Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

My sales have stayed about the same this week.  I haven't had high $ sales on eBay but the clothes are moving!! :D I rearranged my eBay store this week and added a dozen new listings.

eBay account #1....this is an account I rarely talk about (or actually give much thought to). It is our "personal" stuff. I keep it on a different account than the resale items so it is less confusing come tax time. 2 items sold; 1 hasn't paid.

This Old Navy coat 18-24 months sold for 18-24 months. I really think its kinda unisex but it was bought for my daughter.

eBay account #2....this is the resale account that is usually discussed.  I had 13 sales this week...2 which I had to cancel.

Paid $5 for these Nike sneakers. Sold for $29.99 + shipping. I dislike selling shoes also :D Took over 6 months to sell.

Disney Store Stitch took 2 months to sell. Paid .50 sold for a best offer of $12.99. I had it listed for $24.99 but the feedback that they leave reflected they are a good buyer and they did have to pay $17 in shipping to the UK. Also if it lands in the mouth of my dog it isn't worth anything. Glad to see more items leave the house.

Amazon FBA I sold 31 items. This is also my first problem encounter with FBA. 3 items were damaged in transit and unsellable. Another was "lost". I was reimbursed by Amazon for all 4 with no hassle at all (not as much as selling price would have been but pretty close.)

This clue game was the one I was complaining about a few weeks ago. It was originally marked $20 at the thrift store; I paid 6 (marked down and on half price day.) I sold immediately for 24.99

Doc McStuffins tattoo and sticker kit we bought at Toys R Us for 1.50. It sold for 14.99. If you didn't know, Doc McStuffins toys are  hot...not always huge $ but always a fast sell.

Today's project is to get all my inventory up off the floor....our carpets are getting cleaned tomorrow (4 animals, 3 kids, its a long overdue job!)

That's it for my week....how have your sales been?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Liquidating Clothes

I buy clothes often at yard sales because they are in abundance, inexpensive and easy to ship and store. However, I am in overload and will no longer be buying clothes more than a tub or 2 at a time. I am working on liquidating most of them.

- ThredUp. I received a prepaid bag. I found that the brands they accept are really frustrating (they don't accept "good" brands like Carter's and The Children's Place that a consignment sale readily accepts). After I pulled around 7 or 8 items to ship, I started reading reviews. To sell....not good at all. In fact I almost called it quits at that point. However, for the sake of knowing I sent them stuff that I really don't mind if I don't get back. They take infants over 12 months to womens clothes.

- Twice. This is another similar situation as ThredUp but much better reviews. I found another 6 items and printed a prepaid label (they also will send you a prepaid bag however I did have a box available). They sell only women's clothing.

-Auctions. I had about a dozen clothing BIN listings expire the last few days. I relisted them at auction for 1.99 plus shipping. I did mess up 1 listing and forgot to add shipping. It has been bid up to 2.49...hopefully they go up a bit more. I also listed a dozen new clothing auctions last night starting at $5-10 each plus shipping. I have free auction listings right now so its a 10 day auctions.

-Seasonal kids consignment. I did register yesterday but I am not going to stress it. I hope to get at least 3 tubs sent. I will price quite competitively; anything not sold will be marked for donate. That way I don't have to pick any items up and automatically get a tax deduction receipt I can print off.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saling Saturday.....and Other News

Well this week, we were on a complete spending freeze. Since my Internet went out (I was so upset at Verizon....come to find out our dogs chewed threw the Fiber Optic cable in our backyard.) earlier hubby took me to a Toys R Us a half hour away in a direction we don't typically go. We got some fantastic items (mostly video games) but kept spending in check.

We did find multiple Skylanders games for both the Xbox 360 and the 3DS. The single game itself sells for almost as much as the whole unit, so we may break these up.

 Today I got $35 worth of free vouchers in the mail from the Toys r Us rewards program.....that means we spent WAY too much on inventory. The clearance sale only goes on till next Saturday....so off we went today. We spent $12 after the voucher and saved $450. I swear its yard sale prices without all the work.

In other news, so much for a spending freeze. The brakes on our business van went (we were warned at inspection they were close to failing.) We were quoted $600-1500 but it came up to $450. It is a bit of a bummer, but at least it came up less than expected.

I have a bit of a clothes overload. I have 10 totes listed, and another 7-10 not listed. The problem is they aren't selling quite fast enough. Nancy at Third Hand Shoppe had the fabulous idea of trying ThredUp to get rid of some clothes. I received my bag in the mail today and plan to fill it tonight. The only downside is it takes 8-10 weeks to process the clothes; on average they only accept 40% of what is sent. It is not worth it for me to pay $12.99 to get the rest of the clothes back. I will let you all know how it goes once it processes.

