Strictly Style - Why I only sell fashion on Ebay

Clothes hang on a shelf

As someone who has a seller store one of the constant questions I am asked by friends and other Ebay sellers is why I don't branch out and sell other items besides clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry. Though I have sold the occasional vinyl record and band poster I really believe that one of the reasons I am most successful is because this is my niche. Consider walking into a consignment store or boutique, how would you feel if this store was also selling teapots, DVR players, car parts, and lightbulbs? You probably wouldn't stay too long and find yourself going somewhere else, especially if you're looking at a high end item. My followers (and repeat customers) know that when they look at my shop it will always be within the fashion industry. My niche is clothing, and I do my best for it all to be fashionable and wearable. What I mean by wearable is something that can be promptly worn (as all my items are washed/drycleaned) or repaired to be worn quickly. I try to make my shop be like an actual store so that buyers are comfortable purchasing an item from me that is $16.99 or $369.99. 

I must emphasize that this is my business model, and doesn't necessarily need to be yours. I have purchased many incredible items from sellers who are literally selling Ikea furniture bolts and souvenir shot glasses in the next listings. There is no wrong answer on Ebay as long as you're being honest with your listings. 

Love and Happiness

One of the most incredible aspects of being a seller on Ebay is you can have these beautiful unexpected moments. At the beginning of 2016 I got a question from a potential buyer asking me to confirm the measurements on a beautiful green velvet burnout Betsey Johnson handkerchief dress, because it was perfect for her to wear to her wedding. When I responded that my measurements were accurate, she replied she was very happy, she knew this was the dress for her, and she then purchased this unique item promptly.

Loving this unique idea, I let her know that I would waive the restock fee and I would personally pay for the return in case it wasn't the right fit. I know how expensive weddings can be, and I wanted her to feel really confident she can buy this worry free. When her dress arrived she immediately sent me a message stating that it fit perfectly and that she now had the perfect dress for her big day. Being a part of this experience brought tears to my eyes (and her reply was the same too). She also was very touched and let me know that she would send me pictures of her big day when it would happen!  

Kristi kept her word and back in November I got these beautiful images. It is these types of moments as a seller that makes it all worth it.

Congratulations Kristi! May you have many wonderful years together! 



Winter Sales: Feast or Famine?

Here at TSL I recognize that selling clothing is a 12 month job. Unlike fashion sellers, some only sell seasonal items or feel serious slumps during the warmer months (see: 3rd Quarter post). Though there is a slight drop in sales during the summer, we really feel the slowdown in the final 2 weeks before Christmas. Ironically enough, this is when the major sales happen for most Ebay stores because many of them are selling gifts, games, and decorations for the impending holidays. But not to worry if you have a bit of a slump, because good times are coming, I promise!

Since sellers like us are selling items that buyers are buying for themselves, we don't get a lot of business during this brief time period. The only advice I can lovingly give is to keep on listing!! I've also noticed my items get ridiculously high amounts of watchers during this period, and then I hear that beautiful cha-ching/cash register sound from my Ebay app. As soon as Christmas morning I start getting sales. What I believe is sellers are watching items they want to buy when they get their holiday cash/giftcards. I always keep listing during this period, especially hats, scarves, and coats. They are always selling and always moving during the fall and winter months. Wrapping up the year with a ton of listings in your store is an incredible feeling as well. I always feel more accomplished posting a handful of new items when everyone around me is running around the stores buying those special gifts for their loved ones. Don't feel discouraged if you're feeling the slowdown, because I am too- but I assure you we are in this together! 


Winner of Survey Contest!

Special congratulations is in order to Hillary from the incredible Ebay store "Wallace and Co.". She was the lucky winner in our survey drawing. Everyone was an incredible help and I truly appreciate all the feedback I received on the survey. Your participation was priceless, and a special thanks is most certainly in order. 

Though our winner was selected at random, we wanted to share Hillary's Ebay shop to show you what a great store she has and a solid reference on those who are starting out.

Daily Habits for Ebay Sellers

Hello Dear Lister - I hope to find you well, with the 4th quarter upon us I am really looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the online holiday sales! As you know, these blog posts are a mix of what I believe we should be talking about, thinking about, and what people are asking us about. Today's post is about productivity, keeping good Ebay habits, and how I keep listing even when it seems time isn't on my side. Do not be fooled, selling on Ebay isn't my full time job, or even my part time job, its a fantastic hobby that I am excited to do. My love of fashion, making a little money, as well as the bargain buy has kept me a long time member on this incredible platform. After some self reflection and taking a step back, I realized there are a couple of steps, things I've done differently recently that have as of late changed the course of my store from fun change to getting some solid income. In my FREE Facebook group, Fashion Sellers Selling on Ebay I always be sure to stay positive and give the best advice I can when it comes to this part of the fashion industry. You can click on the link HERE and join.

