More great news from ebay

Wow…more great news from ebay! When I was in San Jose last month to celebrate ebay’s 20th anniversary, it was clear things were shifting for the better. And, just today, some more great news from ebay has rolled in! All sellers are getting more more free (aka zero insertion fee) listings, starting October 15. And, we can use those listings in even more categories!

If you are an ebay Stores subscriber you will see the following changes:

  • Basic-level subscribers will get 200 zero insertion fee fixed price listings each month
  • All eBay Stores subscribers will be able to use their monthly allotment of 100 additional zero insertion fee auction-style listings in even more categories including both Collectibles and Fashion

If you do NOT have an eBay Stores subscription you’ll get:

To read more details about this exciting, seller-friendly action, click here.

Most importantly, start using the new, “free” listings! I know I’m going to buckle down and list, list, list! Buyers are coming back to ebay in droves (I just had an amazing weekend of sales) and I want to have my store loaded with my unique vintage and antique finds!

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Yay for ebay!

I just got back from San Jose, CA where I had the chance to celebrate ebay’s 20th anniversary!20150910_124051

It was amazing to sit among at least a thousand other ebay sellers and about the same amount of ebay employees…the energy was out of this world! And it was resoundingly clear…We Are ebay!

With new leadership at the helm, it really feels like a new day for ebay–you could feel a palpable excitement, energy and freshness! And what is really refreshing is that us sellers are really being embraced and celebrated. It was very clear to me that the ebay leadership team understands that us sellers are crucial partners–just like our buyers–to the success of the platform.

It is also clear that we are being listened to…that was made abundantly clear in the changes that were announced just a few days ago. In a nutshell, here are the changes:

  • creation of the ebay seller hub
  • changes to seller standards and the defect system
  • a new, streamlined return process

The ebay seller hub

The ebay seller hub will be officially debuted in October and will consolidate all selling tools into one location. From the hub you’ll be able to manage orders, do listings, handle store marketing, review store performance and health, and plan for store growth. I’m particularly excited about the performance tool which will give us access to store traffic data including click through rates, key search terms and referring domains. It will be so cool and useful to see if people are visiting our store as a result of social media marketing efforts and what key words really drive traffic.

Changes to seller standards and the defect system

In terms of seller standards, ebay is making changes which will make the seller standards requirements be simpler, fairer, and more predictable.

Starting in February 2016, the following will no longer impact your defect rate:

  • negative or neutral feedback
  • return request that are successfully resolved
  • items not received requests that are successfully resolved

What will impact your defect rate:

  • if ebay steps in and closes a case on behalf of a buyer
  • late shipping (you can avoid late shipping by getting your packages scanned into the system within your specified handling time, scanned confirmation of package delivery within estimated delivery time, and/or confirmation by the buyer that they received the package in time if scanning does not take place)

A new, streamlined return process

The new, streamlined return process will put us sellers in control and the driver’s seat–we will have greater flexibility in how we customize our return process, we will save more time with automation rules. In addition, if a buyer opens a return, it will not be held against us as a defect, as long as we handle the return promptly and according to the terms we set out.

Happy sellers=happy buyers

This is all great news! I’m on board with everything…the changes are all great ones and maybe even more importantly, they reflect ebay’s commitment to creating the best and most trusted platform for buying and selling online. I have to say that I left San Jose totally excited and pumped. I really feel like ebay is coming back stronger and that great things are store for all of us! And, when sellers are feeling supported and inspired, that  positively impacts buyers as well. Positivity begets positivity!

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Great sources for antiques and thrifting in suburban New York City and beyond

by Anastasia Andrzejewski

George’s Toy Chest is headquartered about 20 miles outside of New York City. In this post we’ll share some of our favorite hunting grounds for antiques, vintage collectibles and retro kitsch.

For vintage toys, we’ve made some great scores at Philip Weiss Auctions on Long Island (Lynbrook, NY). Among our recent finds have been sealed set of Built Rite cardboard toys, old board games, toy soldiers, lots of of pressed steel trucks, among other old toys.

