Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All About Loveys


If you aren't familiar with a "lovey," you might want to start looking for these. A lovey is a small, very soft blanket with a sweet little plush stuffed animal attached to it. Think security blanket. Loveys have been a hot item on eBay for many years and can sell for very high prices because some are limited editions or not made anymore. When a toddler loses his lovey, or it is just too used and gross for mom to stand it anymore, parents go looking for a replacement on eBay. Here are some completed listings for used loveys- check out the sold prices!

Fisher Price vintage loveys will sell for the highest price.

Not vintage, but really, $125 for a blankie?

Wishpets is another great brand to look for.

And of course,everyone recognizes the Gerber Brand.

A tip on finding used loveys at thrift stores- look in the toy section, linens, baby section, and those baskets and bins of stuff above the children's clothing racks. Sellers have reported finding these at thrift stores for less than $1. Also check at children's consignment stores and sales. Look for new loveys at stores like Marshalls, TJMaxx, Ross, and Babies R Us.

See all completed sold listings for used loveys on eBay here. They are listed under both the baby category and the toy category.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

8 Reasons USPS Might Have Lost Your Package

Last month, I used USPS Parcel Select to send a large 25lb package from Atlanta to Florida. I knew it would take longer than Priority mail, and this was on the heels of the gigantic holiday backlog where USPS was overwhelmed with packages. After a few days, I checked the tracking info and saw that the package was in Memphis. Ok, why did it go 400 miles in the opposite direction? It was supposed to go South but it went West.

We have a couple of very knowledgeable and helpful USPS employees in my Facebook group who explained what goes on when packages go missing or are re-routed in weird ways. This info might be helpful to sellers left scratching their heads when a package is off the radar.

1. Human error. Package gets put on the wrong truck. Bad addresses. Illegible addresses. No return address on the package. Always put your return address!

2. I have had a couple of packages this week that I could not scan as Arrived At Unit (Post Office) because the tracking bar-code and printed tracking number were destroyed. Those packages were delivered but the scans will never show it.

3. The address label was not taped securely on the box. If it gets separated with no packing slip inside, it is gone. I don't know where it is sent. My office sends our undeliverable letters to Atlanta. I sent three cards today. The families had moved and the senders did not use any return addresses. The senders will blame the po for stealing their card and/or the contents. We are not allowed to open anything to see if there is an address inside. I would be fired if I opened someone's mail....unless I am checking a Media Mail package. You would not believe the stuff people ship as media. We recently had a huge box that was shipped as media. It was potato chips. We shipped it to the addressee as Postage Due. Books do not rattle or make funny sounds with you shake them. Jigsaw puzzles are not medial mail.

4. The volume of packages in December was the heaviest our office has ever had. A normal day will have between 150 and 250 packages for 4 rural routes and 4 to 20 packages for the po box section. Before Christmas, we delivered 803 packages in one day. They carriers were delivering in the dark. UPS and FedEX took a beating in the news media for late packages. Don't wait until the last minute to order a child's Christmas present. It may or may not make it in time.

5. Traffic accidents. Every time I see a news story or photo of an accident involving a tractor trailer from USPS, UPS or FedEx, I wonder how many packages were lost or destroyed. Airplanes carry packages too. Weather is a huge reason at this time of year. BRRRR. It is cold outside today... Happy we did not get any snow.

6. We have also switched to wireless for the scanners. I think the bugs are still being worked out. The carriers have to link a cell phone to the scanner so the tracking info will be in real time

7.  Don't use tampon boxes to ship stuff to your customer! Just saying... Or used pizza boxes, grease stains and all.

8. I almost forgot theft. There are people following the trucks as they deliver packages. The driver leaves the package on the porch and someone steals it after he drives away. Those scans would show delivered.

And a few words from our trusted Postal employee:

"I am proud to work for the US Postal Service. I am more than happy to help anyone if I can. I have been working some long days since November. The volume is finally returning to normal. Hopefully the delivery delays will stop. You can call 1-800-ASK-USPS and open a case for your damaged or missing packages. If that does not work to your satisfaction, contact Consumer Affairs.