 This is the ThredUp bag (both sides). Comes with a prepaid shipping label. It is much bigger than I expected (no dimensions were given on the website). I should be able to fit quite a bit into it.

Thats it for me this week....how has your week's sourcing been?

Friday, July 25, 2014

All's Well that End's Well....and the Moral of the Story

After taking several readers advice (thanks to all who chimed in their opinions) I did message the buyer who had opened a case for the missing Nintendo DS games. I received a message back within a matter of a few hours. When I saw the reply I was prepared for the worst as I had offered a refund upon return but no partial refund or concession. It was the most pleasant message possible telling me they didn't mind waiting for the games; there was bad weather and the party had been postponed anyway.

Since then, I had followed the tracking and it went to all kinds of places that it didn't make logical sense too....all said and done it arrived today (July 25th) making it a 7-10 day 1st class delivery date.

I was quite relieved to find this email today. I have not received feedback. I did break my "wait till feedback is received to give feedback" rule since this was probably a misunderstanding.

All said and done it could have been quite a bit messier and more annoying than what it actually was.

And the moral of the story is.....

As sellers, we are on the defensive as there is no doubt a lot of scammers. I think we tend to see the "devil around every corner" so to speak when a lot of time it isn't someone necessarily trying to get anything for free. I don't think this buyer was a scammer.....although I think lesson learned they should start ordering things a lot sooner than need it though :D

I rarely buy on eBay. This is why. Last summer, I bought around 18 lots of American Girl stuff on eBay. These weren't cheap lots either they cost me between $200-$2,000 each. Overall I spent just shy of $10,000. I tried not to evaluate based on me being a reseller but if I bought this for my daughter would I be happy. The answer to all but 1 lone lot was NO. Stuff was stained, ripped, and "play wear" meant severe abuse. The 1 lot that was nicer than described I emailed and thanked them.  I ended up opening a few cases and sad to say left quite a bit of negative feedback. That's why I buy on Amazon mostly now. I was speaking to a friend yesterday (who buys frequently on eBay, Amazon, and Etsy and used to sell on eBay); her opinion is if you order on Amazon you know you will get what you order (not necessarily true but usually). However, if you order on eBay it is a complete crap shoot. Her orders are often sub-par also.

If that was our experience, it has to be others too. This poor buyer has probably seen their fair share of items not coming/getting lost/not as described too. They are probably just as leery of sellers as we are of buyers.

No I'm not going to block this buyer. I think the atmosphere of eBay and the stupid rules they keep putting in place just breeds a lot of paranoia and distrust. :D

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ready for Christmas and Another Chat with a Guru

We went crazy for Toys R Us inventory for Christmas on FBA. I am pleased to say that I feel we are adequately ready for the season and hope it turns out OK. I have 1,026 items currently listed on FBA (and I'm embarrassed to admit we bought that much in such a short time.) We shipped off 98 lbs to UPS this morning and have more to ship (but it is all listed in the system.)

My goal is to have 750 items listed on eBay by the start of the 4th quarter (October 1st). Thats just shy of 200 more to list. I will be unlisting many of my clothing items after the school shopping season is over and donating many or sending to ThredUp. I am hoping to have mostly toys/baby supplies/books on for 4th quarter.

I also hope to have 100 Etsy listings by the beginning of the 4th quarter (but honestly if I have 50-75 I will be happy but I need to aim high.)

My ultimate long term plan is to make eBay all used items and add new items to FBA.

On another note, there is a blog I love reading that the writer is FULL of fantastic information about eBay and FBA. Most awesome is he doesn't present himself as a "guru" or other expert on the subject. He doesn't sell his information but every now and again runs contests for a phone session. I am thrilled that I "won" one of these sessions and look forward to it Monday afternoon. (I am going to withhold the name and link to the blog until after in the off chance that it is as "good" as the last one.) I have really high hopes....and a list of questions :D

So looking forward to 4th quarter (because as retailers it seems so much really does rest on that quarter) what goals do you have and what grand plans do you have to get there?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Open Case

Such is the life of an eBayer I guess. I got an open case dispute today; but their tone of voice (the caps lock) I don't think eBay forced her into opening a case. At first I was really irritated but then after giving myself a bit....I can't help but pity them a bit :D After all this is my first case in around 500 or so transactions (not an official number I am purely guestimating.)

The item didn't come by eBay's estimate. I don't think people either A) read the word "estimate" or B) truly don't know that estimate doesn't mean set in stone. I really wish eBay would do away with the estimate. Most people are smart enough to do the math.

Also I really got hung up for a long time on the way "business" was spelled. If you are going to yell at me, use spell check so you don't come off as ignorant. I generally ignore typos but that was no where in the same ball park.

