Vintage 90s Nickelodeon Merchandise – Rugrats Hat

Since I only post once a week on Monday mornings, I can’t really do a throw back Thursday. So here we are with a mini #TBT on a Monday. And regardless of the day, vintage stuff sells well on eBay!

Vintage is where I got my start. My inaugural flipping post was some vintage Hungry Hungry Hippos.

I’ve flipped vintage Marlboro gear, mugs, the Mille Borne card game, and even Christmas ornaments and sewing kits!

The thing about the word “vintage” is that its definition is a moving target. Vintage to me isn’t the same as someone who’s twice my age. That whole generation who was born in the 80s is in the work force now and ready to spend on their nostalgia!

Rugrats Youth Hat

Rugrats eBay Youth Hat

If only my head wasn’t the size of a watermelon… I’m totally jealous of whoever gets this hat!

  • Purchase price – $1.06
  • End Selling Price – $15.00
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $4.83

Total Profit:  $9.11

My flip is nothing earth shattering in the profits area (I took an offer, there was a small tear along a seam which lowered the value by ~half, and I’d had it listed for a while). It’s even below my profit target.

This sale still gets me excited though! It’s a great hat and would have been a real score if it didn’t have the flaw.

Rugrats was a show that was on Nickelodeon starting in 1991. It had 9 seasons, a couple Passover specials, a few movies (they weren’t that good), and we won’t ever talk about when there was the remake and the kids were older. It was a fun show and was very popular hitting on some very heavy subjects. There were others too like Doug, Ren and Stimpy, and Rocko’s Modern Life just to name a very small number of the popular 90s Nick TV shows.

There’s a lot of possibilities on items you can flip since the 90s toys and merchandise are oozing with potential!

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ooze eBay Completed Listings

Yeah, this movie wasn’t that good. But the ooze sells well one eBay!

It ain’t just Rugrats!

I focused on the Rugrats and Nickelodeon items because that’s what I had, but there’s a whole category (similar to the Disneyana eBay category) that can fit in here. I’m talking 90’s video games, clothing, and toys.

Now that I think about it, I’ve already sold another great 90s toy and talked about it here!

Vintage 90s Toys eBay Completed Listings

Sealed Lego boxes are gold, Lisa Frank is silver, but there’s a ton of other 90s toys and merchandise that are really profitable!

Even though it wouldn’t work on me (I’m too cheap and am on a “slow your home” kick), there are a lot of kids who want to re-live some of their 90s memories. And I’m OK re-locating an item and taking a finders fee. :)

Life is so hard, Tommy. Sometimes I think it’s the hardest thing there is. -Chuckie Finster (Rugrats Character)

eBay Java Drama – Pitney Bowes PDF Woes

I know I got a winner of a blog post title when I get a smirk, sigh, and eye roll from my wife! The trifecta!

But to the point, eBay missed a memo or I’m just really dumb.

For years now, eBay has had the most AWESOME Java Applet ever!

eBay Java Applet Error

The eBay gods laugh and Ode to Joy plays every time this damn warning comes up!

You’d have to hit OK about 7 times, ignore any errors, click some check boxes that allow some apparent security risks because Pitney Bowes (the label creation software company) wasn’t up to snuff, and then uninstall Java, reinstall Java, curse a few times, do a dance, and then magically your labels would print.

Even though I’m complaining a bit (borderline violation of the no whining policy!), the system did mostly work.

When I was starting out re-selling on eBay, I’d print labels on regular paper (would drive to Staples since we didn’t even own a printer!). I then upgraded to the Dymo printer featured in my Tools of the Trade.

Ignore the Java – Appreciate the positives

For any new eBay sellers, you should really buy your labels through their system. There are 3 really good reasons for this.

1. Links right with PayPal account

You click “buy shipping” and it buys it using PayPal dollars. When I started out, I was adamant about not putting any of my personal money into the business side. When I sold something and the person paid, I would buy a box and the shipping all using PayPal money (transferred out some cash to cover the packaging costs).

2. All addresses stored within the system

You don’t have to fill in any information at all. Just press “pay for shipping” and eBay has both your and the buyer’s addresses stored. No chance for you to make a mistake.

This streamlines your seller protection through eBay and PayPal. Tracking is uploaded automatically so there’s no chance that you’ll forget!

3. It’s cheaper!

Probably the most important, eBay gives you an awesome discount for purchasing the labels through their system. 9+% (depends on the type of shipping) for regular users and 13.8%+ for power sellers. This is just another awesome feature of the fantastic USPS. It’s one government entity that you can’t complain about (with any merit at least).

OK, karma is back to neutral. It was a flawed system that had some really good benefits.

