October sales were just average. But only slightly above last years sales. I have almost twice as much inventory this year as last year. Should that make me have twice as many sales? You would think so.
November has been super good. I have sold a lot of items that have been listed for a while, some over a year. I really think that Good Till Cancelled is the way to go. Why did I put it off so long? So, it really is true that anything will sell eventually.
That got me to thinking about August, 2010. That's when I lost my medical job and just couldn't find another one as good. No one wants an "older lady" CMA. Funny, while I was in school my instructor kept saying "you won't have any problem finding a job" Yeah right. Well, after I left that job I decided to give ebay a full time tryout. I had been selling off and on while I was out of work and in school, selling stuff around the house, leftover craft stuff and textbooks. I convinced my SweetiePie that I could make a REAL profit from ebay and I wanted to take a chance. He supported my efforts by not complaining about the lack of household organization or clean underwear. Thanks SweetiePie!!
So I took $100 from my "secret stash/mad money/emergency funds" and went to purchase my first real inventory. I remember planning my trip to make the best use of time and gas. I took some granola bars and a couple of bottles of water, some IKEA bags and off I went.
Who knew that 4 years later I would still be going strong. I don't remember much of what I purchased that first trip, but I do remember going the cheap route. I purchased a ton of men's polo shirts, children's clothes, women's clothes and vintage glassware the first few months. Looking back on my logbook of inventory makes me laugh. I learned lots of lessons that first holiday season. I no longer buy men's polo shirts unless they are big name brands. I don't buy children's clothes unless they are Halloween costumes or fancy dress outfits. I don't buy anything that needs major repair. And at first I wouldn't purchase any shoes. Now shoes and boots are a major seller. In women's clothes I have stepped up to higher prices and better quality items and don't sell much vintage glassware.
But I am grateful for that first learning year. I wanted to argue with every return. I didn't want to deal with customer service. I learned how to pack everything correctly. I learned where to get boxes, tissue paper, packing peanuts, labels, tape and just about anything else I needed. But most of all I learned the most important thing...RESEARCH.
That first year I relied on the old gut. Well, the gut wasn't right enough of the time to suit me. So I started looking things up. Duh!! Why hadn't I thought of that before. I started reading blogs about people doing what I was doing, making the same mistakes, learning, and moving onward and upward. I started to make some money. I was happy, SweetiePie was happy, the cat was happy, everyone was happy!!!
So I'll share some of the things I've learned.
**Don't buy junk. If you buy something damaged, realize that it will take time to fix it. Time is money and if it takes too much time you don't make any money.
**Learn how to clean....everything. I don't like to scrape old gum or horse poop off of shoes. Who does? But sometimes it just has to be done. I bought a pair of Ariat boots for $4.59 and the soles were covered in dried poop and straw. I cleaned them and made $50. That's what gloves are for.
**Learn how to take good pictures. I'm still working on this. My camera hates me. Really. Black items come out green or blue. Red items come out pink or orange. Its still a work in progress.
**Learn how to write a good description. I cringe when I see items listed with one or two pictures, and the only description of the items is "good condition". How do they ever sell anything? Maybe I over describe, but at least I am familiar with my items and that helps me find little flaws and any issues with the item.
**Don't argue with a buyer. It's just stuff. Return it, refund, and move on. It's not personal unless you make it personal.
**Buy a mannequin. I haven't done that yet. I have those plastic half people that really aren't all that great, but they are cheap and will do until I find a mannequin that I can afford. I do have Emma, a vintage sewing mannequin that my aunt gave me, but she is dark and doesn't adjust anymore and not really clean looking for good photos. I'll keep looking. There is one out there with my name on it. I just know it.
**Research everything. Twice. You won't be sorry. And you learn so many interesting things.
**Be thankful for all of the nice people who write blogs about the same things that you enjoy and are willing to share their successes and failures with the world.
**Don't believe everything you read on the internet. All of those youtube videos about such great hauls of stuff. It's nice to see what you bought but I would really be interested to see what sold and for how much. I don't really need to know the profit margin, just that it did sell
OK.....whew that was a lot of words. Now how about some pics of recent good sales.
A yard sale find for $2, ordered the safety harness, sold quickly for $25 plus shipping to Brazil
Found at a thrift store and sold within a week for $75 plus shipping to Australia
Found at the same estate sale as the fur collars. Purchased 3 for $10 and have already sold two for $35 each. These were really damaged with some blocks with chunks of fabric missing. Nothing that couldn't be fixed, by the buyer not me!!
Found these at a yard sale for $2. VTG 70's with almost no wear and the original gold logo. Others online were selling for $60-$75. I wanted more, not greedy but I knew I could get it because of the condition of the logo, so I listed for $125 and free shipping and I shipped them out today. Only listed for about a month. Ask higher and you can always take less.
I sometimes sell items for my daughter and split the profits 50/50. She picked this Maya Wrap up for fabric and decided it was too nice to cut up. She is really happy that she didn't cut it up. Purchased for $1, sold for $50 plus shipping. A nice little profit for Mother and Daughter
So get out there and find something great, take great pictures, write a great description and sell it, and tell us. And share with me how and why you got started.