Working where I do is the main reason I started selling online on eBay, then Amazon. I have the best of both worlds! I met some wonderful eBay sellers when they stopped by my post office to mail their packages. Now I help them. It makes me feel so good when a customer walks in and tells me that they are so glad that I am working the counter because they have a question or a problem. I don't know all of the answers. But I know how to find them. Check the blogs or Google it."

Thank you to our Post Office Goddess for taking the time to share this information and helping to educate us. It is good to know what may happen once the package leaves our mailbox.

Related Articles:

Is recycled packaging appropriate for eBay?

Marking international packages as a gift

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

There is Money in Pajamas - Really!

You read that right! If you aren't checking out the sleepwear section of your thrift store, you are probably leaving money behind. Several brands and styles of sleepwear are good sellers on eBay in used condition. Some brands you may not be familiar with because they are private label brands and only sold through direct marketing like at home parties or on shopping networks.

My new class, Level 2 of The Profitable World of Pre-Owned Women's Clothing is 60 minutes of specific details on 3 more profitable categories in women's clothing - skirts, shape wear, and sleepwear.  Learn to make the most of your time in a thrift store and how to cherry-pick high profit items faster. I'll also explain some interesting micro-niches in these categories and point out some customers you may not know you have - and how to market to them for more sales.

The first class launches Thursday, January 23 at 1 PM Eastern time. Cost to attend is $47.

(I recommend Level 1 of this class as a prerequisite, since it contains basic info on selling used clothing, measuring, and other fundamentals. This is just a suggestion, not a requirement.)

If you can't make it to the live class, contact me through the box on the right and we can make arrangements for you to purchase the audio+video recording, as well as the PDF of the presentation, and the class notes.

Related Articles:

Level 1 - The Profitable World of Selling Pre-Owned Women's Clothing

Learn to Sell Children's Clothing on eBay

Learn to Sell Groceries on Amazon

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

But I Figured Nobody Would Want That!

I finally got on the technology bandwagon and changed over from DIRECTV to a Roku. I already have Amazon Prime, so I can use the Amazon Instant Video account I'm already paying for, in addition to the free channels on Roku. The problem was my technology was, how can I say this, prehistoric.

In the family room, I had a ginormous 27 inch TV with a picture tube - and only one cable input on the back. The DIRECTV box had been configured through an DVD/VHS player. Hey, it worked fine for many years, why change it? Because DIRECTV charges such a high monthly fee for terrible programming. A Roku costs around $50, and you can get free programming or something like NetFlix or Hulu for about $8 a month. New year, new plan.

 This old TV was my Craigslist curb alert yesterday.

So I went to Target, got the Roku box, and was ready to hook it up. The Target associate assured me it would work through the DVD player and I wouldn't have to get a new TV. Why buy something you don't really need, right? So I hook it up.....nothing. Blank screen. I called my personal help desk, my 17 year old son, and he couldn't see that I was doing anything wrong. Then I called the Roku 1-800 number and got an overseas customer service rep, who was reading a script and was useless. Then I went on the help forums, and some very patient people asked me a bunch of questions about the model of DVD player, inputs on the back, etc. Apparently, my old DVD/VHS combo (made in 2003) had some kind of blocking technology that was interfering with the Roku. Ok, really? This was supposed to be easy.

I ended up having to buy a new TV because technology had surpassed my old crappy set up.We got everything working, finally,and I have a pile of dead tech on my kitchen table. The eBay DNA kicked in... I went on eBay and looked up the DVD/VHS player, only to see that the model I have sells for between $60 and $80. Sweet. That bad boy went up for sale yesterday.

I called DIRECTV to cancel my service, and they only wanted the access cards back, not the receiver boxes. Apparently, mine are too old and obsolete and the CSR said to either throw them away, donate, or recycle. Again, thinking eBay...the DIRECTV DVR box we have sells for about $50. Again, really?

