Saturday Sale Stories 2-18-12 to 2-24-12

I was about to write that I had crappy sales this week. But then I looked at my spreadsheet and realized I forgot to input whole weekend worth of sale numbers into it. I did it really fast and numbers are not that bad. But still, comparing to last week they were lower by almost a half…

Of course part of the problem I have no motivation to dig through piles and piles of unlisted clothes and work them into my store. I have such a hard time making myself stick to the schedule and list list list. Things were chaotic at home and nothing gets done right: my hubby cannot work on his next book, my kids don’t get to go to the park very often and as a result I don’t get to drug my butt out of limbo and list list list. I tell you listing makes all the difference. If no new items come to your store customers stop looking there. So note to myself: instead of spreading myself too thin concentrate on filling my store. It’s not like I lack of merchandise

Last week, one I could not write about because I was away for a weekend, I made $137.11. But this week I only made $61.86. Boo-hoo.

Anywho, these are my sales for the week.

While I was away on long weekend trying to keep my sons from destroying San Diego hotel, I had following sales:

THC hooded sweatshirt best offer $16.25 with free shipping. Made $8.88 after shipping and fees

I did not have much hopes for this sweater – it’s so ordinary and had a logo and it is pre-owned but I had it in my store for less then a month, so its sold fairly quickly. This sweater sold just before I went away for three day weekend and in a middle of my Internet outage. I shipped it out on Tuesday. I message the buyer with explanation and apology early Saturday morning saying I will ship first thing on Tuesday I never heard back from them.

Funny thing just yesterday I got an email from someone asking if I will realist this sweater as according to her it ended without sale and she really like to have it. I politely explained that it was sold, has been paid for, and is already on the way to new owner. I told this person that if I get a return for any reason I will contact her.

Dressbarn pleated tank top. Best offer $10 with free shipping. Made $6.46 after shipping and fees

This was a super quick sale I listed it a week before it sold. I had hard time finding words to describe it and did not think it would sell so quickly.
This top also sold on Saturday morning when there was Internet outage and I was heading out of the door. It is going to a military wife based on P.O. address. I contacted her as well but never heard back from her either. I hope I won’t earn dings on my starts from either of them.

Baby boy blue security blanket planes trains trucks. Best offer $17.50 with free shipping. Made $9.79 after shipping and fees

I bought this at the garage sale from rather obnoxious unfriendly people. I rarely get out to garage sales as I don’t drive myself and dragging my husband and two kids around is nobody’s idea of fun in my family. The garage sale where I bought this blanket was the last one we were going to stop at because everyone around me in a car was melting, big and small. I already got few cool things that trip but garage sale fever took over me and I was pouting that it had to be a last stop. I felt to make it worth while I had to buy something at this sale. But everything was overpriced, and my kids were whiny and wanted to get more toys. So I quickly spotted few things, couple of which I immediately put back upon learning the price. But I could not make myself walk away empty handed. So I paid $3 for this blanket, thought it was in like new condition, but did not examine it closely. When I got home I saw that owners neatly folded over a medium size stain. I am not good with removing stains. I think I need to borrow Karina’s, a blogger over at Anti Social network, mom as I hear she is great at removing stains from everything. I suck at it big time. But I hoped it would be one of those stains that would come out by itself in a wash. Took couple washes and spraying stain release thingy on it but stains got lifted. I priced this blanket high but after couple months I lowered the price. My iPhone alerted me I had an offer on it while I was having milkshake with my Bonanza friend over the weekend. I looked at the offer and complained about how low it was. Later when I was by myself I decided to counteroffer at slightly higher price then what I wanted to get for this blanket. I did not have much hopes for it as usually my counteroffers get ignored and expire. But this buyer accepted my counteroffer and I sold it. I did want a lot more for this blanket but considering it sat in my store for several months I will take a little profit that I made. Next time I really should not buy something that I think is overpriced or I have little possibility of making nice profit from. As Tina says ‘work smarter nor harder!’

