Black Friday and Cyber Monday

 

Black Friday through Cyber Monday, it’s been crazy busy!  For any online sellers this week is the busiest and craziest. I kept to my goal of not sourcing new stuff and didn’t participate in any Black Friday sales but it was fun to watch others who were out in full force! I’d say it was a successful sourcing Friday for many.

Even without heading out the door to brave the madness, I managed to have a GREAT weekend of eBay and Amazon sales. I got the first batch of orders shipped and out for the mail carrier just in time. The second batch got dropped off at the post office later that day. I rarely make a trip to the post office, but this time of year I like to get my packages out and to my customers quickly, so I dropped off the second batch of packages before the post office closed.

Black Friday Sales Part 1

Black Friday Sales Part 2

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Black Friday Sales Part 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did do a little online shopping on Cyber Monday as I just couldn’t stay away from the American Girl sale. For the past 4-5 years I’ve stayed up late Sunday night and waited for 11pm when the sale goes live for my timezone. American Girl does this kind of sale once a year and it is usually full of frustration as the site can’t handle the traffic.

American Girl Inventory

American Girl Inventory

You can have items in your cart while shopping for more and when you go to check out, many of the items would show up as sold out. This year the site is much improved…yeah AG! It was able to handle whatever traffic was generated that night, but sadly the sales weren’t much of a sale this year. Last year I spent nearly $3,000 on Cyber Monday and this year it was all I could do to spend $80. I wasn’t excited about much and I can feel myself pulling away from American Girl. My nieces that introduced me to AG 8-10 years ago have out grown their interest in AG and as an extension, so have I.  I’m working now on selling off my AG inventory. Anyone interested in some overpriced doll clothes or accessories? Many of them are retired and HTF. 🙂

 

 

Things Are Selling

In anticipation of my house selling (although today I don’t think that will ever happen! Its been listed three weeks and we’ve only had 6 people come through…sigh) I have been diligently taking pictures of furniture and Christmas items and listing them on Craigslist and Facebook groups. This is not for the faint of heart! I find this to be more tedious and time consuming than listing on eBay and Amazon combined!

07The problem is people don’t read!  This is not news to me because as an eBay seller I know this. We have somehow become a dumbed down society that relies on pictures to convey all the information needed to make a purchasing decision. No longer is it acceptable to simply put the measurements of a dresser in the description of the post, you have to take a picture of a tape measure over the edge of the item as well….and people will still message asking how tall, wide, deep, something is.

Billy Bookcase Ensemble - Sold $375

Billy Bookcase Ensemble – Sold $375

I listed the bookcase ensemble at the top of my stairs on Craigslist and one Facebook group for my neighborhood. I got several messages with questions that were already answered in the listing…but I was polite and answered them again. To my surprise the first person that said they wanted them and would show up at 3:30 actually did! I was so happy to see them because I emptied out everything that morning and didn’t like the idea of staring at an empty wall of bookcases. They had to rent a truck and were a bit late, but they communicated with me and let me know that was the hold up. Communication makes a difference!

7' Slim Glacier Pine Green Christmas Tree - $100

7′ Slim Glacier Pine Green Christmas Tree – $100

Then there are the no shows. I had one last week that really had me shaking me head! I listed a very nice 7′ slim, artificial Christmas tree for $100. In the description of every one of my posts I list my cross streets and this blurb

“No holds. First person to show up with cash in hand gets to take this home! If you are reading this, it’s still available. I will delete once it’s sold.”

People feel the need to jump on a listing quickly so they can have first dibs. I’m okay with that but not if they just leave me hanging, I need communication. I had one on Saturday message me at 11:10am saying she was going to be here in 30 minutes. At 11:30 she messaged that she was leaving in 30 minutes. The message at 12:10 was that she was on the way and at 1:01pm wouldn’t you know she messaged to tell me she would have to pass!  I’m a pretty even tempered person, but this just got under my skin. Posting in Facebook groups is my least favorite place to sell, but I do it because most people are considerate and do show up when they say they will, but all it takes is one flake on a Saturday morning to ruin all that.

I got over it, moved on to the next person who stopped by to look at it like she said she would and decided it wasn’t right for her spot.

The bookcase wall minus the bookcases and some paint.

The bookcase wall minus the bookcases and some paint.

