Thursday, August 7, 2014

Profiles of Successful eBay Pickers - Kathy Bradley

Welcome to another installment of "Profiles of Successful eBay Pickers." eBay is getting a lot of bad press lately about not being a sustainable business, losing traction as a trusted marketplace, or being inferior to Amazon. I reached out to sellers on my eBay seller Facebook group, which is now approaching 16,000 members, to find sellers who have a proven track record of selling on eBay and maintaining a sustainable eBay business over time.

My hope is that we can see similar characteristics across these profiles and define the qualities of a successful seller, then work to achieve those qualities and reach success.

The criteria I set for participating in this series:

1. Full time eBay seller for at least 3 years. (To show sustainability.)

2. Does not sell on Amazon. (Because they were doing so well on eBay, they didn't need to go to another platform.)

3. Sells inventory purchased at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, auctions, consignment sales or any combination of those sources. Does not purchase inventory wholesale, from liquidators, retail stores, from China, or drop ship. Must be a "picker."

4. Is an "at home" seller.

5. Must be willing to share eBay ID. (Keeping it real.)

Today's star picker is Kathy Bradley.

When did you start selling on eBay?

February, 2001

Why did you start selling on eBay?

I had 4 Sons all in sports at the time and we needed to supplement our income. Ebay helped us to keep them in the gear they needed to be successful through high school. Now 3 of my sons are in the Navy stationed all over and 2 of them eBay to supplement their income for their families.

What is your store name, and what types of items do you sell?

Panoply’s Closet. I love to sell an array of items but we concentrate on men’s clothing more than anything. "Panoply" means “a complete or impressive collection of things.” So, I am hoping our items are impressive in the way we display them so sales are driven.

Do you specialize in a certain niche, or are you open to selling anything? 

Willing to sell anything but men's clothing is our niche.

If you specialize in a certain niche, why?

We spent many years looking for that one item/s that would sell and is easy to sell, pack and ship. My husband has his own site as well and he inspired me to stick to men’s clothing.

How many items do you typically have in your store?

I am trying to get to 500 but at the moment a little over 100

What is your average monthly profit?
(We are focusing on profit here because that's what you get to keep!) 

Since I am just getting back into it full time my profits are a little over $1500.00 a month. Now that I am making this my full time job I am hoping to double that.

How many hours do you typically work a week on your eBay business?

Like any business job I have to dedicate 40+. But,  I am my own boss so I can take the day off or the morning I have to say I do work more than 40+ a week.

Many eBay sellers are being shamed into selling on Amazon, as if it is a superior platform. Why have you never sold on Amazon?

I am willing to learn but I love eBay since I have been doing it for so long. I know people on eBay and they know me. They are repeat buyers. I lot how eBay works over all.

4th quarter can be a lucrative time of year for many online sellers. Have you typically seen an increase in sales during 4th quarter in past years?

Absolutely. When I had my Brick n Mortar store that was our best time of year. People need Shopping money for the holidays and people need gifts! Win win situation!

Do you sell anything different for holiday selling season, or just sell more of the same kinds of things you normally sell all year? 

I sell about the same but I like to try to sell more new items than used.

Do you list more items in anticipation of holiday sales? If so, when do you start this process?

Yes. I try to start that process in August.

Do you have any hired help for your business? If so, what tasks do they do? 

Not at this moment. But when I had to store I had 4 listers. I will be looking for a part time lister come September.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new sellers who want to transition to eBay full time?

Research… Research… and more research. Learn what sells and what doesn’t. You can end up with a garage full of nothing. Also, spend time getting organized (accounting system, storage of items, packing supplies) try to streamline your processes. Makes for a more productive day when your organized.

Anything else unique about you or your eBay business you would like to share? 

I make up my own business "thank you" cards and put them in with my mailings. I have driven re-peat buyers this way.

Thanks for sharing, Kathy, and how wonderful that 2 of your sons caught the eBay bug! 

Be sure to follow this series here on my blog, and make sure you have subscribed to my newsletter for more ecommerce tips.

More successful eBay pickers:

Michelle Farmer

Antique Chic

Nicole Bilbao

David and Rhonda Conner

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