So.....I first looked up the transaction to see if I had shipped it late and track it. Several orders I did ship out late in the last few weeks but I emailed most or all of them. Upon reviewing it, I remembered that it was purchased while I was packing/shipping orders. It was packed up within an hour of purchase.

I checked the tracking number and it is still in Philadelphia PA (about an hour away from home). In fact it was not even scanned till the 20th. I'm not concerned about that defect now since obviously I have a case one.

Looking at her feedback, they have a habit of needing stuff, ordering last minute, and then being upset when it doesn't arrive on time.  I found several negatives left by them similar to this one.

I'm not sure what to make of this. One thing I do know is I will not voluntarily refund without the item back. I would love to say eBay will back me on this, but I truly doubt they will even with their history of negative FB and (apparently) open cases.

I am thinking I will offer a full refund when the item is returned but no other concession like a partial refund/full refund keep the item. My gut is that they are fishing for something of that nature. 3 DS games for 14.99 I knew that was trouble (I priced them quite low as they are older inventory.) Apparently USPS shipping delays show my "bad Business practices." Unfortunately my 944 positive feedbacks in the last 12 months don't agree.

I do most gift shopping for my kids online. I order at least a month in advance because you never know what will happen defective item/shipping delay/wrong item/the list goes on.

If this was your case what would you do? I have 3 days to respond. I am most likely going to take most of those 3 days as I don't trust myself to be professional.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

I am glad for diversification. EBay is certainly slow so I am thankful for other income streams; however, it could be argued that if my attention wasn't elsewhere eBay would be better because of the lack of attention its been getting. However, I read blog after blog of people with pathetic sales, tweaking listings like there is no tomorrow and still there is not much of an improvement. Hopefully it picks up soon. After all it is crazy close to 4th quarter (I am still wondering where this year went.)

2 years ago all the reselling blogs I read did seasonal kid's consignment sales; I thought that every "good" reseller did that (Until I read a blog post "Why I don't do Children's Consignment Sales"....I can't remember the blog. If it's yours please let me know so I can link it up. It was so true about the extra stress it causes.) I quit doing kids consignments about a year ago but I have 5 tubs of kids clothes not moving on eBay and I totalled it to be around $500 sitting in my attic so I either have to A) take a loss and donate everything or B) suck it up and do the sale to get rid of the clothing. I am dusting off the tagging gun, marking everything super cheap, not volunteering for anything (8 hours of volunteer work gets you 10% more profit. It was great when I brought 2,500 items.) and marking everything to be donated when the sale is done (that way I don't need to pick anything up.) Any "good" brand probably won't be send (unless I go pick up a select few things. Have 't decided yet.) Anyway that's coming up next month. I sent out 9 boxes for FBA and have at least 30 more to pack up but the sale is next on the list. I'm not going to stress what doesn't get done, gets donated.

Anyway on to the #s of the week:

Etsy I had 3 multi-quantity sales of 2 items each (6 items total). In March we purchased a very small storage locker at auction for $25. We made at least $100 almost instantly (lots of clothes put on auction since that was the free listing special.) We had 3 full tubs of various new Jesse James beads (I don't craft so I don't know much about beads but they looked pretty and the website had them at freaking expensive. They were in new packaging; we had about 500 packages total. We had sat on them since then but sold 6 on Etsy this week and 4 more on eBay.

This particular set is called "Ice Bloom" from the Inspirations Collection. It sold for $7.95/package +shipping. The others were misc mixtures of leftover beads for $3.95/package. Total was $34.50 including shipping. As they come for renewal on Etsy I am marking down prices. I originally had them marked at over $3,000 but now I just want them gone :D

Amazon was probably the best to us at 25 items. 15 of those sales were in 1 day. Whenever a new shipment hits the warehouse our sales spike dramatically. We dropped off 9 boxes at the UPS Store yesterday (I use 16x16x15 Duck Heavy Duty boxes found at Walmart.)

 The LOTR box set was something like 15 DVDs. I slightly overpaid for it so I only made $3 profit after fees but it was a fun flip and sold within 2 weeks of hitting the warehouse. It sold for $69.99

I love video games. They are popular and light to ship; most video games I buy have a good turnover rate. This I bought at a yard sale for $5 (more than I like to pay at a yard sale but it had a good sales rank.) It sold within 24 hours for $21.95.

Ebay had 10 sales. 4 of those were the beads, another 1 was refunded since eBay reset my listing quantity (if you renew every 30 days they will reset the listings. Good till Cancelled listings don't reset. 1 of my biggest reasons for going back to GTC format. I also refunded the Taggies blanket from last weeks since there was a small hole in the fabric and 1 of the tags was ripped. (When I went to ship, the cat had obviously ripped the bag but I didn't see anything. She gave me no hassle about uploading pictures so I just fully refunded her.) My general rule of thumb is those who are willing to upload pictures without a fight I figure they aren't hiding anything. Its those who don't want to upload pictures or send back the item that I worry about.