Side note: I failed to remember that I painted after the bookcases went in….so this is what my wall looked like. I thought it was going to be a major project, but I dug up the old paint from the garage, got everything set up, painted and cleaned up in less than an hour. I even did the wall behind the TV cabinet in the family room.

 

 

 

Here are some of the items that have sold already.

Media Shelf - SOLD $50

Media Shelf – SOLD $50

 

Daybed and Trundle - SOLD $150

Daybed and Trundle – SOLD $150

 

White Dresser - SOLD $150

White Dresser – SOLD $150

 

Billy Bookcase Ensemble - Sold $375

Billy Bookcase Ensemble – Sold $375

 

Two Toddler Collapsible Tables - SOLD $60

Two Toddler Collapsible Tables – SOLD $60

How Do You Know What to Sell?

One of the comments I hear most often when I talk about the items I sell that yield the greatest profit is “You’ve got a good eye for that stuff”  or “You know what sells well; I don’t have a clue”.

My response is always the same, “It hasn’t always been this way and I still buy my share of duds.”

I sold on eBay for 15 years before I attended my first eBay seller’s event, eBay on Location (EOL) in Denver, CO May 2012.  I met other sellers there and learned that some were making some pretty serious cash selling online. I quickly realized that my $800-1,000 per month was nothing to the $30,000 per month others were making.

546373_10151780424615578_789131787_nI was happy as a hobby seller. Other than friends who were a husband and wife team and actually doing this full time, I didn’t have anyone in my circle who loved selling on eBay as much as I did. I struggled with knowing if I was doing things right or not. People were not willing to share their secrets and I didn’t know what to do to grow my hobby into a business. I wanted to learn more and decided to attend the eBay Radio Live event held that June in Las Vegas, NV.

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Mom and me during a break

So I signed up, dragged my mom with me so she could learn too and for two days we sat in a room with 200 other sellers and listened to speakers talk on a variety of subjects related to selling on eBay.  The last speakers on the first day were the thrifting duo Jason T. Smith and Bryan Goodman known as Thrifting with the Boys.

At first glance I didn’t think I was going to be too interested in the presentation. I’m not a thrifter and at that point had only been in a thrift store once to find a costume for an Oscar themed party I was attending. But these guys blew me away.

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Jason T. Smith hanging out chatting with eBay sellers

For 45 minutes they stood up in front of a room full of sellers and freely gave away all their “secrets” and I was in awe. We were told to buy t-shirts for $2 and sell them for $40, that Hawaiian shirts sell for $50+, coffee mugs and ties were great sellers too. They had a Facebook group with about 600 members and I joined before I left the room.

Over the next several months I was very active and involved in the group, reading posts, scrolling through pictures, absorbing what others were sharing. I would stop and read all the BOLOs (Be On Look Out) and wouldn’t you know that on my next trip to a thrift store I’d find something I recently read about, picked it up, listed it and sold it for a nice profit. I read, commented, posted and was engaged in this group and learned so much…and all of this was free! The group grew to over 16,000 members from every corner of the world and was a great resource for sellers at just about any time of day or night. Members could post questions at 3am and someone in some part of the country or world was up and ready and willing to help.

I was so active in the group that I was made an admin to help run it. I became friendly with one of the owners, Jason T. Smith, and we soon became great friends. Only in my circle of eBay friends would I have ever come across a 6’5” ZZ Top bearded, bald headed, tatted up, Tiki Lovin’, Rum drinking guy that turns out is the biggest teddy bear around.

The Thrifting BoardThe Thrifting Boys have parted ways and Jason and his admins/Lifeguards created a new Facebook Group, The Thrifting Board. Being part of this group changed me as a seller. I got out of my comfort zone and started buying things that I would’ve never noticed. I started thrifting (although I’m still not a thrifter and don’t enjoy it as much as most of the members of the group), I started noticing Hawaiian shirts, and t-shirts and men’s jeans and I bought them. I listed and sold them and in a few short months my sales quadrupled! I also learned to price my items higher. I learned how to do better research, how to take better pictures, how to use better key words and all this knowledge and information helped me become a better eBay seller and helped grow my business!

Jason T, Smith and I with our The Thrifting Board tshirts

Jason T, Smith and me at an eBay event representing The Thrifting Board

Three years later I’m happy to be part of this team. I’m getting ready to make this my full time gig again and proud to call Jason T. Smith my friend. He was the first person who shared his knowledge and gave it away at no cost to anyone who wanted to join his group, listen, participate and learn. For that, I will always be grateful for him and all he does for the eBay community.

