Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Here is What I Love About eBay

This is the kind of thing that keeps me selling on eBay for over a decade. After work one day in late August, I dropped by a thrift store who happened to be having a 50% off clothing sale. Of course I spent 2 1/2 hours in there stocking up for eBay. Now, not many people (other than resellers) are going to buy a wool coat in August in Georgia. I found the coat pictured above - a Banana Republic wool and cashmere full length winter coat - for $6.  It is missing the belt but still a beautiful coat with lots of wear left.

My first thought was, "An international customer will buy this." Just my experience selling high quality items with flaws. They tend to go out of the country.

Sure enough, I received and accepted an offer for $70 last night from a buyer in Japan:

So here is the part I love - I happened upon a nice item that nobody in my market wanted, took some pictures, posted it on eBay, and in less than a month it sold to someone on the other side of the world, 6,800 miles away. And I made $62 doing it.

Here is the completed listing so you can take a look.

eBay, thanks for providing a place for me to do this!

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Make Money Selling Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Packets on eBay

I've been selling on eBay since 2003 (almost 13 years now) and this business never gets boring. Something new to learn every day. I read on Money Making Mondays that people were successfully selling Taco Bell Diablo sauce packets on eBay. This "blistering hot" sauce was released on Cinco de Mayo this year. I could not verify that it has been officially discontinued, but there is definitely a shortage as it is showing up on eBay in lots and selling very well.

Prices aren't as high now as they were during the summer. Who knows what will happen once the supply gets really low and people are looking for unique ways to spice up their Thanksgiving turkeys or find that special stocking stuffer for their hard-to-buy-for hot-sauce-loving brother in law.

Prices are all over the place. I am suspicious that Taco Bell employees might be hoarding the stuff because really, who has 550 packets of sauce on hand? Something is amiss here...

Here are some completed listings on eBay for Taco Bell Diablo Sauce:

12 packs for $12 + free shipping (Sold on Sept 20)

60 packets for $24.99 (Sold on Sept 18)

The suspicious 550 packets for $69 (Sold on Sept 8)

So check out your pantry, office drawers, glove compartment, and down between the seats in your car - there could be Taco Bell cash hiding in there! And make sure to subscribe (upper right corner) so you can get more updates like this in your email.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Brand to Sell on eBay - Flying Tomato

Another great brand to sell on eBay is Flying Tomato. Yes, that is really the name.

Thanks to my friend Catherine for teaching me about this one.

Flying Tomato items are usually Bohemian style gauzy dresses or tops with beautiful geometric embroidery around the neckline, down the front, or on the sleeves. You can also find coats and jackets in this brand. Flying Tomato is definitely a niche brand with a following.

eBay shows 448 active listings for this brand in preowned condition.

eBay shows 732 completed sold listings for this brand in preowned condition.

Flying Tomato garment tags look like this:

I've sold 2 Flying Tomato items in the last month. The one pictured at the top of this post sold for $28 + shipping. This one sold for $25 plus shipping:

Both cost me $3 at thrift stores. Keep your eye out for this brand. Subscribe for more brand updates by filling out the box on the top right.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Atlanta eBay Sellers - Do You Have Too Much UNLISTED Inventory?

I keep reading and hearing that eBay sellers have hundreds of unlisted items on hand and they just can't find the time to get things listed. I have the opposite problem since starting a full time job - I have less time to find inventory during the day but plenty of time to list in the evening.  All I can think about is the sellable items in your homes that aren't being connected to buyers. So I wondered.....

If anyone in the Atlanta area is covered up with unlisted inventory and you want to liquidate, let me know. I would be glad to check out your stock and make you an offer on those items. Depending on what you have, this could be a way for you to recover your investment and free up some space. This can be a win for both of us!

If you are in the Metro Atlanta area, and have more than 30 items you want to offload, send me an email at suzanne@suzanneawells.com and let's have a discussion. I hope to hear from you!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

eBay Sellers - Please STOP Doing This!