TY Signature Bears years 1999 2000 2002 and 2003. I had high hopes for these bears but they sold for a sad $4.95 + shipping....at least they sold I guess. No more Beanies for me (I paid .05-.10 cents per bear.)

My new goal for eBay is 1-2 items a day. Pathetic I know but if I don't set a goal for something it always ends up being last priority and never gets done. With so many selling platforms going on (I now have a backlog of inventory for all 3 platforms) and the puppy (who we named Hope but that was confusing the other dog Opie....I kept calling her Hopie :D her name is now Jubilee) isn't nearly as housetrained or heck trained as we thought so she requires a lot of time and attention.

So that's my week....sorry for the book. How's your week looking?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Top Rated Seller.....do I care about losing it?

I have been a top rated seller for around 10 months. I love the additional discounts (primarily the extra shipping discounts more than the FVF discount). However, I am getting frustrated with all the hoops of the TRS program and am not sure if I care if I lose it. My monthly evaluation is today and I am set to lose it.

First I am frustrated with the required 1 day handling time. I know eBay has gotten a bad rap of sellers taking forever to ship. However, if you buy from a big seller online it often takes more than 1 day for the warehouse to ship it out. (Case and point with the items I have been selling FBA if the buyer uses Super Saver Shipping it takes 4-5 days on average to ship it out. My life doesn't work with 1 day handling time right now. I don't think a 2 day handling time would be unreasonable. I always offered 2 day handling until I became a TRS...then I switched to 1 day (there is only FVF discounts on listings that meet certain criteria). It has been a disaster ever since. During Christmas I had so many sales that I did ship out multiple times a day to keep it from taking hours. But it seems every time I promise 1 day handling a disaster happens (usually a kid ends up in the ER)

So according to eBay my tracking upload time is very, very bad. It may take me forever to bring this back up.

All 3 of the cases opened again me for item not received was 4th quarter when the USPS took 5-10 days to deliver everything....personally with the 1-3 day Priority promise I think they bit off more than they can chew. My post office can't even hold mail carriers. We have had mail carriers subbing from over an hour away.

4 out of the 6 cancelled transactions was eBay resetting my listing quantity and not remembering what I had sold....which with a site this big I thought they would; the other 2 cancelled items I just lost :/

In all honesty I have never cared about the defect rating. I thought I was good (I'm at 1.57% since the picture cut it off). However, I pulled a report today for the first time that really irritated me.

The top item ID links back to a Skylander figure (I didn't bother to look up which specific one). I got positive FB on all of them with many stating "better than expected". In any case nobody was unhappy so this must be a case of the buyer got what was expected and nothing more (hence the 3 I assume unless it was a complete mistake).

Part of the reason I didn't mind the defect rating was because I don't give free shipping usually so I was often dinged for shipping cost (because obviously I have control over that.) I figured it was a good trade off. However, I do really think eBay dropped the ball with the 3 stars. 1 and 2 stars I totally understand but 3? If I didn't know the system I probably would give 3 stars thinking it was "OK"

Bottom line is I would like to keep my TRS but I'm not going to stress about it. eBay just gives too many hoops of fire to jump through. Are you a TRS? If so do you work hard to maintain it or are you sick of eBay's hoops too?

UPDATE: I did lose TRS today. I am going to bump all my listings back to a 2 day handling time. This way I can keep eBay happy with being in my handling time and hopefully make it up to TRS again before Christmas season (although I'm not sure how I feel about the extended Christmas return policy.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saling Saturday

Another week of no yard saling. Honestly I am so backlogged with eBay inventory that I may not go till after the kids are back in school. Toys r Us/Babies r Us is having their "clearance blast" all colored stickered items are 80-90% off. We went to 3 different stores this week. 

As of last night we are officially on a "buying freeze" however, my Verizon Fios services (internet, landline) stopped working yesterday and they can't make it out till tomorrow to hopefully fix the issue. Writing this post on an iPhone isn't fun...thank goodness for Bluetooth keyboards :D So since we have no internet, I am going to try to get the hubby to take me to a couple last TRU stores in the other direction. 

Even though the TRU clearance is in its last days (its been running since May/June) I have still been finding clearance that is good quality, fantastic price, and not beat up that makes me happy that my FBA stock is getting sufficient for Christmas. 

The top picture is an 18" FAO Schwartz doll (the same size as American Girl). It was on clearance for 12.99. There was 20-30 (I only bought 1 for my daughter for Christmas). For FBA they are oversized and have a bad sales rank. I may take the packages apart. I can get more than 12.99 for the clothes on eBay and the doll NWOT I'm sure I can squeeze a minimum of $35. The store is close to an hour away so I'm not sure if I will head all the way back down there.

