Friday, September 5, 2014

Profiles of Successful eBay Pickers - Michelle Farmer


Time for another installment of "Profiles of Successful eBay Pickers."I reached out to sellers on my eBay seller Facebook group, which is now approaching 17,000 members, to find sellers who have a proven track record of selling on eBay and maintaining a sustainable eBay business over time.

There are similar characteristics across these profiles that define the qualities of a successful seller.

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 Michelle Farmer.

When did you start selling on eBay?  

On and off since the beginning of eBay, but full time since May 2010.

Why did you start selling on eBay? 

We had our own business raising crickets to sell to pet shops for reptiles to eat. It was successful for over 20 years but crickets got a virus and it wiped us out along with most of the USA cricket growers about 3 years ago.

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

CricketFarmer, and we sell a mix of everything - vintage soda bottles, kitchen gadgets, toys, and clothing.

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

We focus on collectibles but also men's clothing. We will always pick up anything that catches our eye while we are out picking. The more unusual the better is our policy!

If you specialize in a certain niche, why? 

We are not a niche kind of store. But our focus is collectibles.

 How many items do you typically have in your store? 

We have over 5,300 items in our store. I would love to have 6,000 before the holidays.

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

5-6 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What is your average monthly profit?

Between $4,000 and $9,000 a month depending on the time of year and what we find.

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 have sold some books on Amazon, but never wanted to have my items packed by Amazon employees. I buy a lot from Amazon. Their packing is not up to my standards so FBA is out of the question for me.

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? 

Yes, but in years past, 1st quarter was better for collectibles. (Not 2014.) I am getting ready to get more items in my store for the Christmas rush.

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 vintage kitchen knives and knife sets, puzzles, ugly Christmas sweaters, and vintage elves when I can find them.

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

Yes! During summer I list like a crazy person, stocking my store for the winter months when everyone is inside shopping on their computer.

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

Nope, it is just me. My son and daughter-in-law came to live with us over the winter and I had her listing for me. It was nice but made me lazy. I helped her start her own eBay store and showed her what to buy.

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

Start listing TODAY. List every day, even if it is only one thing. You will have money by next week in your Paypal account. My daughter-in-law just started out 6 months ago and she is not being very consistent but she is making at least $25 a day buying clothes at thrift shops and yard sales. She buys what she likes and it sells. Plus she has a new wardrobe for a little of nothing, when she gets tired of it, on eBay it goes!

Thank you for sharing, Michelle and congrats on your amazing eBay business.

If you have a great eBay story to share - send it in. We can all inspire each other.

Read about more eBay pickers:

Antique Chic

Nicole Bilbao

Kathy Bradley

David and Rhonda Conner

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