Monthly Recap — October 2015

Another quick post! Here are my October numbers. Last year, October was my best month. This year– not so much!

I took a week off during the girls’ fall break from preschool, and then I was really slow to get back on track the next week. The dearth of new inventory was reflected in my sales. If there’s one thing I know about eBay, it’s that you have to keep feeding the beast if you want to keep seeing results. I try not to keep much unlisted inventory on hand, since I don’t have a lot of storage space, but when I miss a week of shopping, I don’t have anything to list!


Number of items sold:  48

Average selling price: $28.90

Total profit: $775.73

oct 2015 p&l

And, because someone usually asks: Click here for my review of Easy Auctions Tracker, the spreadsheet I use to keep up with my income/expenses.


Here’s to hoping I can turn things around during the rest of the year! We’re planning to buy our first house early next year, so every little penny I can save will help, I’m sure! From everything I hear, there are always so many extra expenses when you buy a house. I’d love to have a nice big cushion to take care of those surprises!

Montly Recap — August and September 2015

Hello! So, I took a bit of a blogging break and didn’t mention anything here (although I did on Instagram) which is really annoying–so sorry!

I am just coming out of the first trimester of my third pregnancy, and it has been a doozy. There has been a lot of sleeping in, a little ebaying, a lot of frozen yogurt eating, but not a whole lot of blogging. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I am starting to feel better, so hopefully I’ll be able to write here a little bit more often. I’ve slowly learned over the last few years that I can only do what I can do, and some things just have to give sometimes.

I’m going to just quickly post my August and September profit charts here. I have received a LOT of great questions in my absence, so I’m planning to go through those with the blog posts they deserve in the upcoming weeks.

Also, if you are curious about the software I use to keep track of my eBay earnings (screenshots below), it’s called Easy Auctions Tracker (affiliate link), and you can use a free trial during October! I used it last year during the free trial and was hooked from there.


August:

aug 2015 montly recap

September:

sept 2015 montly recap


So, overall, a decent two months. I feel like I’m in an $1,100 plateau and am trying to figure out how to break through that. Hoping I can get up to $1,500 one month by the end of the year! Hope y’all had good months and that October is looking promising for you!

Interview with Julie from Flipping Thrifty

I’m back with another interview from a fellow eBay seller–I just love these! This time, the lovely Julie from the Flipping Thrifty blog (and @westocjulie Instagram) took the time to give us a peek into her eBay business. Julie is 23 years old from Ocean City, MD. (Jealous!!) She makes about $2,000/mo working 25-30 hours a week! So inspiring!
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1. Tell us how you first got the idea to start selling on eBay.

I first started selling on eBay in 2006.  After Christmas, our Walmart puts everything on clearance 90% and I remember buying about 10 CHI hair straightener kits for about $10 a piece and selling them all for about $75 each.  I was hooked after this!  I started selling a few things here and there throughout high school and college and once I graduated college, just this year, I started putting more time and effort into eBay.  I finally subscribed to a store in February and have been doing it (almost) full-time since then.

2. What does a typical week look like for you?

I really have no set schedule.  Honestly, this month I was having some relationship troubles and being my own boss allowed me to put my work on hold for a little bit.  I love that about eBay!  I try to visit Goodwill at least 3 times a week and on Wednesdays I take a thrifting road trip which will last me literally all day.  I love that I can set my own hours.  I live at the beach in Ocean City, MD and it’s nice that I can work around spending my day at the beach, or work around going out at night.

3. What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome (or are working on now)?

I’m working on becoming a legitimate business right now (terrible I’ve waited this long, I know).  I really am so incredibly confused on the whole tax procedures and am waiting to speak with someone from my local small business center.  Aside from that, the only problem I have is finding items to source at a price I feel comfortable.  I think my thrift stores might have the most expensive prices, my average profit per item is only around $15 – $17 and there are only a couple thrift stores around me, and only one worth sourcing for name brands.  Having such a small profit means I just have to buy a lot more.

4. What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of starting an eBay business?

Research.  I have spent so much of my free time looking at BOLO lists and following other bloggers.  I also suggest you have the right equipment to take amazing photos, a white or nice clean background, bright lighting, and a good camera.  Other than that, the hardest part is waiting for that first sale, but after the sales start coming you will be hooked. Oh, and definitely get the app because your heart will smile every time you hear that cha-ching!

