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!

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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!

Another Student Loan Goal Met!

A few days ago on Instagram, I mentioned that I wanted to get my loan under $9,000 by the end of the week:

IG goal

Earlier today, I scheduled a payment to reach that goal!

pending payment 9k

(I actually gave myself an extra $10, so that the interest wouldn’t bump me back over the $9K mark before I really got to enjoy it. 🙂 )

I’ve been keeping tabs on my student loan repayment progress in the menu bar above, but each time I pass another thousand-dollar mark, I just wanna shout it from the rooftops.

To anyone out there who feels like they will never reach a financial goal–I’ve totally had those feelings. I remember being just so overwhelmed when we added up how much we owed in student loans after graduating. When we first cut down our monthly expenses in order make extra payments on our debt, I hated how much of it was being eaten up just by interest. It really felt like we were making all these sacrifices and having no fun with our money, just to give it all away to Sallie Mae. However, now that we’re several years into the process, I can see that those sacrifices really were vital to getting us where we are now–less than nine thousand dollars away from being debt free!

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend! I did some thrifting this morning and came back with some solid finds. I’m pretty much done for the day and try my best not to work on Sunday, so I’ll be back to the eBay grind on Monday!

Goals for 2015

I used to be the kind of person who shunned New Year’s Resolutions. I always thought a calendar year was such an arbitrary amount of time to accomplish something, and that if you had a goal, you should start working on it today, not January 1st. However, I decided to make resolutions last year, and I’m happy to say I can (almost) consider them all accomplished. (run a half marathon – check; pay at least $1,000 on my loans from eBay money – super check; work out 3 times a week – sorta check)

Of course, it’s really important to have goals for your business, so that you’re always pushing yourself to grow and be better instead of stagnating into mediocrity. Here are my business goals for 2015 (even if 12 months is kind of arbitrary):

  • Get the number of active listings in my store up to 200:I’ve recently started listening to the Scavenger Life podcast. They often talk about how success on eBay is a “number’s game” and that sellers should place a high priority on having a large inventory. In November, I broke the 100-item barrier, and I hope to get up to 200 before the end of next year. To do that, I will probably need to add a third shopping day into my schedule, maybe just two weeks out of each month (and keep the other weeks at two shopping days).
  • Attempt sourcing at the Goodwill Outlet:Are you all as inspired by Maxine as I am? She is consistently pulling in over $2,000 in sales per week. Per week!! She buys almost all of her inventory at a Goodwill Outlet, where clothes are priced by the pound. (I think it works out to be less than $1 per pound, usually.) There’s one about 25 minutes from me, but I’ve never ventured inside. Many of the reviews online are less than flattering, with lots of talk of broken glass and unattended children. However, if I can find inventory for pennies, it would be worth the less-than-pleasant atmosphere. (And I’ll be sure to wear gloves!) I’m going to try at least three times, to make sure I give it a fair chance.
  • Average $900/mo in student loan payments:That’s what it’ll take to become debt-free. And I want nothing more than to be out of debt by 2016.
  • Send one box of products into Amazon FBA:As much as I love selling on eBay (and I do!), I’ve been hearing the siren call of Amazon FBA lately. The idea of just boxing up all my inventory in one big shipment and letting the Amazon Fairies store and ship it for me sounds just magical. I’ve been really enjoying reading Yolanda’s writings on her FBA endeavors. She also is a “part time” reseller and a mom, so she makes success seem much more attainable than someone who can devote their entire life to their business.

 

How about y’all? Any big goals you’re reaching for in 2015? I’d love to hear them!