Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gourds are Sold as Craft Supplies on eBay

A gourd is a fruit related to the squash and pumpkin. When mature, gourds become very hard like wood and can be used as a versatile craft product. Birdhouses, bird feeders, holiday decorations, primitive musical instruments, ornaments, and centerpieces are often made from gourds.

You can find gourds for sale on eBay. Here is a listing for 6 gourds ready to be used as birdhouses for Purple Martins:

Maybe you are a gardener or live in an area where you can grow gourds yourself. If so, consider growing some to sell on eBay as a craft item. You can also find gourds for sale at roadside fruit and vegetable stands, along rural country roads at country stores, at flea markets, or even at the farmer's market.

Newsletter for Professional eBay Sellers

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vintage and Collectible Buttons

Today's post is by Shannon Paasch of The Recyleista is whose niche is everything vintage. Shannon is a great help on the eBay Facebook Group and often helps other sellers identify and price their items.

Before I stumbled across vintage buttons as an online selling niche, I had no idea of how involved this subject was. I took buttons for granted, as items that hold your clothes together. But buttons have been around a long time and there are many different kinds, made out of so many different materials and a collector for all of them! I first purchased a button tin at an estate sale several years ago and thought, “Sewing supplies. I bet I could sell this on Etsy to crafters”. A few months later, I started going through it and I was hooked.

There is such a variety in the colors, materials, sizes and subject matter of buttons.


Bakelite: an early plastic used widely in the 1920s-1940s for a lot of things, not just buttons. Test for Bakelite using either Formula 409 or Simichrome polish. Click here to learn more.

Early plastics: Besides Bakelite, there are also casein, lucite and celluloid buttons

Mother of Pearl: Not really pearl, obviously, but made from the iridescent inner shell layer of certain mollusks. Look for large, carved buttons.

Other materials include: glass, wood, leather, metal, vegetable ivory, rubber and china.


Figurals or realistics. Buttons made in the shape of real items such as flowers, animals, faces, you name it. They can be made from a variety of materials. There are many collectors for these types of buttons.

Uniform buttons. History buffs are interested in metal uniform buttons from military, police, fire department and other uniforms.

Carved. Look for large (1 ½-2 inches) examples in a variety of materials.

Sparkly, rhinestone. Can be set in plastic or glass or metal. People love their bling and buttons are no exception!

There really is no end to the variety and mix of materials of vintage buttons.

You can buy vintage buttons at estate sales, yard sales, antique stores, flea markets, even on Ebay itself. Purchase large lots and then break them down into singles or smaller lots either by material or color. Often the sale of just a few buttons will recover the cost of the entire lot.

Vintage buttons appeal to collectors, crafters and artists. I sell most of my buttons on Etsy where I can reach all of those audiences. There are many successful button sellers on Ebay as well.

Thanks, Shannon! If you would like to contribute a guest post about your eBay or Etsy niche, send me an email at eBaycoach @ yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Far Side Calendars a Hot Seller on eBay

I was in a thrift store last week and came across a box of The Far Side calendars from previous years. The calendars are in shrink wrap and have never been opened. The cost for each was 30 cents. I took a chance on these and bought all 5 of them. Many of The Far Side items are collectible such as mugs, books, posters, etc., and people will even buy old calendars! Here are a few listings for The Far Side Items - keep your eye out for this stuff when you are out shopping.

The Far Side Book - sold for $56

The Far Side Mug (used) - sold for $29.99

The Far Side T-Shirt (used) - sold for $16.99

Learn more about selling niche products on eBay:

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learn to Expect the Unexpected - Someone Might Move Your Cheese!

How well do you deal with change? Is your future planned around everything being the same as now 5 or 10 years in the future? Adapting to change is critical for survival with any business, especially an internet based business. Things are going to change - that is a fact. Watch this video adapted from the best selling business book, "Who Moved My Cheese?"

This book, a New York Times bestseller, is used by many Fortune 500 companies to teach how to adapt to change. These companies include Nordstrom, Apple Computer, Dell, IBM, Mercedes Benz, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, Time Warner, Morgan Stanley, just to name a few. As a small eBay seller, you must accept that eBay is going to change. Your product line may have to change. You may have to change the way you think about your business. Will you be able to adapt if somebody moves your cheese?

Click here to order Who Moved My Cheese. This little book is only 96 pages and an easy read.

Change occurs whether a person is ready or not!

Friday, June 18, 2010

100% Cashmere Sells in the Summer, Too!

