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Monday, November 22, 2010

"If you are bored with life - you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals". Lou Holtz

Two years and nine months, that’s how long it took me to reach my goal of attaining the elusive Silver Star on eBay. For those who don’t know, the Silver Power Seller status is achieved by meeting a minimum sales requirement of $3000 a month for 3 consecutive months.


What did I do to get there? I sold products that I love, to people who wanted to buy them. I researched, read blogs and made some new friends on Facebook who had the same desire. I took my time with my listings, instead of rushing through. I took lots of pictures, researched product trends and sales history. This helped me to make informed decisions with my purchases and listings. This can sometimes be a tedious process, but the more you do it, the better you become at it. You can view my eBay store here.

I am no expert; I am still a student of eBay! What is hot today may not be hot tomorrow and so you may have to adjust your niche with trends. You will have to be flexible and willing to make changes if you are not getting the results that you want.

One thing I did when I was first starting out was to find a mentor. No, not even someone I knew, just other sellers on eBay selling the same products that I wanted to sell. I studied their listings, their sales history and figured out how I could make mine stand out!

The best way to get started is to sell unused items around your house. Then you can take that cash and start investing in new inventory. You will be surprised by what you can sell on eBay. If you can imagine it, someone out there is probably looking for it. There is a market for clothing, shoes, collectibles, antiques, toys, beauty products and more!

If you want to learn more about selling on eBay as well as what products to look for; join our Facebook Group eBay Undergound!

Check out our group listings. We have almost 4000 items for sale on eBay right now!

Happy eBaying!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


It will eventually happen to everyone who sells on eBay, the email from an unhappy buyer. I’ve had a few and have been able to, so far, successfully satisfy the customer. Customer service is important to eBay sellers because this is their livelihood. This is the extra money, or THE money, that helps their families. One bad mark can ruin a seller’s day as they think that it will harm future sales or impact their standing with eBay.

Recently, I had a good friend of mine who sells occasionally on eBay contact me in a panic when she received just such an email. Her customer was dissatisfied with the Coach purse she had recently purchased and used words like fraud and reporting her to eBay. Now let me say that the purse was indeed authentic and new, however the customer was stating there was dirt in the pockets and that it couldn’t possibly be new. Her customer was definitely angry and was letting her know it! Now I actually helped my friend with this listing and handled the purse myself and knew that it was new and authentic. But none of that really matters when you’re dealing with your customer, what does matter is how they perceive it.

The first thing you want to do in this situation is respond quickly as they are just waiting to hear back from you. Give yourself some time to gather your thoughts and then when you are satisfied you have a good response email them back. The customer wants to be HEARD. In this situation, she threatened harsh action because she doesn’t know her seller and doesn’t know whether she is a reputable person and is assuming the worst. You want to acknowledge, apologize, and reassure that you are going to do the right thing!

So my good friend, blindsided by this buyer calls me for help and I say let me help you draft this email. I’ve handled a few situations like this and knew I could help her. Here is what we sent to her customer:

Dear Customer:

I am sorry that you were unhappy with your purchase. I can assure you however that the bag is new, has never been used and that I would never defraud any customer. That said, I always want a happy and satisfied customer. I know the return policy states 3 days; however I am willing to extend this to 7 days to give you an opportunity to send back with delivery confirmation and insurance. Once the bag is received I will issue a complete refund.

I know making a purchase on eBay and then receiving an item that has not met your expectations, especially an expensive item can be stressful. Most sellers are willing to work towards a peaceful resolution because they value their reputation on eBay as well as their customers. Contacting eBay or leaving negative feedback should be a last resort when a buyer feels they have no other options.

I hope I have met your expectations with my service. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me anytime.

My mailing address is:

Kind regards,
Your humble seller

This letter was received well by her customer, of course this was a customized response to this particular situation but you can do the same.