First Habit: Designating an hour daily for Ebay and Ebay alone. Now I you're saying to yourself "Oh yea I totally do that", but I'm sure you don't, because I hardly do. You have to make this a habit, and a good one at that. To help with this I have a wall calendar up in my room, and when I work an hour on Ebay - I put a big fantastic X on that date, and if I worked on it a little, I get a line, and if I didn't do anything, I leave the day blank. It helps put you in the groove of selling everyday because you see a few X's in a row and you want to keep it up. I try to designate time every evening, and when I head to the remote to watch my favorite sports team or dramatic reality TV I always ask myself if I can put that X on my calendar. When the answer is no, I head to my computer or tablet and get to work, even if its for 30 minutes, every little bit helps. Most of the time I’m editing listing titles, adding measurements, or creating new listings.

Second Habit: Always try to generate sales. Im blessed to have an eclectic closet with a variety of pieces that I no longer wear. I try to be smart and honest about editing my closet. If I haven't worn something in more than a year it goes on "probation", if it doesn't fit right, or I've bought it and haven't worn it in more than year, I list it, unless its special or I intend to wear it in the future at some point. I think to myself if I list and sell this, I could use the money and buy something that I would actually wear right now, or that is new and on trend. Its a solid incentive and my wardrobe is always evolving due to this mantra. I also put items for sale and discount pieces when I see little or no traction and I just want to unload them from my store. I try to be really objective when listing, and even more so when discounting. I also work on my social media accounts, liking things on my Instagram account, pinning on Pinterest, and engaging with other sellers in my Facebook group Fashion Sellers Selling on Ebay.

Third Habit: Being positive. I know this one sounds a little random, but its very true. I have had incredible months selling, and I have had dry spells like no other. It can be frustrating as a seller to not get people to buy your pieces or have a ton of watchers and the item isn't moving. There are times when I will sell an item and the buyer decides to return it for whatever reason and money I thought I was going to make- I wasn't going to make at all. Recognizing that there are always going to be those ups and downs is easy, making sure you stay positive and happy can be challenging, and I know this from personal experience. I do my best to smile and know that tomorrow is a new day, and you should too.


Utilizing Your Free Listings

 Each month Ebay grants every user 50 free listings if you do not have a seller store, with the seller only having to pay for the FVF (Final Value Fees) to Ebay when the item sold and the buyer has paid. It wasn't too long ago I had 50 free listings granted to me with a $5,000 seller limit. That meant I could only list 50 items whose total value wasn't over $5,000. Sometimes I would use all 50 listings, but other times I would list minimally and wouldn't hit the limit at all.  Most often my selling at the time was casual or I was posting something that I bought online or in a store and never got to wearing.

When I would get a 10,000 free listings promotion I would pretty much drop anything I was doing and take advantage of it since it would allow me to list any item without using my 50 given listings. It would give me a lot of extra leeway when listing or trying to be more active on Ebay. I really learned how to manipulate Ebay's free listings to the full extent by being critical of what I was posting. If I knew an item would likely not sell due to the season I would wait to list it for a free listing promotion, for example selling a heavy winter scarf in July is probably not going to happen, so when I would get the free listings I would relist my item at that time instead of wasting a needed free listing on something that would be more likely to sell. 

If you're really smart about listing on Ebay you can push your free listings to the limits and maximize your profits without having to pay insertion or listing fees. I strongly advocate a seller not pay to list their items, if you don't sell an item you lose money and that cuts into your profit. Before my store, I never paid for listings and I probably will do my best to not do so at any point. Final value fees are the only fees I am willing to pay to Ebay, and you should adopt this mentality as well if at all possible. If you have a swimsuit up for auction from the first week of November until the first week of May (when you sell) on a 7 day auction, and you've paid $0.30 per listing, you've paid $8.10 to Ebay thus cutting into your profit. Many sellers lower their starting price on auctions to entice buyers, but this can backfire. Take into consideration this swimsuit that is out of season, there are fewer watchers which means less bidders, and if your item does sell it will be for even less than usual. Not only you will make less profit on what you would have gotten for it in June, but you also lost that additional $8 to Ebay. If you are going to pay for an item, only pay for something that you are for sure going to sell, and your profit will definitely cover the cost of the extra fees.

If an item isn't selling, you shouldn't be paying. If you think your item SHOULD be selling and its not, take a critical step back and think to yourself what is wrong with the listing that is preventing you from generating a sale? Is it the listing title, the pictures, or possibly the description, or even the price? Be critical as each free listing is important and you want to utilize this free option.

Don't waste your free listings on items that aren't selling, and entice buyers by always looking at your listings to try to generate sales with changes. Think of that item you were watching in July and the description said "Perfect Christmas Present". The description looks dated, and the person doesn't seem to be hands on with their item. 

Each of these freebies can easily create more profit for you when you capitalize on them. Minimizing your cost by using these free listings is a great way to get started on your feedback, and started on selling on this incredible platform. If you can, always take advantage of this Ebay incentive.

