Resellers with a YouTube following are not always experts.
Let that sink in a moment.
Let me just say that there is some terrible advice
circulating out in the ether. I mean, hey, at some point someone thought it was
a great idea to pick up the black diamond Disney VHS tapes. One of the great
things about reselling is its variety and flexibility. Not everyone does things
the same way; nor should they.
The conventional wisdom that I want to challenge today is
the whole, “Start with things that you find around your house.” Never have I
gone through my personal possessions and thought, should I sell my personal
possessions to start a business on ebay. Many of you know the story of how I
got sucked into the reselling world. We were pretty broke, but I had some cash
in pocket and had stopped in at our local Goodwill. They had some Southern
Living at Home pottery by Gail Pittman on the shelves and I bought it. To this
day, I love Gail Pittman pottery, even though it doesn’t have the resale value
it once did. My husband, who had dabbled with ebay for one off sales here and
there, mentioned that I could probably find more pieces there if I wanted. I
asked him to look up prices and was shocked by how much these pieces were
bringing on ebay. I looked at him and said, “Sell them.”
So, I helped him with the photography, and he showed me how
to list. They sold rather quickly. Now, you might suggest that because these
were something I had purchased for myself that I did indeed start with personal
possessions. Maybe. I never used them or put them away and I sold them almost
immediately. I had no attachment to these dishes that I had just purchased and
shipping them off to a new home for much more than I had paid for them was a
It never occurred to me to go through my cupboards and pull
out my other pieces of pottery to sell. Instead, I went back to the thrift
store to see what else I could find. I figured out how to look items up on ebay
and to check the ‘solds’. I started with dishes and figurines. I opened my own
account and got to work.
I would encourage someone who wanted to start an ebay business,
to begin with what they know or love. Take twenty bucks and go to the thrift
store and browse. Use the ebay app and look stuff up. Just pick up a couple of
things that have value and are selling pretty well. By the way, if something
has twenty listings up for sale and only two sold, it is not selling well. You
get my drift. Texas Gal Treasures has a great YouTube video on checking
sell-through rates and I find her videos to be a good resource. I started with
dishes. You might know and love fashion. If you are a fashionista, I
would urge you to start with ebay. If you can list on ebay, listing on Poshmark
will be a breeze.
When I started, ten years ago, it never occurred to me to
check blogs or YouTube to get help with my ebay business. The most help I
received was from ebay employees. Every time I called to request an increase in
listings, I got great advice. Today, it is almost impossible to speak with an
ebay employee. Alas, such are the times in which we live. It would be 18 months
before I found Suzanne A Wells, my first ‘expert’ for help with ebay. This led
me to others, some of whom I still listen to today. I don’t agree with
everything they teach but there is a lot of great information out there.
Caveats and Exceptions
If you are legitimately downsizing it doesn’t
make sense to donate things that can bring you money on ebay. I know of some
sellers that got started because they were downsizing or tasked with going
through a family member’s estate.
If you don’t have $20 to spare. If this is really
the case, selling your personal possessions is probably not going to be enough
to get you started. If you are able, it might be worth getting a part-time job
to get the investment money to start. Another option would be to let friends
and family know you are wanting to start a reselling business and ask them to
donate their gently used items to you instead of a charity thrift store.
You need to do what is right for you and best for your
business. In the upcoming weeks, I am going to focus on what I feel is the low
hanging fruit in reselling and that would be the Goodwill Outlet AKA the bins.
I am approaching this in the nature of a research project. Can a reseller
really make a living sourcing at the bins and selling on ebay and other