Monday, December 8, 2014

What we look for in the thrift store.

Another boring day shopping for treasures ? Might want to look out for some of these ...

Leather purses ( saddle bag type ) black or brown doesnt matter what brand because good quality leather sells. Those with hardware hanging on them are nice like fossil purses. 

Leather belts, not leather bonded, real quality leather in good condition. Size 38 or better are more popular.

Leather shoes that are in good condition unless you have a repair person that will give you a great deal. No Small sizes, they don't sell well. Size 9 or better are popular for men. Size 6 or better for women. We do especially well with clarks mules for women. 

Leather just about anything is worth a few bucks. We really like leather jackets. Those are the best money. You can make anywhere from 49 to 400 on leather jackets. Look for horse hide jackets, those are the 400 dollar jackets. Bomber type leather jackets are great.

Wool everything. Blankets, shirts, hats, jackets, coats, rugs and suits.

Miss me jeans sell for 40-60 dollars a pair. So do Rock and Revival jeans.

Silver brand and BKE jeans do well for 20-25 bucks. 

Burberry clothing sells good and is expensive.

True religion jeans are very expensive.

That's just some of the stuff we look for and if your just getting started this might give you some things to look for as well. 

Peace y'all
Tony




Tuesday, November 25, 2014

High Risk equal High Rewards and High Returns

Buy high sell crazy higher, yep that is a great feeling when you get those mega sales for big ( over 100.00 ) sales but with those big sales comes the risk of expensive returns. We have recently began experimenting with high dollar items and wouldn't you just know the first sale gets returned.  In a way I'm glad it did because it taught me a valuable lesson in don't spend that money until your past the return date.

Now we normally sell in the 20 to 30 dollar an item range and its pretty safe. You keep around $500.00 in the ole PayPal account and your covered for nearly any amount of returns. With $100.00 to $300.00 items selling you need quite a bit more.  So I have decided to just sit on the cash until we have about $2000.00 in PayPal so we don't get caught short.

This means no spending for a while and that is going to be hard for us as we have gotten real used to having that extra income. I would like to eventually take that to $5000.00 and just keep that as a buffer, an amount we never go past.

On the bright side we have had 8 of those high dollar sales in the last 4 weeks so that's great for us as newbies to the high dollar market. It is going to be probably another 4 weeks before we reach our first buffer goal and can start using our money in PayPal again but at least for me, the peace of mind will be worth the wait.

I am really liking the higher end items as they don't seem to get bought up like the lower dollar stuff does. It's a fun but expensive game.  For us we will spend $25 to make $100.00 and $50 to make $200.00 or more. That's pretty much as far as we can go for now. We have nearly stopped buying clothes unless it's something really good like some miss me  jeans or something.

On a darker note we are having to use our own money (not from eBay sales) to buy new inventory and that sorta sucks but we are building a business and a pickers gotta do what a pickers gotta do :-)

Peace y'all,
Tony

Monday, October 20, 2014

BoWHOza? an online selling experiment.


After just over a month of importing all of my ebay listings to bonanza.com the most insane thing happened... we sold something. Just when I was beginning to think the whole thing was a waste of time and effort, the ole bonanza monster came through for us. 

We sold a sweater for 49.95 and I can now report the following selling fees on bonanza for those who might be interested.

Cost of listing an item - $0.00
Bonanza fee for selling a 49.95 google advertised item - $4.50 ( 9.01% of sale )
Cost of Priority Mail purchased on 2 lb item via bonanza portal - $7.17
Bonanza fee for purchasing USPS priority mail through them - $0.95
Waking up to find I had sold something on Bonanza - $ priceless


Was it worth it? you bet. While we haven't been blowing the doors out, that single sale let me know there is a market outside of ebay which may be difficult for the small seller to get a piece of but it is possible. As we proceed we have our eyes focused on the future. 

Amazon, get ready, your next :-)


Peace,
Tony




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weight Loss the Easy Way


Sit back and listen to a little story I have to tell.