Nightmare before Christmas Jack Skellington purple tank top. Best offer $15 with free shipping. Made $11.08 after shipping and fees

This tank top sat in my store since around Halloween. I was digging through my endless supply of clothes and first found Nightmare before Christmas pajama bottoms. Three weeks after I listed them I found a tank top to go with them. I was too lazy to take different pictures at that time and redo listing to include tank top too. In addition to it I had 7 watchers on those pants. So I listed tank separately. I sold pants sometime around Christmas. But this tank top sat around for another month and a half with many watchers. Finally someone made me an offer and it was one I was happy to begin with. I am glad it finally found an owner.

Gillian O'Malley leopard print lounge pants. Best offer $20 with free shipping. Made $14.80

Good brand to buy if you see it in thrift stores or garage sales. I looked at completeds on free Terapeak and it does sell for decent amount with good sell through rate. For me it was a quick and easy turn around. These pants have been in my store only 3 weeks. I know if I list more regularly I would have a lot more sales. Prior to being listed they sat in my to be listed pile for two months or longer….

Orange halter top and shorts for 5 y. o. girl. Best offer 15 with free shipping. Made $10.79 after shipping and fees

This 2 piece outfit sat in my store for close to a year. Maybe I listed it during off season but it never caught anyone’s interest until I recently ended old Good Until Cancelled listing, tweaked my title and raised price on sell similar listing. Immediately I had few watchers and it was bought fairly soon after that. Power of sell similar option! I should have used it sooner.

Weekend: No Internet and a Few Sales

I did not write my Saturday Sale Stories last week because my whole family went away for a weekend. My husband played in chess tournament, and I was hoping for relaxing stay in a hotel with marathon of “Law and Order:SVU” and lots of beauty sleep.

Little did I know! It’s impossible to relax even in a hotel room with two little kids who act like energizer bunnies. They pretended to be Eloise and destroyed the room and hotel lobbies by day. By night my youngest refused to sleep because he wanted his own bed and a bottle of milk. Neither was available.

I was going to write an entry about last week sales night before we went. However my Internet went out on Thursday. It was too bad because I had great sales last week, I made more then in few previous weeks and even had a international customer purchase three items at the same time, something that only happened to me once since I opened a store.

Disney Characters Feliz Navidad Banner

I had a sale on Friday for none other then a Christmas Feliz Navidad banner, but without Internet I could not print my label on PayPal.I was horrified to have to go to post office and pay close to double the postage but I did not want my customer to wait.

I remembered how much I hate the post office and how much I love printing labels on PayPal. Not only a wait was horrible at the post office with their extra step. While standing in long line waiting for your turn to get to only two open windows you are being approached by a worker who makes you fill out form saying which way you ship you packages and if you need extra services. That form then supposed to be handed to worker at the window. Hello!!! I am perfectly capable of saying what kind of postage I need at the window. What happened to polite verbal communication? That worker would have made things easier if she would sat behind one of the windows helping customers there instead of annoying us in the line.

And then on top of everything else one worker behind the window spotted me in the middle of the line and loudly announced ‘Liz Taylor in the house!’ I get that every time I step in this post office along with bewildered looks of elderly desperately trying to locate Liz Taylor in their presence and young folks shrugging their shoulders because they never heard of Liz Taylor but still looking around. I wanted my Internet be back on at the moment!!

Right before we left on Saturday morning I checked my email on my iPhone without which I cannot live and to my dismay I found I made two more sales. No time to wait for post office to open, and Internet at home still down. I was not too happy knowing we have three day weekend and I even won’t be back until late Monday night. I wrote both buyers really apologetic email saying their items will be shipped first thing Tuesday morning and kept my fingers crossed. I never got a response from them

Being on a shoe string budget during our trip I was glad to have made those sales as well as one more sale during the trip. I kept shipping expenses aside and was able to use the rest of the money as we desperately needed it during the trip.

So as one can imagine I did not get a break or rest. Except couple hours on Sunday when I met a fellow seller from Bonanza in person. We had wonderful time drinking milkshakes talking about selling online and I shared with her few tip I learned including info about ebug and free section on Craigslist as a source of potential inventory. I was glad to be spared of my kids company and it was awesome to have a grown up conversation with long time online friend!

My hubby won some money in a chess tourney and exhausted we made our way home. My kids were so happy to sleep in their own bed. I was too.

