Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Niche Product – Personal Care Wipes

One of the best ways to build an eBay business is to sell a consumable product. This helps keep your business consistent because the buyers will need to make regular purchases as their item runs out. There are many types of consumable products you can sell, but one slightly unusual one you should consider is personal care wipes.

There is a wide variety of personal care wipes available – baby wipes, of course, but there are also wipes designed to remove make up, wipes for bathing, sunscreen wipes, feminine wipes, and adult wipes. The market has expanded in an effort to make things easier for consumers – and it seems to have succeeded.

The success of personal care wipes has even led to new products. Manufacturers introduced children’s flushable wipes, which led to toiletries intended specifically for children. Existing products have also found new uses. Large pads that were designed to be used by medical professionals visiting patients at home are now being used by soldiers overseas who don’t have access to showers.

Personal care wipes are a growing field. Sales have grown around 6-7% in the US alone. Plus, personal care wipes have higher profit margins than many other products, including baby wipes. This makes them a great choice to sell online.

While selling personal care wipes may seem unusual, it is a field with healthy growth and frequent new additions. Because people are always looking for better ways to do things and ways to make their lives easier, the personal care wipes market is unlikely to go away.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Does Your Home-Based eBay Business Need a License?

As a business owner, it’s important to follow all laws and ordinances. But sometimes it can be difficult to know which laws apply to you. Determining if you need a business license is an important issue that can easily be confusing.
Start by researching the zoning laws in your area. Some cities or even apartment complexes prohibit home based businesses in certain areas.

One thing to keep in mind is the type of activities that take place for your business. If your business receives a lot of deliveries or you have customers come to you, there may be a problem if you rent.

There may still be restrictions if you own your home, depending on your area. The zoning restrictions may also depend on the type of business you’re running. If you work alone and don’t have any clients come to your home, you are less likely to have a problem.

Your business name also plays a role. If your work is considered to be “creative services”, you are not as likely to need a license because you are not required to prove your ability to practice (like a lawyer does). However, if you choose to name your business something other than your legal given name, you will likely be required to file paperwork with the county clerk.

Keep in mind that a business name will not protect you from liability. Unless you form a corporation or LLC, you will be personally liable. If you feel this will be a problem for your business, you should seek the advice of an accountant and a business attorney.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Is There Money Lying Around in Your Barn?

All equine owners need more tack and clothing at some point. Items that are perfectly good - tack you decided you didn’t like (or were just ready to change), or clothing that no longer fits - sometimes need to be replaced. But instead of just getting rid of the items, why not make some money off of them and sell them on eBay? Plus, this can help pay for your new items!

There are a few keys to getting the most money for your item on eBay. One of the most important is to clearly identify exactly what item you’re selling. Items that seem similar (such as curb bits) can have big differences depending on the exact specifications. Include the brand if possible in addition to the type of item it is, plus any other details that may be helpful to buyers (model, color, etc.).

Keep in mind that vintage items aren’t always valuable. While some older pieces may be in high demand, some similar items may have little value. Do your research on eBay to determine exactly what is popular now. If you feel that you won’t get as much money as you should, you can always wait to list your item later. Demand for vintage items varies each year - items that aren’t wanted this year may be very popular next year.

No matter the age of the item you’re listing, it’s always important to do your homework. Be aware of what the current market value of your item is. Brand won’t always be a good indication because many companies have cheaper lines. However, some brand name pieces hold their value very well, and you may be able to sell used pieces for the original purchase price.

Silver items are always worth something, especially pieces from well-known shops. Sometimes silver items may take a little while to sell, so don’t get discouraged if your item doesn’t sell immediately. Just be aware of the value (this is especially necessary so you can choose a good opening bid and/or reserve) and wait for it to be found. Do make sure that you have a good title for your listing. Search for some of the keywords you used on eBay and check how easily your listing is found. If there aren’t many other listings using those keywords, revise it until it’s easy to find.