I loved the little drummer seats. They were $5 each and will sell FBA for $23

The Sofia the First Royal Prep Academy game was $3. I bought about 10 of them.  I may save 1 for my daughter for Christmas she loves board games but I am so sick of pieces all over the house (plus Hope the dog being 7 months chews.....now I remember why I said never again to a puppy after Opie :D )

So that's my week in a nutshell....how was yours?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Chat with an eBay Guru

Before we start, let me just clarify that this is not intended to bash or put anyone down, guru or otherwise. This is just my experience with a free 15 minute consultation.

After getting a nasty eBay message from one of the "eBay Gurus" mothers, I scheduled a 15 minute free phone conference. (Read the message here) I was partially truly curious to see if I could learn something new; the other half of me felt terrible that I forgot to crop the username out (although my family's advice has always been if you are going to say something nasty, don't write it down. It will always be traced back to you.)

I scheduled the consultation and it required I add my eBay username (presumably so that my store could be looked over before the conference.

She was honestly really truly nice and professional. I had several good laughs; we talked about FBA and why she was pulling out of the Amazon platform (due to having to compete with Amazon on most listings). We also discussed my BBB complaint and how it wasn't solved (she told me she would have a conference with eBay big wigs the next day and would bring it up....who knows whether it actually was. The feedback is still there.)

Overall as far as my listings go, there was obviously very little preparation done; I don't think my store was looked up. She spent quite a while looking at my listings before telling me that she doesn't know anything about American Girl as she does plush and antiques and wasn't sure how my items were priced against the market. No suggestions on title or the like was given.

She did frown on my not offering free shipping. We talked through it and my basis was tax-based; the more we talked, the more I realized my train of thought was completely wrong (I was happily corrected). I may start offering free shipping on more of my listings. We will see.  Overall she stressed that I needed to know my customer base.

I overall talked about my lack of listing and overall frustration with the system as it stands. She told me that my customers weren't really eBay's but mine and eBay and Amazon are stepping stones to starting my own webstore. She is running a class to teach people how to entice people to their own webstore by using eBay's resources (such as mailing list) but not actually "spamming" the customers.

My overall impression was she adapted really well to what I was feeling with eBay and Amazon. If I had been drinking the Kool-Aid my guess is she would have preached how great eBay was all the way. While she was quite professional and friendly I was really dissapointed with what information I didn't glean from the conversation. It was more of an informal chat than a serious "let's fix up your store."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Meet our foster dog Hope. It's not the blue nose pit we were waiting for but our neighbor was fostering her and she got along excellent with Opie is super laid back with kids and cats. She's a "companion" dog meaning she must be adopted with another young dog (she is 7 months Opie is 14 months). Opie *really* needed a playmate. He used to play with the dog down the street but his mommy now fosters dogs and routinely has 3-5 dogs in her home making it hard for Opie to play :D

Hope is a pointer mix (with possibly a little Dalmatian?). She currently has a limp from a sprain/strained leg and some kind of fluid filled bump caused by laying on hard surfaces for hours at a time (the previous owners worked 8 hour days plus an hour commute and she was left in an unpadded crate....sigh).

She has been in 3 foster homes, a permanent home, and a kennel. She has been named "Trudy" "Loxie" "Gypsy" and now "Hope" in her short 7 months. We are fostering her up to 2 weeks before we decide whether to adopt her (right now our status is "fostering with the intent to adopt"). I love dog ears and hers are too cute. Our neighbor think her and Opie are like Yin and Yang :D

Tuesday's Totals

This week has been more of a dissapointing week than last. However, I have put very little into reselling this week beyond retail arbitrage.

**Ebay had 11 sales this week....and nothing to write home about. I listed a total of about 5 new items so I guess I can't complain.

 This is an absolutely horrible picture. I can't believe I didn't crop out my feet. But look how cute the outfit (and shoes) are!! Because infant clothes are so abundant I have a hard time selling anything that isn't NWT. But this Baby Gap outfit size 0-3 months sold within 60 days for 8.95 + shipping. Paid $1.50 (not a huge profit but I couldn't pass up the shoes.)

 I have had this Mary Meyer's Taggies blanket sitting around since January but patience paid off. NWT but it had fallen off the original board backing. Paid $2(ish) sold for $26.95 f/s. Currently on my BOLO list. This is called the Dazzling Dots design.

These Willow Tree figures have always creeped me out because they have no face. However, the sell through rate is quite good.  Paid $1 sold for $9.95+shipping. This isn't one of the more popular ones.

**No Etsy sales. Added 3 or 4 items (I'm out of Etsy inventory to list pretty much) and renewed a few more listings.

**Amazon sales were good but not as plentiful as last week. My profit after fees and cost in the last 24 hours was $58 which is much better than the $107 in the first 2 or 3 weeks. So I am hopeful that this will continue to pick up.