Well, something last weekend changed. I tried to print my labels as usual. No java applet opened. It just opened a PDF. I had a lot of trouble trying to print labels throughout the week too. I ended up using the snipping tool and pasting the picture into the Dymo Software. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

Finally, I figured out what I was doing wrong yesterday!

eBay used to automatically use one size label for each printer (It’s 4″x6″ for Zebra and 7.5″ x 2-5/16″ for Dymo). The bug was that when I went to print, it would shrink the label to the top left and only be about 2″ long by 1″ wide!

After a lot of fiddling and confirmation from the dreaded eBay forums that this was not a Java issue, I realized that I had an incorrect setting for the printer. I was having Firefox select the wrong sized label. Once I selected the correct size (99019 for Dymo), it printed perfectly.

I only had to press 1 button instead of the 7 I was used to.

In the end, this is a great change from eBay. The Java/eBay/Paypal love-triangle was riddled with bugs and this is a lot easier.

I just wish I had realized my issue a little sooner or that eBay had given me some notice! I even went back to check the spring seller update and couldn’t find a word about this.

Has anyone else seen similar issues and had to fiddle with them to get the printers working?

White and gold? Blue and black?

Even though I live under a rock when it comes to news, I still heard about that damn dress.

I first saw the dress, and it was obviously blue and black! I thought anyone else was a moron if they thought otherwise!

Later in the day, a teacher-Facebook friend posted a picture of a test for his students where he had a bonus question that asked “what color is this dress?”

I SWORE he put up a different picture (it wasn’t)! It was a white and gold dress. Then a co-worker made fun of me, and the more I looked at the picture, the dress changed before my eyes back to its original black and blue that I was used to.

Woah.

What does this have to do with eBay at all?

It’s a great lesson on how poor photographs can alter the color of an item

I learned a few lessons through screw ups and realized that you must include the colors of the fabric in your listings

My favorite way to do this is to include something like “it’s green like a pickle” or “red like salsa” or “tan like oak.” These really help people visualize the color and stop second guessing their purchases. Plus, we all know how “blue” can mean about 800 different colors.

As an example, I had a “situation” with a recent buyer. I bought an awesome Polo Ralph Lauren button front vest (Gotta love Polo Ralph Lauren). It was a nice dark black. Or so I thought.

I get a message from the buyer saying that the vest isn’t black, it’s actually a really dark navy. I couldn’t believe it!

Polo Ralph Lauren Black Button Front Vest eBay

See how the tag is a light navy and the vest is completely black?

First, the flip details:

  • Purchase price – $3.99
  • End Selling Price – $60.00
  • Fees and Shipping/Handling – $11.70

Total Profit: $44.31

Great flip! But the message deflated me.

So, how have I handled it?

I said, “I’m sorry that you think the vest is blue instead of black! I checked to make sure it was black when I listed it by comparing it to a black shirt of mine. If you’re not happy with the purchase, I’ll gladly accept a return.”

I’m offering the buyer an out. eBay loves this kind of customer service.

The message back? “The navy blue isn’t as versatile as the black vest would have been. Because of this, I wouldn’t have wanted to pay as much as I did.”

Ah, the old fisherman fishing for a partial refund.

My latest response?

Radio Silence (this is patent pending by the crew over at Scavenger Life)

As a seller, I’ve done my due diligence, and let the buyer know that I accept returns. If they pushed the issue, I’d probably even pay for the return even though I’m sure I was right. You want to keep your buyers happy, but you also want to be reasonable.

The thing is, dark navy really does look like black sometimes! Esquire even has an article about telling the difference between navy and black suits.

My method is to compare to a black t-shirt or a little garbage can I have at my desk, both of which I know are black.

But then there’s that feeling in the back of my head… what if the vest is like that stupid dress.

Please tell me what you think!

Is this vest blue or black?

Also check out  Nandry over at The Teen Thrifter who had a similar issue recently. It’s not just me! At least she’s asking for advice before posting though. Smart girl.

March 2015 Profits – Still not Great.

Well, we’ve finished out the 1st quarter.

Let’s just say that the shareholders aren’t too happy. Last month’s profits weren’t stellar, and those shareholders don’t want to just see profits. They need growth! At this rate, I might even get fired!

March Profits by the Numbers

Feb-15  Mar-15 Total
Income
Blog Referral 0.00  27.71 27.71
Sales 928.27  836.42 2,740.30
Shipping Income 38.12  92.59 155.44
Returns -85.99 -84.99 -170.98
Expense
eBay Fees 98.33 92.93 298.46
PayPal Fees 30.14 30.92 99.96
Shipping Costs 121.96 147.36 419.61
Cost of Goods Sold 14.12 70.69 255.31
Mileage 4.02 35.08 58.30
Utilities 25.35 25.35 76.05
Amazon Fees 15.43 13.69 37.53
Office Supplies 0.00 58.37 79.02
Office Expense 0.00 0.00 374.94
Advertising 0.00 10.00 47.00
Other Expenses 23.75 0.00 23.75
Profit / Loss 572.65 387.34 982.54

So, less money than last month. Ruh-roh.