A great auction house that specializes in vintage toys is the Lloyd Ralston Gallery in Shelton, CT. Recently we attended an auction that was probably 75% trains/25% toy soldiers. We got some great buys–both in terms of dimestores and Britains toy soldiers. We even purchased a couple of train sets and some train ephemera including old Lionel catalogs.

Another auction that we’ve found all sorts of items at is East Coast Auctions in Congers, NY.  They auction off all sorts of merchandise–from toys to china to paintings and more. We’ve gotten some really interesting lamps there including one by Falkenstein. Another great find was an Ansonia Clock Company porcelain mantle clock (Royal Bonn La Nord).

One of our favorite flea markets is the Stormville Airport Antique Show & Flea Market in Stormville, NY. There majority of the booths sell new items, but there are significant number of stalls for those of us interested in antiques. It is definitely worth your while to drive a couple of hours to visit this show. Vendors sell all sorts of items–high-end, low-end and everything in between. We’ve done really well here purchasing all sorts of antiques and vintage goods. Be sure not to miss the “Yard Sales” they have a couple of times each year–this is when every day folks in addition to antique dealers sell their goods. You can get some real bargains!

Of course we also hit the thrift stores every once in a while. In Rockland County there are several good shops: the Goodwill in Nanuet, Grace’s Thrift Shop in Nyack, National Council of Jewish Women Replay Thrift Store also in Nyack to name a few. There are several throughout the county and in nearby counties as well.

And, of course there are the garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, whatever you want to call them!  Check out Craigslist, YardSaleTreasureMap.com, Garage Sales by Map, and tons of other websites can give you an idea of the sales happening in your area.

Happy treasure hunting!

 

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How do I know how much my stuff is worth?

By Anastasia Andrzejewski

So, you’ve cleaned out your closets, searched the basement or garage, or hit a local thrift store. However you’ve done it, you’ve found some treasures. Now what? Well, now it is time to find out how much your stuff is worth.  But, how?

There are five places I suggest you visit to get an idea of what your treasure is worth:

  1. an ebay search using keywords to describe your item in CURRENT/ACTIVE listings
  2. an ebay search using keywords to describe your item in SOLD listings
  3. Worthpoint.com
  4. etsy
  5. your local jewelry store/pawn shop

So you can see what I mean, I’ll guide you on a real-life search for an item I recently acquired at one of my favorite brick & mortar auctions and will re-sell on ebay in my store, George’s Toy Chest.

Here’s the item:

Complete Living Room Set by Built-Rite Toy Furniture for Built-Rite and Play Time Doll Houses

Complete Living Room Set by Built-Rite Toy Furniture for Built-Rite and Play Time Doll Houses

First, go to ebay and do a search for your item–you may need to refine your search terms a bit before you get results that accurately reflect your item.

Search your item in ebay. You might need to refine your search terms so that you get accurate results.

In my case, there aren’t any exact or terribly close matches.

Screenshot 2014-02-19 19.41.17

But, I still got some information from this search: there are not a glut of my product on the market. To me, this indicates that this item is somewhat rare, or at least not readily available. Yay! I can maybe ask a bit more for it!

Next, I’ll check if there are any sold listings for my search terms. To refine my search results for sold items only, I scroll down my page a little bit and check the box next to “sold listings” on the “Show Only” header on the left side of the page.

Screenshot 2014-02-19 19.42.28

Voila! Here I find some information about what people actually paid for similar items and I also see that my same exact item and similar condition sold for $58.25 (including shipping) on January 8, 2014.

Next, I’ll check Worthpoint.com which aggregates historical pricing information for the last several years from 350 data sources including ebay. This is important because search results on ebay only go back for the last three months. To search Worthpoint, you need to have a paid for subscription. However, I believe you can get a free trial subscription.

Screenshot 2014-02-19 20.09.43 Screenshot 2014-02-19 20.10.06 Screenshot 2014-02-19 20.09.33

My search on Worthpoint also gives me valuable information: one boxed set sold on ebay in 2013 for $34 (I think this buyer got a bargain); an unboxed and assembled set went for $32.20 on ebay in 2011 (so my mint condition in box should go for more than that); and a boxed set similar in type and condition to the one I have sold on ebay in 2013 for $51. This gives me a confirmation that the latest sold price on ebay–the one that sold for $58.25 on January 8, 2014–is probably a reasonable asking price.

