Welcome back to the eBay seller interview series!
This series highlights successful eBay sellers and gives us a behind the scenes look at how they run their businesses. If you’re an eBay seller or are thinking about starting an eBay business, I hope you get some inspiration and maybe learn a thing or two from these interviews.
Today’s guest is Diane from Indiana. Diane has been selling on eBay part-time since 2003!
If you’re an eBay seller and would like to be featured in an interview, all you need to do is fill out this form.
Now for the interview.
When did you start selling on eBay and what made you decide to be an eBay seller?
I started in 2003. I overheard a lady at a ballgame talking about how much money she made and I knew this was for me. I’ve always loved to sell and hunt for bargains and love vintage. I work the school calendar and this was my summer project in 2003 and I’m still loving it although it has changed so much over the years.
What kinds of items did you start off selling and do you still sell the same kind of stuff?
I started selling stuff around the house. Small vintage items and a few things picked up at yard sales. I sell craft kits, patterns, children’s clothes, vintage children’s clothing, fabric, and other vintage items. I don’t like selling clothing other than children’s and I hate breakables.
How many items are in your eBay store?
I keep about 250 items in my store.
Where do you find your items to sell?
I sell on consignment, yard sales, and thrift stores.
What is something you will always buy when you come across it?
Bucilla stocking kits, vintage cards, girls vintage slips, and dresses, vintage patterns just to name a few. The list is LONG!
What is something you will never buy again?
Anything I know just enough to be dangerous and lose money. I hate electronics and glassware.
What's the best sale you ever had?
Probably a felt craft kit for $350.
What's the worst?
More than I care to mention! The ones where we paid the buyer to take the item. Lately a vintage Barbie outfit I sold for 99 cents and didn’t realize I had changed it to free shipping. It was part of my effort to move really old inventory before the GTC kicked in. I should have thrown it in the trash!
How much are you profiting each month?
Varies with how much effort I put into it. If you list consistently and work your business you will make sales.
What's your listing process like?
Well, I hate taking photographs! I get out what I want to list. Have it all cleaned or whatever needs to be fine. Take photos. I don’t have a light kit or one specific place to photograph but usually have my go-to spots in my house, in nice weather, I will even shoot outside to use natural light.
Then I download photos and edit. I still use my digital camera I bought just for eBay use in 2003. Then I research each item as I list. Depending on how many items I photographed depends on if I list all at once or over a few days.
What tools do you use for eBay? (this could be physical or software).
Well, not many. I keep a tape measure and magnifying glass in my desk. I use a digital camera and a desktop computer to list.
About how much time do you spend on eBay each week?
It varies with my work. More in the summer. I have never actually kept track of my hours. If it includes sourcing then some weeks it would be a ton. It does add up if you count the sourcing and time it takes going to post office, but I don’t consider sourcing work. That’s the best part!
What's your shipping process? Do you use specific methods for each item and do you do free shipping?
No to free shipping. I am old school. Since I am part-time I just prefer to handwrite my labels. I save boxes and use eBay padded poly mailers.
Do you do anything to promote your listings?
I have just started using the promoted listings a few months ago. Does not seem to help for my particular items
Have you ever sold on consignment?
Yes, I sell on consignment for a select few people. I have for 6 years.
What's your best eBay story? (could be something funny, heart-warming etc).
When I first started selling in 2003 it was crazy! Everything was auction-style and people went nuts. Everything listed sold. I auctioned a Bitty Baby and the price went so high I felt bad. I put a note in the box and told her she paid too much and put a $5 bill in the box.
Do you sell anywhere other than eBay? If so, tell us how that's going.
I sell at vintage shows a couple of times a year with my sister and we also have two vendor booths together. Last month the vendor booths did well. About $800. You constantly have to add new inventory. It’s best to restock twice a week but not always possible.