Now, let’s put this all in perspective.

I’ve made almost a grand in 3 months selling part time in eBay. This is on top of any regular 9-5 work (where I don’t get any overtime). So, that’s 1k that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. With this money, we’re able to throw some extra dough at the mortgage while still saving towards replacing our ancient appliances. It gives me a lot of satisfaction that we’re able to save the extra dough.

But then there’s the lingering “you could do better” feeling. It’s annoying, and it will pass. I guess there’s a fine line between Debbie Downer and shoot for the moon.

Let’s look at the major expenses from last month to see where I went wrong:

Returns

This one sucks. $85 down the drain. The first was a full refund (Fashion Bug Jeans that had a broken zipper – the first out of 50 with an issue) and the other was a Brooks Brothers blazer due to fit (buyer paid return shipping). I don’t have a lot of returns, but it’s still part of the game. I’ve also learned that it’s not worth it to fight a buyer on a return. For example, with the Brooks Brother blazer, it was hassle free, and I got it back. It’s re-listed and has watchers!

Mileage and Cost of Goods Sold

So if you haven’t heard, it’s getting warm again! Garage sales are some of my favorite spots to score great deals. I’ve started deducting my mileage (tracking with Go Daddy Bookkeeping), and it really adds up. I bought some good stuff at garage sales, and we also hit up a Goodwill for clothing shopping for myself. I bought two t-shirts and about 6 other shirts (limited to the half off items).

To minimize this expense, I’m going to try to limit what sales I go to. I’m going to be looking for community yard sales (there’s a ton of town homes around here). That way, I’ll get the most bang for my buck!

Office Supplies

I was all out of my favorite clear poly bags. Ordered a big set of them and am back in business! Still sucks to see $50 of profit fly out the window, but at least I’ll be able to deduct it. :-/

Beeminding Towards Results

Beeminder bee hive profits ebay honeycomb

I’m that bee in the back that’s getting trampled by all the other bees who are selling a lot more.

I mentioned Beeminder a few times. It’s the tool I’m using to make sure that I’m listing consistently and is meant to keep me on track even when my profits aren’t hitting my goal.

When I started tracking using Beeminder, I was really ahead of the game. I listed some 30-50+ items very quickly so I had a really nice buffer.

Now that I’ve eaten away through that, I’m starting to feel the stings. Even though I had my Maniac Monday, I didn’t actually list a lot of the prepped items that day. I’ve been slogging through those items now, taking photos of them, and getting ready to list.

This coming weekend will be a true test because we’ll be traveling so I need to do one of two things:

1. List a ton to get ahead.

2. Photograph a ton so I can list over the weekend even though we’re traveling.

Option 2 is the lazier one, and honestly, I’m more worried about the next week! I love to use my daughter’s nap times during the weekends to get a bunch of items moving, but that all gets thrown into flux when we’re not at home.

I’m gonna be riding by the seat of my pants until I get a big chunk listed!

In the end, I’m not worried about this. As I mentioned earlier, I’m still enjoying this hobby and making money.

On top of that, I just got a ton of free stuff from work! We’re all downsizing from cubicles to an open work space. What that means is that I get to pick through everyone’s extra stuff! I already got one book and sold it on Amazon within 1 day for a $60+ profit!

Make sure to be on the lookout for the free stuff. You can make a lot of money!

Hopefully next month will be a little fatter in the profit section (like I feel after all the ham and kielbasa…), and I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! Enjoy the weather and feel free to share any garage sale finds or tips!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Marlboro and Other Tobacco Promotional Items

At first, I was going to say that tobacco promo material should fit right into my clothing category, but then I found that there’s a lot of other types of material out there. There’s an entire eBay category called Tobacciana.

Vintage eBay Tobacciana Completed Sold

Who would want to smoke a used pipe?

Marlboro Country Store

Within this category, I’ve sold t-shirts, jean shirts, fleece jackets, travel bags, and jean jackets. Throughout my research for this post though, I’ve found things like lighters, cowboy hats, blankets, leathermans, dart boards, and watches too.

A lot of these items were promotional. You could save up points to get gear. This started out with the Marlboro Country Store catalog where you could redeem Marlboro Miles (Camel had a similar program with Camel Cash). These “points” were collected by cutting out the UPCs of packs of cigarettes.

Marlboro Ultra Lights Miles Program

Blows my mind that I basically did the same thing with Kool-Aid packets to get a Kool-Aid man Beach Towel.

