Hi everyone! Happy Thanksgiving. I hope yours was great. Ours was, but I couldn’t figure out how to heat up the turkey. More on that later.
- Lynn Recommends: Live Boot Camp
- Special Announcement: How to Use Markdown Manager to compete with the 10% Coupons
- Feature Article: My Five Top Tips for Flatware
- The Queen’s Update: We want to hear your stories
This ezine is published once a week.
December 4, 2008 Volume IV, Issue 44
Sometimes it is hard to be under a microscope by writing this newsletter. Of the 15,000 ezine subscribers we have, about 1,000 of you also subscribe to my eBay newsletter. Which, by the way, I don’t usually send out. Although I should utilize it more often. But where am I going with this? My friend Mark Furrer would want to know.
So here is skinny, I got an earful from a few of those eBay newsletter subscribers because nine emails went out on one day. OH NO! The reason for those nine emails is the reason for my special announcement this week. So please read that section to learn more about Markdown Manager.
We have had some cranky customers lately and I have decided not to let them bother me! I am going to have the best holiday season ever both on and off eBay. In fact, I have been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping at garage sales. I have found some really fun and sentimental items that are going to be great as gifts this year. Most of my friends and family read this so I can’t say exactly what they are, but I have found a lot of vintage Disney items for one person in particular.
Check out this vest that belonged to a Disney employee. The vest is going to be a present for Houston even though he says “He isn’t into vests anymore.” We will see. Indy and I got it at a garage sale in the Bing Crosby mobile home park that is called Blue Skies. They had their first ever park-wide garage sale a few weeks ago. It was awesome.
I hear that Bing Crosby built this park for himself and his friends. The streets have names like Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, etc. One of the mobile homes was built just like a Chinese temple. It was soooo cool.
I found some amazing things in that mobile home park: Tiki mugs from latitude 20 degrees in Torrance, CA, and an EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) blue decanter that my friend Elaine Henderson of www.PatternGlass.com helped me identify as S Repeat.
Check it out here.
It has a lot of watchers but no bids yet.
I got it and two small cordials for $3.
Our holiday season is starting off great and Thanksgiving was really nice and low-key. It was just Houston, Indy, and I and we spent the day trying to figure out how to heat the already cooked dinner I purchased at Stater Brothers for $47.99. Can’t beat that price. I finally called my mom and we got the turkey in the oven. I didn’t know how to tell if it was cooked but Houston told me to use a meat thermometer that he “apparently” knew about. It was a miracle and we are still eating leftovers!
We also got to spend a few days at Disneyland to celebrate Indy’s birthday early.
While we were there, I went on one of my favorite rides: “The Pirates of the Caribbean.” I love looking at all that Pirate loot. It reminds me of what my grandmother’s antique shop used to look like. While at Disneyland, I got a phone call about two estate sales that I went to this week. I took Indy with me as my helper.
We ended up getting lots of treasures and some pirate loot. Well, pirate loot to me anyway. Here is a picture of a sterling silver set that I paid $1,000 for. Can you believe I did that?
This sterling set is what motivated me to write my feature article this week: “Five Top Tips for Flatware.” Buying this set also motivated me to get it listed quickly and recoup my large investment! Don’t miss this article.
Finally, business is picking up and I am happy to report that December looks to be on track to be a great month (both on and off eBay).
The best news is that I am actually going on vacation (a week from today) to South Padre Island for a short trip. Yipppeee! Well, I had better get going and get A LOT of items listed so that I can relax on my vacation. (That will probably never happen–I am already thinking about taking my computer so that I can write my fourth 100 Best Book.)
Happy eBaying! (And Happy Birthday PG!)
Many of you have called or emailed to find out when our ONLY Live Boot Camp of 2009 is going to be. We have confirmed our dates and it is going to be Friday, August 28th, Saturday, August 29th, and Sunday, August 30th at the world-famous La Quinta Resort! If you can believe it, there are only 15 seats left! And five of the nine who are coming are return students. Too much fun!
By holding it the last weekend in August, we were able to negotiate super great room rates for all you future students and the resort will not be very crowded. We will also be able to get the meeting rooms that we want.
Here are my 2008 Graduates!
Don’t you want to be running with us next year? I want to see you in La Quinta. Please let us know if you didn’t receive your special invitation. Contact us here.