Tuesday our Internet was fixed. I was able to ship packages from home while saving money time and my sanity by not going back to the post office. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope that those buyers who had to wait for three days to get their packages shipped will understand that life happens and we are all human and won’t give me feedback trouble or dings on stars.

Holding My Breath….


I wonder how long should I be waiting on my customers to return their purchases before I can let out a sigh of relief?

That question has been raised in my mind after a request I received from my buyer couple weeks ago. She received her item within three days but requested a return because her sweater according to her “was more like size XL and not XXL” as I stated in my listing. She acknowledged that my listing clearly stated that there is no size indicated and my estimation was approximate. But she still send me note bordering on nasty indicating that I misrepresented the item. I politely replied to her that I am sorry she is not satisfied with her purchase, that I specifically included measurements in my listing for my buyers to double check for right fit, and that I asked my buyers to do so. I told her I would be glad to refund her the amount minus 20% restocking fee upon receipt of my item in the same condition I sent it. I forgot to mention that I don’t refund the shipping costs especially since this lusting has a free shipping on it. I was beating myself up for that after email was sent but I was prepared to refund her whole amount minus restocking fee. It’s been two weeks and I have not heard from her yet nor did I receive my item back.

My question how long should I wait? I changed my return policy when eBay twisted my arm and now have 60 day return policy. However when customer contacts me asking for return should I wait 53 days since contact for them to return the item? Or is two weeks sufficient period for me to let that breath out I have been holding making sure everything went OK?

I have had similar experience about two month ago. My customer loved the dress she bought but failing to use the skill she learned in a first grade she did not read my description, assumed the dress was made out of silk although description stared the material content very clearly as well as title reflected that dress was cut velvet not silk. She asked for return. I apologized politely for her not being satisfied with this awesome dress and told her to return it. I stated that according to my policy I will refund her the amount minus 20% restocking fees minus shipping it cost me to get the dress to her. I was even helpful enough to translate 20% into dollar amount as well as tell her how much was actual shipping. I put the figures into email along with my calculations of what final refund would be and how I arrived to that number. Just to avoid any further confusion. Lo and behold, but not to my surprise, I never heard from that customer again. Somehow then I was not expecting to. After all, she stated she loved the dress.

However, this time I was not and still am not sure. I put the money aside for refund. I, however, still find myself in situations where I am short on money sometimes and might need to use what i put aside in a pinch. I don’t like to not know what is going on with my money either. But I am not about to contact her asking if she sent the sweater back. I never heard from her after my reply to her. I hope she just changed her mind and keeping it.

Saturday Sales Stories: Week of 2-4-12 to 2-10-12

This week I have listed some clothing items in my eBay store and kept on top of sell as similar on those listings that have been in my store for a while, tweaking titles and descriptions.

However, sale wise this week has been super slow for me. I only made $31.36 after fees and shipping

2 cats and kittens cross stitch books-sold for best offer of $20 including shipping. Made commission of $8.97

A friend of a friend asked me to sell some things for her and gave me a load of craft related things, including many pattern books in cross stitch and embroidery. First thing I do is I check all books individually on Amazon. If they go for decent amount and are moving fast I put them there. Listing on Amazon is super fast and I can list close to a 100 books in a day because all I have to do is write a short condition description and don’t have to take my own pictures. I love acquiring boxes and boxes of books for the simple reason of how easy and fast it is to list on Amazon. There are no upfront fees, shipping comes out from amount I made on a sale and I never have to pay a dime out of my pocket.
But alas, neither of those books on cross stitch for cat lovers could be put on Amazon because return for them would be too low especially because they would only give me my commission and not a full sale price. So, I put them together in a lot and listed them on eBay. I have 2 other lots of cross stitch books listed there as well. They sold within two weeks for what I was looking to get for them anyway, even though it was a best offer. Yes, not a huge amount but acceptable to me and the person I am selling for.

Teddi black casual pants size 18-sold for $12 including shipping. Made $7.92 after fees and shipping

Another quick turn around. I only listed these pants 17 days ago. There is nothing special about them, at least nothing I could find. But I got them for free and I know that the bigger the size the more in demand clothing article could be. I still did not feel justified asking for more then just $12 for them. Usually I list things with best offer but here I could not as I am trying to rank higher in eBay best match and list as many items as I can with free shipping. I had to think about shipping cost and fees when listing these pants. I was expecting to have them in my store for a while and putting them on sale sometime down the road. However, I was pleasantly surprised to make a quick nickel on them.