Most of the items in the Marlboro catalog were outdoors-y: stuff like camping , western themed, climbing, or rafting. Sure, people want them to advertise that they were smokers (kind of a “you can’t tell me what to do” albeit in a pretty dumb way), but they also want to wear/use the gear. The thing is, they were actually really well made and are pretty durable.

Marlboro Western Jean Shirt eBay

Don’t make fun of this shirt! I sold this one for $44 F/S. Mantra: Ugly Sells!

Why are cigarette promo items re-sellable?

They were “sold” from a limited quantity and could only be ordered during a certain time frame.

For dating the material, there was a switch from the Marlboro Country Store to the Marlboro Gear store, and now, there isn’t a promotional program at all. These programs were disbanded by the government in 2006 – tobacco companies were forced to stop giving away promotional material at this time. These are just about 10 years old at the youngest, and the Marlboro Country Store items are even older.

So in sum, they’re not widely available, and there’s still a demand. These are perfect items for collectors!

Final Caveat

To finish off, we all know smoking is terrible. These items aren’t ideal, but at least the company isn’t making any money on the sales anymore. I don’t really  have any moral issue selling these, but you’re free to make your own decisions.

For anyone interested, John Oliver has a really funny/dirty/punch in the gut piece about tobacco and how it’s actually a really big problem in some developing nations around the world.

NSFW!

6 Common Sense Pro-Tips You Need to be a Successful Seller on eBay & CrazyLister Review

I’ve been focusing on the quality of my items, but I’ve been ignoring the marketing side. Viktor reached out to me, and I think his service at Crazylister.com can help put me over the edge.

Note: No affiliate stuff here. Just a neat, intuitive service that I plan on using for the future! It will be making an appearance over on my Tools of the Trade page though since it’s so easy to use.

What CrazyLister Is

CrazyLister is a template creating service. They allow you to use a few pre-made listing templates for free, but if you’re feeling extra artsy, you can create your own from scratch.

CrazyLister has two pricing plans, a Basic (free) and a Pro.

CrazyLister Pricing Plan

I’ll be sticking with the free version for now.

The best part to me is that you can use the pre-made listing templates which are really nice, and you can save up to 10 of these for free. Additionally, you can either have CrazyLister host your photos (up to 100 for free) or you can just create a template without. The system lets you embed images right into the listing if you’d like to but, it’s not required.

What CrazyLister Isn’t

This isn’t a listing service. It does require you to actually copy and paste! GASP!

Comparing to other services out there (like inkfrog), this is OK with me. I like a lot of control when I’m listing items and don’t want to have to use a different listing interface when I don’t have to.

The CrazyLister Experiment

I’m going to be updating a few choice, high-dollar listings using one of the CrazyLister pre-made templates and embedded images. Basically the works.

For everything else, I’m going to have a few templates (one for pants, one for shirts, and one for generic other stuff) that won’t include embedded images. This will still give my listings more of a professional feel.

This is a no lose situation for me as the free version let’s you use the template!

So make sure to check out their site if it’s something you’d be interested in – CrazyLister!

CrazyLister eBay Screenshot

How fancy does this look? I feel like I should be wearing a monocle when listing now.

Without further ado, here’s Viktor who (on top of offering a kick ass service) has given us some tips which can help anyone who’s selling on eBay. He lists them as “common sense” but a few smacked me upside the head.

6 Common Sense Pro-Tips You Need to be a Successful Seller on eBay

I’ve been selling on eBay since 2008. I’ve been a top rated seller and a power seller throughout that entire time. How’s that? Well it’s because I used my intuition and didn’t let ineffective selling strategies get the better of me. Sometimes an injection of plain old common sense is what people need when doing business on eBay.