I'm going to disagree with the USPS, if it fits, it does not always ship properly. I've seen lots of sellers bragging on YouTube and other blogs about how much they can cram into a Flat Rate Envelope (cardboard) and Padded Flat Rate Envelopes. You really need to use common sense. I received this package last week:

See how it exploded? Please folks, think about how your customer is going to receive an overstuffed package. This is NOT cool. This kind of thing leads to low DSRs and bad feedback. Use common sense and use a Tyvek or a box - stuffing a FRE to capacity is not a good idea.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Big Thank You to Sugar B Bakery!

I really love writing this blog. I love sharing information that will help people. Sometimes I will read an article or learn about a product and think, "People will want to know this." I keep notepads everywhere at home, in my car, and at my office so I can write ideas down before they fly out of my head. It is so rewarding knowing that the information here is reaching people and helping them learn something useful.

I also love corresponding with my readers. I get a kick out of hearing from you all on the comments, via email, or on Facebook. It is always great to get feedback (good or bad) on a blog post or topic.

I received some really excellent feedback a few weeks ago when Belinda of Sugar B Bakery in Drew, Mississippi sent me a box of her wonderful brownies. I have to give her a shout out here - these were the best brownies I have ever eaten. (And I've eaten a lot - my friend Marian from high school can attest to that...)

This is from Belinda's Facebook - my brownies disappeared before a photo could be taken.

Thank you so much Belinda for the lovely treat. Ya'll go check out Sugar B Bakery's Facebook page here -or find her on eBay here - she ships pretty much everywhere. Treat yourself to something really delicious, you deserve it!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

eBay 20th Anniversary Special: 20 Minutes for $20

Happy Anniversary, eBay! Have you seen the 20 Days of Deals on eBay commemorating their anniversary? Check it out - there are some really great bargains.

In honor of eBay's 20 years in business, I am also offering a special. This weekend only, September 11-13 get a 20 minute phone consultation for just $20. I'll help you with any eBay topic including:

What to sell
Where and how to buy inventory
Storage and inventory management
Record keeping
Hiring help
Selling internationally
How to identify discontinued items to sell
Time management
Optimizing listings for search
Staying motivated and growing your business

I can also take a look at your store and give you suggestions for improving what you are already doing, or give you strategies for taking your business to the next level.

I'm looking forward to chatting with you this weekend and helping you with your eBay business!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

eBay Sellers - Check TJ Maxx for Final Clearance Deals

Katie was kind enough to share her amazing finds on my Facebook Group last week. She said,

"Final clearance time at TJ Maxx, I just got a bag full of Under Armour bikinis, Lucky shoes, Tory Burch belt, Calvin Klein dresses, and more for $1 each, as well as a new summer wardrobe for myself and my son next year. I don't know if all of the TJ Maxx stores do it at the same time but this is the end of it at my local store. Sure beats secondhand Goodwill prices!"

There was quite a bit of discussion on the thread (134 comments) where sellers were sharing what stores had this kind of final clearance in their area. Katie added,

"I was told every TJ Maxx has its 3 days twice a year, the end of the summer season and end of winter. Last winter was the first time I hit it, and I'm still selling those things. They don't advertise other than their normal clearance ads, whatever's left on Monday will be donated to charity."

Here is Katie's receipt:

Another seller, Sherry, posted her receipt after rushing out to her TJ Maxx and finding a nice haul:

So a couple of things to emphasize here:

1. You will never go wrong helping someone. Sharing this kind of info on these groups helps a lot of people. Knowledge is power - so the more we share, the more we empower other people. (Join my Facebook Group here.)

2. Inventory is all around you - it is really about paying attention. The more you expand your sources of  inventory, the more opportunities you will find, and the more successful you will be.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Downsizing Your Life While Growing Your eBay Business - It Can be Done!

My happy small home!

You may have noticed over the last few months things have been a little erratic here and on my YouTube Channel. I've been busy making some big life changes and getting set up for the next chapter in my life. So here is the back story.

2 years ago, in August 2013, I decided to start preparing for a major life shift. My youngest child would be graduating from high school in the Spring of 2014 and going to college in the fall, so the home I raised my children in, and built my eBay business in, would no longer be needed. At that time, I thought moving to a condo would be a financially wise choice, so I began the downsizing process. I worked through my 3,000 square foot home with 16 years of accumulation, one room at a time. It took 18 months to mindfully and deliberately work through all the "stuff" and keep only things that served a purpose. (And I didn't think I had that much stuff accumulated.)