What we did here was defend ourselves a little (not get defensive) but assure the customer that you are an honest person without sounding holier-than-thou. Acknowledge her concerns and even frustration with the situation. Imagine how you might feel after dropping $100 and you don’t get what you think you paid for. Apologize for the inconvenience and then move in for a solution. In this case, it was apparent from her email that she just wanted out of this transaction so we offered a complete refund. But other times the buyer may just want to keep it, but feels they spent to much and the value just isn’t there. Gauge the situation and customize it so that your customer has the power in making a decision as to a solution, don’t just make it for them!

I don’t normally mention feedback in my initial response to a customer, but in this situation she threatened to contact eBay and I wanted to explain the process a little. The process being that you should work it out together and if all else fails, THEN you contact eBay as an arbitrator.

Once you have resolved the problem, then a “thank you” is in order. You can then email back your customer and thank them for working with you, being patient and understanding and also state something like this: “I hope I have turned this into a 5 star experience for you!” Hopefully your customer is so impressed with your service that good feedback will naturally follow.

This approach will not help you against “the difficult buyer”. There are buyers out there who will not care what you do for them and may just be looking for a freebie. They are out there, and fortunately few and far between. When you run across a buyer like this you will still try to work towards a resolution, but it may not be enough to satisfy a buyer like that. In a case like that, you will have to cut your losses and move on.

Many times you can totally turn around the situation in your favor just by following these simple steps. For the record, the customer mentioned above has opted to keep the bag. I guess it wasn’t that bad after all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A picture that sells!

The most important thing you can do to sell your item for top dollar on eBay is to have a great photo. You have to remember that your customer cannot touch what they are buying, so it is up to you to provide pictures so they know exactly what they are getting. The most important picture is the 1st picture. This is the picture that will pop up on all the searches on eBay, and will also “get them in the door” so to speak, whether it’s to look at your other listings or to view your entire store.

Follow these steps and you will have professional looking photos that will make your items stand out from the competition!

I’ve seen plenty of pictures taken from all around a seller’s house, from the dining room table with clutter in the background, from the bed with the busy quilt, the floor in the hallway and the back of a closet door. None of these are very good. They are not professional and are not for serious sellers. The most important thing you can do is be consistent. Being consistent will keep you more efficient. Efficiency saves and makes you money!

If you are selling kids clothes, it is my opinion that you do not need a mannequin. What you do need is a clean wrinkle free backdrop (I use a vinyl black or white fabric) and plenty of natural lighting. If you are selling women’s clothing, I do recommend a mannequin and here’s why. A woman wants to see how the item hangs on a mannequin so she can imagine how it might look on her. You can order a mannequin right from eBay.

Clothing you are photographing should be free of wrinkles, as this will distract the customer and will detract from the garments true beauty. Do not use a flash. It’s not necessary when you have plenty of natural light. Do not take photos at a deep angle. This is almost as bad as photos that are not rotated and you have to tilt your head to the side to view. Hint; don’t do that! Next, focus in on your subject. Take several photos, including close-ups of any special features. Don’t forget the back of the garment! Use the “macro mode” on your camera for close-ups; it’s the little flower symbol on your camera. If you have a shaky hand, use a tripod so that your picture is not blurry.

Once all of your photos are done, it’s time to edit. There are several FREE great editing tools which can be used to enhance your pictures. I use both Google Picasa 3 and Picnik. With these you can enhance the natural color and more importantly, crop the photos. Crop out any excess blank space around the subject. The small block that eBay provides to show off the item should do just that. The image should fill the block. Use these tools to your advantage for professional looking pictures which will translate into a sold item every time!

Happy eBaying!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Could you take these coins off my hands?

I don’t usually mind when people pay me with change at my resale shop, because most of the time I’m short of it. So when my customer asked me if she could pay me $10 of her almost $30 purchase with half dollars, I said sure. Not that I give out half dollars as change usually, but hey, money is money!

She counted out her money and handed me the coins. These coins looked new and even fake to me because they were so perfect. I inspected a few to make sure they were real and didn’t see any red flags.