I just got 3 more boxes sent into Amazon  today that hadn't gotten labeled before surgery. I also have 10 more boxes to mail in. After this week, I am taking a spending freeze on retail arbitrage altogether, minimal thrift stores, but still will hit yard sales hard, primarily for 4th quarter inventory. I love how I can hit yard sales hard and still spend less than $150....my negotiating skills have gotten really good. 

 picked up this video game for $2 at a church yard sale....it was 1 of few things I picked up there. Sold for $12.95; it was a very quick flip.

 I try not to buy "oversized" items as it is more $ to ship and store (I had to ship it by itself) . Paid for $19.95 sold within 2 days for $49.95. Worth the time to ship.

The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse headphones cost $11.95 a week ago. Sold for $24.95. Thankful for fast flips.

That's all I have for this week. Hopefully soon things will pick up for everyone. How's everyone else's week?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Drinking the Kool-Aid for 13 Years

I got this email a few days ago....and man does it make me feel old :/
(eBay didn't highlight its own name....I had to do an email search to find it LOL)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saling Saturday + a Thrift Store Pricing Rant

So no yard saling for me again this week. I did do some retail arbitrage (about $500 and a full living room full...no pictures sorry I overdid it this week and am trying to hurry and get it out of my house and force myself to do nothing this upcoming week) with the vast majority for FBA. My husband went with me and did all the lifting :D

I also hit up 2 thrift stores. I rarely go because of the higher price points. I know there is overhead and I don't expect it to be as cheap as yard sales but our closest local one sends everything to their warehouse where there is an ebay-looker-upper department. There are occasionally things they miss but by and large it isn't worth my time. Their reviews on Facebook is right around 3 stars with a half dozen complaints right in a row about the increased prices. (There is another little rant coming up...you have been warned)

 I was so excited to find some vintage games. There were way more that I wanted to that I couldn't justify the price (thanks to the eBay department). I am debating whether to sell these on Amazon or eBay.

 Unfortunately I found these right as they were closing and they were in the glass case. I didn't notice the price on this game until I got home. $25!?!?!?! I would have been irritated to pay $10. I will be lucky not to loose money on it.  Thankfully when I got home all the games worked (we own almost every system known to man. Those we don't have we are currently making a game plan to buy.

These games were overpriced too but I can still make $5-$10 each one. I normally wouldn't have bought them for that price margin (I paid $15-18 per game) but they sell very quickly and good. Also I am willing to take a smaller profit margin to sell things I enjoy. It was fun to watch my hubby's eyes light up. I bought them also for him to play before we sell (he collects video games). Apparently we own most of these games.

 This week the same thrift store had 50% off toys and games (they run a special each week in addition to clothes. Personally I prefer you have better prices and skip the sales) These are all NIP. I was on a FBA kick this week. I have a lot of backlogged eBay inventory but Amazon overall is quick to get out of my house.  I paid $1.50-6 per game. See the Clue Express game? That was originally priced at $20 then marked to $12 where I bought for $6. Sells for around $30 on Amazon but $20 at a thrift store? I am pretty sure it was $19.99 original retail.

(Can't figure out how to turn the picture sorry) It's an Eye Clops from Jakks Pacific NIP. I bought this from a Salvation Army about 20 minutes from home. The 1 down the road from me has these insane prices too worse than the thrift listed above. We paid 5.99 (I wouldn't have paid that if I didn't scan it first). It has a sales rank of 38.500 (really pretty good) and will go on Amazon FBA for $75-80.00.

That 1 thrift I left a 2 star review on Facebook detailing the great work and good selection but unreasonable prices. They are really awesome at monitoring their Facebook page and asked me to send them a private message. I sent them a small book, including pictures, letting them know that A)I resell but B) its to help out the poor of the community and we live way under the national poverty level. I stated that if I drive about a half hour away there are 3 or 4 greatly priced thrifts that are always busier :D I know they asked the last several people who left reviews about prices (its actually the only reviews they have been getting lately) to send PMs also. Hopefully, they change something. I enjoy walking there. 

Overall not a terrible week for profits considering I didn't yard sale. How has your week treated you? Do you have reasonably priced thrifts or are they climbing exponentially  in price also? Don't get me wrong, I love the good things that non-profit thrifts do, but I wish I had the option of donating of my own will.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Getting into Amazon's Approval Needed Categories

Amazon has made it increasingly harder to get into restricted categories which raise questions about what is needed to get approval. With each category needed certain criteria must be met.