I was really thinking nobody would want this junk. Oh, and the remote controls sell, too. This business amazes me every single day. I don't know why people want obsolete technology, and I don't need to know. Maybe buying for parts? So put this on your list of things to look for at garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales.

What have you sold lately that you can't believe anyone would want? Please post in the comments below. Have a great day on eBay!

Related Articles:

Vintage Flip Clock Radios

Vintage Rolodex Sell for Over $50 on eBay

List of Vintage Items to Sell on eBay

Friday, January 10, 2014

Podcasts for eBay Sellers


There is always something new to learn about selling on eBay, and podcasts are a great way to learn by listening. Most podcasts can be downloaded on iTunes now so you can listen while you workout, drive, or do any other activity away from the computer. Several podcasts have come and gone over the years, and some require sign in or membership. Here are some free regularly updated and informative podcasts:

eBay Radio - Great info from eBay employees, sellers, and reps from third party services like Auctiva and Kabbage.Sellers can call in with questions. And if you would like to be interviewed or are doing something new or different, Lee and Griff are glad to have you on. Just email them with your news or information.

eBay Scavengers - New in 2013. Trash to cash podcast by two couples who sell on eBay for a living. Laid back and no-hype approach. Very entertaining and informative. The eBay Scavengers have creative ways of sourcing and have developed a unique approach to a full-time eBay business.

And yours truly, Online Selling with Suzanne Wells. Most popular episodes are "You sold WHAT on eBay?" which focus on  random but surprising items that the average person may not know can sell for good money on eBay.

Did I miss any? If you have a favorite eBay related podcast, please leave a comment and I can add it to the list.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sometimes, You Just Can't Do It on Your Own!

Your to-do list is long. You work hard. But there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. Thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales are constantly calling your name - you must get your hands on those items fast, because you know how to flip them for a nice profit on eBay. You can't let those opportunities go ignored. But you really need someone to list all the other eBay items you have already purchased while you get you get out there and round up the next batch of goodies. And you also wouldn't mind having someone come in a few times a week to ship your items so you can catch up...

Does any of this sound familiar? It is a frustrating cycle that many eBay sellers experience - the dreaded "inventory bottleneck." Finding great items to sell is never the problem, getting all those great items listed is a common challenge many eBay sellers face. Too much to do, not enough time to do it, and the cycle never stops. Next thing you know, your family is emailing the TV show "Hoarders" about you!

What's that saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." To break the cycle you have to change something. Maybe its time to hire some help - and even that task sounds overwhelming because you have never had to do that before, right? Where would you find a helper? How much do you pay them? What kind of skills do they need? What tasks to you give them to do? What are the legal concerns?

I've been listening to sellers express the inventory bottleneck frustration for many years now, and have created a solution. All of these questions are answered in my new downloadable course, Keep Your Business Growing. This course offers real world advice on how hire help and break through that financial plateau with your at-home eCommerce business. I partnered on this course with eBay veteran Miriam Otto, who has 3 eBay stores (3,000+ items in one store alone), and was able to double her profits by hiring a few college students. The course includes:

  • 60 minute multimedia recording
  • 68 page e-book filled with notes, tips, and necessary links
  • Personal insights giving you the practical how to steps to keep your business thriving
Immediate download so you can start this process NOW, get caught up on listing, and start making more money for your efforts. Cost is $39.

Monday, January 6, 2014

eBay Seller Success Story - From Homeless to $250k

I had the pleasure of meeting John Chartier on my Facebook group in 2013. He is an inspiration to us all. Here are the facts:

John started selling on eBay in 2006.

He has 5 eBay stores.

John, his mom,and his and wife work the business.

Last year, he surpassed $250K in sales through all of his eBay ventures. Here is a screen shot of his Paypal financial statement for 2013.

 Here is John's story, in his own words.

John and his wife.

