Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yellow Bee Vintage, An Awesome Etsy Shop

I always like to see what other online sellers are up to, especially people who enjoy searching for cool vintage finds. Some of the best sellers for unique vintage items are on Etsy, and Yellow Bee Vintage is a great example of a well-curated shop.

Yellow Bee Vintage sells a variety of clothing, accessories, and home decor items, including handkerchiefs, sewing patters, depression glass, and jewelry. The items are easy to find and browse because of well-thought-out categories within the shop. And while the shop carries a variety of items, I feel like they are all united by the seller's aesthetic, which leans toward mid-century modern and the eras just before and after that time of beloved 20th century design. For example, I admired the shop's collection of mid-century wedding dresses that are very reasonably priced.

The shop owner, Nicci, is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Nicci's day job involves working in the renewable energy industry by day. Then she spends her weekends hunting for vintage treasures. She describes her tastes as "a bit eclectic"--personally, I would say that she has a good eye for quality and for items with a classic, clean design.

Nicci also says that she loves how vintage items have stories behind them--and that she believes in creative reuse as a sustainable, planet-friendly practice. I can't argue with that, and hey, it gives me even more reason to indulge my own treasure-hunting pursuits...!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The eBay Selling Limits and Restrictions Nightmare

A lot of people spend a great deal of time preparing to launch their eBay business. They do research, accumulate inventory, work on effective keywords and descriptions for their items, etc. And then they bump into the issue of selling limits and restrictions.

When you first start selling, your account will be limited in terms of how many items you can list/sell in a month. Sometimes these limits are incredibly low, such as just ten items a month! Also with a new account, you run into issues with PayPal putting a hold on your funds so that it takes a long time to get the money from your sales, and this can really be an issue because you have to cover the funds for shipping out of your own pocket until your PayPal funds start clearing on the same day, after you've established your account after a duration of time.

There is a UK-based business called Power Seller Shop which has been set up with these very concerns in mind. They sell established eBay accounts so that sellers not only avoid the limits given to new sellers, but the established accounts also come with a solid feedback rating. Another challenge for new sellers is building up feedback; sometimes you just don't get sales starting out because nobody wants to buy from someone with zero feedback.

Power Seller Shop sells different "levels" of established accounts, from accounts geared more toward brand new, inexperienced sellers to accounts that have been established as "power seller" accounts for people who want to launch into eBay at a very high level. Basically, there are people who have established an eBay business and want to sell their business and move on, and Power Seller Shop helps connect people with those sellers.

In brick and mortar businesses, you see people sell their businesses and move on all the time, so why not do it with eBay, too? If you could buy an established business and save the time and effort of starting from zero, wouldn't you consider it? I think this is an intriguing idea to be sure.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Big Changes Are Coming

Did you know that eBay has released the details of their Spring Seller Update for 2015, and there are some really big changes afoot? The biggest changes effect little sellers like me, people who don't have a subscription for a store and mostly just use free listings every month (I do occasionally pay for additional fixed price listings, but only a couple bucks' worth).

Anyway, the changes are going to be that we get way less free listings each month! And the prices are going way up for fixed price listings for books and media. For more info, check out this post from one of my favorite websites, eCommerceBytes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Tool for Finding Estate Sales

There's always a lot of interest on eBay, Etsy, and other sites for vintage items. Sometimes you can stumble upon this sort of stuff in thrift stores, but a lot of the best items are at estate sales. If you're series about going to sales, you're going to want to stay on top of the best sales in your area--and then go out with a list of sales to visit. Here's a website that's designed specifically to help you find estate sales: http://www.estatesale.company.

I really like the idea of a site that focuses specifically on estate sales because they really are a different type of sale, and to find them on more generalized sites like craigslist, you've got to scroll through a lot of listings. The site has a featured sale page, which contains sales from established estate sale companies known to the admin of the website.

The other cool thing about this site is that it has other content as well, such as the Collectors Corner page which offers tips on finding and identifying valuable items. Recent posts in the Collectors Corner include advice on collecting antique maps and suggestions for identifying genuine Roseville pottery.

