love to hear how your week was!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sourcing Experiment Week One

So my goal was to shop the Goodwill Outlet one day a week for the next three weeks, and see if it was sustainable, vs going to many different thrift stores throughout the week.

I drove to the "other" outlet yesterday, and it was just a regular Goodwill! Bummer!!! The day before, I'd heard about a new-this-year thrift store in Norfolk. I left and made the decision that I would source there for this week of the experiment. I got some really good deals, in fact it was like the thrifting Gods had diverted me from my experiment on purpose.

I immediately liked the place. The price tags were actually barcoded tags and stickers, unlike most stores around here who use grease pencil, or sticker gun stickers. The best thing is they have eliminated the need for their workers to go markdown the price of every item manually every week. How clever is this:
Hopefully the other thrifts around here catch on!
So since I went on the 21st I got this for $.99

 Here are some of my exciting finds:

Sears Sports Vintage Coat Paid $2
Check out that awesome "SR" Zipper Pull!

Vintage 1980's VALENTINO Miss V Silk Skirt
I was on my way to the checkout and saw this beautiful skirt. 
I did a double take when I saw the tag.
Paid $4

This is one of two Tommy Bahama shirts I picked up.
This one is Limited Edition/Modern Fit
Paid $2

Retroneu Flatware
I have three lots of this pattern listed now. The dinner forks are selling for $19! The spoons will still make me a good profit but not as good as those forks. Paid $10 for about 50 pcs.

Week One Roundup
Spent: $73
Sold: Haven't sold any of the items yet

So, no more sourcing until next week! Eek. Will I be able to resist the yards sales on the way to soccer on Saturday?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 10/19/14

I made just under $300 this week. A solid Sunday and Monday and then very slow the rest of the week with just some smaller sales.

The buyer never paid for the serger last week, grrrr, and after a couple messages back and fourth I opened an UPI case. Sometimes they are very honest, "I need to wait til payday" I have no problem with this, but other times people are just wacky. Anyway, I'll relist it next week.

Here's some of my sales from this week as always shipping is not included unless I indicate F/S.

This jacket sold twice this week - the sizing looked off when I went to ship it the first time and I realized it was a large not an extra large. The buyer was very nice about my mistake. It sold again as a large a few days later. 
Military Issue BDU (I recommend putting "paintball, hunting" in the title of these)
Paid $2.50 Sold $20

Took a best offer of $15 on this crocheted Granny poncho shawl'
Paid $2

Lillian Vernon Christmas mug set
Paid $1.50, Sold $16

I paid $10 for this lot at a yard sale. I love the show, and although it was a little more than I wanted to pay, I knew they would sell as the new season just started.
Sold $30 

Lastly, this White Stag skort sold after being listed for about a week. It had several watchers. Someone on their blog (Who are you? Sorry I can't remember), mentioned White Stag a while back, which is why I picked up this Wal-Mart brand. 

I paid $2, sold for $14.50

Here is the ad that was coming up under my listing

Joke's on you Wal-Mart.

I know some of you have mentioned a slower week too. Hopefully things pick up again this week. I hit up a few yard sales today, my sourcing experiment starts tomorrow where I will only be buying from the Goodwill Outlet for three weeks. Stay tuned for updates on that!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sourcing Experiment

I'm going to do a sourcing experiment over the next three weeks and see if its a sustainable model for me. There are two Goodwill outlets within a 40 minute drive from my house. My plan is to thrift only one day a week for the next three weeks at these two stores (rotating each week). Then list the items I buy that day over the following two days. So essentially I will work three days a week, (except for shipping).

The idea is that sourcing this way will help streamline my eBay business.
-It will cut down on my Costs of Goods Sold dramatically as these outlet stores are very cheap.
-It will keep me on a schedule (right now my sourcing is very haphazard).
-Even though they are both 20 miles away, I think I will actually save gas by having one sourcing stop, and not driving around to a million yard sales and different stores.
-This will force me to diversify. If I challenge myself to source one day a week from one location I will need to learn about new brands and popular vintage items.

Today I went to the Goodwill Outlet in Hampton again. This trip encouraged me that it could be possible to sustain my business long term through only shopping at the GWO. I had some good finds.