For those of you wondering, "Should I sell winter items in the summer, or wait to list them in the fall?" My answer:


Case in point, this used 100% cashmere sweater (Ralph Lauren Black Label) I sold today, June 17. I found this at a thrift store last week for $4.59. It sold for $49.95 today. The buyer is located in New York, where the temperature was 85 degrees today. My profit on this item is about $43.

Why should you sell cashmere in the summer?

1. Cashmere is expensive and highly sought after. People look for it year round.

2. Some people are allergic to wool and synthetic fibers and will only buy cashmere.

3. If you are shipping internationally, the seasons will be opposite of ours in the 3SA.

4. People travel to locations where the weather is cold - even when it is summer in the USA. Maybe they are going on an Alaskan cruise. Maybe they are traveling to Australia or New Zealand where it is winter right now. Think global not local.

5. It was 90 degrees here today in Atlanta and the last thing on my mind was wearing a sweater - but I still sold this item. Even in the United States, there are locations that are chilly year round. Some people may work indoors where the air conditioning is cold. There are lots of reasons why someone may want a sweater in the summer time.

6. You can often find off-season items very inexpensively as the example above shows.

Expand your mind and think beyond your own zip code and your own climate. You can see from this example that even in the stifling heat of summer, I was able to turn $4.59 into $43 in a week's time selling a sweater. Gotta love eBay!

Learn more about selling all kinds of clothing all year round here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Much Will this Sell for on eBay?

I get this question several times a day, along with:

Should I do an auction with or without buy it now?

Should I do an auction or a fixed price?

At what price should I start my auction?

Should I do a 3, 5, or 7 day auction?

And many others. You don't have to ask me or anyone else - use Terapeak! It will tell you! A research tool is CRITICAL in becoming a successful seller on eBay because you can look at historical sales and make informed, intelligent decisions WITHOUT GUESSING. Your decisions will be based on hard data, not on what somebody told you - and that somebody may not have all the facts.

Look at it this way. You must have the proper tools to do any job successfully. If you were starting another home business such as a catering company, you would make sure you had all the tools to do the job as efficiently as possible. eBay is the same. Terapeak costs $24.95 a month but it can give you a world of valuable information that will prevent you from making costly mistakes or buying products that won't sell.

Sellers today don't know how good they have it. When I started eBay many years ago, we didn't have research tools. We relied on trial and error, intuition, and luck. eBay selling has been refined to a science and Terapeak will help you make more money. For less than the cost of an average cell phone bill, you can have access to information that will help you make money and prevent you from making costly mistakes.

See these articles and videos about Terapeak to learn more.

Terapeak Data - Robert Graham Shirts 70% Sell Through Rate (STR)

Terapeak Data - Remington Razors 54% STR

Terapeak Data - Smith Corona Typewriter Ribbons 81% STR

Terapeak Data - Sure Max Deodorant 86% STR

Using Terapeak to Choose the Best Keywords

Examining STRs on Terapeak

iPhone Terapeak App

Happy Selling!

Research your competition

Monday, June 14, 2010

Selling Vintage Children's Books on eBay

Today's post is by Trish of Birdhouse Books. Trish's niche is vintage children's books.

Vintage children’s books are a fun and interesting niche market on eBay. I have collected vintage children’s book for years (Eloise Wilkin, Lois Lenski, Maud Hart Lovelace, Carolyn Haywood, Wylly Folk St. John), so selling the books was a natural progression. One of the things I really enjoy about selling vintage children’s books online is emailing with buyers who love the books as much as I do.

A few authors who sell consistently well are older editions of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maud Hart Lovelace, Lois Lenski, Dare Wright (The Lonely Doll series), and popular illustrators like Eloise Wilkin, Richard Scarry, Garth Williams, and more.

A variety of children’s books do especially well online. These include:

Pop-Up Books. The pop-ups should all be in good working condition. I always photograph the pop-ups in detail for listings.

Early (original price 25¢ - 29¢) Little Golden Books. With these again, condition is key. Be sure to note any marks or writing in the book.

1930's - 1940's vintage illustrators including Fern Bisel Peat, Eulalie, Masha, and more.

Vintage books about Halloween. (I also sell vintage ephemera, and Halloween is a hot category there as well.)

Vintage picture books prominently featuring a popular dog breed. I usually try to squeeze the dog breed into the auction title, along with the title of the book. A good example is the Marjorie Flack series of books about Angus, which feature the adventures of a Scottish Terrier dog.

Baby boomer vintage school readers including the popular Scott Foresman Dick and Jane series, Ginn readers, Singer readers, and the Alice and Jerry series of readers. These are prized by collectors as well as homeschooling families, who use the books in home classroom settings. Buyers will want to know the grade level of the reader. This can sometimes be found on the spine (Scott Foresman) and sometimes in the notations for teacher at the end of the book.