November was not a great month for me and it is usually a $12,000 month. I started to get worried and analyze my business. I was selling a ton at auction and barely anything from my eBay store. Not normal!
I finally figured out that the money eBay decided to save from advertising this year and put into the 10% coupons was hurting our store business. The Coupons are only good on Auction items. So because of one very awesome Queen’s Court member, I decided to take 10% off everything in my store. (She told us in our phone call last month that a 10% discount was better than a 40% discount and that a 10% discount totally helped her sales.)
Well, eBay automatically sends out an email to your eBay Newsletter subscribers when you post a sale. That is the reason for the nine emails that went out in one day. I finally figured out that you can uncheck a box at the bottom of the page where you create the sale so that the emails do not go out. Oh well! Too late for that now.
Here is a little Fitz and Floyd Bunny that sold for 10% off. Another benefit is that I had three other similar ones and the same bidder took all 4. Now that was a nice multiple sales encouraged by the 10% off!
See the bunny here.
If you have an eBay store you can use Markdown Manager to put certain categories on sale. If you have a basic store you can put 250 items on sale per day, a featured store 2,500 items on sale per day, and if you have an anchor store 5,000 items on sale per day.
That is the main reason I did not change from a featured store down to a basic store. Most of my categories have more than 250 items in them and I wouldn’t be able to put entire categories on sale—I would have to go in and handpick 250 items per day to put on sale. Not going to happen–too time-consuming.
Unfortunately, my dinnerware category has 3,100 items in it, so I wasn’t able to put that one on sale, but I did get everything else listed with a 10% discount. It is really helping sales.
Check out this beautiful bowl that sold for 10% off. It had been in my eBay store for quite some time!
Here are the very easy instructions to use Markdown Manager.
To create sales in Markdown Manager:
- Go to My eBay and sign in if required.
- Click the “Marketing Tools” link on the left side of the page.
- Click the “Markdown Manager” link on the left side of the page.
- Click the Create Sale button.
- Choose when you want the sale to start and end.
- Choose your markdown percentage
- Pick with store category you will be putting on sale
- Don’t forget to uncheck the “email your newsletter list” if you are doing multiple sale creations on one day!
- Once a sale is created, you will receive a success message. If you are scheduling more than 200 listings in your sale, you will receive an email to let you know when your sale is created.
Hope that helps your sales as much as it did ours!
‘My Five Top Tips for Flatware’
by Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
I don’t typically spend more than $10 for items to sell on eBay. Well, I will go up to $100 for a good flatware or dinnerware set but never to $1,000. However, I did spend $3,000 on an Alfa Romeo car once and that is an experience that I do NOT want to repeat. (By the way, that Alfa Romeo car will show up in my fourth 100 Best book that I am working on.)
But I digress, back to my $1,000 flatware set and why I bought it. Here are my five top tips for flatware.
1. Always buy sterling silver flatware when you can get it at a reasonable price.
Now many of you may be saying, “Lynn, you are crazy, $1,000 is not a reasonable price.” But please take a look at the paperwork that listed the price.
There were 94 pieces of sterling silver and 15 of those were serving pieces. As I pawed through the box I saw some really unusual serving pieces. Serving pieces from the early 1900s that I had never seen before. I quickly did the math and knew that $10 per piece for sterling WITHOUT monograms is a fair price.
I knew that I wouldn’t be losing any money and most likely double my money pretty quickly. I have only ever had two sterling sets that I’ve sold on eBay. One was a stardust mid-century modern pattern that my grandmother had given me and one was a set I bought at an estate sale for $500. Both sets sold very quickly. Some pieces sold at auction and then the rest sold out of my eBay store within three months.
I bought the set but didn’t notice until today (when I was writing it up on my I Sell sheets) that about 35 pieces did have a monogrammed FR. Bummer! Oh well, I would just have to adjust and take that into consideration. No letters are best, one letter would have been OK but two and three letters are a harder sale.
2. Identify your flatware pattern
Luckily, I asked the person who I bought my set from the name of the pattern and he knew. It was Marie Antoinette. Boy did that save me some time. I walked around the sale typing in the pattern on my phone to see what it was worth but I didn’t have Internet access. Oh well, I had already decided to buy it based on the average price per piece being about $10.
The maker of the Marie Antoinette pattern turned out to be Dominick and Haff. I had never heard of them but there is a category for their sterling on eBay and I read somewhere while doing my research that they later became known as Reed & Barton. Strangely enough, that ties right into the Rebacraft (Reed & Barton flatware) from last week.