The rest of my sales came from Amazon. I sold three books:

Grand Valley Dani: Peaceful Warriors - sold for $2.49+ expedited shipping.Made $3.07 after fees and shipping

Don’t worry, my math is correct. My buyer paid for expedited shipping on this book. I did ship it first class instead of media mail which I would have done anyway. Amazon decides the shipping cost they charge buyers on seller’s behalf and quite honestly most of the time my shipping costs exceeds Amazon’s allowance to me.  Very often I eat shipping costs. When shipping allowance is significantly higher then my shipping costs are I refund my buyer but I don’t usually do it unless actual difference is more then $5.00 or the item I sold was listed for very high price.  In this case the difference was not that big.  As you see, I only made my Amazon fee back and additional $.58 on the shipping

War of the Roses: Military activity and English Society 1452-1497 - sold internationally for $4.99. Made $6.95 after fees and shipping

Again, shipping cost me a little less that Amazon charged my buyer but not enough to refund.

Mountaineering, the Freedom of the Hills - sold for 7.96 + shipping. Made $4.95 after fees and shipping

As you can see here, I made a lot less then my original asking price. When I sell book sets or something other then books on Amazon I have to take in consideration the insufficient shipping allowance Amazon charges my buyer and factor it in my price. And if I make few pennies here or there on books because my shipping costs me a little less than what Amazon gives me for shipping I don’t feel too bad

What do you think of that? If you sell on Amazon, do you refund your buyer any excess shipping or do you keep it to offset material purchases like envelopes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.?

Bribery

I was able to actually write descriptions, argue in my head over the prices, and list about 10 items in my store last night. In the middle of the night as usual.

I tell you, bribery rewards work! I told myself that I cannot have something I really wanted to have until all of my descriptions were written. I knew myself well enough  to know I will put the listings up after I get to enjoy my reward. But I also knew that if I convince myself to take a break and enjoy it before last two descriptions were written I would never finish writing them.

Man's Shirt On Female Mannequin

Half way though my description write up I realized that I thought since polo shirt was pink I automatically assumed that it is woman’s. Taking measurements I discovered that it is a man’s shirt. Who in their right mind would not make the same mistake initially? I had to argue with myself over the picture that was already taken on female mannequin. I was trying to convince myself that a man’s shirt looks perfectly OK on mannequin with boobs. After all if it can be for a guy and be pink, then it can look OK on female mannequin, right? But then more sensible side of me won and off I went climbing chairs in the middle of the night getting my background and male mannequin (no, I am not at the point of giving them names yet. I am just thinking about it. Seriously thinking…) from that place up high in the closet where neither my kids nor I can reach easily. I re-took pictures, less then perfect ones because it was wrinkled too and being half asleep I could not muster enough energy to drag out my steamer from its hiding place and smooth out that shirt. I promise when I have nothing better to do I will retake the picture and fix it in the listing. Just don’t you hold your breath. I don’t want to be responsible for anything happening to you.

Anyway, I was glad to finish the last description, I took a break enjoying my reward at 2 in the morning.

Then I started to actually list. Repetitive motion kept putting me to sleep but I kept pressing on. However, at some point between the listing #4 and #5 I made a mistake to try to wake myself up again and look at something different: how many listings I had that ending today. Seeing how long they have been listed I realized that I am due to end them all and relist them as similar. Seeing a number told me I won’t get to bed until 5 am. I guess it’s OK. I complained somewhere about suffering from insomnia, don’t you remember?

I managed to put up all my new listings and sell as similar with whole bunch of changes in titles and descriptions all the others needed to be resisted for boost in my traffic and hopefully for better searchability.

And so I went to bed around 5. I did get 4 hours of sleep thanks to my hubby watching my youngest who in fit of terrible twos turned the rest of my house upside down, again!

Saturday Sale Stories: week of 1-27-12 to 2-3-12

I made $185.58 after fees and shipping this week in sales and that is with only few listings going up. I am working on my procrastination. I really am!!!

