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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How I Got Here

When I first started buying for resale, I was buying a lot of Corning Ware and Vision Ware at local auctions and thrift stores. At the time, these pieces were everywhere - and cheap! I was making a great profit on each piece that I sold. But I was also spending a lot of money on packing supplies, and a lot of time on packing and shipping! Then there was also the risk of damage during shipping. It took me a long time, but I have recently decided it's time for me to move away from these items. Sure, if I find an amber 5 quart Vision Ware dutch oven for less than $5, I'll certainly buy it, but I'm no longer seeking those pieces out. I have moved on to bigger and better things....

Shoes! I made it the whole way through my twenties not giving a rip about shoes. I always bought the cheapest clearance shoes at Payless or Walmart. I didn't really care if they were stylish, or even if they were comfortable, as long as they were cheap!

Then one day in the summer of 2010, I found myself in an upscale neighborhood on a thrifting road trip. I had a list of good shoe brands to look for, but, living in a lower income area, I had never even heard of any of those brands, much less found them in my town's one thrift store. So on this trip, I was very excited to find a LOT of shoes that were on my list! I think on that first trip, I found 15 or 20 pairs of shoes. I was uneasy about investing $6 in a pair of shoes, but I took a leap of faith and bought them all!

Then my sister-in-law, who lives in that town, suggested that I leave her a copy of my list. She offered to shop for me, and she started regularly bringing me bins (plural!) full of these shoes! Of course, the more I listed, the more I was selling. How grand it was to be able to just toss a pair of shoes into a box and ship them! No packing peanuts, no bubble wrap, no worries about damage during shipping. I was hooked!! And an added bonus ... I now have a fabulous shoe collection!!

I began taking road trips more often. Not always to that first town, but always to towns bigger than mine. The last time I was out at my sister-in-law's last December, I brought home *76* pairs of shoes!! My smaller trip in January got me 45 more pairs. I have about 130 pairs currently listed in my eBay store , and a pile sitting in my eBay room that needs listed. I regularly sell an average of ten pairs of shoes a week. But again, the more shoes I list, the higher that number grows.

In the past six months, I have gained the confidence to branch out and increase my risk. I have learned which brands sell quickly, which brands sell for a higher price, which sizes sell well. All of these things help me to decide how much I am willing to pay for any given pair. For example, I know that Danskos sell high, and they sell fast. I am always willing to invest more in them, knowing that I will be able to at least quadruple my money, and quickly. I know that Clarks sell very consistently. They don't sell for nearly as much as Danskos do, but they do sell regularly, so I always pick them up when I see them, as long as the price is right.

I even buy shoes that look well worn! 90% of the time, well-worn shoes are fixable. Don't pass up a good brand name shoe just because it has scuffs or wear. Meltonian Shoe Cream is the most amazing shoe product you will ever use. It is inexpensive and works great. Here is where I get mine. Tina is another of the administrators on eBay Underground and has recently become a Meltonian dealer.

Over on eBay Underground, we frequently extol the virtues of Meltonian. We often post before and after pictures. We compare Meltonian-treated shoe listings against non-treated shoe listings. We even have a video showing how to use it! We are great fans of the stuff. If you sell shoes, you positively MUST check out Meltonian (and eBay Underground, while you are at it!) I don't get anything for saying such great things about this cream. I am just an enthusiastic, avid fan!

So all of this is to say ... do your research. Learn your field, know what sells and what doesn't. Familiarize yourself with average sale prices for specific brands and use that information to make wise investment decisions. Also be aware of ways that you can buy a less-than-perfect item and transform it into something sellable. Don't be afraid to branch out and try something new from time to time. I had my list of five brands to look for, but I recently sold a pair of sandals for $98. It was a brand that wasn't on my list. My sister-in-law saw them and had a gut instinct that they were a good brand. She was right! So don't box yourself in. Be willing to take occasional risks and broaden your horizons.

If you are looking for more ideas of what to buy for resale, come check us out at eBay Underground. We've always got lots of great discussions going on about what sells, as well as other fabulous and free selling tips!

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