What I love about having a job as a thrifter is that I can focus on it to make some money and I can back away smoothly to take a break. It can be a very flexible job. I have spent a lot of the last few months focusing on my blog rather than ReSelling. My business account has slowly went down as I have had monthly expenses that still had to be paid. I continued to purchase inventory but I stuck it in cardboard boxes and didn't think much about it. Until now. We need money and I have an office full of items that I can sell. It's time to rub my hands together and climb back on to the eBay wagon.
Some days I love eBay and I almost crave the moment when I check to see how my auctions are going with hope that someone has placed a bid. There are other times though when the fees get to me or customer's complain. I like it when it runs smoothly.
Two weeks ago I started listing again. I started selling again. It felt wonderful to be back. It motivated me to sell more. I had a lot of questions yesterday about how to decide where to sell things. There are quite a few options:
- Yard Sale
- Community email list
- Other online auction websites
Most likely when you make decisions of what to sell, you are out in the field either at a thrift store or yard sale. Time is rarely on your side since there is usually only one of the item and you are wanting to get to the next sale. I try to weight up items in my head as where I could sell it first.
Let's take this owl for example:
Mid Century Modern style owl. It's Resin and made in Japan by Wony. I saw it and liked it immediately. I thought since it has the label I could sell it on eBay but I really wanted it to go to Etsy. When I got home I looked on eBay and found a listing for it. It never sold.
I will say that when I spend the time listing on eBay, I really want my auctions not only to close with a sale, but to close with a high price. It's a lot of work to clean an item, take photos, retake photos (if they turn out badly) and spend the time to list the auction. You also have time invested once an item sells with packaging it and shipping it. Time is money to me and I want the best return for my time.
Because this owl didn't sell on eBay this tells me that eBay might not be the perfect place for it. I will most likely place it in my Etsy store. It's not secret that many items that sell on Etsy could be found on eBay for a far better price. At least the vintage items on Etsy. Etsy is a different market to a different audience. I far prefer selling on Etsy to eBay though. I love the customers and they always seem to really want to shop on Etsy. I get to package items up with colored tissue paper and vintage ribbon and it's an overall experience that brings people to Etsy. eBay can be like rummaging through the discount bins. Or it's trying to get that very low deal on something. That isn't always the case. Many high items sell there too. If I'm wrong about this observation please share your own thoughts with me. Do you have a different take on Etsy vs. eBay?
I paid $6 for the owl and would probably list it on Etsy for around $15.00. Etsy is harder to price than eBay. Ebay is auction style and you can list an item at the price you know that you want to sell it for with hope that it will go up in price. Etsy you have to name your price from the beginning and hope that you priced it perfectly. When I listed a print mentioned below, I didn't really want to sell it so I started the bidding at $24.99. It sold for much higher than that.
Here's another item:
It is a Figgjo Flint covered casserole dish from Norway. I paid $10.00 from the same estate sale where I found the owl. If you do a completed search on Figgjo Flint on eBay you will find that some of their items sell very well. I would probably do best selling it on eBay. I may be able to sell it for up to $50 if not more. It is an item that I think would be very attractive to Etsy buyers too. I love this pattern and nearly want to keep it myself.
When I am buying at an Estate Sale, I ask myself if anyone would be interested in the item that I am considering. If I have a feeling it could be worth money I do a check on my iphone. I can usually get a feeling on the eBay app as to whether something is selling well. I sold a Medi-Rub Massager last week for $64.70. I paid $5.00 for it. When I found it at a yard sale, it seemed specialized. I checked on my phone and found that it was a good seller. I bought it, sold it and made a nice profit.
If an item is very cheap, sometimes I will buy it and research it at home. The Henry Evan's print I mentioned here a few weeks ago sold for $141.00. I didn't research it at the sale because I bought it for myself. I was so surprised when I did look up the name of the artist when I got home.
A huge part of buying to resell is really using your gut. Next I check my gut by using my iphone. I also figure that if I buy something for a couple dollars that isn't worth anything, I can try to sell it at my yard sale for the same price.
The other key is Research. I can't stress it enough the importance of researching an item. Here's an example. I bought two little gold colored spoons two years ago. I researched them immediately but couldn't find any information about them. I put them aside only to look at them a year later. Still nothing. I picked them up last week and somehow I came up with the right key words to search for the spoons. I found that they are called Anointing Spoons. The spoons were marked with CS star FS. I found their name which helped me find the year that they were made. I found all the needed information to list these two spoons. Without this I would maybe have listed them under the title "decorated gold spoons". Instead I listed them with the title: Cornelius Sanders English Silver Anointing Spoons 1902. Through my research I am able to list these with a professional tone as if I know something about spoons. And as you probably know, I don't know much at all about spoons. They don't have any bids yet. Hopefully my research will pay off. If they don't sell I'll transfer them to a 30 day Buy It Now price and probably list them around $75.00.
To summarize, if an item has sold an eBay for a healthy price, I will list it there. I will follow the money first in ReSelling. Etsy to me is more like a well loved hobby. With the number of items in my own store (around 30) I cannot depend on Etsy at this point. eBay is a lot more dependable especially if you list items that you know will sell. I rarely list an item that won't sell eventually. I listed four items last week that sold for a total of $308.20. The money for all but one of them is now in my paypal account and three of the items have been packaged and shipped. I sold two Etsy items in the last week for a total of $13. This doesn't mean I didn't love the Etsy sales equally. At this point in my Frugality I just need more dependable money. Do any of you with a large Etsy inventory have continuous sales?
Did this help? Please ask other questions if this wasn't very clear. I could talk for hours and hours about this subject and it's sometimes hard to know which direction to go in. If you are really serious about ReSelling and want more help than this post, I do offer one to one consulting at my website. I can do either telephone consultation, IM or email.
Drop me a comment to let me know what other areas of ReSelling you'd like me to discuss here.