Ok so I'm a male at 54 years of age, I am 5 foot 11" in height and I my starting weight was 227. My health is ok, I take a blood pressure pill and I take mobic for my osteoarthritis which keeps it well under control. I get a check up every 6 months because of my medical needs but I think it's just a good idea anyway. They do blood work on me every visit which gives the doc all my current numbers so he can decide what needs attention.

On my last visit Sep 27th 2014 he said, ok Tony everything looks good but your cholesterol levels are up and I see you have put on some additional pounds since your last visit. I can either put you on a cholesterol pill or you can lose weight which will most likely drop you back into the normal range.

So yeah, heck yeah I'll lose weight, how much,  I asked. 

Doctor says, ohh I think about 30 lbs should do it. Huh? oh wow.

Well this ain't my first rodeo, I have tried diets before and some worked, some didn't and some just scared the hell outta me like that atkins diet. Anyway like I said earlier I have osteoarthritis so most exercise is out of the question. Any over doing it results in an overwhelming pain in my joints. So what to do?

I decided on calorie counting. The hiccup was you get so many calories per day with this or that kind of exercise. So I just removed the exercise and and went with the calories that were left, in my case at my height and weight it called for me to eat no more than 1427 calories per day without exercise of any kind.

I started on Oct 4th at 227, today is Oct 16th so it's been not quite 2 weeks, I now weigh 218 :-)

We love to eat out, over the last 12 days I have eaten at Captain D's 3 times, Pizza Hut 4 times and Movie Star Restaurant 1 time and simply by keeping up with my calorie count I have lost 9 lbs with no exercise of any kind. Pretty sweet.

Now I am a very self disciplined person so this may not be right for everyone but it works for me. One meal a week I get to cheat, and boy oh boy today is the day, haha, I can't wait. We are going to La Fiesta Brava today :-)

Just to be clear, when I go to pizza hut each slice of pizza is counted as roughly 225 calories so I save my calories up for the day by skipping breakfast, just drink a diet coke and at lunch we go to the pizza hut buffet and I have 4 slices 900 calories and 1 big salad with the low cal dressing which comes to about 100 calories and I get unsweet tea and bring my own sweetener with me because I like nutrasweet. The whole deal comes to 1000 calories. so I still have 427 for dinner which is usually a salad 50 calories, a sandwich 250 calories and a yogart for desert which is 60 calories. remarkably easy to do.

At Captain D's I have the grilled chicken dinner which comes to 760 calories. I get the side salad and the plain baked potato as sides. This is a full meal which is downed with a diet coke 0 calories.

I'm not really into burgers but you could do the same thing with burger king, macdonalds, wherever, just keep a running total. I use a iphone app called "Lose It" to keep up with my daily calorie count.

Just an update, after writing this I checked my weight and I have lost another pound so my new correct weight is 217 for a total of 10 pounds lost. Not bad for someone who doesn't exercise in order to lose weight. I'm sure there is someone out there who is saying, yeah well your doing this and that wrong, to them I say pppppfffttt, hehe. I don't care, I'm achieving my goal my way and it's working for me. Am I getting the proper nutrition?  I seriously doubt it, but then I'm not trying to be an athlete or a role model, just trying to lose 30 lbs.

I feel better and to me that's all that matters.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Profitable Experiment .... We Hope

MUAHAHAHA!

So we have been seriously selling on ebay for just over a year now and we have developed a pretty good reputation. All of our items are buy it now and they are the buy it, list it,  store it and wait months for it to sell, kind. 

Me and my wife both have full time jobs and this may sound silly to some but we each get an allowance from our budget each week. Money that is ours to do with whatever we want. Its not huge, only like 50 bucks a week each.

We also have an ebay budget that controls how much we spend on new inventory each week based on store sales. Anyway we were out the other day and had already spent our inventory money on new product when it occurred to me there might be a way to double my allowance.

I told my wife, hey I'm going to buy some things with my own money and try to double my allowance by putting them on an ebay listing. She thought it was a pretty cool idea and decided to invest some of her allowance as well.

