I've decided to write a few articles about the little eBay business Patti Anne & I have going. eBay provides that little extra that helps us keep from having to work. I'll try to keep these posts relatively short, because I know about attention spans.
We set up our eBay sellers account & a PayPal account in the summer of 2006. I had just dropped out of the work force (voluntarily) we'd moved to North Carolina, and had found a location for a little store on Main Street in Valdese. It seemed like a good idea to have an online presence as well, and eBay is well known and well established, so we went that route.
The store on Main Street no longer exists - literally. They condemned all of Mrs. Powell's buildings, which is too bad, because it was a great little mold filled place. We were out of there long before that happened though. The eBay business, however, is alive and kicking, and has definitely evolved.
Originally we had wanted a "consignment" business, where people would bring inventory to us and we'd sell it for a percentage of the selling price. Well that never quite got off the ground, but the word "consignment" is still in the title of our eBay store, reflecting our initial goals. Although we did some consignment at our Main Street store, and we continue to do a bit of consignment through eBay, we've had to purchase outright the vast majority of the inventory we sell. With some very notable exceptions here or there, consignment has been a small part of our business.
We will sell pretty much anything, but we've learned over time that packaging, shipping and storage of inventory are major concerns. We've gravitated toward items easy to package, easy to store, and that have very predictable shipping costs. And in the last 2 1/2 years or so, even though we still keep ourselves open to selling "pretty much anything", we really have started specializing. The vast majority of our listings (just over 2000 at this writing, but it fluctuates) are postcards and photographic images. And even within postcards and photographic images, we are finding that we're specializing somewhat.
So, I'm going to post a series of articles about our experience. I will touch on Consignments, "Collectibles" (which I define as anything that's not really useful and you don't really need, but you want anyway), Postcards, Photos, the cost of doing business, Customer Service, and Human Nature. Human nature may or may not have it's own post - I hate to be pinned down on this stuff. And if I think of anything else, I'll include that as well. Oh and I'll try to have pictures.