I FINALLY found a LPS toy that wasn't a happy meal toy. It's selling for about $7. Since you pay by the pound at the GWO I probably paid $.03 for this:
So Flippin' Cute

I was specifically looking for plaid and wool as they are both trending right how. I came across this adorable GAP Kids wool tweed and plaid vest. 
Lil' Hipster

So that's the plan. The funny thing is I went to the one outlet today, and I'm trying to convince myself its necessary to go to the other store tomorrow just to get the lay of the land before I start my experiment. Haha, that stinks of thrift store withdrawl... which I honestly think will be the biggest challenge from this whole experiment. Only thrift shopping once a week! Could you do it?

On a side note did you know Goodwill has it's own auction site? Whaaat? Holy cow check out some of those listings! Who donates diamonds to the Goodwill?!?

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Storage Solution

I mentioned yesterday that I was planning on sharing my eBay storage area. I've really enjoyed seeing other blogger's storage areas. If you've written a similar post please link to it in the comments!

The life of one of my resale items starts out here in the corner of the spare room in my home. I love those handy Thirty-One utility totes for this job, I can bring days worth of thrifts upstairs in one or two. I got the flip-flop pattern one pictured here on eBay. (If it is something that needs washed in the machine it goes there first). 

This is where I clean and photograph it my items:

eBay Corner

Cleaning supplies. Wipes a plenty (baby and Lysol). 
Rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, scissors, Ziplocs, pens, Post-its

(Sometimes I use post-its to write measurements or the name of a flatware pattern on for reference while listing later. I just take a picture of it with the item. Then for flatware the post-it goes in the Ziploc with the forks and spoons.)

The red tote is filled with Playmobil I got at a yard sale two weekends ago for $15 (including the tote)!! Some of it that I listed quickly has already sold. The totes stay there til I list all the stuff. Sometimes this takes days, sometimes it takes weeks.

The windowsill becomes a catch all for things I want to keep for myself, or donate,  and things that need a little repair or extra cleaning in the sink.

Here's Elmo ready for his photo shoot.

I keep this 18in ruler handy - it ends up in many of my photos. It helps so I don't have to always put the measurements in the listing. People can see for themselves.
The tailors tape is for fabric, and clothing.

Great natural light. Just an ironing board and a poster sized piece of paper

From there it's into storage!

Looks like a normal closet...

but no!... It's a strange combo of not an office/closet. It has a phone jack, and an AC vent, but is really not big enough to actually be an office.

That's it! That's my tiny storage space. So, needless to say that closet has to be VERY organized or new inventory will not fit. I also am limited in the size of the items I can sell. I have TONS of mugs listed, and I like to sell fabric, Playmobil and flatware too.

Here's how much space a few hundred dollars of flatware inventory takes up...

In the morning I check my phone and hope that some things sold overnight. I go to the closet with my phone and find all the items... then I bring them downstairs to pack. Under the stairs is my packing supply storage. Hopefully at this point I'm not in Mom mode yet and have 30 mins of alone time to get items packed.

But I'm never really alone!

Loki boy. 

This closet is under the stairs and also houses Christmas decorations. It doesn't look organized, but it is. Packing material is just inherently messy looking. 

Once an item is packed, weighed, and labeled, it goes out under the mailbox for the mail person.

So there you have it! The life of one of my resale items. I've considered getting a storage locker so I can resell larger items, but right now I'm sticking with the eBay closet. Last week I bought ten unfinished duck decoys, and they are all in the garage in a large tote.  I do have the potential to store a couple more bins in the garage if it becomes necessary. 

Hopefully by sharing this anyone thinking they don't have the space for an eBay business will see that you don't need a ton of space to make it profitable. I have over 400 items listed and made over $500 last week, using two closets and a corner of my home.

Hope you're all enjoying a day off!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Consider Selling

I've talked about baby food, and spice jars for resale before, here are some other things that you might want to consider...

I've sold a couple manuals for about $5 dollars. I get that it takes just as much time to list a $30 item as it does a $5 one. But for me space is a huge issue, and these manuals take up hardly any space. Plus if you have them, its better than throwing them out. People need and want these things!

One of my college roommates is now a first grade teacher, she asked us to save all our bottle caps for projects in her classroom.

While you're scrolling through the plastic caps check out the sale of that empty Surge soda bottle! What the eBay!?!

