Monthly Recap — June 2015

I don’t think I’ve been as delighted by a comma as I am with the one in my “total profit” figure below. I broke $1,000 in profit this month for the first time! I remember, when I was first getting started with this whole eBay thing, my first goal was to hit $1,000 in profit. (Not in a month–just, total.) It took me a few months to get there, from what I remember, and I was SO proud of myself and honestly amazed that I was actually making real live money from what felt like a fun hobby. And now, to have done that in a single month, I’m feeling really proud again, and really grateful. I hope you all did well in June, too!

Looking back on my numbers from last year, July was WAY slower than June, so I’m trying to prepare for that and to come up with some strategies to offset what may be a month with fewer sales. One of the problems last year was that we took a week of vacation (happening again this July), and I hid my listings while we were away. This year, I’m thinking of having a bunch of 7-day auctions running while we’re gone and setting my store in vacation mode, while also chaining my handling time to 7 days. I’m really not sure what’s best, and I’d love to hear how other eBay sellers handle being away from home.


Number of items sold: 64 (up 22 from last month)

Average selling price: $30.09 (down $5.54 from last month)

Total profit: $1,051.63 (up 203.26 from last month)


june 2015 p&l

My best sale was this dress from Anthropologie:

best sale june 2015

I talked about the dress on Instagram shortly after it sold. It made a nice case study in the importance of researching an item before listing it. The short story is that the dress looks like any old Anthro dress that would bring in about $30 or $40, but, for whatever reason, the resale value of this particular dress is much higher than that, as you can see by the $79.99 + shipping sale price. This was listed as BIN or BO, and sat for less than a week before a buyer paid full asking price.


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!

Interview With Anna From BeU Thrifters

I’m back again with another Flip Chats interview! This time I spoke with the lovely Anna who writes at BeU Thrifters blog. She shared with me that she and her part-time co-seller are disabled and are using eBay profits to help pay off their medical bills and cover household expenses. They also sell for other members of the disabled community, and they hope later to start an organization that helps people discover their passions in life. Are you inspired already? Read below for more, and be sure to check out the blog!
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Tell us how you first got the idea to start selling on eBay.

I first started selling on eBay back in 2007. My health declined after my body rejected the second transplant in my knee.  Officially disabled and without a job; I needed some income and ebay seemed like a logical solution. First, I just sold my own belongings; then advanced to selling thrift store items. I sold off and on between 2007 and 2014. Last year, I needed to quit my part time job due to another knee surgery and figured why not dive in head first this time? It’s really the perfect part time job for anyone with a disability.

What does a typical week look like for you?

Truthfully, I don’t have a typical week (that’s one of the perks of selling on eBay). I make my schedule up as I go! Routines aren’t my style so it works perfect for me. Plus, I often go on thrift shop trips around the country;  which totally throws off any normal schedule.
A typical schedule without anything else to do would include:
Morning:
9:00-10:00: breakfast while packaging anything I sold the day before. Leave it all on front porch for mailman to pick up.
10:00-12:00: take pictures and list items.
12:00-1:00: workout
Afternoon:
1:00-3:00: Thrift shopping
3:00-4:00: go through everything I bought. Write down all the details so when listing I can just type it out. Research the right selling price.
4:00-5:00: Cook dinner and eat dinner
5:00-rest of the night: relax. I spend EVERY night while I’m watching tv at night reading other people’s blogs, fashion magazines and any source that will further my knowledge of what has high resale value. The research and knowledge is one of my favorite parts of the job.
* I’m the companion for a girl with severe Down’s Syndrome part time, so I schedule thrifting around my work schedule.

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

The biggest obstacle I face is mental. I’m used to having a consistent paycheck and ebay is more of a roller coaster. One month can be amazing and the next can be horrible: December and January for instance. Luckily, I have other forms of consistent income; but it’s been a major adjustment for me. I’m a worrier, so I have to keep my fears in check and not worry myself back to a 9-5 job.

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

I’d tell someone starting a new ebay business that knowledge is power! You must spend a lot of time learning what to buy and sell before you can be successful. We all make mistakes at the beginning, but keep learning. My list of brands I search for is over 250 brands long. I find so many $100-$200 items on clearance at thrift stores because nobody else knows the brand is valuable. Be a sponge; sponges are successful.

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!

Authenticate First Review

(This is not a sponsored post, FYI!)

It’s no secret that high-end clothing and accessories can bring in big bucks on eBay. While my “bread and butter” brands are usually mid-range in price (Anthropologie, Eileen Fisher, Lilly Pulitzer, etc) every now and then, I come across something from a more pricey store.

I recently found a Diane von Furstenberg dress at a local Goodwill and was thrilled at the profit potential after checking completed listings.

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However, after taking it home and examining it further, something seemed just a little… off… about it. The seams were a bit wonky in places, and the fabric didn’t feel quite as luxurious as I would expect from a several hundred dollar dress. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with designer clothing, you run the risk of coming across fakes. You do not (DO NOT!) want to sell fake clothing, shoes, accessories (or anything) on eBay. It’s one of the easiest ways to get kicked off eBay, and whether or not you knew the item was fake doesn’t necessarily matter.