  1. No description is NOT enough. Your listing description is basically eBay handing you a virtual playground through which you can either use to your advantage in order to boost sales, or you can fudge it up and use it your great disadvantage while losing countless potential customers; it’s all a matter of how you utilize this gift of free advertising space. With great power comes great responsibility, use the force, etc. So instead of wasting your time and energy mucking up a perfectly good thing or ignoring it altogether, why not take advantage of it? Common Sense Tip #1: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Use the listing description eBay so graciously gave you to boost your sales.
  2. Common Sense Tip #2: So how good is this listing description? On average, as a seller on eBay, you’ve got about 7 seconds to stand out from hundreds if not thousands of similar listings. Your listing description is as good as the content you place in it to snag a customer in just seven measly seconds. Think of your listing description as your own personal billboard advertising your item. And don’t forget that no matter what, even if you’re a niche seller, there is bound to be some competition. So this Big Tip Number Two is really just this: all your efforts in marketing and listing can be over in the blink of an eye if you don’t act fast and grab your viewers’ attention. Now how we do that?
  3. Common Sense Tip #3: Don’t go crazy with the special effects. This is not a Michael Bay movie. A lot of sellers think the best way to catch a viewer’s attention with loud colors, crazy galleries, and sometimes even music. No. Step away from the HTML. You don’t need gimmicks or bells and whistles. All that junk may catch your viewer’s eye for long enough to hit the “back” button, however it does nothing by way of keeping a casual browser put and engaged in your listing. So what does?
  4. Common Sense Tip #4: Looking legit. The thing that is really going to set you apart from a sea of anonymous sellers is building a personalized brand and looking like an honest seller. So how do you go about looking legitimate? Well, what you need is to captivate your audience with a professional, authentic looking listing description. Here’s how you DON’T sell honesty: if there is an empty wasteland of nothingness or a smattering of crude HTML designs from the 90’s, then you’ve already lost the battle. You’re not going to engage your viewers, you’re going to dissuade your viewers into ignoring your listing and moving on to the next.
  5. Common Sense Tip #5: Here’s how you do sell honesty: social proof. You can make small yet meaningful adjustments to each and every listing description like adding a photo of yourself to your listing description to psychologically bring yourself closer to. People are simply more inclined to trusting the seller they can see with their own eyes.
  6. Common Sense Tip #6: Customer service – It’s not just what’s on the outside that counts – the way you treat customers effects sales. I would say the most important piece of advice for online selling is performing and ensuring the best customer service, support, and satisfaction possible. Here’s how: Rapid-fire reassurance and response to any and all inquiries: when a customer receives an immediate response that there is someone on the other end who is going to help them it makes a great first impression and improves your chances of completing a sale.
    Reply in depth: don’t just write a three-word incomplete sentence, provide informational details specific to their query or concern. Try to think what they might ask next and address their questions in advance. This method will help to reduce the number of message exchanges between you and the customer and it will impress the customer. Overtime, there will be generic questions that you will start to identify and you will be able to apprehend and even answer their query before they are asked.
    HotKeys: write up detailed generic responses to your major concerns and create HotKey answers. Compile a list of all your generic queries and publish a FAQ on your site (but keep it short and sweet – don’t inundate customers with too complex questions/answers).
    It can’t hurt be friendly – don’t just copy-paste answers, add a personal touch to the email – address your customer by their name and be sure to sign your name at the end of the message as well, it reaffirms that the two of you are real human beings talking to one another.

Now that we’ve gone through the plain old common sense tips and tricks, here’s an example of a listing that encapsulates all these simple common sense rules. You may notice that it’s not designed by a professional graphic artist, rather by an everyday seller who uses common sense to build trust, display the product, and produces an equally balanced eye-catching and informational listing:

Crazy Lister Case Study Example

Case study of listing created by CrazyLister

Quick summary of why this listing works:

First, the seller exhibits a strong logo and provides personalized information (a photograph of his family), or an indication of trust. This immediately provides visitors with strong social proof and authenticity. In conjunction with breaking the anonymity of online selling with photos of his family, the seller also immediately provides accurate images of product itself. Nothing is vague or left to the imagination. Following in suit with clear images of the product is a written description of the item.

This description is a great example of a seller using their listing description to design with the clear intention to inform, advertise, and ultimately to sell their product. It’s amazing how a little common sense can go a long way.

About the Author:

Viktor Levitin is the Co-founder at CrazyLister, a super easy Drag&Drop editor for eBay sellers.

He is now the head and CEO of the parent group, LGO Israel, and LGO UK, two award winning eCommerce companies. LGO Group provides eCommerce and conversion optimization services to leading brands.

Chef’s Knives on eBay

Hitting you up with some research today. We’ll be taking a look at chef’s knives that sell well on eBay. This blog is right on the cutting edge!

 

OK, that’s the last knife pun. I tried a bunch of others but even I couldn’t handle them (unintentional pun). Way too cheesy. Believe me, we’re all better for this decision.

So, chef’s knives! Chef’s knives.. umm.. what the hell are they anyways?
If you’re wondering, I am not the chef in my house. Unless it’s eggs or on a grill, I’m not that good.

The thing is, I’m willing to cook. It’s just that my wife doesn’t want to eat it. I argue that my wife is too choosy. She says I’m too picky and won’t try new things. I say that she needs too much variety. Can’t you just be happy eating a sweet potato and some chicken with hot sauce every day like me?

Her response: No.

Because of all this, I don’t do much cooking. Is it in a box? I can probably make it. Does it require a recipe? Why bother? I can just add some garlic and hot sauce, and it will be great. I do clean the dishes afterwards though, so I’m not completely useless.

What’s the point of that ramble? It’s that I don’t know jack when it comes to chef’s knives other than which end to hold. Although I’ve apparently been cutting things with the wrong technique! I can’t even cut things right. Jeez.