The deal was these things would all be on a 7 day auction and would be priced low so they would sell faster and only try to double the invested cost instead of the normal 10 times cost ratio we normally do. So if we paid 3 bucks we listed it for 6 bucks on auction instead of the normal pay 3 dollars, charge 30 dollars ratio.

To make sure this did not interfere with our normal ebay store I created a new ebay ID specifically for this experiment. I finished setting up the new account and listed 10 items (selling limit) and will now see what happens. If it works I will probably continue to do this to increase my own allowance each week. Muahaha 

I will post an update at the end of the first experiment. This new user ID also has no feedback so it will be interesting to see how important feedback is over cost per item. 

Peace,
Mad Scientist Tony 



Friday, September 26, 2014

Buying a store one piece at a time


Me and my wife started our ebay business 2 years ago with little direction and we really just had no idea what we were doing or how it would turn out. We started off buying the most useless junk you ever saw. Then one day about a year ago while trying to find some kind of help, we met, in a virtual sense, Jay and Mikey who were running this podcast called Ebay Scavengers

We were just about to give up on ever getting a handle on what we were doing right and what we were doing wrong before we starting listening to these two guys. They both had already achieved the goals we were trying to get to and were more than happy to share their insights and in the almost step by step how to guide they were laying out, we slowly began to understand. 

Ok this is going to sound a little crazy but after listening to these guys, we just dumped everything we had bought to sell because it was junk and wasn't worth the time of day to even list and we just started over. Jay and Mikey then brought their wives in Wendy and Ryanne and this is when things really got interesting, they were talking about everything we wanted to know and not just vaguely but in detail.

Over the next several months we watched as our small ebay store of 30 items grew to around 500 items and all the while making money we had never seen before. While we still have a long way to go to get to where the Scavengers are we are well on our way and that's when it hit me, we are buying a business one piece at a time. 

Today we are selling around 1000.00 a month even with our small inventory and that has afforded us the means to continue to buy to items and expand our business into new higher priced items. We have around 300 to 400, i haven't counted, things waiting to be listed and are still buying. We are trying to get to 1200 which is our next goal. It's difficult because things keeps selling and our number of items listed goes backwards but this is a great problem to have.

The ultimate goal is to get to 3 to 4 thousand listings, that is for sure in the distant future because we can only add so many things a week. One thing is for sure, if it had not been for the generosity of the ebay scavengers ( now scavenger life ) in sharing their knowledge, I really doubt we would be as close as we are to being independent. 

For now, we will keep buying, listing and listening and God willing, by this time next year I can share what it was like to say goodbye to the boss. Bye for now, I have to go buy some more stock for the business we are building, once piece at a time.

peace,
Tony 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

DEAR EBAY SELLER. DESCRIBE EXTREMELY WELL and DON'T SELL JUNK


I was just thinking about how our ebay business has evolved over the last year and probably the most dramatic change was us getting away from junky items and describing our items the way you would see something described in a sales catalog if there was a sales catalog for used items.


What I mean is describing every single flaw down to the last detail and describing every single positive aspect of that item down to the last detail. We have 100% positive feedback and now we offer 100% customer satisfaction or a COMPLETE REFUND and you know what? we hardly EVER get a return and we sell shoes and clothes ! lol

I bought a better camera the first of the year, I got some background curtains ( white ) and a male and female mannequin and professional lighting and WOW it paid off big time! Great pictures are the best description you could give. I always use up my 12 free photos. 

Me and Deidre listen to Jay and Ryanne over at Scavenger Life religiously and if you haven't checked them out you need to if your going to sell on ebay. Anyway this is something they preach all the time is don't sell junk, sell good quality items and describe them well.

We have just started using an HTML template that I wrote. Yes I can write html because a long time ago in a land far far away I was a webmaster but back then it was way too soon for my skill, back in 1995 hardly anyone in my city even was aware of the internet and my skills were wasted. 

Who knew nearly 20 years later I could resurrect that skill to enhance our online sales. I will admit I am very rusty and some of the code I used back then has been eliminated with html 5 but not so much has changed that I was not able to quickly adapt.

