Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a great holiday week. I am thankful for so many things – my great life, having my own eBay business, my wonderful family, super friends and all of you – my ezine readers! This edition I am going to talk about how my wanted-to-buy ads worked out. Don’t miss reading the heartwarming story about my daughter Indiana. Start thinking about how you can get your kids or other family members involved in your eBay business! Finally, I am going to discuss when you should use a reserve in the “This Week’s Question.”
This e-zine is published every other Tuesday.
November 22, 2005 Volume I, Issue 12
- Wanted-to-Buy Advertisements
- Get your kids involved in your eBay business
- This Week’s Question – When should I use a reserve?
Several newsletters ago I discussed placing “Wanted-to-Buy” ads. I put an ad in my local newspaper, on Craig’s List (www.CraigsList.org) and in the “Antique Trader.” It was very interesting to see what happened and how the three different venues generated three different ways of contact. The local newspaper ad brought phone calls, the Craig’s List people used email, and the “Antique Trader” was all by mail.
My local newspaper ad did generate some interest. I received about ten phone calls and I talked to quite a few people that had dinnerware sets. However, after doing my research I decided not to buy them. It was also kind of awkward not having a store or other business location to meet them in. I wasn’t comfortable driving clear out in the county to someone’s home to examine their items. I probably won’t place another ad like this unless I can figure out a business locale that I could use to look at merchandise.
The Craig’s List ad brought in three email inquiries. I liked the email inquiries better than taking the phone calls. These sellers were pretty savvy (probably checked prices on eBay!) and they wanted too much for their items. However, this was a free listing so I will definitely do it again when I need merchandise. Right now my office is so full that I just bought seven shelves at Costco to hold it all! My grandmother would say “You are loaded for bear!” I think this means that you use all your ammunition when loading a shot gun to shoot a bear. I definitely have enough merchandise (ammunition) to last me a long, long time!
My New Shelves
The “Antique Trader” ad was my favorite. Probably because I got five actual letters in the mail with photos and lists. Just like my grandmother used to get in the 1970’s and 1980’s when she was advertising for merchandise! It was fun. I bought a vase from one gentleman and it hasn’t arrived yet. I also negotiated to buy two wonderful dinner sets from a former antiques dealer in northern California. She and her husband are going to drive the dishes out to the desert and deliver them to me in December. I am paying $750 for the two sets and will let you know how it goes in a future newsletter. I am hoping to double my money on these sets.
I hope that gives you some ideas. Please let me know if you have tried any wanted-to-buy ads and how they have worked for you!
Get your kids involved in your eBay business
Last Saturday morning at 5:55 am the door to my bedroom opened and there was my six year old daughter, Indiana. She was holding her clothes and said “Mommy, I am going to garage sales with you today.” I said “Why?” She said “Because it is fun and I want to spend time with you and Mor Mor” (Swedish for Mother’s mother and this is what my kids call their grandmother). How could I say no to that?
So, at 6:45 am off we went, three generations of antique dealers. My grandmother started me in the business at a young age and she would have been so proud to see us all carrying on her tradition. It was a Saturday full of sales. It really is garage sale season here in the desert and we went to over 20 sales that morning. We stayed out until noon and I couldn’t believe how good Indy was. She never complained and got really quick at jumping out of the mini-van. We had a blast!
She had $5 of her own money to spend and she ended up getting some Christmas presents and a few knick knacks for her room. At one sale, a woman was selling Christmas cards. Indiana is very serious when she shops and she finally decided on one to a “Dear Mommy” and parted with 50 cents for it. That was so sweet—it made me want to cry!
There was a church sale at the Greek Orthodox Church and it started at 9 am. Normally church sales do not open early so we were shocked to find that they had let people in early when we arrived at 8:45. I missed some really great items. There were still some bargains to be had and I made a big pile. Indy came in really handy because she was able to help me by keeping her eye on all of my boxes.