My best children’s book sale online – so far! – has been a beautiful oversized linen picture book featuring Fern Bisel Peat illustrations on each page. It sold for a little over $300.

It gives me great pleasure to connect readers and collectors with books they remember from childhood. You can visit my store at Birdhouse Books and my blog at Birdhouse Books Blog.

Thank you, Trish for this great post!

Now, think about how many people out there have valuable vintage children's books in their home and they need an eBay seller to turn their items into cash. That could be you! Make sure you are listed in my eBay Seller's Consignment Directory so these folks can find you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Robert Graham Shirts - Hot Item to Sell on eBay

Robert Graham shirts are casual, button front, contemporary styled shirts that sell for up to $275 new at stores like Nordstrom. According to Terapeak, the sell through rate for a Robert Graham men's casual shirt in pre-owned condition is 70% (90 day history). Sellers have reported finding these at thrift stores and consignment shops for $4-$6. Here are a few completed listings - check out the selling prices!

Put this one on your BOLO list and watch for it when you are out thrifting!

Happy Selling,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Walgreen's and Tuesday Morning Clearance Item

I saw these Remington men's electric rechargeable razors at both Tuesday Morning and Walgreens marked down to $12.99. The original price on the box is $39.99. I thought this would be a good item to resell. The keywords "Remington razor" have a sell through rate of 54% on Terapeak:

The average selling price is $13.65. BUT.....here is something interesting. Here is a successful listing that sold for $39.50. Good profit on an item costing me about a third of the selling price.

Below is one that didn't sell. Look at the keywords and how they are crammed together with no spaces and a slash. If someone searched for "Remington cordless razor" this listing will not be found. There must be spaces between your keywords or the search engine can't see them. Also, putting the word NEW as the first word of the title will help you place higher in best match.

This is an example of how research tools are not an exact science. The research pulls from the title of the item, which the seller selects. In other words, if the seller hasn't optimized the keywords, the item may not sell, which affects the sell through rate and the average selling price. The seller may have a very "sell-able" item, they are just presenting it badly. (Granted these listings are slightly different as the first one includes some refills, but you get the point.)

Solution: find a successful listing and make yours like that one. Glancing at the average price and sell-through rate is not going to give you all the information you need. Look deeper. Look at the listings.

Happy Selling,

Research your competition

Monday, June 7, 2010

Smith Corona Typewriter Ribbons - 81% Sell Through Rate

Here is a cool item you may find a garage sales, thrift stores, or estate sales. Typewriter ribbons - specifically, Smith Corona typewriter ribbons. According to Terapeak, these have an 81% sell through rate when offered on a fixed price listing:

You will notice that the price of an individual ribbon isn't very high. Most sellers are offering these in lots of 2 or more, such as in this listing:

You will also see some listings where Smith Corona typewriter ribbons are being sold with the actual typewriter. Add this item to your BOLO list for when you are out scouting items to sell on eBay.

Happy Selling!

The Virtual Peddler: Learn how to make a living buying, selling and trading online

Saturday, June 5, 2010

An International Mailing Miracle!

I had to laugh when I got this package in the mail today. I mean look at it. Completely annihilated. I mailed it July 17 2009 - almost a year ago. Where has it been and what has it been doing all this time? But somehow, the international mailing Gods have returned it to me. I love this note by the post office:

It basically says that the post office apologizes for any inconvenience this has caused and they are continually striving to improve their mailing processes. It is actually very rare for mail to get lost, and those that do usually make it back to me, but not in this condition. Don't let this scare you if you are still considering international mailing of your eBay items.

Visit my post on international shipping for eBay sellers. You can get a free trial on Stamps.com, a free postage scale (keep it or sell it on eBay), and some other goodies.

Happy Selling!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sure Max Deodorant - Discontinued Item to Sell on eBay

Thanks to Tanya for posting this tip on the Facebook group! Sure Max deodorant has been discontinued and is showing up at Big Lots for $1-$2 each. According to Terapeak, This product has an 86% sell through rate. This means that out of 100 listings for items with the keywords SURE MAX DEODORANT, 86 of the listings sold the first time being listed.

Here is a listing for a lot of 7 that sold for $29.98:

So you can see at a price of $1-$2 each, you can make a nice little profit on this item. Also look at dollar stores, CVS clearance, Walgreen's clearance, and your grocery store. Keep those tips coming!

This is the kind of thing that Terapeak can really help with - understanding how well and item will sell before you try to go out and find it!

Research your competition