My best sale came from bonanza! I don’t make sales there often. I mostly enjoy it’s forums and wonderful community of warm funny caring people. I know to be successful there I have to advertise myself unlike on eBay. And I simply don’t have anything left in me for that right now. However putting my booth on vacation, taking it off and adding 200 items to my store with help of eBay import must have helped my search rankings on Google

Victorian Doll Deirdre Ashton Drake Galleries 1998- sold $99.99 + shipping. Made $93.13 after fees.

I originally acquired this Victorian Doll Deirdre of Ashton Drake Galleries Collection 1998 from a friend who did not want to keep it herself anymore and did not mind me selling it for myself. At the time I researched it I saw that only few sold in last 6 months or so, none of them were brand new untouched in original box, and only sellers in Australia and UK had them for sale, nobody in U.S. did.  Knowing that I have bad luck with shipping anything even remotely fragile I decided to not test my luck and not take this beautiful Deirdre out of original wrapping and out of original box. That decision resulted in less then mediocre pictures which might have been the factor to her sitting in my store forever. I knew it was because of pictures but kept doubting myself on the price I put on this doll in my eBay store – $120 with free shipping and best offer. After she sat in my store for a while I decided to up the asking price to $150 even though I had no one who made me an offer. I had watchers though. On Bonanza I put it up for less with calculated shipping and forgot about her as I have forgotten about many other items once I put them there for sale. I was surprised when I got alert of PayPal payment for high amount on my iPhone. I was doubly surprised when I saw that the payment is for Bonanza sale and it was Deirdre! (I love the fee I had to pay for this doll to bonanza -$4.xx! Amazing!) She is safely on the way to my buyer. I was grateful to find a sturdy box to put original box in. I made sure to fill every empty space inside original box with air pillows even though doll was already snug in it’s box. I missed eBay’s ShipsSaver because I had to pay insurance through PayPal and let me tell you it was so much more expensive. I wish I could insure sales from other sites through ShipSaver. I had to pay little over what buyer provided for shipping because insurance fees and I underestimated full package weight

Vintage 1971 Hawaii 76 pcs Lot Postcards Maps - sold $28.77 including shipping. Made $22.65 after fees and shipping

I told the story of this lot on one of my previous posts. I auctioned it after having it in my store for few months. And it was my first successful auction in a long time even though I ended up getting less then I would have liked for it.

Lands End Charcoal Soft Corduroy Pants - sold for best offer of $15 including shipping. Made $9.77 after shipping and fees

This was one of the quick sales.  I  listed these pants only a week ago.  Immediately after listing it I got an email from a buyer who informed me that these exact pants are up for auction much cheaper somewhere else and he helpfully gave me the link to the auction. He also asked what ebug is as I have a statement about them in each of my listings. Seeing that he is a seller as well I explained to him about our group and invited him to join. As for my pricing I politely explained the difference between auction and buy it now listing, as well as difference in shipping – mine is free, but auction had calculated shipping. I mentioned that I have a best offer and immediate gratification of item purchased instead of prolonged wait of end of an auction. I also mentioned that I learned all of this and much more on ebug group and it’s been really helpful in me being successful. And as I saw from the sale I was not wrong about my price.

Patagonia Unisex Blue Zippered Sweater -Sold for $30 including shipping. Made $21.98 after shipping and fees

I sold this Patagonia blue unisex  sweater for full asking price within a month of listing it. I had one question about it regarding material and care instructions couple weeks ago. I had to look for tiny tag and examine it carefully. I almost had to write potential buyer that all I see are Chinese characters on the tag even though it clearly stated that this sweater was made in USA. However after looking even closer I was able to decipher care instructions but not what it is made of. So I was able to answer my potential buyer partially. I never heard back from him. Based on research of completed listings I did not have high hopes for selling this sweater but I stuck to strategy learned from Tina about best offer and was really surprised to see it selling for full asking price

Lucky Brand Dungarees Blue Corduroy Pants - sold for best offer of $25 including shipping. Made $18.98 after shipping and fees

I have had watchers on these Lucky Brand corduroy pants for while. When I see watchers on my items but no one buys or gives me an offer I dismiss those watchers. It might be another seller doing research or someone put an item on their wish list and forgot about it for while. I know I do it a lot. It takes me forever to delete an item from my wish list. So seeing few watchers on this listing for few months but no action I forgot about them, thinking it will be a while before they sell. I included these pants into general adjustment in price about a month ago where I change few things in title put a free shipping on it and brought the overall price up. And then I forgot about them. It’s good to see them finally sell. Lucky brand is surely being watched but I am not sure they sell fast as I have few of them sitting in my store. I am content, though, with slow dime rather then fast nickel.