We learned our lesson at that sale and there was another church sale at the Armenian church that was scheduled to start at 11 am. It was only listed in the Penny Saver and not in the newspaper, so we thought there was a good chance it wouldn’t be so crowded. They had signs and balloons all over but no start time listed. It was only 10:30 am but based on what had just happened at the Greek Church, we decided to go by early. I typically don’t do this and it goes against my upbringing (I am a rule follower—not a rule breaker!) However, we went. The doors were open and there were a lot of people inside working so we started shopping. One lady said “Do you work for the church?” and we said “No, we are here for your sale.” She said, “Oh no, it doesn’t start for 1⁄2 of an hour” and I replied “We saw all sorts of signs with no time listed” and she said “Fine.”
I found some great things and made a pile on one of the tables. My mom walked by my pile and thought to herself “Oh no, someone beat us to all the great stuff!” We laughed about it later because it was mine! Anyway, I was all done shopping and Indiana was over looking at the jewelry table. She picked up a Christmas tree pin (She loves Christmas because her birthday is in December) and showed it to me. I turned it over and it was signed WEISS. It was only marked $2 so I decided to buy it. I typically don’t ever look at costume jewelry but because of Indiana’s sharp eye I bought about ten other pieces that day.
When we got home, I researched the brooch/pin and found one exactly like it on eBay that had sold for $86! Wow — what a score! I told Indiana that I would give her 20% of whatever it sold for as a finder’s fee. She is saving up for her birthday visit to Disneyland and her goal is to make $100 by December 11th. We had so much fun watching this auction together and it ended up selling for $152.50! Amazing. I paid her $30.50. She is hooked on eBay and has decided to go with us every weekend. As an end note, I think our pin sold for double the other one for several reasons. I put brooch in the title and the other seller only used pin. I also put Eames in the title and once again this is a very searchable term. Also, it is the perfect time of year to sell a Christmas tree pin.
One of the reasons I decided to share this story with you is because it is never too early to get your children involved in your business. If you don’t have children, involve other family relatives or even your friends. eBay is a very fun business and you can never have too much free (or very low cost) help. Also, it teaches such a great work ethic at a young age and your children will learn by example. Some of the odd jobs that my kids do for me and what I pay them include:
Unpacking the boxes after a Saturday of garage sale shopping
Washing a complete dish set with windex
Unloading the mini-van after a Saturday morning
Sorting eBay items by category—ie. Books, plates
|Many of you have been emailing to find out about my next e-course. It starts in January and once again I am offering an early sign-up special. This would make a great Christmas gift! In fact if you sign up now I will send an autographed copy of The 100 Best to your gift recipient! Click here to sign up for yourself or a loved one at this special price. (To give the course as a gift, purchase it with your own information then send us an email and we will transfer the gift ecourse to the name and email of your recipient and send them the autographed book.)|
This Week’s Question
This week’s question comes from one of my first e-course students! Thanks Robin!
I am about to list a 1920s vintage beaded purse that has gemstones set across the top. It is very unusual, and I think it is worth upwards of $200. So my question is, what’s the best way to list it? Start at $49.99 with a Reserve Price of $200? Or, not pay the Reserve Price fee, and list at a starting price closer to the value. I sure would hate to see it sell low. How do you feel about Reserve pricing? Thanks, Robin
Hi there. I think reserve pricing is great for special items. I noticed that you had good luck with buy-it-nows (bin) on expensive items. I don’t like bin’s for unique one-of-a-kind items because there is no chance for the item to go even higher. I think starting your purse at $9.99, $24.99 or $49.99 ($24.99 would be my choice for a starting bid) with a hidden reserve of $199 is a great way to go. I do use reserves for items that I have a large investment in or an item that may take several weeks to sell. And remember that if your item does reach the reserve, the $1.00 to $2.00 extra reserve fee is refunded. eBay does this as an incentive for buyers to set reasonable reserves. Most of the time, however, I start my items at $9.99 and just let the marketplace price it. I don’t worry about the outcome because it is a numbers game and overall it works out great! Let me know how it goes.
Happy Buying & Selling! Lynn
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at online auction click here.