Make sure to use subtitles when you’re listing your items. They are an inexpensive way to increase the number of views your listing receives. Subtitles are a great place to include pertinent details and specifics about the piece, such as color or size.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Counterfeit Items on eBay – What Every Seller Needs to Know

Designer clothing and accessory sales have risen recently. Unfortunately, sales of knock offs have risen as well. It’s difficult to determine just how many fake items have been sold. Organizations such as the International Chamber of Commerce have made estimates, but are unable to calculate exact figures.

The president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Jean-Daniel Pasche, believes that each year more than forty million fake watches are sold. That’s more than one for each legitimate Swiss watch that is sold.

Replicas may seem harmless at first, but they take away from legitimate companies’ sales. Plus, many counterfeiters avoid taxes and are tied to organized crime. One attorney, Ted Max, says that counterfeit products even helped pay for the first bombing at the World Trade Centers.

The internet has made cracking down on product counterfeiters much more difficult. However, new laws have helped somewhat. Bigger brands have been able to take legal action to seize websites that deliberately chose names similar to theirs. LVMH has also acted against eBay and Google to get them to crack down on sellers and sites offering fake merchandise. eBay especially has taken action to help prevent knock offs from being sold through their site.

My advice for selling designer brands on eBay? If you are not 100% sure of an item’s authenticity or you did not purchase it yourself from a reputable dealer and have a store receipt to prove it, do not risk selling the item on eBay. Not only can you be suspended from eBay, but you will be helping the counterfeit underground by perpetuating the sale of these items. Use common sense!

Coach and Gucci handbags found at garage sales and thrift stores are not going to be authentic. This issue comes up almost on a daily basis with my clients, readers, and members of my Facebook Group. Don’t believe everything you see. There are many, many other safer avenues to take when choosing merchandise to sell on eBay. Avoid items than can possibly be counterfeit.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

3 Ways to Keep Inventory Moving During Slow Summer Months

Summer can be slow for online (or offline) sales as consumers take a break from their normal routines or spend their disposable income on vacations and other seasonal items. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink – meaning you can’t make buyers do anything!. Here are a few ways to keep your inventory appealing to buyers during the notoriously slow summer months.

Consider adding Best Offer to your older listings (over 90 days old). This is especially effective for buyers who want to use combined shipping or who have just bought a different product from you. Even if you choose not to accept many of the offers, adding Best Offer can make a positive impact on potential buyers.

Markdown Manager can also be useful. It allows you to discount items by a percentage (10%, for example) or an amount (like $2). While the discounted price will appear as the normal Buy it Now price in the majority of eBay locations, it will show as a sale price in store search results, marketing emails that you send, your listing, other listings (where it is cross promoted), Watched Items, and in emails that buyers receive about their Watched Items. It will also be shown as a sale price in any promotional boxes in your store.

Markdown Manager can’t be used on auctions. However, any listing is eligible for a free shipping discount. The discount only applies to the shipping option that you added to your listing first. It doesn’t apply to any additional shipping options.

Reduce the fees you’ll be charged by taking advantage of Good Till Cancelled (GTC) listings. By using a longer listing, your items have the time they need to be indexed by search engines. 7 days isn’t long enough for this. Plus, your fees will add up quickly if you restart your unsold auctions every week.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Who in the World is Thierry Mugler?

Thierry Mugler is a French fashion designer. His work can be found in high end department stores. He frequently makes one of a kind pieces for his exclusive clients, and he also has his own factory.

Mugler is known for his futuristic designs and has been called the “prophet of futurism.” He believes that the clothing worn today shouldn’t look anything like what was worn in the past. He says it should be elegant and simple and have a defined shape as well.

Thierry Mugler was born in 1948 in Strasbourg. His design career began when he was 14 when he created an outfit for a friend of his. He was part of a ballet company until he was 19, when he moved to Paris. He worked as a window dresser and then became a freelance designer. His first collection debuted in 1971 and was called Café de Paris. He worked with another designer until the late 1970s, Azzedine Alaia, and was part of another design firm during 1972.