I have to admit that I've been slow about visiting estate sales lately, and this site is inspiring me to get back to it. In addition to vintage and collectible items, you really can find anything and everything at an estate sale. I found a Dole pineapple recipe card once for under a dollar that ended up selling for $15, so you just never know!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Fashion HQ: A New Auction Site

There are a lot of websites out there besides eBay which use the auction format for buying and selling items. I recently learned about a group of sites known as the Treasure Auctions Network. The sites were started by two established gemstone experts who took their business online several years ago. Over the years, they have expanded into different specialty sites, mostly focusing on gems and collectibles but now branching out into new areas, too.

As an example of this branching out, the newest of the sites in this network is My Fashion HQ. This site features a variety of subcategories of items, including accessories, handbags, scarves, and watches. The front page of the site showcases "last chance ending soon" items; when I clicked over to the site, there was a pair of opal earrings available for a bid of $2. I think there are some good deals to be had on this site as a buyer, and I think that over time, more and more buyers will want to sell here.

The Treasure Auctions Network has a system for approving verified sellers. It can take months before a seller is approved even as an interim seller, and the network's owners promise a safe and trustworthy online shopping experience because of their verified seller approval process.

I'm intrigued by the idea of specialty auction sites both as a buyer and a seller. You get a more focused shopping experience. Sometimes when I shop, I want a little of everything, but more often than not, I'm looking for something very specific. Sites like My Fashion HQ are a nice way to get more specific as a buyer--and as a seller, it's another opportunity to work on specializing in a particular niche.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Funky Chair: An Example of Finding Your Niche

When you read about how to find success with selling online, one of the common tips is to find your niche. And I have talked with sellers who have built up their businesses on the basis of having a unique product that they know and love and want to share with buyers. I just found a great example in a story called The Funky Chair.

The site was started by Elena Travis. After working in the furniture and design business for five years, she decided to branch out into furniture imports, and she focuses her efforts on selling chairs online to customers in the UK. Her site has a particular specialization in bar stools.

It's a great example of narrowing down a niche. Furniture > chairs > bar stools. I love it. And hey, bar stools aren't just for bars (though a lot of people do set up bars in their homes or on their patios). They are great for kitchens, dining rooms, and more. They can also work well in professional settings, from restaurants to offices. Honestly I never knew there was such a variety in bar stools out there until I browsed Elena's site. Lots of colors, lots of designs--from futuristic styles to retro mid-century modern, you can find most anything.

Elena works to find fashionable chairs made from quality materials. Check out her site for a great example of successful e-commerce at work!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Just Keep Listing (or Selling Similar)

There are times when I get a good number of eBay listings completed, and I feel good about those times. But then there are times when I just don't have the time or energy to devote to listing stuff. Guess what sort of time I'm having right now? Sigh. But the good thing is that the work I put in before is helping me out now as I'm able to keep my listings "fresh" by renewing at least a couple of listings every day.

Notice that I didn't say "relisting." If you don't already know this tip, it can be helpful to use the "sell similar" option rather than the "relist" option when one of your listings expires and you want to put the item back on eBay. The difference is that eBay's search engine will treat a "sell similar" listing as a new listing, so you get a little boost (or so I've heard!) in the search algorithm as your item will appear as "newly listed." If you just "relist" the item, you don't get that boost.

Different people say different things, but in the reading I've done on Facebook groups and blogs authored by eBay sellers, many people insist that you need to keep your eBay profile active by having newly listed items all the time as this is supposed to help you in search results when buyers are looking for items.

And I can say from personal experience that within 24 hours after relisting it, I sometimes will sell an item that had previously been sitting around with no attention from buyers. It happened just this week with a pair of new-with-tags Alfred Dunner pants I'd found at the Goodwill Outlet, and it happened a couple weeks ago with this cool Freddie Mercury tee.

I've been so busy that I haven't had the chance to create new listings, but "selling similar" has kept me going with some sales here and there. Hopefully I will get a bunch more listings done soon as I'm going to submit my spring quarter grades in a few days. I need a break from my day job to get back to eBaying!