Thrift Shopping For eBay

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spent $3.25 and Made $29.85 on eBay

I have to say I really LOVE selling on eBay. But you have probably already figured that out if you have read any of my other posts. I have so much fun finding things at thrift stores and reselling them for a profit. And the most fun I have is when something sells at a price that surprises me. That's what happened recently.

Selling Wallpaper Border

I had read on an eBay Facebook site that I belong to that wallpaper borders sell well on eBay. Huh, really? I didn't think anyone used wallpaper borders anymore. But when I saw some at a great price at a local thrift store, I decided to give it a try.

I found a plastic bin filled with packages of old wallpaper borders at the thrift store I go to quite often. I didn't really believe they would sell well, so I bought a set of four packages blue Marimekko 4 inch wallpaper borders, and then an extra one that was partially opened so I could show what the design was. There were plenty more, BUT I wanted to just proceed cautiously in case they didn't sell after all. The rolls had been around awhile and the UPC stickers on them were yellowed. A couple had rips in the plastic wrap but they were scrubbable and washable so I figured they would clean up well. I listed the 4 rolls on eBay, with the opened one displayed on top. I was very honest about their condition in my description. At first, I listed them at a price of $14.95 for the 4 rolls. I had no bites for a couple weeks so I started playing around with the price lowering it until it sold. The 4 rolls sold for $10.95 a few weeks after I listed them, and I threw in the open roll as well because it was still usable. So for that sale, I spent $1.25 on 5 rolls and sold them for $10.95.

List, Sell, Repeat!

The other day I happened to be in the same thrift store and found the same bin. There were another 4 rolls of the same blue wallpaper border in the bin, again each for 25 cents. There were only 4 this time so I could open a roll and show the design but I was hoping people would get the idea of what it looked like from my pictures. I also found a set of 4 rolls in the same Marimekko design, but in a putty color. I decided to give those a try as well.

I listed the 4 blue rolls for $10.95 again on a Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning and checked my eBay site to see they had already sold. That night I listed the 4 putty colored rolls got it, they sold within 24 hours as well! So all together I spent $3.25 for 13 rolls of wallpaper border and earned $29.85. Not a bad turnaround if I do say so myself!

Research and Learn

One of the most important things I have learned through my experience selling on eBay is that in order to do well and increase sales, a seller must always be willing to learn. I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching videos of successful eBay sellers. I also belong to a couple of eBay Facebook groups and people post questions all the time and we all learn from each other. What makes you a successful eBay seller?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My Life as an eBay Seller

I have been selling items on eBay on a regular basis for 21 months now, and I must say I am having a ball. It has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, but the longer I sell on eBay, the more I learn and the better I get at it. At first, I only sold items that I had around the house to get rid of them and earn some extra money. I found some Facebook eBay groups, and have been coached by a friend I met online and learned how to increase my sales slowly but surely.

In March of 2015 I decided to open and eBay store. Initially, my sales dipped a bit for a few weeks after I opened my eBay store and I thought maybe I had made a mistake. But after a few weeks, things started to pick up, and have been doing well ever since. Even though we are currently in summer which is traditionally a slow eBay season, I am doing better than ever. Am I rich because of eBay? No, but I earn money each week. Some weeks I surpass what I earned weekly as a substitute teacher. And let me tell you, being an eBay seller is a lot less stressful than substitute teaching, or working a 9 to 5 job that I don't like.

Once I decided to sell on eBay as a way to earn regular money each week, I knew I had to find sources for what to sell. I started going to Goodwill stores on a regular basis and added thrift store shopping to my repertoire. I love going to thrift stores and finding almost new, and sometimes new with tags clothing that I can pass on to my customers. People have called me "addicted to thrift stores" but what they don't see is the bigger picture. I shop at thrift stores as part of my job. It is fun, and I can make my own hours. Here's a picture of my favorite thrift store. It's local and most clothing items sell for $2.00 each with vintage and household items selling for 25 cents to $5.00.

Right now I have only an eBay Basic Store which allows me 150 free listings per month in any category, and 100 free listings in the collectible category as auction style. I may go to the next size store in the future but this works best for me personally right now due to a lack of storage space. My goal was originally to have 150 items listed at all times, but because I have been able to take advantage of eBay's free listing offers periodically, for the past month I have been at 200 items and my sales show that the increase has helped a lot. My goal is to always have 200 items per month listed, and when autumn hits, I will try for more since that's the best period for eBay sales.

Here's a little glimpse into my life as an eBay seller:

Monday: Wake up and check my eBay store to see the sales I had Sunday night. Sunday night is traditionally the best time of the week to get sales because people have had the weekend off and have been scoping out eBay and usually make purchases on Sunday nights before they go to bed. I get excited when I see I have sales. I spend the day packing sold items from Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday and head to the post office Monday afternoon to send off my packages. I live 10 minutes from a post office so it's convenient. Monday night I list a few thing on eBay and also revise a few more items that I already had listed as I have learned constant daily listings/revisions keep my items active within the eBay system and are more visible to buyers.

