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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!