On top of not knowing them, I haven’t even sold a chef’s knife on eBay yet. I’ve just been intrigued by the knife/silverware sections that you find in most thrift stores. There’s all those big bins just loaded with sharp objects. What’s not to love?

eBay T-Rex

I’d be the worst caveman. Caveman 1, “Those teeth look sharp.” Me – “I wonder if I can scavenge them to re-sell at the market!

It may look like a pain in the butt at first, but that’s the catch. If it’s hard to deal with, that’s a nice barrier to entry. So all you need is a little bit of an edge (shoot, that’s another unintentional pun, I swear), and you can be looking at big profits.

Since I don’t know a lot about knives, I figured that we can start off with the basics.

How is a chef knife different than a regular knife?

Per Wikipedia, it’s a knife that was originally used to disjoint beef (yum) but is now an all purpose kitchen knife.

I feel like these are used by people who want to get into cooking more stuff. Yes, the knives you were using were what was really holding you back. 😉

I won’t include this kind of sarcasm in my listing though and won’t judge you if you’re buying from me.

Brands

There seem to be a ton of them. So, let’s add a few in lumps that seem to be popular.

German
  • Wusthof
  • J.A. Henckels
  • F. Dick (Why do I still giggle at these types of names?)
French
  • Veritable Sabatier Bresduck Paris France – “Sabatier” is actually used by a TON of companies in France. I think that it’s a safe buy as long as it’s in good shape, and you can get it for a few bucks.
  • Dufresne & Co La Trompette
  • Thiers-Issard
  • Jean Pernot
Japanese
  • GLOBAL – These have some really futuristic looking blades – see below.
  • Sakai Takayuki
  • Shun – subsidiary of Kershaw, an American company
  • Kikuichi
American
  • Lamson & Goodnow
  • Dexter-Russell – I find it ironic that there was a T.V. show about a serial killer called Dexter, and there’s also a nice set of knives of the same name.
  • Gerber – Don’t mess with these babies.
  • Kershaw
  • Calphalon – This is an American company that makes their knives out of Japanese steel.
  • A.G. Russell

Cutco brand knives can sell for over $30+. Ones with a certificate that came with the knife sold for a little more. The certificate lets someone send it back in for either sharpening or a replacement. These apparently are good knives even though they are sold through a direct marketing, in your home method. I might still take a shot at them

I did not see a lot of Pampered Chef, but I’m betting if you could grab a bunch in really good shape on the cheap, they would sell well too.

Handle Style

You’ll want to include the material of the knife handle (stainless steel, wood, marble, etc.).  GLOBAL brand is known for a more futuristic all metal knife.

GLOBAL Chef's Knife eBay

Do they market these knives as more aerodynamic because of the handle? I’d love to hear “woosh” as I was chopping something up…

Metal Type

There’s a Rockwell scale for metal that’s also used for knife blades. The higher means it will keep an edge longer. The harder alloys are also able to have a steeper angle too. Japanese knives tend to be towards the higher end (60 HRC). If you can find the actual value of the knife’s hardness from a manufacturer’s website, it’d be great to include in your listing.

Dimensions

Like clothing, it’s nice to include measurements of a knife. The important ones are the length of the blade, overall length, and the width (height?) of the blade. Chef’s knives are generally 8″ long, but can range from 6″ to 14″ depending on brand.

Edge

The edge will be something you’ll want to describe when you’re listing your knife. It’s probably not as important when out thrifting, but still can mean the difference to that one eBay buyer who wants your knife! Here’s a great resource for identifying a knife’s edge (just look along the edge of the blade with the point towards you and perpendicular to a flat surface). Most of the time, the edge will differ based on the country it’s made in.

Chef’s Choice makes some electronic knife sharpeners that sell for $40-80+ too! Even more if you still have the box.

How to ship a Chef’s knife

Ideal method would be just a regular box. Just wrap it in something soft like paper towel. Be especially caring to the sharp edge/point. You can even throw it into a plastic bag too. Then plop it in the box and stuff the box till it doesn’t move!

If you don’t have a box that the knife will fit in, you’re going to have to be a little more careful. The pointy edge is what you’re going to want to focus on. I plan on using a square of cardboard. You can fold the cardboard in half, and then fold over the top of the cardboard. This will make a sheath. As long as the whole knife is covered by the cardboard and is secure, you can fit it in a flat rate padded envelope or a regular one if it’s under 13 ounces.

Make sure to tape all edges if possible. Hard/sharp ends can poke through, and you can lose the knife in transit.

If you were wondering, kitchen knives are allowed to be sold on eBay. If you’re selling international, just make sure that knives are allowed per the receiving country!