Mugler created his own label in 1973 while he was partners with Alain Cardeuc. He launched a men’s line in 1979. In the 1980s Mugler embraced the Hollywood trend of depicting women as unfeminine, murderers, Mae West lookalikes, etc. In 1989 he transitioned to clothing that was intended to encourage relaxation and to encourage wearers to ignore others’ opinions.

In 1989, Mugler’s collection was based on the shape of various cars. In 1990 he created an outfit inspired by a Picasso painting. He then launched his “scratched” line in 1994, featuring uneven necklines and hemlines. Click here to see completed listings on eBay for Thierry Mugler items. I have found Thierry Mugler items at thrift stores and they are always good sellers on eBay.

Check out my book on Kindle, "What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Sell on eBay."

For more ideas on designer labels to sell on eBay, check these resources:

Thrift Store Items to Sell

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Miss Me Jeans

Friday, June 3, 2011

Selling Medical Supplies on eBay

You may have found gently used (or even new) medical supplies at estate sales, garage sales, or thrift stores. Some of these items are perfectly legal on eBay. In fact, I recently sold this Orthofix Physio Stim Bone density stimulator for $119. This was a sale for a consignment client. This device is used to help bones heal after an accident or surgery such as a hip replacement. With our aging population and advances in medical care, the opportunities for finding re-sellable medical supplies will continue to grow.

eBay does have limitations on the medical supplies they allow to be sold. No drugs or medications that require a prescription (of any kind, including by a vet) are allowed to be sold on eBay. They also ban most medical devices that require a prescription. eBay does allow sellers to offer professional medical devices as long as they sell them to authorized buyers and follow eBay’s requirements.

Here are just a few of the medical devices that aren’t allowed – defibrillators (unless they are available over the counter), implantable devices (pacemakers, ventricular bypass devices, etc.), prescription glasses (except for vintage ones sold only as collectibles), contact lenses (regardless of whether a prescription is needed), and Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) units and accessories. There are quite a few medical devices that are not allowed on eBay, so be sure to do your research.

eBay allows the majority of over the counter medical items to be sold. They do require that sellers not compare or mention any prescription drugs. They also completely ban injectable medical supplies even if a prescription is not required.

Check eBay completed listings in the medical supplies category and educate yourself on the types of items other sellers are successful with.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dixie Highway 90 Mile Yard Sale

Ok, eBay sellers! It is the yard sale to beat all yard sales in the South this weekend! (Thanks to a reader in Georgia for sending this in.) The sale starts just north of Ringgold Georgia at the Georgia Tennessee state line and stretches 90 miles all the way down to Atlanta. The route includes both I 75 and Highway 41. If you live along this route, you can participate in the sale as a "vendor." The sale runs from 7 AM to dusk on Friday through Sunday, June 3 - 5. The weather forecast is favorable for a 3-day outdoor sale with highs in the 90s and no rain.

If you are in or near the Atlanta area, you won't want to miss this one! Die hard yard salers can find lodging discounts at this link.

For details on the sale, the route, and historical attractions along the way, visit the website

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Free and Confidential Mentoring for Your Small Business

If you’re considering starting a small business or are in the beginning stages of one, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many things to consider and a lot of choices to make. That’s where SCORE can be a huge help. SCORE partners with the US Small Business Administration and is focused on helping small businesses and informing and teaching entrepreneurs. They are a nonprofit organization and have been around since 1964. The best part about SCORE? All of their services are completely free. They are made up of over 13,000 volunteers who offer their expertise at no cost. All of their volunteers have years of experience and are equipped to help with any questions a new business owner may have. They have chapters nationwide, so you can find someone to help you no matter where you’re located.

SCORE offers a variety of resources. They offer “Find a Mentor”, which allows you to search for and email one of their mentors – or meet with a local one at one of their chapters. SCORE also holds events throughout the nation as well as offering online webinars and workshops. Events can be a great way to connect with other new small business owners in your area, as well as with more experienced leaders.

In addition to their mentors and other resources, SCORE has a variety of tools and templates available on their website. They offer information and resources to help you increase business, manage your money properly, create a business plan, etc. Learn more about SCORE here.

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