After my Thanksgiving email with the Rebacraft flatware picture, my dad called me within 15 minutes and he had identified it for me as La Femme. I have that listed now and bids on four of the auctions. It is already paid for and making me money.
Here is one of those auctions with a bid.
I have two flatware sets on my eBay table now that I can’t identify. Here is a picture of the stainless Rogers set that I am going to email to my dad for identification along with the silverplated Sheffield set I can’t ID. I’m not wasting any more of my time if my retired father wants to help!
Just remember, identify your pattern before selling it.
3. Identify the type of pieces
This was really fun for me last night as I worked on this set. There were some amazing pieces that I had never seen before.
Visit the auction here. I think that it is a jelly spoon.
I think that this is a tomato server. Replacements
calls the tomato server one of the
most beautiful pieces of flatware ever!
I think this is a cake fork.
I love the fact that this pattern was originally made in 1917 and that back then they had utensils for almost anything imaginable. It makes the research and the selling and so much fun!
4. Never sell flatware as a set–sell it individually
Always break your flatware out into individual auctions or into sets of two to four pieces. Most customers on eBay are not looking for entire sets but are looking to add to their wedding set or a set that they inherited. Or maybe they just lost too many teaspoons down the disposal!
I broke my sterling set out into 94 separate auctions and I did it all in one day. Now that is a fun way to get to my magical 100 number of auctions.
5. Price it at about 1/3 to 1/2 of published prices
I try and price my flatware at about 1/3 to 1/2 of published selling prices. As an example, my 94 auctions starting prices ranged anywhere from $9.99 to $99.00. The total starting auction prices for my Marie Antoinette pieces add up to $2,550.00. Now let’s hope they all sell!
Here is one of the auctions with a starting bid price of $24.99. It had a published price of $45.99. I thought that this was a salad fork but it turned out to be a dessert fork because of that extra bar. (You don’t want to drop any of your desserts, do you?) I learned a lot of new things when listing this sterling set!
See the auction here.
Finally, if you want to learn more about research and pricing–my two classes at eBay Live were filmed and available on “The Road to eBay Live” DVD. It is being offered this week at a special low price if you don’t already own it. Click here to learn more.
Check out this nice email I got from Jean Doyle (whose question we answered in the DVD set):
Hey Lynn, Carmen and Mo,
I just finished watching the DVDs of “On the Road to eBay Live.” I am so impressed with all the work each and everyone did to make that all happen. And to you Lynn for taking the time to get all those questions that were sent to you answered had to be quite an undertaking. And time consuming. My question was one of them.
I loved the way you handled my question, and you gave me the stamina to move on and not worry about the competition that I felt was on eBay.
Once I get back on my feet, I am going to go back out there and hit all the garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores that are out here near my home in Florida. Having fun while doing it. I plan on joining the Queen’s Court with my proceeds. LOL.
Thanks to you all for all you do for us fellow eBayers. Especially to you Lynn, the time and effort you put into your career, you are certainly motivating and inspiring. I know your grandmother was an inspiration, but you are just as inspiring to all.
Regards, Jean Doyle
We are looking for your eBay success stories to share with our ezine readers and possibly make it into a book of our reader’s best eBay stories.
A big thanks to everyone who has already submitted a story! We are looking for more great stories of your eBay adventures. We know there are many great tales out there, so please submit your story along the lines of the stories from the 100 Best Books and a great side story with photos will help. If we use your story, you will receive a $35 merchandise credit on my website and you will have your story featured–along with your user ID–in my ezine! It may also eventually end up in a published book!
By the way, when I mention my ezine readers’ user IDs with links to their auctions–it actually helps their sales! Amazing how that works. Click here for the guidelines for submitting your stories.
eBay PowerSeller and third-generation antique dealer, Lynn Dralle, is the creator of Boot Camp in a Box, the home-study course where you can learn to implement the Dralle Method to maximize your eBay profits.
If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this step-by-step course that is guaranteed to be the most complete and enjoyable guide to selling on eBay that MAKES YOU MONEY.
Read all about it here.
The Queen of Auctions also offers articles, teleseminars, how-to books, tracking guides, DVDs, eBay Boot Camp training, and other resources to help entrepreneurs make their eBay business a six-figure sales machine. Click here to learn more.
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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 an online auction click here.