Now, I’ll check one more site: etsy. I searched for “Built-Rite doll house” and “Built-Rite furniture”–both searches turned up nada.  Another indication that there are a not a glut of these toy sets on the market.  Again, I’m taking this as good news in terms of what I can and should ask.

Screenshot 2014-02-19 20.16.22 Screenshot 2014-02-19 20.16.37

So, this quick search, which took me no more than 10 minutes, gave me a good idea of how to price my item. I’m going to list my item with $69.99 buy it now price on ebay. I also offer “best offer” and sometimes have sales, so this pricing gives me a little wiggle room. If someone is willing to pay me $69.99, great…I’ll take it! If I get an offer for $55 or so, I’ll probably accept it.

Either way, I’ll make money and know that I’ve gotten a fair price for my item. And, the buyer is willing to pay what they are willing to pay–I’m assuming that they will be pleased with their purchase whether they pay $69.99, $55, or something in between.

Oh, and before I forget–let me explain my recommendation regarding taking an item to a jeweler or a pawn shop. This is a particularly useful method should you find jewelry or silverware or gemstones you don’t know much about. You can take it to a jeweler or a pawn shop and:

  1. find out if the metal and/or stone is “real” and if it is what the quality is of the metal or stone
  2. get a low-ball value (whatever they offer you is going to be only a fraction of the actual price, but it is a good starting point for figuring out your item’s value)

You might decide that it is easier and more cost effective to sell the item to the jeweler or pawn shop, particularly if you’ve come to the conclusion it is scrap metal, and that the ebay and PayPal fees and shipping costs will offset any profit.  And, if you don’t decide to sell it, you will probably leave with more information than you came with regarding the value.

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Some “educational” television for thrift & treasure hunters!

by Anastasia Andrzejewski

Who says TV can’t be educational?  There are a plethora of television shows out there that sometimes provide useful food for thought for when you go out antiquing, picking, thrifting, garage saling or whatever you want to call it.

Yes, sometimes the shows are staged. And, yes, sometimes the people on the shows provide incorrect information. And, yes, the hyped up drama can sometimes be too much. But, for me, that’s not the point. What I enjoy about these programs is that they are talking about a passion of mine–treasure hunting–and often help open my eyes to new treasures to be on the lookout for.

So, here is a rundown of some shows I’ve been known to watch:

And, there are a bunch of other shows out there, although I don’t really tune into those, so I won’t give them a direct mention here.

And, TV is not the only medium for getting some great info and ideas for when you are out thrifting. Good ole radio, has something for us treasure hunters, too. Check out ebay Radio!

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Can you make a living selling on ebay?

by Anastasia Andrzejewski

Simply, yes, you can make a living (and a very comfortable one I might add) selling on ebay.

My caveat? It’s not easy. Being a successful ebay sellers takes a lot of effort, discipline, skill and passion. You have to have a thick skin and be willing and confident to push through and grow from the bleak times when everything seems to go wrong. And, of course, there are external factors such as global economic conditions which can make it a tough row to hoe.

But, my retort to my caveat? The great Dolly Parton says it best: “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” And, with ebay, not only is it possible to find a rainbow but there is a pot of gold on the other end to be had as well!

So, how does one get started? I suggest you take your time and start selling on a part-time basis, as it takes time to:

  • understand how ebay and PayPal works
  • find your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes of selling on ebay and in being an entrepreneur
  • build an inventory
  • learn seller best practices
  • discover the resources which make you a better seller and business person
  • create a plan for your business and and action plan for how to grow it on a day-to-day basis
  • establish a solid reputation on ebay
  • pass ebay’s litmus test so that you have fewer and fewer restrictions on the number and value of items you can list

So, with that being said, how do you begin dipping your toe in the ebay waters?