To be honest I don't get this, math is not my forte but it seems like you'd have to spend $5000 to recoup what you spent on the coupons? If you do, please explain!
(There are limits to coupon selling so check the seller standards.)

Many of these are for vintage cars.. probably hard to come by, but you never know!
I feel like you could find the fan decks every once in awhile at Estate Sales - check the garage closely

Again, possibly estate sales, but these pile up quickly enough.

If you can afford Patron to begin with.. or maybe some dumpster diving on recycling day?
I wonder what bars do with their empties?

These vintage books bring big bucks, so BOLO.

Okay that's enough for today, the sun is coming out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Can You Explain This?

I'm so confused, this has happened to me several times lately. What is the deal? What am I missing?
If you can explain it please do!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 10/5/14

This was my best week in awhile I made over $300 which is very good for me. I had an average of 380 listings this week too. My avg sale price was $26/item. I don't know if it is fourth quarter sales, or just the fact that I listed over 80 new items recently.

I'm still working with cell phone pics while listing as I'm trying to get a good deal on a new-to-me camera.

While my number of sales was low, each item had a higher sale price. Fewer cha-chings, but more $$$. That's fine with me! 

Here are some of my sales this week:

Men's reversible 4XL Oscar the Grouch Sweatshirt Paid $6 Sold about $37

Paid $3 sold $39.50
I bought this percolator and and another with two extra cords on an online estate auction through Proxibid. These come up around here every once in awhile. You bid, pay and go pick up the stuff, super simple and usually much cheaper than an estate sale. It's also where I bought the serger and silver plate I mentioned last week. It sold at 6:45am on Friday, to a fellow east coast resident. I imagine the buyer's regular pot broke that morning so he quickly logged on and bought a new one. This is a very nice percolator by Sunbeam.

My best sale of the week came from my personal account. 
I listed this when I first started seriously selling, it's been sitting all summer obviously.
I took an offer of $75 for this Spyder brand youth jacket. 
It's a nice high end ski jacket brand. I paid $4 at an estate sale back in April or May. 

I sold some more of the oil paints from the lot I bought a while back
Lot of 12 - Sold $49 So far I've made $109 on my $24 investment - I'll take it! I still have some others listed. 

This weekend has been quiet on eBay. We'll see what today brings! How was your week? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Money

A few days late!

# of Sales

Amount I spent on the items sold

Avg Cost of thrifted item

Amount of Sales

Avg Sale Price

Highest sold item
Bodum Coffee Maker ($102)

Lowest Sold Item
Playmobil crow on perch ($3.99)

Last Month's Goal
LIST LIST LIST! I went from just under 300 listings to 380 as of this post! I'm happy with that for sure.

October Goal
Continue to list!
Continue to up that avg selling price! I'm very happy with being at almost $20/item this month, I'd love to hit over $20 for Oct.

Some of September's highlights:

Japanese Ink Drawing on Rice Paper
Sold $35
I bought this at an antiques fair in Tokyo three years ago. 
I intended on framing it (I bought some others and did frame them) so decided to sell it for someone else to enjoy and hopefully display

Panasonic Voice Activated System small tape recorder microcasette
For Parts or Repair
Sold through GSP $14.99 Paid $2ish

Webkinz figurines for cake toppers
Paid $1 sold for $10
I have had these listed for a couple months at least. I was happy to see them go.

How was September overall for you?


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Broken Camera

I'm selling my broken camera for parts. It is a Canon PowerShot G12. Repair is close to $200 and I can buy a used one on ebay for $200-300, less if I'm lucky in an auction.

I have is listed for $99 F/S

Within an hour or so of listing I got this message from an eager buyer:

Hi there. Just wanted to follow-up on this broken camera. Typically these don't sell broken for anywhere near this. I understand it also has no accessories. If you'd like to do a deal today, I can go $50.00 for this... let me know, it's a very fair price for it broken with no accessories either. I also love leaving Perfect Feedback with 5 Stars across the board too. Let me know, thanks :-)

The buyer has over 1000 feedback (no sales) so it's obviously a buying ID. I was pretty offended because although I've been selling less than a year, I ain't no dummy!

"I love leaving perfect feedback" Barf! It's like a cheesy pick up line.

I wrote back and said I respectfully decline as I'd done my research and my asking price was perfectly reasonable..

Sold Listings for BROKEN G12 highest to lowest

How do you deal with folks like this?