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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Featured EBUG Member - Rachael, The Thrifty Picker

Our group is growing by leaps and bounds! We have many, many new members. Some post often, some just read without posting much. I'd like to start learning more about our members, so I'm resurrecting an old blog feature. I re-present to you, our featured EBUG member feature!

This week, I've gotten to know a little more about Rachael.

Rachael sells on both eBay and Etsy (Vintage Dreams NE), and she blogs at The Thrifty Picker. Let's take a peek into her life:

My name is Rachael, I am 33-years-old and live in Omaha, Nebraska with my husband and Doberman dog. I graduated with a business degree from the local University and have earned an additional certification in the medical field.  I work part time in a doctors office and the rest of the time I thrift, blog, resell, and take care of my hubby, home, and dog.
How long have you been selling on eBay?
Since June, 2011.
Why did you start?
My mother cleaned out her attic and gave me all of my childhood items. Some I kept for my future children and some I decided to sell on ebay because they were considered vintage and/or collectible. I listed things like Barbie, My Little Pony, and vintage baby dishes. They all sold, and quickly too! About this same time I started to decorate our new home on a shoe string budget and came to love Goodwill, estate, and yard sales. While searching out décor, I would find tag-on or barely used clothing, and unique vintage items that I knew I could flip for a profit. That is when I really decided to give the reselling business a go.
I had a computer, internet connection, and a junky digital camera. I added a scale and some packing tape into the mix and I was ready to roll. The risk and overhead were low. I gave it six months and it paid off! I ended up well into the ‘green’ at the end of the year and that was even with buying my first DSLR camera and a bust form mannequin to better photograph my wares.
In the first 6 months of reselling, I opened an ebay and etsy store, and started a blog about thrifting. I have over 100 ebay and etsy transactions combined. I am just shy of power seller status on ebay. My blog began in September and I just reached my 60th follower.
Do you remember the first item you sold?
On ebay it was a set of vintage Rainbow Brite lacing cards and on etsy it was a vintage Lucite necklace.
What keeps you going during slow sale periods?
Marketing my store and encouragement from other resellers.
When it is slow, I use that opportunity to create treasuries, tweet about items that have been in stock for awhile, and post on etsy team pages.
 When I first started my ebay and etsy stores, I met a few other resellers via the blogosphere. If I ever feel I am in a slump and want to hear some reassurance from others in the business, I send them a quick email or facebook message asking them to take a peek at my store for a quick critique or just ask them for encouragement.  I recently joined the Ebay Underground forum and find this helpful for tips and encouragement too.
Tell us about your favorite buyer.
I had an ebay customer who bought a vintage Precious Moments ornament that said “our first Christmas” right before the Holiday. She emailed me and told me she had received this ornament 30-some years ago when her and her hubby had just married. She was putting it on the Christmas tree and accidentally broke the keepsake ornament. She thanked me for having the item in my store and available to her as a replacement to the original.
Another favorite is an etsy customer from Australia (my first international order) who bought a vintage tag-on Mad Men style dress from my shop and then wore it in a vintage ‘look’ contest. She was so happy with the dress and she sent me a photo of her wearing the garment while on stage at the contest.
Tell us about your worst nightmare buyer & how you handled it.
Gosh, I haven’t had any terrible scenarios to date, a couple of annoying buyers/bidders though…
Back in August, I had a lady tell me a shoe was not as described. She said I listed it as a 6.5 but that she always wears 6.5 and this shoe was definitely not a 6.5, even though it was printed right on the shoe! It was a size 6.5 and I stated this in the description and they were new shoes so they weren’t stretched out. I assured her that I did not misrepresent the item and told her to send them back for a refund. She never sent them back and I haven’t heard from her since.
Another annoying one was a non-paying bidder who claimed he never bid on the item even though he outbid a few others for the item. He claimed someone hacked his account. The transaction was cancelled, and I relisted and sold it for more than I would have originally.
What was your best sale?
I found a pair of never worn, current style, Salvatore Ferragamo loafers at a yard sale for $6 (yes you read that right!) and sold them for $99 plus shipping. Woot!
What purchase for resale did you buy that turned out to be a big mistake?
I try to find my items for dirt cheap, so I haven’t lost big on any items.  But, I have vowed to be more picky going forward and to turn away chipped items or clothing with any sort of wear. I know now that pristine items can be found so there is no reason to settle. 
Do you have a niche? What is it and why?
Ebay: Tag on or barely worn designer clothing. I myself am not a label whore, I wear what fits and what looks good. But if I can find thrifted designer pieces, I am all over that, for myself and the shop!
Etsy: Functional vintage pieces. It has to look good and serve a purpose.  Kitchen items and clothing in good vintage condition make up the majority of my shop.
What is your favorite thing to watch for when you’re out thrifting?
For me personally and for the shop, vintage Pyrex.
Tell us one thing you have learned on eBay Underground.
The post on ebay store vs no ebay store gave me the knowledge and courage I needed to open my own.
Anything else you’d like to comment on?
What I have learned about reselling is that it is not just about listing, selling, and shipping. You also have to take good photos, write enticing descriptions, network, and keep up with trends and industry news. 
Thank you for letting us get to know a little more about you, Rachael!
Be sure to stop by Rachael's eBay and Etsy stores to check out her goodies, and drop her a note on her blog while you're at it!

If you'd like to be one of our Featured EBUG Members, please drop us a line and we'll get you on the schedule!


  1. thank you for doing this feature jessica! i am happy to answer any additional questions you or the ebug readers may have. drop me a line here or over at my blog :)

  2. Oooh! Great write up! I love The Thrifty Picker ;)

  3. thanks you guys and appreciate your support!

  4. Awesome answers, Rachael! :) Great job!