Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/30/14

I sincerely hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and many things to be thankful for. We were traveling, and I delayed my handling time in my eBay store. I only sold 15 things this week for a total of $305. That's an average of $20/item. I attribute the low sales to not having listed at all in a week, and for the delayed handling time.

I didn't have any huge sales, just small steady ones. I had my entire store 10% off this week as well.

I took a best offer of $28 on these Longaberger plates. I think I paid $4.

I took a best offer of $19.99 on this vintage over shoulder dangle brooch. 
I paid $2 at Best Thrift

I sold this vintage 1995 complete Jumanji board game for $31
Paid $2 at Family Thrift - I took a small risk with this game because I wasn't sure it was complete, but I figured I could make my money back parting the pieces out if not. Luckily it was complete and sold within a week of being listed.

These glasses sold for $15. I paid less than $2 at DAV
I mention them because they had 12+ watchers and had been listed for a couple months, and because last week I sold these:

Bought at the same day at the DAV for less than $2 sold for $15.
Not a huge profit. I will probably steer clear of glasses in the future unless they are really cool like my first great eBay find.

I have a listing promo this week, and seeing as I thrifted on black friday I have a bunch of cool items to list! Let me know how your week was in the comments! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/23/14

This was a good week of steady sales. I made about $670 on 23 sales, about $29/sale so I am happy with that. I sold quite a bit of flatware - $95 on 20 pieces or $4.75/utensil. I think people are trying to fill out their sets for the holidays, but I haven't been selling flatware for a whole year, so I can't say for sure. Someone did message me explaining they needed the flatware because when she got divorced her husband literally took half of everything including the flatware. Geesh.

JA Henckels Classico teaspoons
Paid less than $2 Sold for $29.99

It took a solid 15 minutes of research to figure out this toy. 
It is Rancor from Star Wars, I am not going to pretend I know or understand anything else about this guy. He sold for $18.99 to a buyer in Canada. I got him in a big lot of Star Wars toys and Lego. I paid $4 for the lot and kept most of it for the kids.

This cap sold for $15.99 to a buyer in Hong Kong. I paid $2ish.
It's not a huge sale, but I'm mentioning it because it sold through GSP - there were maybe ten of the same hat listed at the same time for less money, but I charged more for min                           e because I was the only one that listed it using the words Commanding Officer - which is what the yellow on the brim indicates.

I had two yards of this true vintage 1995 Power Rangers fabric and they both sold this week for a total of $28. I paid $2 at DAV

I did lots of listing this week, and my store now has over 500 items in it. I called eBay this week to get my selling limit raised. It was 650, now it is 1300. I got through to them on the phone quickly (5 min wait), and they raised the limit no problem. She just asked me if I drop ship - simple as that. I'm going to extend my shipping time when we go out of town this week for Thanksgiving. I will ship anything that sells after Tuesday on the following Monday. I also did lots of thrifting this week. My favorite find was this basket. 

How have your sales been this week? Any great thrift finds? 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Office Space

Here is the promised tour of the office area. I showed you my shipping station last week, but here is the whole place. I worked a few hours this morning because I had to pack a bunch of things, so I took some time without the kids and got quite a bit done. This is the cleanest it has been so I decided to go ahead a take a picture:)

I found that plaid suit hanging on the wall this morning at Second Chance thrift. It's 100% Scottish wool. We'll see what the return is on it! I'm hoping for at least $100.

I'm cheering up the office area by hanging the artwork I have listed.

I got the large metal shelves on Craigslist. An attorney's office here in VA Beach is going paperless, and had 40 of these things to sell! That's a ton of paper. They are meant to hold quite a bit of weight. they are HON brand, so I really got a deal paying $150 for 5 of them! I bought the little wooden dresser at a yard sale - it is the flatware dresser.

I have poly mailers etc on these right behind the shipping station.

Back of the storage area. I have tons of space to expand. I bought the clothes rack from someone on Craiglist also. I paid $60. It's really heavy duty. I paid $1 at a yard sale for that shell plant hanger. Some are going for $50.

So that's it. You may have noticed I don't have my computer/label printer there. I'm not totally moved in yet, and for now I'm just printing them at home still which is no biggie. Hope you're having a great weekend, and hearing cha-ching cha-ching.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What the eBay?!? 11/20/14

It's been awhile since I posted a What the eBay post.. I was waiting for something really good. Well here it is:

Clash of Clans is a video game app/an online multiplayer game.
These listings are SOLD.