I spent time reading over DVF authentication guides on eBay (this one in particular) but I still wasn’t 100% certain whether it was real or fake, so I decided to ask the experts.

I contacted Authenticate First on May 18th, paid $25, and submitted several photos of the dress through Google Drive. I actually had an issue getting the photos to them, but the person handling my case was very understanding and helpful. Two days later, they emailed back to me a Certificate of Non-Authenticity, confirming my suspicions that the dress was fake. They cited uneven seams, poor finishing, and incorrect font on the label as reasons why they deemed it so.

Here are a few reasons I recommend using Authenticate First:

  • quick turnaround
  • good customer service
  • an extensive list of brands they authenticate
  • the ability to use their statements in Paypal disputes
  • reasonable service fee

It was a little disheartening to know that the dress was worthless, but I was so relieved to have found out before listing the dress, and not after selling it and having a buyer open a case against me. That would have been way worse than being out $25.


Have any of you had to deal with fake items, either as a buyer or seller? I’d love to hear about it!

Knowing the Name of Clothing to Flip — The Why and How

Many retailers–especially women’s clothing retailers–give each style of garment a particular, descriptive name. It’s not just a blue dress from Lilly Pulitzer; it’s the Cathy Shift Dress in Skye Blue Blue Heaven. It’s not just a white shirt from Madewell; it’s the Arrowstitch Peasant Top.

Knowing the proper name of a garment you’ve thrifted and are hoping to flip on eBay is very valuable. While some buyers just browse a category of clothing or search for a general term (like “blue Lilly Pulitzer dress”), there are others who are looking for a specific item of clothing that they’re dying to have. Maybe it was her favorite dress that she took on vacation, but the airline lost it with the rest of her luggage, and now she’ll pay top dollar to get another one. (This is where you come in!)

Obviously, no one knows the name of every garment, from every retailer, from all seasons present and past. However, you can use the magic of the internet to discover this important information about a piece of clothing you’re trying to flip. Here’s how:

How to Find the Name of a Piece of

How to Find the Name of a Piece of Clothing You’re Selling on Ebay

Do a google image search (link here, if you need it) with the brand name of the clothing you’re working with (and its in-house label if it’s a brand like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters that uses those) and any descriptive words that you can derive from it. (Leave out size here, as it won’t help.)

For example, for this shirt:

clothing name 1

I used the phrase “anthropologie meadow rue top purple wooden beads”. (Meadow Rue is the name of the in-house label name that was on the tag.)

Once I searched the phrase, I saw these results:

clothing name 3

You can see that the shirt came up in both the top and bottom rows.

Next, click on the picture that matches your item to see if it gives you more information. Clicking on the first result didn’t give me the information that I was looking for, but clicking on the one in the bottom row (third from left) did:

clothing name 5

(That’s super small, I know! You can click the picture to make it larger.)

Highlighted in the pink box is the name of this particular shirt that I thrifted: the Avellana Tank.

Once I’m pretty sure that I’ve found the name that I’m looking for, I’ll do a Google search (just a web search, not an image search) of the brand + the name that I found. If the name is correct, one of the top results will usually be the product page of the item on the store’s website. (If it’s from a past season, it’ll just say that it’s sold out, but the product page is still usually there.) Googling “Anthropologie Avellana Tank” confirmed that I found the right name:

clothing name 6

Equipped with this information, I can now write a stellar listing title and get it up on eBay. (Ironically, I didn’t know–and wasn’t able to find out–the name of the dress in the old post I just linked to. Can’t win ’em all!) If you know the name of the item you’re listing, make sure to include it in your title and in the description. If someone is looking for that particular item, you want to be the first result in their search!

And, a couple notes: not all retailers give their clothing names like this. From my experience, many mid- to high-end retailers do (think: Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, etc), but not all. (Eileen Fisher and Tory Burch don’t.) Also, as you can probably guess, it takes a few minutes to go through this whole process. If the item is lower value, like a very basic tank top that probably won’t fetch top dollar (even if it’s from a high-end retailer) the search might not be worth your time.

I hope this post was helpful! Let me know if you’d like for me to clarify anything above!

Monthly Recaps — May 2015

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May was good to me! I was about four dimes shy of $1,300 in sales, which is the best I’ve done since January of this year. My inventory is now as high as it’s ever been at 139 active listings this morning. I attribute the increase in sales (and inventory) to adding about an extra hour of thrifting time each week, and going out to stores farther away from me that I hadn’t visited before.