The categories needing approval are:
-Automotive & Powersports
-Clothing & Accessories
-Collectible Books
-Collectible Coins
-Entertainment Collectibles
-Fine Art
-Gift Cards
-Grocery and Gourmet Foods
-Health & Personal Care
-Industrial and Scientific
-Luggage and Travel Accessories
-Major Appliances
-Sexual Wellness
-Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
-Sports Collectibles
-Textbook Rentals

Amazon limits the amount of new sellers in each category "to ensure that all customers can buy with confidence. That being said they have pretty stringent seller standards that must be met to apply for any of these categories.

Some categories are "full" and they aren't accepting new sellers at the moment. As noted above Textbook Rentals and Jewelry are 2; I have heard Grocery is also full.

Applying to sell in a category is relatively easy. It requires filling out a questionaire or other form.

This questionaire is for the Clothes and Accessories category. It is a few questions longer than this. I have tried to apply but have been declined as they require the seller to be an authorized retailer (no more thrifting I guess). All items must have barcodes as well.

This is the required form for the automotive categories. I have never attempted to fill this out :D

*In the seller forums, I have heard horror stories of Amazon taking random FBA items and testing them for authenticity. Apparently there is a "right" way and a substandard (aka cheaper but less reliable) way to test and individuals have been suspended because their product failed. To be reinstated, they had to pay an independent lab out of pocket to get proof their item was authentic. I have seen this with a few sellers. I personally won't be trying to sell jewelry anytime soon :D

The vast majority of my items are in the toys, baby, and video game category so I don't see myself applying for many of these categories soon. Most places, in my experience, will not allow me to become an authorized retailer without either a brick and mortar store or an online presence apart from eBay/Amazon/Bonanza/Etsy/etc.

If you meet all the criteria and new sellers are being accepted, it should be relatively easy to gain approval to sell in these categories. I did a Google search to find stories of those who had applied and/or gained access but there was very little; the couple I did find were from 2008....and we all know how fast policies and procedures change in the online marketplace. I would have to guess that you should receive a response anywhere from immediately to a week. If anyone has actually applied or has a story about this, please share in the comments below!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Contact Me Box!

I finally found (right in front of my face) a contact me box to add. Top right of the blog. I welcome questions, comments, comics, or anything else non-spammy you feel like sending me!

Also please check my blog roll, if you have a reselling related blog and you don't see it please use that lovely contact me box with your blog home page address so I can add it. While I would love to say I'm perfect and got all the blogs I wanted to, we all know thats very far from the truth :D

This has nothing to do with anything but I thought it was cute. :D I am a huge lover of Pitbulls. We are considering fostering a 2nd one. If you are thinking about dogs, Pits aren't the mean horrible dog everyone seems to think they are :D

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Our first "real" look into FBA profit

Well 2 or so weeks have gone by since our FBA items have started selling. So..... we sat down and took a look at our profit margins etc. We = my husband. I hate numbers and whatnot, and he seems to thrive on them. I have Accounting 1 + 2 as well as either Calculus or Trigonometry coming up in my next few semesters so this should be fabulous.

Anyway we have sold/shipped/been paid for a total of 90 items. Our total sales was just shy of $800 and the profit was only $107. Kinda sad but not too bad for a first attempt. Another 5 items have sold but not processed so we did not include these numbers. 240 items are still left in the warehouse. Our initial investment was $1500 but then we added another $500 worth of inventory to the warehouse. I am sitting here with another $500 waiting to be listed (a blog post of my current business financial situation is forthcoming at some point.)

First we had no smartphone. That destroys anything but gut instinct to go on when shopping. Some things were "break even" or slight loss. The average profit margin was $1-3. Then we did ditch a bunch of "old" inventory I was getting close to donating anyway so they were marked cheaper than I normally would have. That equated for roughly $75 in sales. This next shipment will probably include the rest of the "old" inventory but maybe price a bit higher. After all I can always lower the price (but I don't need to look at it every day) Most of that inventory was sold at a loss (my husband hated the Twilight series and was more than happy to see Edward and Bella Barbie head out of the house. I loved the books; hated the movies)

Everything I read with FBA was lower profit margin....and that is really true. All things considered I am pretty happy with $100 profit. I spent around 10 hours taking off price tags, prepping (I now look for more items that don't need "prepping"....I always have the option of Amazon doing it for an extra fee), labeling (some items need to be labeled but again Amazon will do for a fee). Amazon also now offers a co-mingling option of not labeling select products. I won't be doing that as I have heard horror stories of sellers being banned for counterfeit products. With my own label at least I can track/have proof of my own inventory.

I still am torn whether I should include shopping time as time spent. Technically it is but it is also enjoyable (usually) and a bit of a "get-away". If you include shopping time, the time investment probably goes up to 20 or so....or well under minimum wage.

