Monday, December 30, 2013

A Puzzling Post

I've always liked doing puzzles and I used to buy a lot of puzzles to sell until.... one day I realized that a 1000 piece puzzle does NOT necessarily have 1000 pieces. It might have 999 or 1002 so counting the puzzles' pieces did not guarantee they were all there. What!? The next puzzle I sold, I built before I sold it to guarantee it was complete. Since then my inventory of puzzles sat as I don't have the space and time to build them. Recently, before Christmas I decided to list some 'as is'. I listed the ones that were collectable thinking I could maybe still get a decent price for them. Well they haven't sold yet but it got me thinking about puzzles again and I decided to write a post and share a few things I've learned about selling puzzles.

1. Obviously the most important thing I learned is that just counting the pieces isn't enough to sell it as complete. You should build it or specify that you haven't built it and can't guarantee that it is complete. I've seen very collectable puzzles sell for a lot of money even with missing pieces.

2. Some puzzle manufacturers will replace a missing piece. Here is a contact list of companies that replace pieces.

3. Most thrifts have the puzzle boxes taped shut so it is hard to know if it is in good condition unless you undo the tape. I'm always scared someone is going to catch me and yell at me LOL but usually I pay no more than a couple of dollars. 

4. Used puzzles can go for $100s even $1000s of dollars. It's worth it to learn the most desired brands and keep an eye out for them. Take a look at completed listings on ebay and sort by price.

Some good brands to look out for are. In general wooden puzzles seem to be more valuable.

Do you buy or sell puzzles on ebay? 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Best Sales this Week

I had 16 sales this week. I was reading the Ebay for Business Facebook Page and the question was asked "what is the highest number of sales you had in one day".  Some people were answering that they have gotten 50, 100, and MORE! sales in ONE DAY! And here I am with my 16 sales this week.... Better than none and I've had some weeks close to none so I'm not complaining. On to the best of the week.

The best sale was this vintage letter sweater. I got this for $2 at an estate sale on half price day. It sat waiting to be listed for at least 6 months. I do that a lot with things that seem like they will get a higher price. I need to stop that....I think it's perfectionism. I feel like the better items I need to research more..set the price perfectly so I procrastinate. Anyway...even with a broken zipper and a small hole it sold for $34.99 plus shipping.

Next up are these Muppet Ornaments. Got them in a big plastic bag of ornaments which cost $2 for the entire bag. One of these ornaments had the end broken off the skate but they sold fairly quickly for $19.99 plus shipping. Now the rest of the bag of ornaments are total profit. 

Last but not least I got these Amish salt and pepper shakers for $1. They are signed. Sold for $19.99 plus shipping. 

What were your best sales this week? Did you have good sales the week of Christmas or did things die down? 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow ebay sellers. My Christmas wish for you is that you enjoy a day off from listing but that the sales continue to flow as you make money on a holiday ebay style! I had three sales Christmas Eve and am hoping for at least one today so I can just shake my head and smile at how it works.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Name That Tune?

Does anyone recognize the song that this music box plays? I think it was Pam who identified my last mystery music box tune. Are you there Pam?

Edited to Add: I found a resource where you can listen to tons of different music box songs here. Haven't found it yet but am trying. For some reason they all remind me of horror movies....

Edited to Add: A Wonderful Reader recognized the song and generously let me know. YaY! It is a hymm called Down from His Glory.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tweaking your Title

So I'm a big believer in the power of good keywords and the powers of tweaking. It seems like when I'm actively listing, printing postage or tweaking my listings I get a sale. It might just be coincidence but I figure that it doesn't hurt anything to be listing (good), printing postage (good) or tweaking...right? All good or harmless activities.

So this morning while I was tweaking I noticed something I haven't noticed before. I don't know if it is a new feature or just one I never looked at. If you go to one of your listings and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page you should see something similar to the pic below.