Number of items sold: 42 (down 3 from last month)

Average selling price: $35.63 (up $10.39 from last month)

Total profit: $848.37 (up $93.41 from last month)


Another note before I post the numbers: I’ve been highlighting the “good news” above in green and the “bad news” in red. You’ll notice that all three are in green, even though I sold fewer items this month than last. However, my average sale price has gone up enough to more than make up for that specific deficit. Basically, I did less work but made more money this month than last month–works for me!


may 2015 p&l

My best sale was this new with tags plus-sized skirt from the brand Stizzoli. I paid $4.49 for it, and it sold for $99.99. It was listed as free shipping, but since it sold to someone in Canada, the buyer paid shipping.

may 2015 best sale


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!

Interview with Clara From Willow and June

Never have I ever been as excited to click “Publish” as I am today! Clara from Willow and June graciously agreed to let me interview her for my blog, and she shared some really valuable information. Read on to hear how she caught the eBay bug, what she struggles with, and how she manages an eBay store that grossed a little under $40K last year! (Wow!!)

Also, if you’re looking for more inspiration, tips, and a contagious work ethic, check Clara out on Instagram at @SecondsBlog.

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Tell us when and how you first got started selling on eBay.

I started selling on eBay when I was around 15 or 16 on my mom’s account. I found Juicy Couture socks at a TJMaxx for $3.99 a pair and sold them for $15 each. To me, this was a BIG deal! In the beginning, I started “flipping” items I owned to get other things I wanted. If I wanted a new purse, I sold something I already had and bought the purse. Once I was sick of it, I sold it and got something else. At that point it wasn’t really something I considered a business at all. I just knew that if I wanted money, and didn’t want to get a “real” job, I was going to figure something out myself!

Once it started to “click” with me that this was actually something I could expand on, I began to check out local consignment shops. I would find whatever was marked down the most and just hope I could flip it for a profit. This was before iPhones and smartphones were mainstream so I couldn’t research anything on the spot. I was lucky enough that I generally had a good eye and almost always sold it for a profit.

The only job I have ever had (other than babysitting for several years) was when I was 18, and I only lasted 6 hours before decided it wasn’t for me. I started to drive to thrift stores and consignment stores more frequently when I got a car.  My inventory grew once I realized I didn’t want to have to work for anyone else. I really saw the potential in what I could do with this business and got my Business License when I was 20. In the process I have had two different storage units and tried for a brief period to keep my inventory at my parents house (Mistake!).  I am 22 now, just moved my inventory into an office space and I’m looking forward to where this can take me.

What does a typical week look like for you?

The beauty of this business for me is that I never have a typical week and I really think it is one of the main reasons I have stuck with it for as long as I have. You have the freedom to do as little or as much in a day as you want, as long as you can keep yourself motivated.  I try to make it to my office at least once a day for several hours to ship orders and take photos, or whatever I feel I need to get done that day. Sunday seems to always be my “get stuff done” day when my office building is always completely quiet and I can really focus. I sometimes will bring my sister along with me to help with the not so glamorous part of selling. She helps me measure and I usually do the photos and listing. I don’t always have her help but when I do it makes a world of difference! I only really list a few times a week once I’ve built up enough to get listed, which is generally around 40-50 items. The easiest thing for me is to sit down and focus on listing for a few hours rather than doing 5 here and 5 there per day. When I’m not at my office, I usually try to go to thrift stores a few times a week. I used to shop A LOT but I realized I was getting too much of a backlog of inventory, and nothing was getting put on eBay. I started to limit myself to only shopping when there is a sale or when I’m running low on new inventory. I am able to focus more now on selling instead of always buying (Which is the fun part! Lets be real.)

What’s one obstacle you’ve overcome in building up your eBay business (or are working on now)?

My biggest obstacle that I am STILL working on is being disciplined with having a schedule. I don’t have anyone to tell me what to do and nobody to say when I haven’t been getting enough work done. It’s SO important to give yourself tasks and set goals. So, while the best part of this business is that you don’t have anyone to tell you what to do its also the most challenging part for me!

What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of starting to sell on eBay, but has little to no experience doing so?

1.Don’t be a hoarder- list what you buy right when you get it and don’t buy anything else until you have that done.

2.Make sure your pictures look decent. Natural light, a white wall and someplace to hang a hanger (if you sell clothes) is all that you need at first!

3.Don’t get bent out of shape if you have a cranky buyer. Some people are just grumpy! Do whatever you can to help and that’s all you can do.

4.Buy it Now good till cancelled is the only way to go in my opinion. List it and forget it, the right buyer will come around!

Most importantly.. Don’t overthink it! Just get started. Grow your inventory, follow the rules, aim to please the buyer and you will be all set!


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!

FREE STICKERS!

I think I’m about as excited as my three-year-old gets when presented with free stickers, and I thought a few of my fellow eBay sellers might be as well.

Update: Looks like the promo is over! The eBay For Business blog is giving away these “Thank you for supporting my business” stickers branded with the eBay logo, in honor of National Small Business Week. (Which apparently was earlier in May, but as of a few minutes ago, the offer is still available.)

ebay sticker offer

Click here to go to the blog, which has a link to order your free stickers. (Just make sure you select free shipping while you’re checking out!)

Yay! Stickers!