Or instead of a paper clip, just sell your device with the game on it:

There are no words. What do you think?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/16/14 Curtis Stone, eBay Love, and My Husband the Scavenger

Happy Sunday. It was a fairly slow week on the eBay front. I made just over $400. I'm not sure what accounted for the slowness.. maybe the midweek holiday? It's fairly disappointing but I can manage the ebb and flow that seems to characterize eBay. I did a TON of listing though. I listed maybe 40 new items.

My best sale of the week was this Noah's Ark Fisher Price Little People set:
Sold $45 in one day. Paid $5 at a yard sale

Two NOS packs of spun glass "Angel Hair"
Sold $18.50 Paid $.75 each at Thrift Store City on E. Little Creek in Norfolk

Six vintage Pyrex "Drink Ups" Avacado green
Sold $21 Paid $1.80 at an estate sale, I still have 4 left

All the money I'm making right now is going towards overhead and new inventory. I'm putting everything back into the business and not taking any cut until I have my listings to a number I feel comfortable at. Right now I'm not sure what that number is.. maybe 750. With getting the office, supplies, mileage, and COGS, I'm pretty much back at zero for the year. My first sale was in February and so I've been really only selling for 10 months, and seriously for less than 8. In that time I've learned so much, and am learning more everyday. I feel like I've worked out most the kinks and feel confident that I can start making real money once I up my inventory. I buy fewer "duds" these days, and have a much better eye for what is actually trash and what is someone else's treasure. It's as though all my eBaying up to this point was like my education and now I'm ready to hang with the big boys.

I'll continue to keep track of my numbers on the blog so I can be honest with myself about what I am making. I want my business to get to the point that I am contributing the equivalent of a starting salary to my family. In the past 8 months eBay has really improved my confidence and helped me with my anxiety (Here's an amazing blog For Mom's With Depression and Anxiety). On top of everything, I really love the thrill of the hunt. In short: eBay is awesome.

My husband was a huge help this week and set up my shipping station for me. He put up shelves and hooks for me. He made the table with a table top he scavenged from the trash next to a dumpster. He also scavenged the hooks and shelving brackets from a trash pile in our neighborhood. 

While setting up my office I've thought a lot about people who open businesses and buy all new stuff and then start off thousands of dollars in debt. I heard an interview with Curtis Stone (on one of my favorite podcasts KCRW's Good Food) where is talks about his restaurant in LA, Maude. The food there is served on vintage dinnerware. On top of it being totally en vogue of him, it's really cool that he is reusing and recycling. 

Noah's Ark getting ready to be packed

I have a shelf behind it with poly mailers, padded flat rate envelopes, and more. I will take you on a tour of the office soon! 

I hope that you had a great week. I'd love to hear from you in the comments. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Ship on eBay Using USPS

The Basics: Shipping

When discussing reselling with friends, family and acquaintances, fear of shipping is the number one barrier people site for not wanting to sell on eBay. Recently my cousin and a friend both asked me “How do you ship on eBay?” So I thought I’d address it here. When I first started selling on eBay I had a huge learning curve when it came to shipping. I lost some money and wasted too much time at the post office. Hopefully this will help out a few folks who aren't clear on the shipping process.

The USPS is the way to go when it comes to shipping on eBay. They have some sort of contract with each other and you get a shipping discount. You print your labels right off the eBay site and pay via Paypal. It’s the most streamlined thing on eBay’s entire website. This post will focus on the USPS for this reason. If shipping large or oversized items you can work directly with Fed Ex or UPS, but for your basics, USPS is the best. 

Did you know the USPS hasn’t received federal tax dollars since the 1980’s? So, when your mail man forgets your house, don’t yell at him “my tax dollars pay your salary!” Because they don’t, and he will hate you.

First, it’s important to understand how the mail works. By knowing your options you can keep costs down for yourself and for buyers. 

An Overview of Commonly Used USPS Shipping Options 

First Class Mail 
Takes less than a week
The majority of mail is first class. Anything under 13 oz can go first class mail (envelopes, boxes, poly-bags, bouncy balls

Priority Mail 
Takes less than 4 days
Anything over 13oz up to 70lbs can go Priority 

Parcel (Sometimes called “Standard Post”)
Takes less than 9 days
A good option for very heavy items that don’t fit in a Priority flat rate box

Media Mail
Takes less than 9 days
Books and educational material ONLY (No Magazines)

Here is a link to all the USPS domestic services 

So, what do you do with this information? Take it to the listing!

Shipping needs to be set up correctly in your listing so that you don’t end up eating your profits. Before you list your item weigh it with the packaging (eventually you may get good enough to “eyeball” this, but taking the time now will pay off. It’s the eBayers equivalent of “measure twice cut once.”)