Tuesday: Check my eBay sales from the previous night. Head to the local thrift store that is closed Sundays and Mondays and they restock all of their items on Mondays which means the best choices of items are on Tuesdays. This is especially true on the last Tuesday of the month because the previous Saturday they had a pick up in a local community and have lots of great items to choose from. I come home and wash the items in baking soda as that takes any thrift store scent out, then in a regular wash. My birthday is at the end of July and once I turn 55 I will be eligible for 1/2 off all items at Goodwill in my part of Georgia so I will be going shopping at one of the area Goodwill stores each Tuesday starting in a few weeks. Tuesday nights, I take pictures of the items I purchased and list them on eBay.

Wednesday: Check eBay sales. Go out to lunch and grocery shopping with my husband. Come home and put groceries away before checking my eBay sales. Had a sale while we were out to lunch...yay! In the afternoon I pack any sold items and go to the post office to mail them. At night I list a few more items and revise a few. Watch a You Tube video of a guy named Raiken Profits who I have learned a great deal from in terms of what to sell. I check sales before going to bed.

Thursday: Check for eBay sales in the morning, email either of the 2 clients I am now selling items for if they had a sale. Go about my day and pack and ship any items that have sold before the post office closes. At night, list a few more items and always revise a few. Check for any sales before going to bed.

Friday: Hit any nearby yard sales, estate sales or thrift stores to get more stock to resell. I usually do this every other week as I don't have enough storage room to go weekly and store all my bargains. I come home and wash all clothing in baking soda then in a regular wash. Hang all clothing so I can spend the weekend taking pictures and listing and revising items that are already for sale. Go out to eat with my husband. Check eBay sales and get excited when I see I have had 1 to 3 sales. Friday nights have now become my second best sales period. I have heard it's because people get paid on Fridays and like to buy on Friday nights. I list or revise a few items before bed.

Saturday: Check eBay sales and pack everything that has sold from that morning and the night before to get them mailed before the post office closes at noon. Saturday night I usually list a few more items and always revise. I check for sold items before bed, and there are always one or two that happened while I was out with my husband or just watching TV.

Sunday: This is my biggest listing and sales day. I usually check for sales after church and get extra happy when I see one. I have an enjoyable and relaxing afternoon and list and revise at night. I check sales before going to bed.

And there you have it: an average week in the life of this eBay seller. I currently only list 1 to 5 items a night and revise 1 to 3 a night as well. I like to spread my listings out over the week and it takes an hour of concentrated time to list 4 items. It's about 15 minutes each to do it right, which includes:

*Taking pictures of the item (I try for a minimum of 4 for each listing)

*Researching how much the particular item has sold for in the past and what similar items are currently listed for so I know what I should list it for.

*Putting a well-worded listing on the eBay site and including pictures.

About once per month eBay offers a special deal where you can list an incredible amount of item for free for a 5 day period. They decide if the listings will be an auction, which is limited to 7 to 10 days or Buy It Now for a 30 day period. During those times, I shop and extra time and spend the whole 5 days of the offer listing as much as I possibly can.

Over the 21 months I have been selling on eBay I have done a lot of research into which niche works best for me. I have found it to be men's shirts in sizes large through 5X. I do sell other items as well, including coats, shoes, belts, ties, women;s clothing and some antiques/vintage items. But I am happy to have found my niche and am starting to get repeat customers.

I love finding nice items that I know my customers will enjoy. And I am not an eBay seller that has extremely high prices on their items because I'm a bargain hunter and love to share savings with others. Here's an example of a great deal I was able to pass on to a customer. The Chaps shirt in the picture was for sale at Christmas in Kohls for $60.00. I know that because I saw it and loved it but am too frugal to pay that much money for a shirt. I found one at a thrift store that was a size 3X (not my size) for 75 cents and sold it to a customer who absolutely loved it for $11.95. She raved about how nice it was in her feedback, and that made me feel great that I could pass it on to her at a reasonable price.

I love selling on eBay because it allows me to have time at home with my husband (and my dog), have a flexible schedule, and to still earn money. I probably average 2 to 3 hours per day on my eBay business and can put my eBay store on vacation whenever I need to. If I want to earn more money, I just need to put in a little more time. If I can't get to the post office one day, I will ship 2 days of purchases the next day because I have the flexibility to do that. It's a great way to earn a living.

By the way, I just checked and in the 40 minutes it took me to write this and add pictures, I made an eBay sale! Can you say,"Ka-ching?!"

If you are an eBay seller, how does my schedule compare to yours? If you aren't an eBay seller but have been thinking about it, what's holding you back?