If you’re one of those sellers who is nervous to branch outside of your comfort zone, click on the link or picture above, join the group and introduce yourself to everyone.  We are a great group of positive sellers that love to help and encourage each other. But do yourself a favor….sit back and observe for about a week. Get a feel for the group before you jump in with both feet. Like posts and comment when you can and it won’t take long to learn the culture of the group. Every group has a vibe and it is easy to pick up if you just take some time to watch and learn. So pull up a beach chair, grab some sunscreen and be prepared to be blown away at all the knowledge everyone is so willing to give away every single day.

 

eBay Now and Then

I opened my eBay account, ClubRed97, on July 28, 1997 and started buying and selling long before anyone in my circle of friends knew what eBay was all about. When I first started selling, the process was much more tedious. At the time, digital cameras were something we only had at work and many Sellers took their pictures with analog cameras and then dropped them off at a one-hour photo place to get them developed. Those prints were scanned to their computers and one picture of his or her item was uploaded to the site. Seller would type out a brief description then waited for their auction to end. Once a winning bidder was determined, Buyer messaged Seller with their zip code, Seller packaged up the item, made a trip to the post office and someone at the counter calculated the shipping cost. Seller returned home to email Buyer with the total cost and Buyer either purchased a money order or sent a personal check to cover the cost of the item plus shipping. It was common for a listing to have verbiage reminding Buyers that personal checks required a 10-day hold until the check cleared the bank. Once Seller received payment, there was another trip to the post office to stand in line and purchase postage for the item. It was a relief to have the package out of your hands and on the way to Buyer. The package would arrive in 3-10 days and Buyer would typically leave feedback 1-2 days later. A typical transaction took 30 days to complete and all parties considered anything less ‘lightning fast’ shipping.

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Today’s eBay experience is vastly different. For me, the days of listing or buying an item from an auction listing are long gone. I’m more of an instant gratification person and too impatient to wait for a listing to end. I have my PayPal account that I opened in 1999 and I can’t remember the last time I had to stand in line to purchase postage or even drop off my packages. Today, I don’t even have to leave the house; the postal carrier comes to me to pick up my packages! Buyers have greater expectations than years prior and want their packages on their doorstep in 3-5 days. Nobody wants to pay for shipping and the same device that allows us to take pictures and create a listing is the one we bought so we can be reached at any time in any place for any reason.

eBay then and now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig

eBay then and now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig

I don’t remember the first item I sold on eBay, but the first item I bought was a Jewel Tea serving bowl. It was a gift and I have no doubt that it will be back up for sale on the site for a few more bucks that what it was purchased for.

I bought and sold on eBay for many years as a hobby and loved every minute of it. When I unexpectedly lost my job in June 2012, I decided to step it up and see if I could make a real living doing something that I love! I kept busy listing and selling and sourcing and buying while looking for an office job. I went back to work full time for about 2.5 years while building my eBay business to a point where I was comfortable enough to just focus on selling on eBay and not have a second day job. I have met many wonderful people from all walks of life and some I call dear friends. Folks that have shared their business model and success stories convinced me back in 2012 that I could take what I was doing as a hobby and turn it into a real business. I’m grateful and appreciative for the eBay platform that allows me the means to do something I love and enjoy. It is a dream of mine to work at eBay and I hope to be able to cross that off my bucket list one day!

Living in a Museum

Things have slowed as I am waiting  for the house to sell. I am in the process of selling off the larger furniture little by little and hope to have all the furniture from the guest bedroom I refer to as “the 30’s room” sold before the weekend is over. It’s a tedious and frustrating process responding to texts and Facebook messages, arranging times, negotiating price, etc. all to have the potential buyer be a no show.

32I have had some luck as I sold the day bed and trundle with the two mattresses and the  dresser from the 30’s room. I made a few more dollars and have some interest in the other pieces. Here’s hoping people follow through!

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I find I don’t want to do anything in the kitchen for fear of making a mess. I am more diligent about making my bed when I get out of it. And for about a week I was almost paralyzed from doing any work because I needed to ‘mess up’ my office to get stuff done. I have gotten over that fear and managed to accomplish a few things this week…shipping and listing were at the top of the list.

We’re having an open house today so I have a few hours in the morning to finish my shipping and get the house back in order.