Finally, no, that sword cane doesn’t count as a chef’s knife, even if it is really cool.

eBay Sword Cane

These are NOT allowed to be sold on eBay!

 

Image Credit: David Monniaux, Minnesota Historical Society

Maniac Monday Recap – Items Everywhere!

Yesterday, I took off from my 9-5 job for a little stay-cation. I planned a Maniac Monday where I would go crazy listing and prepping items all day.

The plan was this:

  • Drop daughter off at daycare. She went in very easy and was excited to be wearing her Tinkerbell clip.
  • Drop package off at the post office (Amazon sale). Box barely fit in the Mylar bag but I was able to jam it in and tape it together. Just dropped it in the box at the post office right before 8AM. They have a HUGE drop box that most of my bigger items can fit in.
  • Go to the gym. Deadlift x5 – Got to 325 lbs. This is lower than my PR from 2013 by 30lbs, but then again, I haven’t been lifting regularly!
  • List remaining items that have already been photographed (12). There were actually 14! So that’s good. All listed but it took me a little longer than I thought it would. I finished this listing at about 1030AM. At this point, I took a break and ate lunch.
  • Grab a huge pile to sort through and list until I have to pick my daughter up from daycare. Here’s where my plan broke down a bit.

So what did I learn from my Maniac Monday?

Add in some wiggle room

It seriously took me from 1130 to 420 to handle all of these 50 items. In reality, I put my hands on way more than 50 items. At least 20 items had flaws like bad stitching or a stain. These suck and really take the wind out of your sails. It’s good to get it out of the house (donating them to a homeless shelter on the way home today), but that’s still wasted money and time!

It takes a good amount of time to research each item and take some preliminary notes.  For clothing, I include a description, size tag, material, country it was made in, and condition notes. I take measurements later when I photograph. There’s going to be hiccups along the way. Expect some delays.

Use unscented laundry detergent!

There was a blanket and a vintage Wu Wear sweatshirt that both had a funk. I threw these in the wash and felt lazy so I used a Tide pod. Holy moly. These little suckers have a really strong smell. I’m airing out the blanket so our entire upstairs smells like a flower shop. Or a grandma who wears too much perfume.

Crazy Frickin eBay Lady

How could I not re-use this picture?

Have everything you need in front of you

I used my 4.5 Inch Knife Edge Thread Nippers all day. I also used a staple remover since some thrift stores love their double staples. Other than that, I just blasted some music over Pandora.

Plan but don’t go too crazy.

I could not find any more of the clear plastic 12″x15″ bags that I use to store my items until they sell. I spent at least a half hour trying to find these. I ended up ordering some more. Turns out that I’d ordered some in November but have used them all up!

Ended up a moot point since I never photographed anything. Time wasted when it could have been better spent. This also means that I’ll have to do some reprocessing once the bags arrive.

End Results

To re-cap, I did not photograph the 50 items like I’d hoped to. I only prepped 50 items.

50 Items Prepped for Photographing eBay

Yikes.

Even though it just looks like 50 items smooshed into a bookcase, it’s really 50 items smooshed into a bookcase with a retail value of $1500-2000!

If you haven’t realized this yet, my operation is not glamorous. I’m still happy with the progress I made. A lot of inventory was moved yesterday.

Weird note: I’ve been avoiding any non-clothing items for some reason. The two awesome 1910-1920 Oregon Agricultural year books were the only things that weren’t clothing. I guess it’s just easier to get into a rhythm when you’re working with the same types of items. I think my next targets will be shoes. I have a lot of them and want to stop avoiding them!

Did it work?

I’d say yes. I have items ready for me to photograph through the rest of the week. I’m going to play it by ear but would love to have the 50 items photographed by the end of the week so I can list them all each morning.

I’m always fascinated about others’ tips for streamlining their listing. Please let me know if you see a glaring issue in my methods or if you have some awesome tool that lets you blow through a big pile! And should I have used Manic instead of Maniac?

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

 

Maniac Monday

I’m not working my 9-5 today. I’ve planned a maniac listing day!

Crazy Frickin eBay Maniac Lady

This is what I’ll look like by 4:30pm.

This has been in the back of my mind since seeing the folks over at Beeminder discuss their succesfull maniac weeks. I can’t spare a week, but I’m going to try out a single day to see how it works! And sorry, I won’t have video time-lapse like those guys do. :)

Maniac Monday Plan

  • Drop daughter off at daycare.
  • Drop package off at the post office (Amazon sale).
  • Go to the gym.
  • List remaining items that have already been photographed (12).
  • Grab a huge pile to sort through and list until I have to pick my daughter up from daycare.

I have a lofty goal of getting 50 items ready for listing today plus listing the 12 items. Stretch goal is to have some of those 50 items listed. This will set me up for success for the rest of March and help clear out some of my piles. It will also help me have a better month than February!