A $10 kitchen scale is all you need. If you don’t have one, you can always go to the post office but this is much easier. My scale goes to 80 lbs, but before that I had a 11 lb max kitchen scale that worked well.

So when filling out your listing click on “charge actual cost”The other option is to charge the same amount for all buyers. I don’t recommend this for beginners, especially if like me you live on one coast, because shipping to California is very expensive and easy to underestimate. Then fill out the weight. It is unnecessary to fill out the dimensions unless you feel your box is oversized (over 130” in combined length and girth).

There are other options for other services and local pick up - they are beyond the scope of this post.

Do not offer free shipping unless you are confident in the price of your item. I do not recommend it for those new to the process. This is my opinion for the same reason I think you should weigh your items, it will save you money in the end. For example, it costs me about $6 to send a mug to North Carolina. It costs $11 dollars to send it to California. This is due to my location (in Virginia). If I sold said mug for $20 with Free Shipping I’d make $14 or $9 dollars. A $5 difference is too much for me. If you live in the middle states it’s probably going to be pretty standard. I’ve obviously made this mistake several times but don’t want others to make it too. 

In the drop down menu you will see the option for Priority Flat Rate mailers I LOVE these, and the USPS will ship them right to your front door, along with any other mailers you may need for FREE! There are MANY different sizes and options for mailing material. Some are marked “Flat Rate” meaning they are the same price to ship anywhere in the US.

My favorite is the Padded Flat Rate envelope - you cannot get these at the post office (sometimes they have some in the back if you ask) but they do not put them out for general use. I use the S, M, L flat rate boxes less frequently. They are good for heavier items. Sometimes after the sale I will use one if I’m shipping across country. There’s been a couple times that I was able to ship an item so much cheaper to the west coast using a flat rate box, that I actually refunded the buyer $6 or $7 dollars. (I will not refund for a dollar or two). But that can go the other way too, sometimes shipping is much cheaper to someone on the East coast than the flat rate. 

The USPS also will also mail you (for free) regular Priority Mail boxes. These are boxes that by law must be used to ship Priority. 

Now that you have calculated shipping in your finished listing, when potential buyers look at your listing on eBay they will see the shipping calculated to them (eBay sees the zip code of both you and the buyer and automatically calculates it). 

Once and item sells:

This is the easy part! You log on to eBay and click "ship now" - you can pay for the label right through eBay via PayPal. The labels can be printed onto regular paper and you cut them out and tape them on the box.  If you find your ebaying more frequently you can buy a label printer or special sticker paper for your inkjet. I love my DYMO thermal printer, but understand they only work with Windows OS - if you have a MAC you might want to try a Brother printer.

Once labeled log onto or onto the USPS App and schedule a next business day pick up for your package. This is the best if you have lots of packages, large boxes, or small children (the nightmare of going to the post office with small kids must be avoided at all costs). It's best to try and catch your mail person an introduce yourself and explain you have a online selling business if you plan on using this service a lot. They will be less likely to forget you if you have a rapport.

It's a lot of information to absorb at once, and it took me awhile to learn in. In fact I am still learning every day - so please comment if you have a trick or tip that I missed.

Happy shipping!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/9/14

I made over $650 this week! Whoohoo. There's rent for the month. I only sold 21 items, so that's an average of over $30 an item. I'm very happy about that as that is a goal I've steadily been working towards.

I spent the week listing and thrifting, and getting the office set up - it's still a work in progress. For now I have left my old inventory in the eBay closet and I taken the overflow to the office. Everything I'm thrifting is going straight there. Lately while thrifting I'm focusing on items that will get me 30+ dollars even if I have to pay $5 or $6 for them. I still can't pass up something I know will make me a quick ten bucks though like this Titleist Hat:

Profited about $10 on this hat within one day.
This photo was taken in the new office space. What do you think?

This classic Pooh watch sold for $29.99
I had the battery replaced for $5, and paid $3 at a yard sale

                             I've said it before and I'll say it again; I LOVE selling flatware!
Retroneu Kent Flatware Lot - Sold $99 F/S
I rarely do free shipping, but this went in a flat rate envelope.
Funny enough I sold 4 pcs of this same pattern earlier in the same day for $37
I paid $10 so that's a $121 profit before fees

Please comment if you have ventured into selling flatware, I'd love to hear about some little known or foreign makers to be on the lookout for- and if you're unsure about selling flatware but think you might like it to try it, check out the Recycle-ista's three part series on "Flippin' Flatware".