Thank you, Julie for sharing all this great information!

I would love to interview others and continue this series! If you’re interested in being interviewed, please comment below, or send me an email at erica@thriftlipper.com. Thanks!

Monthly Recap — July 2015

Color me shocked–I broke a thousand dollars in profit again this month! I actually did better than last month! If you recall from my last monthly recap, I was pretty positive July was going to be a bad month. I was wrong. (I like being wrong this time.)

I am really glad that I kept my listings active while on vacation this year. I also sold nearly all of the items I had up for auction. None of those were big sellers–the largest was just over $20–but one of my auction winners also went ahead and spent $90+ on BIN items, in addition to the $2 auction she won.

One thing that I attribute my great July sales to is using eBay’s Promotions tool. The short story is that I am a huge fan of offering discounts on multiple-item orders, and I know that I’ve had far more buyers order more than one item than I used to. I’ll be writing a more in-depth blog post about this soon.

Before I get to the numbers, can I just get all touchy-feely for a minute? When I started as an eBay reseller, my main hope was to make one or two hundred dollars a month to give our budget a little more breathing room. My big, hairy, audacious goal was to make enough profit to pay my monthly student loan bill. It was $250 at the time. I honestly thought that was a pipe dream when I first started, but this month and last month, I made four times the amount that I thought was nearly impossible.

Okay, enough of that–here are the numbers:


Number of items sold:  80 (up 16 from last month)

Average selling price: $ 27.25 (down $2.84 from last month)*

Total profit: $1,197.97 (up $146.34 from last month)

july 2015 p&l

 

*I include selling price + shipping paid by buyer.

(Click here for my review of Easy Auctions Tracker, the spreadsheet I use to keep up with my income/expenses.)

My best sale of a thrifted item was this Elie Tahari top:

july 2015 best sale

 

This was one of those no-brainer purchases. The shirt was a nice brand in a larger size and it had the nearly $200 price tag still attached. I paid $4.49. This one did sit for several weeks before selling, and when it finally did go, it was during a 10% off sale, but I’m still really happy with that profit margin.


I hope you all had great months as well! If you do monthly income recaps on your blog, I’d love for you to post a link in the comments section!

Enhanced Defect Report

If you’re like me, the whole defect system that eBay rolled out months ago causes you a tiny bit of angst. The number of defects you have can make a major impact on your selling account, but eBay hasn’t always made it easy for sellers to understand where their defects are coming from. I’m so happy to see that they’ve take a little step toward making this information more accessible; they’re calling it the “Enhanced Defect Report.” A couple things that make the new report an improvement is that it’s updated daily and that it’s in an easy-to-read chart form.

In true eBay style, it’s a little hard to find the new report. (Facepalm, anyone?) See below for how to find this little nugget of goodness:

How to find eBay's new

In my eBay, hover over the “Account” tab and click “Seller Dashboard”, about half-way down the drop-down list.

defect report

Next, click the first bar under “Your performance to date.” (Mine is the one that says “0.73% of your transactions had defects.”

defect report 2

Next, click the link that says “transaction defect report” down at the bottom of the box.

defect report 3

That’s all you need to do to see your new report:

defect report 4


Anyone else happy about this new tool? What other improvements would you like to see eBay make?

What To Do About Your Ebay Store When You Go On Vacation

If you’re about to leave for vacation (or need to tend to a family emergency, etc) it can be nervewracking to decide what to do about your eBay listings while you’re away. If you have an eBay store, there is a “vacation mode” you can activate, but you need to do more than switch that on. Below, I’ll talk about what I did while I was gone for a week this July.

What To Do About Your eBay Store When

Here are the steps that I took before I left for vacation. This works best for sellers who primarily use the BIN format. I’ll elaborate when needed below the list.