Downsizing was both a financial decision as well as a quality of life decision - and it's hard work. There is a lot of emotion involved in thinning out your possessions.  From a financial perspective, I was living in a 16 year old home where maintenance costs started to eat me alive. Maintaining a home that size as a single parent is very stressful and time-consuming. And not how I wanted to spend my time - and definitely not something I was good at. It didn't make sense to keep paying huge utility bills for rooms nobody was using, repair costs for all the things that kept breaking, not to mention things like property taxes and HOA dues. Our home had served us well but it was time for a new arrangement.

Also, from a financial perspective, I really needed to start saving more for retirement. As a self-employed person for 13 years, I didn't feel I had saved enough for retirement and wasn't at the benchmark I needed to be at for my age. I needed an aggressive plan to catch up.

My house sold in March 2015 and I moved in with family for a few months while I figured out a plan. My parents graciously offered me a place to come stay and "figure it out" so who would turn that down? I ran my eBay business out of a small room in their basement and kept things going as best as I could while....get this...JOB HUNTING!

I decided a full-time job would be the way to "catch up" financially. Since I don't have small children at home and am physically able to work, why not? I landed a job as the Marketing Manager for one of the most successful real estate agents in North Atlanta. I love my job and the people I work with. It is a win-win. There is room for advancement and part of my job is training new employees so it is a great fit because I love teaching as well as selling. (God was at work on this one.)

So in 6 months, I drastically decreased my monthly expenses and drastically increased my income. I would also like to emphasize that I am ready to embrace a more frugal lifestyle. I no longer use credit cards and am more than happy to continue driving my 2008 model vehicle with 83,000 miles on it. Most of the stuff in my apartment is eBay inventory and that is fine with me. Clutter is emotionally draining and I am on track to become a minimalist - but with an eBay business selling other people's cast off items. Kind of ironic, huh?

I really dreaded the thought of owning real estate at this point in my life. And this may seem backwards to some people, but I moved into a 1,200 sq ft apartment. I am 7 miles from my job, have a beautiful drive to work though horse country sprinkled with gorgeous luxury homes, and have about 10 thrift stores in a 10 mile radius to support my eBay business.

I really love apartment living. Renting is less stressful than owing a home - at least for me right now. I don't have to worry about what is going to break or fall apart next - I can just call maintenance when a problem arises. No more paying to have lawn mowers fixed or worrying if this is the year I need to replace the ______(insert name of expensive major appliance). I can concentrate on achieving my financial goals, enjoy this station in life, and have a little fun in the process.

To include my loyal readers on my journey, here are some photos.This is my kitchen and dining area - small and simple:

I hadn't been aggressively growing my eBay business because I wasn't sure where I would end up and what the storage situation would be. I actually have plenty of storage and can easily quadruple my inventory and still have plenty of room. Here is most of my inventory - I keep it in my bedroom.There are about 200 items in those tubs so plenty of room to grow.

I keep my shipping supplies in a shelving area in the laundry room:

And my workstation is just a simple folding table with my 4 year old desk top computer, printer, and a scale:

I am also making a conscious effort to only sell small items, that I can sell at a high profit margin, that are easy to ship. With less space that means less storage for large items like paintings and lamps, but also less space to store shipping supplies. I focus on clothing, shoes, needlework, cosmetics, small collectibles, and accessories. I really enjoy the process of selling on eBay so that will never stop. Nothing to fear, it is only change.

I also want to say a heartfelt thank you to all my friends and family who helped me on this journey. It was much more emotionally and mentally draining than I could have imagined. Change is hard and scary. But you can do it. I am sure many of you reading this are on the same track and are considering downsizing as you head towards being an empty-nester. Take your eBay business with you - there is no reason not to. There is no shortage of stuff in the world to sell (in fact the waste stream just keeps growing) so we have job security!

If you have questions about this process, I am here for you. Just send me a message and if nothing else, I understand what you are going through!

Happy Selling!

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