Anyway having an html template makes your description look so much more professional and somehow more trust worthy it seems. At the very least it is much more pleasing to the eyes so if you don't know html it's pretty easy to learn and if you don't want to, then it might be worth paying someone you know to do it for you.

Bottom line is, make your photos look great, use all 12 photos if you can, describe your item leaving nothing out and DON'T SELL JUNK and even with the new stricter rules at ebay you will be just fine. Granted we spend much more time now per listing but when I post something on ebay I have 100% confidence in that item being exactly what my customer expects when it gets to there home. 

I will admit I was kinda worried for a while but no longer, I fell more confident than ever that we will be on ebay for a long long time and I hope you will too! 

I'm planning on going full time in perhaps another year or less, just depends on how long it takes me to get enough listings up. I am only able to list about 5 items a day right now being that I work a full time job but I feel like I am better off going slow and learning more before taking that final step.

If your planning on going full time, I would highly recommend you take your time because there is so much to learn (do research of sold items in your category and follow other veteran sellers in your category, see what they are selling). We thought we both would be full time on ebay by now but after a year of selling we are only now beginning to fully understand the business and we still don't know everything and we are still only at 450 items up because all the new stuff keeps selling, lol. Just goes to show you how much more you can sell with good descriptions, pictures and knowledge of what sells in your chosen categories. 

Anyway, that's it, I was just thinking about this and felt like writing so there you go, I hope someone out there actually reads this thing and gets something out of it.

peace,
Tony






Friday, August 8, 2014

How to tell the difference between Mens and Womens Jeans


Trying to decide the gender on a pair of jeans you bought at a garage sale or thrift store can be tough. Before you can list your item on ebay you need to know what category to place it in so this is a pretty important question.

We use a few methods to make this determination. First thing we look at are the front pockets. If they are deep then they are more than likely Mens. The womens jeans normally have tiny front pockets that your whole hand won't fit into.

Next look at the zipper, if the zipper is really short then these are womens Jeans. The mens zipper is usually longer for obvious reasons. I have read that the womens fly flap sometimes faces the opposite way from mens but we have not found this to be true on most modern jeans.

The final thing we look at is the amount of material in the front of the jeans where the mans package would fit, it they are a little loose in this area then they are mens. The womens jeans leave no room for that and as such if a women is wearing mens jeans they will more than likely bunch up in the front because they have too much material in front.

That is about the sum of it, I hope this helps the next time your scratching your head trying to figure out ... mens or womens? 

Thanks for reading,
Peace,
Tony


Friday, July 25, 2014

The eBay game, two of you will remain and one will be out

In the ever changing world of eBay one must stay on their toes to keep up. It's like those reality shows where their opponents are eliminated for failing to meet the new challenges put to them. I will admit the challenge eBay has just installed will be tough on seasoned vets like ourselves, I can only imagine how daunting a task it must seem for a new seller if not impossible.

We don't like to focus on the negative aspects of eBay however this new defect program seems interesting to us as it becomes active in August 2014 there is the potential to see up to a full 3rd of eBay sellers gone. eBay seems to to obsessed with buyer satisfaction however they don't seem to be factoring in the fact that did they not have so many sellers, the buyers would soon go elsewhere because the sellers that leave eBay aren't going away, just moving to a new venue.

I can see where they would almost be creating their own competition. I mean seriously if a seller has a couple thousand items up on eBay and they are suspended, do you really think they are just going to meekly go away and stop selling? pffftt no, they are just going to find a new place to sell their stuff which could potentially grow a competing site like eBid or bonanza and that is the last thing we need.

Well I'm not on the board of decision makers at eBay so I don't get to have any input into their rule making process but I do hope they are not going to eliminate so many sellers that eBay stops being attractive to buyers. That would suck for all of us. 

