Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sum It Up Sunday 2/1/15

Here's a little relief if like me you're going to be stuck watching football all day!

This week was very good and really made up for the slow previous weeks this month. I had a $325 sale, the engine part I mentioned a few weeks ago. That sale really upped my total for the week. Even without that sale it still would have been a good week, because I grossed just over $900. My store was on sale 15% off everything, which seemed to work wonders on my sales. I also took lots of reasonable best offers. I think people are finally feeling flush again after the holidays and ready to spend some money.

Pottery Barn Kids Embroidered Toddler Backpack
Paid $3 sold for $16

Jesus Knocking at the Door Brass/Light up Frame
paid $6 sold for $28

Beaba Baby Food Maker
paid $8 sold for $37

Carhartt Distressed Vest
paid $6 sold for $34

Complete Crewel Winter Scene
paid $5 sold for $30 without the frame

Ivory Lamberton Scammell for Bloomingdale Bros. Inc. 
This plate was one of the very first items I bought to sell on eBay. I paid $.20 for it last March. 
It finally sold this week for $4. This is a wonderful example of how much I have learned over the past eleven months of reselling. My description was terrible, and I had flat $5 shipping on it! Thank goodness it fit in a padded envelope because someone in California bought it and it was going to cost 
$11. I thought I'd mention it as an example of what not to do for anyone just starting out. 

Did you notice an uptick in sales this week? Hope you're staying warm.. I'm not!

Monday, January 26, 2015

How Not to Respond to Negative Feedback

I took a best offer from this buyer/seller. He hasn't paid yet, so I went to check his feedback. Yikes.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sum it Up Sunday 1/25/15

This week I was tired of slow sales, so I put my whole store on sale 15% off, and added best offer to every listing (even the cheap ones). Sales and offers quickly proceeded, which was nice. I took lots low offers on the cheap stuff, and I happy see it go! Lots of it has been sitting in my inventory for way too long. I want my average item price to increase so it's nice to get rid of the $8 items. 

The following three sales where items that I purchased and listed this week. They all sold within a day or two. Proof that my eye for what will resell easily has gotten much better. Many items that I sourced when I first started eBay are still sitting there, while these moved quickly.

Special Forces Green Beret
Sold for best offer of $25, Paid $6

Wooden inlay clipboard
Sold for $21 paid $2

Pair of baskets sold for $30 paid $4

These cards sold on etsy for $6 plus shipping

Hope you all had a great week. I'm publishing this one a little early.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sum it Up Sunday 1/18/15

Post Christmas sales have not been great, but I also have not put much time into eBay this week, as meetings, appointments, illness, and every day life took precedence. That is the great thing about being an eBay seller; I can take the time off I need without reporting to anyone else.

Here are a few notable sales from this week:

Vintage Woolrich Vest
paid $7 sold $45
I've had this listed for awhile, and decided to list it on etsy too. I hadn't listed anything on etsy in months but thought maybe the folks over there would appreciate this vest as much as I did. It sold the next day on eBay! Hah, go figure.

Our Lady of Fatima Figurine
Sold $21, paid $1?
I had to do some research on this - I started by googling "virgin Mary spring children" or something of the sort and quickly found the story of Our Lady of Fatima

Waechtersbach W Germany Chess Mug
Paid $.45, Sold $24.99

How was your week? 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Light Listening

eBay is a hands on job. We spend many hours cleaning, photographing, measuring, listing, packing and shipping. So keeping ourselves entertained while doing these things goes a long way in keeping ourselves motivated and enjoying work. While our eyes and hands our busy, it's nice to keep our ears occupied. Nancy, at Third Hand Shoppe recently posted about adding some new items to her listening repertoire, so I'm posting my go-to-listening here.

While driving today I was listening to On Point with Tom Ashbrook, and they were discussing the Golden Age of Radio. Evidently podcasting was hot for awhile, sort of fell off, and is popular again, and soaring to new heights. It's all discussed on the episode here.

Please leave your favorites in the comments, it's always great to come across new listening material.

For Foodies:
Cooking like eBay requires eyes and hands. The kitchen can be lonely and I've come to love these two podcasts. Neither are necessarily about cooking, they are both about food in every facet.

KCRW's Good Food "the show for people who love to eat"
The Splendid Table  "the show about life's appetites"

For History Buffs:
I'm a history nerd, and love both these podcasts:

The Thomas Jefferson Hour
Hardcore History

For Hipsters:

The Nerdist podcast channel, I like Moshe Kasher's podcast discussion series.*
The Dinner Party Download

Nationally Syndicated Radio:

This American Life
On Point 
The Dave Ramsey Show
Car Talk

*only listened once in the past few weeks but seems promising.

Monday, January 12, 2015


If you like vintage you might, like me, like history. If you like history you may also love genealogy.