A few hours later my husband shows up at the shop to take care of some business and asks me if I need him to go to the bank. I say yes, I’ve got a deposit to make and I would rather convert the coins to some other currency. I tell him about my earlier customer and the coins she used to pay with and open up the register to show him what I’ve got. I thought his eyes were going to bug out of his head when he picked them up and began to look them over. “These are silver half dollars”, he says.

I know nothing of collectable coins. I knew they looked different, but frankly got caught up in other things that I normally do when I’m running a business to give it too much other thought. Tom sat down at the computer and started researching these coins and checking eBay for sales. These coins were dated from 1958-1963, were 90% silver and had all the earmarks of being kept in a roll for all those years! My customer that day had literally opened up this roll and then circulated them at my shop. I wonder the story behind the coins, where she got them, how long she had them. Obviously, she had no idea what she was handing me that day with her $30 purchase.

These coins sold last night on eBay for $145.05!

Off to ship…

Happy eBaying!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Working Vacation

My teen boys and I just got back from spending the last 5 days in Virginia visiting my sister and her family. Simply put, we had a blast. I spent plenty of time swimming, bowling, museum touring and socializing, but I just couldn’t let 5 days pass without hunting out inventory for eBay.

I was armed with my Big Lots coupon that was good for 20% off on Sunday only. My sister has expressed some passive interest in eBaying so she was eager to shop with me. We hit my favorite store of all time Marshalls and shopped like two girls do. She spotted some special occasion dresses on the clearance racks and helped me peruse the shoe section. We also headed to Big Lots looking for some discontinued items.

My dad got in on the action too. I had given him a list of items to look for and he headed to a Big Lots near his home and made a little haul. He found some Flex Conditioner and bought all 16 of them along with some granola bars that I found especially yummy. Yes, I am still Daddy’s little girl!

I wanted to get an early start to beat traffic around Norfolk so at 6:30 am we made our way up Highway 13. Now it has been quite awhile since I’ve driven this route and sometimes get nervous when a road splits. I accidentally took the business route instead of the bypass and ended up driving straight through Salisbury, Md. As I’m making my way through town I spot a Big Lots off to the left. I say “look boys, a Big Lots”! They pump their fists in the air and shout, “Yeah!!” Okay, I made that last sentence up, but they were not too upset that I turned the car around because I just couldn’t resist!

Jordan and Nick know enough to appease me when these situations arise. They PATIENTLY waited in the car as I headed in. I always walk past the shopping carts because I’m paranoid enough to think that if I grab one I’m jinxing myself. I headed straight for the beauty products and sitting untouched on the shelves were the mother load of Flex Conditioners. I went back and got the cart and purchased all 34 of them. I only got a few strange looks from the cashiers. I had a great drive home!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Favorite Toy

When my sister and I were growing up in the 70’s we spent countless hours playing with our Fisher Price Little People. My mom could set us up in our playroom or “dungeon” as she liked to call it and it was better than a babysitter. One of our favorite toys was the Main Street Village where we got totally lost in our make believe.

A few weeks ago I came across a lot of vintage Fisher Price toys just like the ones we had and eureka, my childhood came flooding back. Part of me wanted to keep them for myself, but that lasted a millisecond when logic kicked in that the real reason I bought them was to list on eBay. Now fortunately for me, my husband does all the shipping because I don’t really know if I would have the patience to figure out box sizes and such.

I just got my lot listed last night, after 2 weeks of procrastination and am taken the “we shall see” stance on the lot. I started all auctions at .99 cents and I have $15 in this lot. Truth be told I don’t really expect too much, except if that Main Street Village goes for .99 cents I will be devastated!

As for my Build-a-Bear lot, I paid $10 at a yard sale and the lot sold a few days ago for $37.75. This didn’t go as high and I would have hoped, but this is what the market deemed its worthiness!

Happy eBaying!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I love the sound of a cash register making a sale or the end of an eBay auction where you truly are floored by the results! Well my last post was about an antique sugar & creamer set that I scored for just 50 cents at a yard sale. I waited until now to type this post, just to make sure the customer who bid and won this auction would actually ante up and pay for it!