Where it says More to Explore is a list of related/suggested searches. When I looked closely at these suggestions it dawned on me that I should be looking at these also as suggested keywords for my title. After all, if the ebay search engine is throwing these out in relation to my listing then they must be connected...popular....good keywords for my product. Of course not always true.... but worth looking at. So I went through a few listings and checked the suggestions at the bottom. A couple of the listings I looked at had some good alternative keywords for my product that I hadn't thought of. I promptly revised a listing and added those suggested keywords. See the pictures below of the before and after.  I added the keyword "animal" Not a huge change but one that makes sense.

Title Before...

Title After..

While I was doing this I sold another item. Yeah! Which is the side benefit of tweaking.....At least in my superstitious heart but also I'm hoping I'm improving my title at the same time by adding keywords that ebay relates.

The other interesting thing I saw down at the bottom of my listing which I hadn't noticed before are suggested ebay guides. It was kind of interesting to see which guides were suggested and I actually saw some that I'd like to take a look at related to items I sell. So I might learn some things from ebay's suggestions as well.  Have you ever written any guides? I haven't but have thought of doing one. I just don't feel expert enough...

So these are just some things I noticed this morning while putzing around. It always takes me a while to really get to work in the morning but I try to at least be doing selling related putzing until I get to the real work LOL. This normally involves checking to see if I sold anything overnight. Checking my Pinterest board...checking my blog and the sidebar to see if any of the reselling blogs I follow have updated...etc etc. I can usually putz for an hour while I drink my first cup of coffee and get motivated to get out of my warm bed.

So I hope my theory works. I'll let you know in a later post whether I can tell or not...

Happy Sales to You :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Best Sales this Week

I bought this Morgan Silver Dollar belt buckle at a thrift store. It was on a belt and priced at $2. I sold the belt separately for 15 dollars and it sold pretty quickly. The belt buckle took quite a while to sell. I had it priced higher but finally took a decent best offer of $40 with free shipping.

I love buying weird plush if it's cheap. One thrift store I go to has a bin of free plush. I guess they get too many plush donations. I've gotten a couple things out of the free bin and sold them. This plush wasn't free but was weird and big...and cheap. It is called Togepi and is a Pokemon character. Something I didn't know until I did some research. I paid a couple dollars for him and he sold for $29.99 with stained feet. I washed him but his feet just wouldn't come clean. Here is is.

Next up is a Stratego game. I loved playing this game as a kid. This edition comes in a wood box that looks like a book. Alternate Versions of Stratego are good sellers.... check out completeds. Mine had a lot of wear to the box so I priced it quite a bit lower than the others that were listed. It sold pretty quickly for $24 plus shipping. Oh it was also missing one piece which I bought from another ebay seller for less than $2! How cool that you can do that. 

Good luck with your sales this week!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Global Shipping Change

Just read on the ebay for business facebook page....there has been a change to the Global Shipping program that allows you to use it only on the countries you want and choose your preferred method on the rest of the countries you sell to.

I was not using Global Shipping previously because I didn't want to use it on every country. I was hoping to just use it for certain countries that I was not selling to because they weren't covered by Shipsaver Insurance. For example Russia and Mexico. I had excluded those two countries and now can add them and use Global Shipping. I'm happy that they made this change and hoping to see an increase in my sales. Follow the links if you want to learn more about the change.

Do you use Global Shipping?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Best Sales This Week

Vintage Olympus Typewriter - I've sold 3 vintage typewriters in the past couple of years. The first one was damaged during shipping. I hadn't insured it so I had to give a partial refund. They are a pain to package up weighing about 20+ pounds but can be found pretty cheap and sold for a good profit. This one did take several months to sell. I almost discounted it last week for Black Friday and resisted and it sold this week for full price! $149.00.