Some of you may have experienced pregnancy obsession. With one of my pregnancies I was OBSESSED with genealogy. I just HAD to map my family history before this baby arrived! It was a primal need to find out this baby's family history as wide and as far back as possible. Pregnancy can cause you to become fixated on something, and for about six months I was genealogy crazy.

Genealogy reminds me of the sourcing we do for eBay. We scour through hundreds of items looking for that gem. We pass by all that filler, all the things we've seen a thousand times. We're looking for that golden nugget. This is the story of my personal favorite genealogy find.

An Inventory of the Estate of Benjamin Goodman, Deceased 1782

One of my 7x great grandfather, Benjamin Louis Goodman died during the Hayes' Station Massacre during the Revolutionary War. He was born here in Virginia, but settled in South Carolina with his wife Moriah, and their 10 children. This inventory of his estate was taken by her in her hand, in March 1782, five months after his death.

I count myself blessed to have a copy of this very interesting family history. Not only is it a very thorough inventory of the family's personal belongings, but it is also in my 7x great grandmother's handwriting, at a time when many women could not write. 

I almost didn't obtain this piece of history. I almost didn't look in the right places, make the extra effort, or ask the right questions, and this very cool part of my family history (and many other's as this man had ten children) could have been buried in a courthouse forever more. But luckily my pregnancy hormones would leave no stone un-turned. 

I can't remember why I decided to call a particular courthouse in South Carolina, but I called to try and find a copy of Mr. Goodman's will. I had a file number for him, so that was a start. I could tell the lady on the phone was not enthused about going into the deep catacombs of an old southern courthouse, but she promised to and call me back in an hour or two. When she did she told me she was sorry there was no will. Bummer. She started to hang up, but I quickly asked what the papers were "oh just some legal things" I asked her to send me copies anyway.
I had to send them a check first. This was so old school, but would you believe it was 2013?
A week after my check cleared I got a big thick envelope in the mail. It contained many more papers than I imagined. Including this wonderful inventory. 

Can you imagine what a Revolutionary era kitchen looked like? Smelled like?
43. two small copper skillets
44. one spice morter & pestle
45. one frying pan
46. one coffee mill

Reading over this inventory was like a trip back in time. It also taught me the important lesson of making the extra effort. If I hadn't called that courthouse I would have never known that such a gem lay hidden. Same goes for eBay. Sometimes we might be nervous of trying something new, like going to an auction or an estate sale. Sometimes we may not dig or ask questions at a yard sale. So go ahead, make that extra effort and you might uncover something really cool. 

Below are the full inventories and some VA Beach genealogy links. 

What is your favorite all time find, even if you kept it for yourself? Do you have any cool family history stories?

Virginia Beach Genealogy Links:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sum it Up Sunday 1/11/14

I made under $400 again this week. Another week of low sales, with a day of no sales mixed in. I sold two calculators again, and have defiantly added them to my thrifting radar. I got a bunch of stuff cleaned up and put away at the office which had been overwhelming me, so that felt good. I have a new inventory system in place for all my flatware, which is really going to help me in the long run. I got a HUGE lot off Cragislist for $25, which was the catalyst for the new system.

These GATES Deerskin leather mitten/gloves sold for $19.99 - I paid $1.50
I'd never seen anything like these before
Mittens on the outside/Gloves on the inside

This silver plate set sold for $50.00
It was in a box with another set, I paid $25 for all. The other box sold two weeks ago for $112. so that's a gross profit of $137. I have to admit I had forgotten about this lot, and had not listed it although having it for several months. It sold in two days.

I only profited $10 off this calculator, but they are proving to be quick and consistent cash.
This is a financial calculator. There were several others listed, but I was the only one that put "taxes" in my title. Sold in one hour of listing.

I'm continuing to put all my resources back into the business. I'm getting my things for taxes ready. I'm a tax nerd, and always do them myself.. this may be the first year I hire someone since I'm feeling a bit over my head with the small business taxes. 

How has your week been? Has the weather been cold where you are?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Things I Want to Find in 2015

This time of year is when goals are being set, resolutions are being made, and gyms are very very busy for a few weeks.

In my personal life I'd like to eat less junk, and be a bit more active. I want to work on being as confident in all aspects of my life as I am at eBay selling. Overall I want to live simply and consistently.

I do have eBay goals for 2015: Buy higher quality items and list like crazy. That's nothing new though. I have an idea for what I would like my numbers to look like, but I'm not setting numbers on any goals, no number of calories, no items listed per days, no simplify one room a weeks.. just simply and gently going to work towards these things.