Purple Sash Dance Yoga Pants - sold for $25 best offer including shipping. Made $19.07 after shipping and fees

These dance or yoga pants gave me trouble in the beginning.   Having never seen a pair before I had no idea what they are especially what is that extra material for. I tried to figure out if this is some kind of one shoulder jumping suit, or versatile one piece outfit  I could not for life of me figure out what to do with hanging material around the waist. Having no idea of keywords I could not search for similar things online – Google or eBay. Believe me I tried. At some point I was on a verge of tears. I asked my friends. They did not know exactly although they gave me plenty of suggestions.I posted on ebug group with huge pictures of every possible way I can use that material to cover a petite body of a mannequin.  It even stumped veterans there.  Eventually someone in the group mentioned dance as a keyword. I jumped on it. I searched both eBay and Google again, found similar clothing articles, saw that extra material is a sash, and that these pants can be used as stylish yoga pants. I was surprised at prices on eBay but decided to list these as high as I saw people paying for them. But I only got watchers and no offers. I lowered price few months later. And they finally sold today!

Keeping Up with Online Selling Venues

At some point last year I got very overwhelmed with keeping up with eBay, Addoway, Bonanza, and e-Crater selling sites all at once.

Addoway is the easiest one. After I work on eBay listings or after I sell something on eBay I just go to Addoway, click sync button and everything is updated instantly. It takes a minute to do and is easiest to keep up with. While I don’t have many sales compared to eBay, I have gotten quite a few and with ease of maintenance it’s a hustle free place to sell.

On the other hand,  I closed my e-Crater store even though e-Crater is absolutely free to sell on as they have no listing fees or final values fees. What happened was I had to cancel a transaction there because it was the sale for a dress I sold on eBay several months earlier. I was embarrassed and also realized I have not put anything in that store for over a year as I could not figure out how to work eBay importer there. I fiddled with importer once again and it worked. But to my horror I saw that because I never imported my eBay listings before all the listings I previously had on e-crater and I also had on eBay at the time were now showing up double. I got really frustrated and just closed the whole store.

At the same time I went to look at my Bonanza booth that has been only slightly less neglected. I had the same problem with their eBay importer and was making listings manually when and if I had energy after working as hard as I could on eBay. I have kept up with deleting items that sold on eBay off Bonanza booth (or rather putting them on reserve in case my eBay buyers don’t pay or decide to return their purchase. That way I don’t have to start listing from scratch), however, and never had a double sale on the same item. Still, because I had to list manually, my booth contained fewer items then eBay as I felt I was spread too thin. But I love community on Bonanza. I made many friends who did notice my absence and were coming around now and then to check on me hoping I can join them in social fun they have on regular basis. Being frustrated over e-Crater, and fearing that in frustration I will take it out on Bonanza too, I just put my booth on vacation and left to calm down for few weeks. Meanwhile my friends on Bonanza kept gently nudging me saying hi, telling me they miss me. Responding to my friends messages I decided to drop by my favorite WFC (word find challenge) game and participate. I needed laughs even though it meant I came back to yet another way of not working on my listings….

While fooling around and laughing with friends on game forum I decided to look into eBay importer again. It helped to know ahead of time that a lot of listings might import as duplicates just like on e-Crater. I was also aware that on Bonanza my listings won’t go live until I hit update booth button. Which meant I was in control, can work slowly on deleting duplicates while having fun socializing with friends. It took me a week but I did it! I deleted all duplicate listings, adjusted prices and added 200 new listings to my booth.

Now I am not good at advertising, tweeting, Facebook-ing, etc. my Bonanza booth but adding items to my store helped my traffic. And I am glad I did not give up on Bonanza as I have on e-Crater because I just made a big sale there!!!!