A few weeks ago I came across a huge lot of decoy "blanks" 
(unpainted raw wooden duck decoys)
They were $6.98 each, and I bought about 10 of them, a few had some flaws and only sold for $15ish. Three sold this week for a total of $73
Duck decoys are hot and highly collected, unfortunately everyone knows that - especially the estate sale companies and thrift store managers and they are always expensive. I guess since the ones I found were blank they priced them lower.

I feel like all those pictures were pretty boring. So here is my favorite find of the week for some eye candy... I found this BEAUTIFUL painting at DAV. Once it sells I'll tell you how much I paid. It's very striking. The depth. The vibrant white snow. I love it. If I lived in the mountains and not at the beach it would have a place in my home. 

We're taking advantage of the holiday Tuesday and heading out of town today for a few days. I'm extending my handling time on my store, but luckily since Tuesday Nov 11th is a postal holiday it will not really matter. Let me know how your week was!! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mug Drop Soup

Remember the egg drop from elementary school? When you bubble wrapped, taped and boxed your egg to come up with the best way to protect it in a fall? My Alma Mater does a famous Pumpkin Drop every fall too. 

Well after receiving this picture from a buyer who bought three mugs from me, I decide to do an experiment of my own.
How did mug three survive?

I'll be honest, I went into this thinking that lady was maybe pulling the ol' switcheroo. I've also heard many times that the flat rate envelope method is a terrible way to ship mugs. I have used mug boxes and the flat rate envelope method both many times. I've sold many many mugs as they are one of the small items with good margins I could fit in my eBay closet before I got my new space. These are the only two mugs that have arrived broken.

The above mugs shipped three together in a medium flat rate box. They shipped from VA to TX.
I thought I'd test some other ways of shipping single mugs while I was at it.
I'll let the pictures do the talking. But I will say I wrapped them all in two squares of bubble wrap and then newsprint.

These fleas disappear when the mug gets hot. Gross.

Now imagine all three of these packages being thrown enthusiastically by my son from the top of the car onto the asphalt below.

They all broke. Every single one. I was really hoping to be able to report that there was a superior way to ship mugs. But the reality is, if the post office is rough, any of the regular methods might not hold up.

If you REALLY don't want it to break you need to float it. 

What do you think?

Monday, November 3, 2014

October Money

October Money
Numbers are rounded

# of Sales

Amount spent on new inventory

Amount of Sales

Avg Sale Price

Highest sold item
Cowboy Boots ($165)

Lowest Sold Item
Makers Mark Dog Tag ($3.99)

Last Month's Goal
Increase listings. Yes! I have over 430 listings now, and had gotten higher, but I had the good problem that items kept selling and bringing the number back down. I wanted to get my average sale price up over $20, but I am still happy with $17.

I always tell myself, if each item I sell is like an hour of work then I’m doing good making $17/hr! (Logically makes no sense to equate the two, but totally makes sense in my head)

November Goal
Seriously thrift like crazy, set up my office and list list list. I’m planning on putting most my money back into my business over the next two months as my big goal is to get to 1000+ items as quickly as possible now that I have the room to store it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sum it Up Sunday 11/2/14

Hello November! I made about $480 this week. I had one return, and one refund that I am making USPS claim for. It was a mug that arrived broken - not in an envelope in fact it was in a box with bubble wrap and peanuts:/ I haven't refunded her yet because she has not provided me with the pictures. I am wondering if they are coming, because she mentioned something about how she had other one's that did not arrive broken. It sounded strange to me, like maybe the ol-switcher-oo so we will see.

It was a busy week like I mentioned in my last post. I'm dreading packing my 80+ mugs and breakables to bring to the new office. The clothes, bags and plush will not be a problem. Luckily I will not have to lug this typewriter too because it sold Saturday.

Smith Corona Manual (non-electric) typewriter
Paid $15, Sold $70
I let this listing expire four months ago and never relisted it... oops! 
I finally did relist it as GTC (like all my listings now) and it sold less than a week later! 
I'm going to have a shipping challenge with this one...

I sold this Ugly Christmas sweater for a reasonable best offer of $19.00 (asking $24)
Paid $4 - So ugly it's adorable

I paid $7 for this vintage Fisher Price Theater viewer
It sold this week for $34

My favorite sale of the week was this Berenstain Bears plush family
I paid about a $1 at a yard sale Sold for $36 (on sale from $45)
I LOVE the Berenstain bears, and so does the daughter of the lady who bought these. I'm happy they are going to someone who will love them, because they were one of the few items that I had a hard time getting rid of.

My average sale price is steadily going up which I'm very happy about. I started selling more Christmas ornaments this week and I expect that trend to continue. I'll be posting my October Money post soon.

Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!