I do have a list of things that I want to thrift this year:

Giant spatula/cake lifter

Aluminum measuring spoons & cups

Continue my quest for Spice of Life patterned items. I don't buy the bakeware, but I love the canisters. I'd love to find the plates and glasses! I'd LOVE a tablecloth to match or napkins at least..
An elusive Spice of Life tablecloth in it's natural environment. 
If you ever find one of these, I will buy it!
Over Christmas my Mom kind of teased me about my affinity for these, 
and their totally 80's style. But hey, I'm an 80's baby so it's fitting.

What are some things you'd love to thrift this year?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sum it Up Sunday

This week was spent recovering from the past six weeks of holidays, traveling, commitments, and obligations. It was nice to have a week home to relax - and catch up on eBay.

Sales were not fantastic, I made under $400 this week. But I got LOTS of work done, went through (and listed) a bunch of miscellaneous flatware I had accumulated, and photographed a bunch of inventory.

I thrifted several times this week, and hit up an estate sale yesterday. I found a NOS OEM Distributor Cap, which I hope will make me a few hundred dollars. Thanks to my husband I now know what OEM means, and that folks who restore vintage vehicles will pay big bucks for Original Equipment Manufacturer parts.

The estate had a garage and two workshops just full of old dusty stuff, I threw a bunch of stuff in a box and paid $20 for it. It was mostly stuff that was out of the norm for me. Hopefully it pays off, one of these sold in October for $599.

I sold these US Army Vintage Mess Kit Forks and Spoons for $29.99 within a day of listing
Other sellers had these listed as WWII era, I didn't know if mine were so I just said vintage, and priced them like the others which had WWII in the title. I paid $1.80.

I bought and sold two calculators this week.
LeWorld temperature converting calculator
A small flip but I bought it for $.75 because it had white numbers
Sold for $9.99

The next day I bought this TI84-Plus Silver Edition in hot pink for $13
I know, $13! but I had a good feeling about it.

Sold overnight for $69.99

I've mentioned before that I collect "Spice of Life" kitchen items. I was checking out the Replacements page for this pattern to see what I have yet to find. Turns out my collection is only a very small fraction of what is available. I would love to find the sugar shaker.

I'll leave you with one garbage find. My husband and I found this watch in the trash on our street. There was also five bottles of Shiner Bock beer (along with some other gross food stuffs). We left the beer and rotten food but took the watch. 

CASIO G-Shock Listed for $30
The strap had come unattached, and the wonderful owner of the Time Machine fixed it at no charge. I've taken a few watches to him to replace the batteries, and he charges a flat $5 - I highly recommend him to any locals. 

Have you had luck selling calculators? What about watches? What is your strategy at estate sales? I like to find a bunch of un-priced items and buy them in a lot. I'd love to hear how your eBay week was.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Perceived Value for Resellers

Every time we buy Windex over the dollar store brand, or Seventh Generation dish soap over Ajax, we are exercising our perceived value. We've been programmed to believe that because they cost a little more, these products work a little better. Carter's clothing is nicer than Granimals. Ralph Lauren jeans MUST be better than the Arizona ones. Horizon organic milk is healthier than Marva Maid. 

But what does nicer, better, or healthier really mean? 

These adjectives are all a perspective deriving from our perception, to you does nicer mean its organic, its local, or it's handmade? Does it mean that everyone wants one? Or does it mean it's expensive, it's rare, it's endangered?

To me, rib-eye steak from Whole Foods tastes better than the rib-eye from Costco, and the rib-eye from Costco tastes better than the rib-eye from Food Lion. I'm pretty sure if given a blind taste test, I would not know the difference. Whole foods displays their food beautifully - it's food porn in the flesh, and is consequently the most expensive around. Costco makes you believe you're really getting a deal by being a member's only club, and selling you a giant slab of meat. Food Lion is like, "here's the rib-eye, take it or leave it."

(Click photos for photo credits)

So you see our perception of value is really also an illusion. And that is why perceived value is so important for resellers to understand. We need to create the illusion that our listing is superior to the myriad of other listings on eBay. 

So how can you increase the perceived value of your listings?
I think the three main factors are: Photos, Description, Price, in that order. 

Photos must be clear, quality and in good light, add a video if necessary to properly portray your item. The description should include measurements, and it's helpful if it paints a picture. Have you ever read a Chinaberry catalog? If YOU were buying the item, what would you want to know?  And price must be high. I generally price my items in the top 10% of equal items on eBay. 

The motivation for this post today, came from the following TEDTalk:

This TED talk given by Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of a British advertising firm, will help us resellers gain the perspective to add perspective to our listings.

Here is a fantastic example of marketing aiming to change the perception of a product:

and here is a little comic relief, an SNL parody of the above commercial:

Where are your strengths in listing? What areas need improvement? Are your photos professional quality, and your descriptions lack luster? Identify what needs to change and change it this year.

Can you think of a time when your perception of value has outweighed your logic? I'd love to hear what your thoughts are.