Ladies Skechers Work Shoes - paid $15 for them and I thought they would be worth more but I still made a decent profit. Sold for $39.99

Haflinger Wool Slippers - bought these for myself a few years ago and only wore them a couple of times. Paid a lot of money for them because of the brand. Sold for $34.95 but spent hours picking my dogs white hairs out of the wool with a tweezers....just sitting around they'd gotten pretty hairy. So those are my top sales for the week. It was a pretty good week. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Reflections on Selling

Today while I was working I was thinking about the reasons I like to do what I do. Below are my top ten. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

1. If I want to stay up late one night, I don't have to suffer in the morning to get to work on time.
2. No alarm clocks necessary.
3. I live in Wisconsin where nice weather is hit or miss, especially in the winter. If it's a beautiful day I don't have to sit in an office staring wistfully out the window. I can decide at a moments notice to go do some work in the yard and enjoy the weather and soak up some sunlight.
4. I can have other responsibilities that I would not be able to assume if I had a 9 to 5 job.
5. I spend absolutely zero dollars on a 'work wardrobe'. There is no dress code here. In fact some days I start work before I've even brushed my teeth or hair! How's that for perks?
6. Like those in Mexico if I want a siesta after problem!
7. If I want a glass of wine while I work...pop the cork.
8. Noone is breathing over my shoulder.
9. I can change things up whenever I want. "Brilliant" ideas don't have to be run by a boss. I can decide to start selling whatever strikes my fancy. If it doesn't work out I don't risk a bad review or potential raise. This allows the creative juices to flow freely.

11. Thought of one more that can't be left out. I don't have to get up and scrape car windows and get in a cold car every morning of the winter. Woohoo!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Recognize Blown Glass

Yesterday I learned something new from the thrift store lady checking me out. I'd purchased a very pretty and heavy glass mug which didn't have a price tag on it. I always get nervous when things don't have a price because some stores won't sell it to you I guess because they think you may have taken the price tag off yourself hoping for a better price? Or maybe they don't trust the clerk behind the register to price something. I don't know. But the person at the register quoted me 10 cents for the glass which I was thrilled to pay. The person bagging up my things said "you know that is a hand blown glass, you just got a great deal". Now I always act kind of naive about the things I'm purchasing so that I don't appear to be buying to sell but in this case I really didn't know it was blown glass. So I asked her as there didn't seem to be anything special about the glass mug. How could she tell? She was very nice and turned the mug over and showed me a circle on the bottom that is called the 'pontil'. It is where the piece was attached to the glass blowing rod. Here is a website that explains more about pontils.

My Mug

So I'm always learning more about selling. It's fascinating and you never know what subject you're going to get an education in next or where the information will come from. Sometimes it is from another shopper, sometimes from a blogger, sometimes from looking an item up on ebay. It's always a free education :)

Do you know anything about identifying blown glass or other handmade items vs factory made? What are the little 'tells'?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Parcel Select vs Priority

I don't know if it's just for top rated sellers or if everyone is getting it but I think everyone is getting a USPS shipping discount for the holiday season if postage is purchased through ebay?? So assuming this is the case..I've noticed lately that with the discount priority is usually significantly less than parcel select. In some cases by a couple of dollars or more. Something I just shipped was 2 dollars less when I checked priority. So when you go to ship your packages make sure you double check to see if there is a less expensive option.

I always offer parcel select in my listings which people often choose. On their end they don't see that I get a discount on priority so for them parcel select is a little cheaper. I feel a little guilty then to turn around and profit on shipping but they are then upgraded to a better shipping option...So anyway, make sure you check.

Sales have been good lately but this weekend was not what I hoped for out of the Black Friday weekend. And so far Cyber Monday has garnered only one sale.  Last week I had a $500 week which is awesome and what I want to achieve every week. I hope things pick up this week and I have another $500 week. Starting off slow though.

I really need to get listing. With Thanksgiving dinner, a movie and a coffee date I've spent more time playing when I should have been listing.

Below is an interesting little plate that I have not listed yet because I have very little information on it. If you can help please do. So far I've found out from a Facebook group that the front is in Latin and says 'they leave' or something similar. It's a small plate about 5" across. That's it for now. I hope your Black Friday sales were better than mine!!