Phasing Out Summer for Fall on Ebay

Last week's blog post touched upon phasing out pieces that aren't as likely to sell in the fall as they are in spring and summer before diving into key tips for selling sunglasses. The 4th quarter sales are right around the corner and people are no longer looking for gladiators or silk caftans but heavy coats, sweaters, and sequined cocktail dresses. Consider if you were to head to the mall right now with no budget and you could buy whatever you wanted, would you buy a bikini and gladiators, or would you pick up a cozy coat? The trick to Ebay is seasonal selling and knowing what sells and when. The month of October and November are HUGE months for fall as well as winter items and my experience the highest profit margins for coats, jackets, and sweaters. Be critical about what you're posting in the fall. Though there are of course exceptions to the the rules, you will not generate as many sales on summer items as you would winter. This is even more so when doing auction listings. You will make a higher profit on that Mara Hoffman caftan in June vs December because you won't have as many watchers or bidders trying to buy that item. There is the reversal of winter clothing not selling at its full potential because no one is looking to buy a fox fur coat in July. If you are on a budget, be selective of your listings as you don't want to pay for a listing that simply won't sell.

Since I do have a basic seller store I have higher listing levels which allows me to have non seasonal items up year round. I do have summer and winter items up all the time, but it wasn't always this way. After a few years I noticed that my summer items never sold during winter, and my winter items never sold during summer. Though some areas of the country or international buyers would purchase my items that were out of season a good rule of thumb is if you're on a budget only list items that are in season, so you're not paying for extra when you use up your free listings. Nothing is more annoying than using your last free listing on a sarong when you could have listed a gorgeous scarf.

To finalize, when the season starts to change take a look at what you're listing, and be critical. If its not something that is in season, consider saving the listing when Ebay offers you a free listing promotion or when you have an extra listing at the end of the month.  Remember, hats, purses, jewelry, and other accessories can always be sold year round. Take into consideration what is being currently sold in stores, and you should consider having the same pieces up for sale as well. If you have the available listings definitely list those items that may be out of season, but don't waste your money and don't pay for it. It will cut into your profits.

When Should You Be Selling Sunglasses on Ebay

September is the last month for selling items that are for summer, which include sundresses, rompers, sandals, swimsuits, and caftans. If you have limited listings due to budget constraints it is always best to prioritize your listings by seasonal items, then by brand, and everything else follows suit. One item I don't recommend you phase out are sunglasses, as I consider them only somewhat seasonal based on sales and purchases.

There is a stark difference between summer pieces and sunglasses when it comes to selling. What I love most about sunglasses is that they're a year-round item. I definitely consider sunglasses a "splurge" accessory that people will often impulsively buy. Everyone knows that it can be a struggle to find a pair of sunglasses that doesn't always match their frame, so when you find that perfect size and shape, you're more likely to purchase. A lot of times buyers will find a pair of sunglasses in a department or outlet store and look on eBay for one thats worn, or new at a better discount. I always recommend listing your sunglasses during the spring and summer months, but do not consider them as an item to take down for the season to replace with some other accessories thinking that they won't sell during fall and winter seasons.

When listing sunglasses there are some key elements to bump up your sales. First and foremost take great pictures of the sunglasses and any scratches or flaws - specifically the lenses. If they are a higher end or a specific brand be sure to put the name of the sunglasses and any serial numbers or names that are on the arm. Tom Ford, Retrosuperfuture, Karen Walker, Thierry Lasry all have names for their unique shades - a simple google search will give you the answer you're looking for. If you have access, the frame sizes are incredibly helpful for a buyer. Click here for a picture of frame sizes that should help you do the measurements yourself or understand them for your own reference. Note if the box and/or case is available and let the buyer know if its the original or generic. 

To confirm, sales for sunnies do drop in the fall and winter and of course jump during spring and summer, but the sales are prominent enough to keep this type of listing in rotation. Buyers are always looking for new sunglasses year round and they're always looking for a specific pair that they may have missed out earlier in the season. Sunglasses are a great go to for listing as people are always looking for high end brands and even more so high end accessories.


The Style Lister

Jewelry Sets Sell them Together or Separate?

I love jewelry and accessories! I own so many earrings bracelets and necklaces its hard to keep up on everything. Though a lot of my items are vintage or handmade, when I do come across beautiful jewelry in a department store or shop, I tend to buy the whole set or more than one piece of it. Im almost always buying the earrings and the bracelet or the necklace and ring. I always assumed that other women do the same as well, but I now recognize that may not always be the case.

When selling jewelry a lot of sellers list their items split or as a set. Here at TSL I've done both, I've listed a bracelet and earrings together and charged more, and listed them separately noting to the customer if they buy both pieces there will be a discount. We noticed that I not only sold the items faster when they're listed separately, but also made more money. Through my experience I realized that a lot of buyers do not have pierced ears, or do not like wearing bracelets, etc. I would get many requests from buyers asking for a better price if I would not sell the other piece. I decided to conduct an experiment and see which items were and weren't selling when I would do a set or split.  

It was like night and day! Sales for jewelry rose quite a bit and many items that weren't moving were suddenly out the door. I realized that individually jewelry was much more likely to sell and much faster as well when I didn't do the set. I also saw a bump in profits as I would charge a little bit more for each item individually. In all our items that have a matching piece, I'd always let the buyer know that if the matching earrings or bracelet or necklace was available and if they wanted the full set I would discount both for them. As of this blog post I have yet to get one request for a lot price. 

If you really want your jewelry to sell it is always best to sell them separately. Not only will your sales improve, but your profits will increase as well.