With anything there is a learning curve. Most businesses make no profit at all for around 3 months. If next year (or even in 3 months) I still have this kind of profit margin I will consider throwing in the towel. But for now it is learn, learn, learn :D

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday's Totals

All things considered, it wasn't a bad week sales wise. I put my stores on vacation Tuesday night with an email that said it may take a month to send the items out. Surgery was Wednesday (it went way better than planned and recovery was also much better than expected; thanks for the prayers and well wishes!) by Thursday 2 items on eBay had been bought already (I don't like to "hide" my listings.) Assuming my customers didn't read the listing or the email, I felt well enough on Saturday to ship them out. I also went ahead and took my store off vacation on Friday; my husband has been doing all the lifting of totes, packages, etc. Most items I sell are less than a lb.

**EBay I sold 14 items. Not huge profits but still nice when I planned not to have any sales for the next month :D

 I really screwed up on these American Girl books. Cost $4. Listed for $7.95 + shipping (not sure what I was thinking....I'm blaming it on the Percocet.) Meant to list for $15-20. Sold before I got the next listing up. Literally. Less than 5 minutes. Someone got a steal....and I'm sure they are happy :D In a year or 2 I am going to start saving these for my daughter. AG books are super cute.

 Pleasant Company vintage early 1990s Samantha (American Girl) butterfly net from Nature Paraphanalia set. Had this listed for around a year but it finally sold to the right buyer. Paid ? (bought a huge lot a year and a half ago for $1,000. So far have recouped around $3500) Sold $18.95 w/ F/S.

 It's really no secret that I love Bumbos. This is a "rare" color that I have seen new at the store but never used. I love the lime green and would definately keep this if I had more kids. I haggle price obnoxiously when its not fixed with the recall strap reminding them that is technically  illegal for them to sell the seat as is. Its amazing the amount of people that don't realize that YES their Bumbo actually IS part of the recall. (I think the recall is rediculous and unnecessary :) ) Paid $5 for it....sold for $26.95 + shipping. If it was not that color (or the bright orange) I wouldn't have paid more than $3 for it.

Captain Underpants 1-7 paid $1. not as popular as it used to be but I bought them for my son's summer reading requirements. He is going into 3rd grade and has to read 25 books; it is priceless to hear him complain how its longer with chapters but yet only counts as 1 book. I just picked up 10 Magic Treehouse books for him next :D Sold for $9.95 + shipping. This and the AG books I charged Priority Mail Legal Flat rate envelope price. I put in a poly mailer and pop in the envelope.

**Amazon I sold 23 items. Definately not as good as last week but yet its still nice to sell stuff and not have to ship it. My gross sales were slightly over $400. Nothing specific to report; it was either low profit inventory I was dumping from eBay or stuff I can buy off the shelf and make a profit (since I'm still new to FBA I'm kinda waiting to divulge specific items....the last thing I want to do if flood the market LOL)

**Etsy I had 1 sale this week.

4 8oz 1/2 pint Ball quilted jelly canning jars. Sold for $3.95 + shipping. Pam over at A Nickel Here, A Dime There has a gift for these jars. I definately don't. I bought a box of 25 Ball and Kerr jars this size for $5. Any more and I would have skipped them. With the amount of profit and bubble wrap/shipping supplies involved as well as the time they have been sitting, I probably won't buy again. I was desparate to get some things up in my Etsy store. :D

Thats my "restful" week in a nutshell. Now I'm off to remove price tags, label another shipment of FBA inventory and hopefully have my dear hubby bring another shipment to FBA. It will be a light day today though....yesterday at Target I forgot about the "no heavy lifting" and got a painful reminder :/ Hubby is increasingly coming on board with me about reselling....but then being able to cover the mortgage helps :D Proof is in the pudding I guess :/

(this is the heat gun I use to remove price tags.  Its the cheapest Prime eligible 1 I could find. The 1 that showed up was green rather than the teal it shows; when I went to buy 1 there was nothing I could find that told me what wattage to buy. This is a crafting one (around 300-325 watts or so....some of them are 900 watts plus) Its worked really well and I haven't broken any more nails. (Word of warning. it melts the glue. Put the tags on a napkin or something. DO NOT put directly on the table. Yup learned the hard way :D ended up using the heat gun again on the table. Not sure if I have to legally tell you this is an affiliate link. HERE IT IS

Well that's it for me....how is your week going??

Monday, July 7, 2014

ebay funny

I found this on a Google search for eBay memes. It was posted to the eBay Australia community site. While I still like the one for stay at home moms better, this is still pretty stinking funny! :D For me, change "mom" to "husband"...hubby did do sourcing with me today and decided scanning everything is annoying. (plus he got to load and unload all the carts because I didn't lift a finger!)

This isn't the Meme I orginally saw for the SAHM, but this had the added in-law box, which is quite true in my case. Also I have never seen one for the SAHD so we added it to be fair :D