I ran the auction for 7 days and started it at .99 cents. I figured already I had doubled my money so the rest is just a bonus! Seven days and 10 bids later this set went for a whopping $72.00. It’s times like these that motivate you to do more scavenging, sometimes it’s a risk, but no risk…no reward!

Last weekend I found some vintage Fisher Price toys and my childhood started replaying in my mind. I bought the whole lot because I remember researching this angle before and seeing a market for it on eBay. I also snagged a large lot of Build-a-Bear clothes and accessories. Dolls and bears are not my thing but I know there is a market for that as well.

Now to just find the time to get my lots listed!

Happy eBay hunting!

Lesley for Lil*bo*tique

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Excuse me, "How much are these cups?"

My husband Tom and I are so much alike, we both love shopping for deals, we both are neat freaks and we both love yard sales. So the story goes a couple of weeks ago we head out super early on a Saturday morning to scout out the yard sales. I of course am looking for anything I can resell, either at my resale shop or on eBay. My husband, well he’s just looking for expensive stuff dirt cheap. We come across a promising location where there was a lot of buzz, and tons of people shopping. Three women are running this show and they are selling of all things fake stuff…fake Louis Vuitton, fake Burberry, and fake Tiffany jewelry. Oh, excuse me, “designer inspired”. Yes, you can feel my frustration. I am bummed, but I’m nosy, so I move closer to inspect. The prices are around $20-$30 for, I repeat, FAKE STUFF!

That’s when I get the psst from my husband and he gives me The Look. He holds up an antique sugar and creamer set, all sterling silver and numbered. Now this is Tom’s department, he’s naturally drawn to antiques or anything collectible and he especially loves metal items. “They’re not priced”, he says. That’s him telling me to get the price and negotiate. Now after having just witnessed the feeding frenzy and ridiculous prices over FAKE STUF, I wonder how much they will charge for these items.

Having witnessed this scene many times before, I know they care more about what prices they will get for their fakes, rather than the really expensive stuff sitting right under their noses. I ask, “Excuse, but how much are these cups?” One of the women looks up from her table, shrugs her shoulders and says, “Oh I don’t know, 50 cents?”


What a find and an eBay disappointment averted! I bought this beautiful set and at a price that no one would argue is a steal. When we got home we did a little research and saw these same sets selling on eBay from $60 on up.

Isn’t it interesting the value people will assign to one thing, yet devalue another?

Lesley for Lil*bo*tique

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Maternity 2 to 12

Being pregnant is not about being fat or feeling frumpy. It is a once in a lifetime event and though it won't seem like it, those 9 months go fast. So, how do you want to look? Well I've discovered I really like selling maternity clothes on eBay for two reasons. One, it's in demand right now. Two, I feel good providing a new to be mom with something she will probably wear every week. I'm providing her with those favorite jeans from the Gap, that retail for close to $80 and she buys from me for half price. It's a sweet deal!

I'm a firm believer that whether you are size 2 or a size 12 you too can look great while pregnant. Maternity clothes have come a long way in the last 15 years since I had my youngest so I find myself shopping for things I would wear "if I were pregnant".

I've noticed there is a very limited local market selling maternity clothes, they can be hard to find. I think that's why the online market is the rage, it saves the expectant mama the trouble of driving all around town, only to be discouraged when she finds something she loves and the retailer doesn't have her size in stock. Shop on eBay and your size is almost always in stock, and at the right shipping price you just can't go wrong!

Lesley for Lil*bo*tique :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Downsizing or just plain ready to let go of stuff?

If you are downsizing or are finally ready to part with those favorite pair of designer jeans that you swore you would fit into by Memorial Day, then it's time to start the process of letting go. First ask yourself how much you think the item you have is worth, now be honest! Not just worth to you, but to someone else. The world of eBay is a very big place and maybe, just maybe there is someone out there who is looking for the item that you no longer need. It's a win-win situation, by turning that item into cash for yourself, and also passing that item along to someone who could really use it. It's environmentally friendly too, and that's a good thing!

Lesley for Lilbotique :)