  1. Try selling on ebay when you have another source of income. Start selling stuff you have around the house.  See my blog post, “What sells on ebay? Stuff sitting around your house,” for ideas.
  2. Just to reiterate–start small!
  3. Keep a written track record of your success and failures as well as your likes and dislikes
  4. Educate yourself and connect with others (listen to ebay Radio, read books, join facebook groups, etc.)
  5. Create a one-page business plan
  6. Stick to your plan and make some money!

If selling on ebay is the right fit for you, you will soon discover that ebay is an incredible platform for having the world become your marketplace.  Products, which maybe 20 years ago you only thought could be sold at a garage or yard sale for pocket change, can now be sold to people throughout the world for top dollar. Through ebay you have a trusted, established, and easy to use venue for selling a wide variety of goods. Ebay is a powerful springboard from which you can express your entrepreneurialism and create something that sustains you financially and mentally.

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What sells on ebay? Stuff sitting around your house!

by Anastasia Andrzejewski

When people ask me what is the most interesting, weird, crazy or unique thing I ever sold on ebay I always bring up my the old, tattered Adidas Soccer Ball box (note: this was an EMPTY box) I listed and sold probably 10 or 12 years ago.

I found the box in the basement. It was a bit decrepit. Somewhat crushed, flaps missing, probably a little stained. Oh, and did I mention that it was empty?

Well, I just had a hunch. I know people collect sports memorabilia and soccer (football) is a huge sport worldwide. And if I recall correctly the ball was endorsed by soccer legend, Pele. I figured, I’ll try and make 10 bucks before shipping and fees. So, I took pictures and listed the box as an auction starting at $9.99. A bidding war ensued and I ended up selling the empty, tattered box for about $90. Yes, US$90. And, someone who didn’t win emailed me several time begging me for the winner’s email address because he wanted to buy it from the winner (of course, I didn’t share that information).

The point of this story? You can make money–and I would say, good money–from what most people would clearly deem as garbage.

So, check your basements and garages for those empty 1982 World Cup Adidas Soccer boxes. And, here are some other items you probably have around your closet which might be worth putting up on ebay:

  • clothes you’ve never worn (if tags are attached that’s even better)
  • clothes that are worn but in great condition (brand name and designer stuff is especially good)
  • vintage and retro clothes
  • concert and souvenir t-shirts
  • ugly and weird clothes (think Ugly Christmas sweaters)
  • board games (especially if they are complete)
  • books you no longer read
  • programs and Playbills for shows, theater, concerts, plays, etc.
  • CD’s, Records (vinyls, LPs, whatever you want to call them), even old cassette tapes and 8-tracks!
  • toys (for example Fisher Price, Playskool, GI Joe, My Little Pony, etc.–check your basements!)
  • cell phones and accessories you are no longer using
  • anything Apple (even if very old and/or broken)–computers, laptops, ipods, ipads, iphones, etc.
  • kitschy coffee mugs
  • glasses and mugs with advertising on them (e.g. pint glasses or steins advertising a beer or soda)
  • China, glassware, tableware, flatware you no longer use (sets or single pieces)
  • vintage kitchen utensils
  • crafting supplies you no longer want or use
  • sport equipment
  • vintage ephemera (ticket stubs, brochures, pamphlets)–for example a ticket stub for a concert for a popular performer, a vintage brochure for an old Tiki restaurant in your town, a souvenir pamphlet from Disney World, etc.)

This is obviously just a partial list. Hopefully it will inspire you to take a look around your house–under your bed, in the closet, on the shelves–and find some treasures to sell. At the very least you will be cleaning out clutter from your home while keeping it out of the landfill. You will also probably make a few extra dollars and if you’re lucky maybe a big chunk of change. And, there is the added bonus that you might make somebody’s day by connecting them with their new treasure (aka your old stuff)!

Anastasia Andrzejewski is President of George’s Toy Chest, LLC. George’s Toy chest buys and sells unique, collectible and antique memorabilia and is your online source for vintage and antique toys and retro collectibles. George’s Toy Chest sells their vast inventory on ebay where they have an excellent feedback record and have attained the coveted Top Seller Ranking. 

 

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