I’ll update everyone tomorrow with how much I blew the target out of the water

P.S. I also wanted to say thanks for the encouragement last week! I guess my post came off as borderline whining. And there’s no whining allowed here. Got a few smacks upside the head through either comments or e-mails. Both were seriously appreciated.

Has anyone else tried to do a maniac listing day before? Any success?

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

February 2015 Profits – Good not Great

2 months in the book, and February was an improvement over January! We’re headed in the right direction, but we’ve still got a ways to go.

February by the Numbers

Jan-15 Feb-15 Total
Income
Sales 975.61 928.27 1903.88
Shipping Income 24.73 38.12 62.85
Returns 0.00 -85.99 -85.99
Expense
eBay Fees 105.98 98.33 204.31
PayPal Fees 38.90 30.14 69.04
Shipping Costs 150.29 121.96 272.25
Cost of Goods Sold 170.5 14.12 184.62
Mileage 19.20 4.02 23.22
Utilities 25.35 0.00 25.35
Amazon Fees 8.41 15.43 23.84
Office Supplies 20.65 0.00 20.65
Office Expense 374.94 0.00 374.94
Advertising 37.00 0.00 37.00
Other Expenses 0.00 23.75 23.75
Profit / Loss 49.12 572.65 621.77
OK-button_-_Macro_photography_of_a_remote_control eBay February

I can’t wait for the “KICK ASS!” button to make an appearance.

Seeing numbers below my goal ($833 profit per month) makes me worried that I won’t make it. I know that there’s not any real world consequence, especially since I kind of pulled the the $10,000 number out of my butt a hat. The issue is that I’ve put myself out there, and now I want to hit my milestone! Plus, that cash will cover some major HVAC upgrades.

Last year, I was short by a small amount. Talking about it doesn’t make me feel that excited. Hopefully tracking my profits monthly (and regularly) will let me push through the barriers here and really get some traction.

The more I look back though, I have improved over last year, and it’s all about that purchase money.

I spent $3,500 on new inventory last year! That’s a TON! And it was about $500 in January/February 2014 alone.

In 2015, I’ve been going through a lot of inventory that I bought last year while limiting my purchases. It’s really paying off. Almost all of my sales go right to profits.

I did have 1 small trip to Goodwill last week, but it wasn’t planned1. The items are prepped and will be photographed once I get through my next batch of items to be listed.

So, to recap:

Goal is $10,000 in profits for 2015. So far, I’m at $621.77 for two months.

If we assume that I make the same profits for the rest of 2015 as I did in February, that gives me a total of ~$6,000+. That’s a big deficit!

Insert U.S. national debt joke here.

So this monthly check helps me out in two ways.

First, I get a needed swift kick in the butt. It will be a lot easier for me to course correct now in February March than in the fall. So there’s that.

Second, I now have my priorities. I haven’t been focusing enough on the thing I promised to. The listing!

I feel like this is similar to weight loss where everyone focuses on the workout when the diet is 80% of the issue.

Now, I set myself up with a little bit of wiggle room when I included my tracking mechanism on Beeminder. So let’s check out the graph.

So does that mean that my goal (15 listings per week) isn’t aggressive enough?

I still feel like part of the issue is that I’m transitioning more and more to clothing. I love it because of the ease of shipping and my knowledge in it, but it’s definitely seasonal (who wants to buy shorts when they’re getting hit with snow???).

On top of that, they’re more of a long tail item. I think this is just inherent in the clothing category, and as such, I need to build up my inventory quickly.

15 items a week just doesn’t seem to be enough. If I’m still behind the 8 ball in March, then I’ll look at increasing my goal or maybe going through a maniac day. Something ridiculous like “list 50 items in a day!”

So, once again, I’m not on top of my goal. The important thing is that I’ve realized this, and I’m making some corrections. No more tablet purchases.

In the end, I’m still making money on a hobby and I’m having a lot of fun doing it, even if I have room for improvement. Right now I’ll focus on getting through my unlisted piles, and really pushing to clear out as much stuff before garage sale season starts up in about a month!

I get spring fever, but mostly it’s just garage sale fever! It’s not just the eBay dreams

Image Credit: Maximilian Schönherr,


  1. The only reason I was there was due to a car not/barely starting. The mechanic we go to was right around the corner from the Goodwill. I spent $14.12 which I think will sell for a minimum of $150. Right in the $20+ profit per item range.  I was lucky that I was able to start the car and didn’t have to get it towed! I didn’t think it was just the battery since I didn’t hear that terrible clicking sound. It seemed like more of a starter issue if I’d have guessed. Thankfully, we’ve been putting away money each month for auto related maintenance expenses (gotta love YNAB) so we were totally prepared. 
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