 "I am no success by far, I fail more often then not, and I am humbled by the chance to tell my story. In 2005 after being homeless and living under the boardwalk in Atlantic City NJ, I got back on my feet, first through temp jobs, and then through selling vacation certificates on Ubid and a few other sites. I moved on to porn where there was more money so I thought, my morals bothered me, but it kept a roof over my head. In late 2006 I gave everything I had away, except what would fit on my motorcycle. I had a yellow sleeping bag a tent, and a laptop. I started riding for soldiers killed in action. I rode all over the east coast more than 100 in total. I promised each mother I met I will carry their prayer cards with me where ever I go.

Many times I was broke and hungry. God always provided a way for me. When in Florida I got a call to come home, my mother needed me to help with her husband who was dying. I came home and took care of the man I call Dad now, he slept a lot and I needed to keep busy.

John's inventory storage area - a tractor trailer.

I started selling flags, what a mistake. Probably the biggest mistake of my life. I really didn't know what I was getting in to and I still don't. I keep my business from being as successful as it could because I am not a businessman. God has blessed me and everyday adds to it a little.

When Dad died, Mom and I had a long talk and she told me she had to work full time for the rest of her life because of her financial situation. I told her to retire and come to work for me. She could run my business. She has been a God send to keep my business going. I have learned over the years of selling that is WORK. If you want a million dollars to fall in your lap and all you are going to do is sit and play on Facebook, dont waste your time on eBay it won't happen.
 Inside the tractor trailer.

Knowledge is the greatest thing you can do for your business.  My products are how I pay my bills so I take the time to learn them. Once you feel you know enough to get by, spend at least an hour a day reading more. I read everyday, I find something in every article I read, I also read Facebook often, but if you notice only a few times to I get real invovled, usually it is to help someone out or start a discussion on a topic. I want to get a wide array of input.

 Typical day's orders, ready to ship.

The best tip I can give is to use a kitchen timer when you work. Set it for 55 minutes, work, 15 minute break, set it again for 55 minutes, and you will be amazed at how much work you can get done. Do this for a year and see where you are. The 15 minute breaks are now 5 and the work periods are 2-3 hour stretches.

Finally I built what I have by reading and asking, I didnt take no for an answer. I just kept pushing forward. When I make a mistake, first I own it, it was my fault and mistake. Next I learn from it, what not to do, then I move forward from it, either fixing it or trying not to repeat it. Sulking and crying isnt going to get you anywhere, admitting your mistake will get you further ahead... your choice."

 eBay paid for John's 2012 Infiniti.

Visit 2 of John's stores here:

EHT Flags

 James 1-27

If you would like to share your story, please contact me using the box on the right. The more we share and help each other, the more successful we can all be.

 More eBay Seller Success Stories:

Stay at Home Mom Tiffany Nabors

From Librarian to Top Rated Seller

 Stay at Home Mom Karen Wilson

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Get Organized for 2014

It's January again, and time to talk about goals, plans, and getting organized for the new year. 

If you haven't taken the time to set up a book keeping system for your online business, January is the perfect time to start. Vickie Stewart, who teaches our Bookkeeping Basics class, offers an easy, user friendly book keeping spreadsheet to track your ecommerce sales and organize your inventory and expense information. I've been using the spreadsheet for 2 years and it is very handy and easy to use.

The workbook is set up for eBay and Amazon sales yet could be easily adapted for any sales channel. This bookkeeping solution features separate pages for:

- Inventory (FBA & On-Site)
- Monthly Sales Tabs
- Year-End Sales Totals - Both eBay/Amazon Tabs
- Combined Year-End Sales Tab
- Expenses Tab
- Profit Loss Tab
- Sales Goal Tracker
- Mileage Log

Vickie also has included 45 minutes of tutorial videos, so even an Excel novice can use this tool. The user-friendly tutorials are included when you purchase the product and each step or feature has its own 5 minute video, so if you get lost, you can easily find the instructions you need. It's like having your own Excel tutor right on your computer.

What's also great about this tool is that you only buy it once - this is not a monthly subscription. Once you have purchased the spreadsheet, you will also receive yearly updates as Vickie continues to fine-tune the product. The price is $29.97 , and Vickie is offering a 25% discount to  my readers. Just use discount code SWTAX25 to get the discount, good until January 31.