  1. Choose a handful of items that need to be cleared out (have had them for too long, or have had very few views/watchers) and send them to an online auction, set to end when you get back in town, a day before, or a day or two after. (I ran 10 auctions, most of them starting below $5.) This will keep traffic coming to your store, which makes the search algorithm happy.
  2. Let all other items remain Buy It Now.
  3. Set your store on vacation mode, and note which day you’ll be returning. (I recommend NOT hiding your listings–I’ll elaborate below.)
  4. Change your handling time to reflect your absence, via the Bulk Editing Tool.
  5. Add a note to all your item descriptions about your absence via the Bulk Editing Tool.
  6. Consider running a sale or promotion while you’re away to entice buyers to make purchases, even though they’ll have to wait a bit for you to ship.

How to set your store on vacation mode:

Go to your store. (You can get there by clicking the door icon near your name when you’re in My eBay.) Click on “Manage My Store” in the upper right area.

vaca mode 1

Next, click “Store Vacation Settings” on the lower part of the left sidebar.

vaca mode 2

Then, click the circle next to “Turn ON” under “Store Vacation Settings.”

vaca mode 3

From there, you’ll be able to add a note that will show up at the top of your store, and you’ll also be able to let buyers know when you’ll be back (if you chose to share that information).

It’s all a pretty straightforward process until this point. You’ll see that you have the option to hide your BIN listings. On the one hand, that seems like a good idea, so that you can avoid buyers who don’t read your notes about being away, and would get angry about the delay in shipping. However, eBay says that it can take several days before your listing are actually hidden (so, you could still get those potentially angry buyers) AND it can take several days after you turn vacation mode off for your listings to start to show up again. So, by hiding your listings, you’re setting yourself up for low or no sales for up to several days after you get back.

vaca mode 4Obviously, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to hide your listings, but I’ve had more success keeping them available for sale than hiding them, like I did last year.

Once you’re done, make sure you click the “Apply” button down at the bottom, and you should be all set to enjoy some well-deserved time off!


Hopefully that helps! If anyone wants me to elaborate on using the Bulk Editing Tool, let me know!

How to Photograph Large Clothing on a Small Dress Form

(This post contains affiliate links. I’ll get a few pennies if you purchase anything through those links, but you won’t pay anything more than you would otherwise.)

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When I first started selling thrift store clothing on eBay, I would simply use a hanger on a hook on my wall when photographing. I knew that one of the first big investments I wanted to make was a dress form, but when the time finally came to make that purchase, I was stuck on one question–what size should I buy? I sell all different sizes of clothing, but I didn’t have the money or space to buy and store multiple dress forms. The whole point of having a dress form is to make the clothing look spectacular, but if most of my clothing wasn’t going to fit the one form that I bought–what’s the point?

Here’s what I did–I bought a size small (2/4) dress form, and I use clips to pin back clothing that’s larger than that. (Anything too small gets photographed laying flat on my clean floor, as does most plus-sized clothing.) Read below for a quick tutorial on pinning back larger clothing!

photoing large clothing

You’ll need:

Step 1: Place the garment on the dress form and turn it around so that you’re looking at the back. Adjust the shoulder seams so that they’re in line with the dress form’s shoulders, and pinch the excess fabric in between the shoulders in one hand. With your other hand, clip on one clip.

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Step 2: Take the excess fabric just below your first clip in one hand, and run your hand down to the back of the waist area. Place your second clip there.DSC09203DSC09204

Step three: Turn your dress form around to the front and make any adjustments necessary. You will likely be able to photograph your item from the front and the side without seeing the clips in your pictures.DSC09205 DSC09206

Step four: To photograph the back, I usually don’t even need to use the clips. I can just pull excess fabric to the front of the dress form, and the back looks just fine.DSC09208

Keep in mind that it’s important to maintain the shape of the garment when pinning it. By that I mean, if a shirt is blousey, don’t pin it super close to the dress form. You can imagine a buyer being rightly upset if they thought a shirt was going to be very fitted (as pictured in a listing) but once it arrives, they find it to be a very loose fit. Also, I mentioned earlier that I often need to photo my plus-sized items on the floor. I do that when I feel that I won’t be able to maintain the garment’s true shape on my size small form, even with the clips.

That’s it! Easy peasy, right? I’ve found this to be a simple solution that lets me photograph the majority of my clothes on just one dress form. I hope it helps you all in your ebaying, too!