You know the old saying if it ain't broke don't fix it, I think that's the case here but we don't know yet how this is all going to play out so hang on to your seat and get ready for one hell of a ride :-)


Peace,
Tony

UPDATE Sep 6th 2014: It seems Ebay has heard the plee's of their sellers and they have eased up a bit. I will say the rules as they stand today are very reasonable and doable. I'm not saying you can just be lazy with a listing but if you follow the rules which are not hard, you will be fine.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SELL SELL SELL

Still the number 1 question WHAT!?? do I sell?

I wish I could give an easy answer to this question but the truth is the answer will be different for most people. Every city, county and state has different resources locally. Things people sell at garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets near us here on the Gulf Coast would be markedly different for someone living in other parts of the country.

For instance you will find no Anthropology clothing labels here nor will you find Dansko shoes here however if we travel slightly west to New Orleans we can find those things because they have outlets there. Ok those may not be the best examples but my point is the availability of things vary based on whats being sold in your area. 

You have to learn to look for things that most people would ignore. FOR EXAMPLE TONY? lol, ok yeah I can nearly hear you guys questioning this. Like I say things vary location to location but for the sake of argument I will give you a very real example ...


Remember this guy? yep its a " My Pet Monster " plush doll from the late 80's like 1986, 1987, somewhere in that era. Anyway it sells for around $400.00 on ebay. See how calmly I said that, lol. Most people would have seen this and said oh wow another dust catcher but because you had the knowledge of the value of this thing you said WOW!!! It's no different with any other category your interested in.

The more things you sell the more your going to learn about what sells and what doesn't sell. Find something your passionate about, do research on that type of stuff and see whats valuable and whats not. Try to get your items cheap and do alot of experimenting and before long you will find many things that do well and those are the things you will always be actively looking for along with many new experiments every week.

I hope this helps

peace,
Tony

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm new to eBay what do I sell?

This is probably one of the most frequent questions new sellers ask. My first suggestion is to listen to the ebay scavengers podcast and read their blog for more inspiration.

What they will tell you and what we have found to be true is follow your passion. Sell things you personally love. Sell things that you find interesting or you will quickly get bored with the whole thing. 

I still crack up when I think about some of the weird things we have sold on ebay like a large pinecone that was found in the front yard, lol. 

The one thing you need to remember is don't sell junk. Make sure whatever you sell is good quality merchandise. 

Hope that helps :)
Tony and Deidre 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mississippi Beautiful

Thought I would share this picture with you guys. While on an ebay buying tour of the Gulf Coast the hours got late and as we rolled into Biloxi I captured this photo. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

If your new to online selling then it can be a bit overwhelming and yes the learning curve is pretty difficult but the rewards are very hard to beat. Working from home, answering to no one other than yourself is the way to live!  In the online world you can get micro vision and only see part of the picture especially if your so focused on learning how to do one thing well. 

Something you should always keep in mind if your planning on making a living from your internet sales is that unless your selling on your own website, you are subject to the rules and regulations of whatever marketplace your committed to, whether it be ebay, etsy, bonanza, amazon or where ever you sell your goods. There is always to possibility you could make a mistake sever enough to get you booted from the site your selling on so the age old saying remains true and strong "Don't put all your eggs into one basket" !

You have to learn to sell your products in multiple markets. NEVER make the mistake of depending on one single source of income from a single market or you could be out in the cold fast. 

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about how you can market your products ...

Local Advertising, we like the free classified paper that is delivered all over our state, the paper is free and gets delivered to all residents. They make their money from advertising. This is a great way to sell your products.

Advertise your goods on craigslist. If you know a local small business person that has a brick and mortar store you can make a deal with them for a percentage of the sales of your goods so you won't even have to meet anyone, just direct your craigslist respondents to that business.

Flea Markets, great way to make money fast. You can even advertise your going to be there on certain dates to get a crowd coming just for your stuff.

Garage sales, an old favorite, time tested and true.

Make your own website, takes time but with proper advertising you can have a thriving business.

And these are just a few ideas just to get you thinking, If you have ideas like these or something completely different then please leave a comment and share with our readers. 

Happy Selling !
Tony