Tonight I received a message from Crystal asking if I liked selling on eBay and being an eBay business owner. Â This gave me a great chance to tell my story why I sell on eBay.Â
My story in the needlework business started after I married my Marine Corps pilot husband. I was always doing counted cross stitch and the wives of the other officers would ask where I bought my supplies. I was getting them from my favorite store in Mississippi, where I had gone to college. Â I decided to start ordering for the wives and Stitchery X-Press started in 1982. Â Over the years we had a shop outside of Denver, Colorado and a store here in Layton, Utah. Â We also had a mail order business before the internet was huge and I worked as a needlework buyer for a large chain of stores in New Jersey. Â
In early 2001 I found out I was pregnant right before my 40th birthday. We had a 14 year old son Steven. Â I had the needlework store and figured I could bring the baby to work with me daily. Â It worked until he became aÂ rambunctiousÂ toddler and ran for the door anytime a customer came in the store.Â
We were notified our rent was going up. We had a lot of problems with shop lifting and bounced checks we couldn’t recover the money from. Â I decided that I would try eBay since I was buying on the site. Â Well…. Well… Well… I was selling more after 30 days on eBay than I had done the prior month in my store. Â I talked to my husband about closing the store and moving the business home. Â I have never looked back. Â
My world of sales opened up. Â I was selling all over the world instantly (if you do not sell internationally you are really missing some great opportunities). Â I had amazing return customers and I wanted our customer service to be awesome so we would get those customers back. Â We are approaching 25,000 feedback and I could not have done it without loving what I do. Â I love cross stitch so it was only fitting to sell the inventory from my shop. Â The customers wanted current patterns in addition to the out of print classics I had in stock. Â I contacted my favorite wholesales and told them what I was doing. I let them know I was not marking down the prices. I was selling at full retail so that I did not compete against brick and mortar stores. I had some wholesalers and designers that were wonderful about it and other designers that had the attitude of “I don’t want my stuff sold on eBay, that is a garage sale”. Let’s just say. I don’t need those designers and I refuse to carry their designs. Â
You have to sell a lot of patterns to make money after the eBay fees, the PayPal fees, etc and so I started adding threads, fabrics and other items. Â
I also started searching for old kits that my customers were requesting. Â Since most were out of print, I would resort to eBay, garage sales and thrift stores. Â I found some but along the way I also found other items I knew I could flip and make money on. Â I was worried about selling the items in my specialty needlework store and wondering what my customers would think when I added coffee cups, shirts, ornaments, rubber stamps, home school books, aviation collectibles, etc. Â I realized that with store categories, it didn’t matter. My customers could go to the categories they wanted and shop. Â
I branched out two years ago when I was given 1200 books from a church I had taught a selling class to stay at home moms. Â The books fit Amazon but not so much eBay. I did the Amazon platform for two years and after much frustration, astronomical fees, Amazon being my biggestÂ competitorÂ and the policy that customers can return an item at anytime made me decide to leave Amazon. I am closing my merchant fulfilled account this month. Â
Why eBay works for me! Â
1 It is easy to list and to sell. Â I use mobile to list all items and I can correspond with customers and answer emails from my phone.
2. Sellers complain about the fees. Â Have you ever had a brick and mortar, utilities, employees etc? Â The “rent” I pay eBay is a lot less than I would pay in those fees to a landlord. Plus, I am selling globally, not just to my local customers.Â
3. I can have my own hours. Â I get up in the morning and check all emails for questions and sales. Â My post office closes at 5:30 everyday. My husband drops everything off. We have a policy that if you buy by 4 PM that day it will go out if we are in the shoppe. I can arrange my schedule around how many packages I have to ship to know how my day will go.Â
4. We have turned this into a family based business with my husband helping when I travel (I speak at conferences a few times a year about selling and buying) and he has the shipping part down pretty good. Â Thanks Stamp.com for that. Â
5. I love the community of eBay and PayPal. I love meeting sellers, buyers, and employees at eBay on Locations and when I speak. Â I love having friends on Facebook who are sellers and buyers and understand that aspect of my life. I feel like I am part of eBay and PayPal. Â
About two months ago I promised myself I would not go to the thrift stores anymore until I had sold and listed the majority of what I have. Â Now remember I have one, okay two… okay okay three storage units full of CRAP. Â My husband Jim asked if there was anyway I could get two cars in the garage, my convertible beetle and our new 2012 VW Beetle? I said sure… it was HARD! Weather had to cooperate, etc. Â I realized during this venture I had way to much stuff and I decided then and there that I would not buy until I had the stuff in that garage listed. Â (I will tackle the storage units later). I have been saying that for years. Â I have decided that the way to help people is to show them that I have the same problem they do but I am tackling it .. one small step at a time.
When I would buy stuff, I would just put it in the garage and get to it later.. Later became years.
The bins really help. Â I have a Dymo Label writer and I printed off labels to put on the bins so I know what is in each one. Â I can pull a bin at a time and list from it.
Over the years as I got smarter in my purchases I had a lot of junk that was re donated back to Savers in town. Â I have pretty much stayed away from Open Puzzles and most books (other than needlework)
For many years I was one of those people who only sold needlework patterns because my store name was Stitchery X-Press. Â I was finding great items at the thrift store and local garage sales that I knew would make money but I really didn’t want the cost of another eBay store or even another account for that matter.Â
I decided that I could add items that did not pertain to needlework to my eBay store because I had store Categories. Â Store Categories are a must for any seller on eBay who has a store. Â You can can have up to 300 store categories and then sub categories under these categories. Â
So I added categories like flatware, coffee cups, European Finds, Clothing Men, Clothing Women, etc. Â I have not had one complaint from anyone saying that they don’t like I added stuff to the needlework store. Â Â
Make categories and move the items there. Â It really works. Â
Kim asked tonight if she is covered if she ships international with first class package by USPS.
Kim you have to have proof of delivery such as a delivery confirmation. Easy in the US if you ship online and get free delivery confirmation with First Class and Priority packages.
Much harder internationally.
You hear people say all the time that you can ONLY get delivery confirmation with Express. Â I went to the USPS website tonight and this is what they have on their site.
So as I ship a $300.00 order tomorrow to the customer in Russia (0 Feedback and brand new buyer on eBay) Â I will not only be praying but I will be using the signature confirmation on the service that works for seller protection.
I will keep you posted.
I hope this helps Kim and thanks for stopping by my blog.
I am worried that many of you have not edited your shipping charges if you offer flat rate international first class package or parcel shipping, (including me). I am right there with you. I figured I would do it tomorrow night. Â
Bulk editing on eBay has become so wonderful. Â If you have not tried it recently and you remember the old clunky format, you are in for a treat. Â
Go to your active listings
I will cover flat rate priority envelopes first since they are going from $12.95 to $19.95 in Canada and from $16.95 to $23.95 worldwide.
Let’s say you have 25 coffee mugs that you ship FOMO method by putting in a flat rate padded envelope and ship. Â If you have categories (store owners) go to that category if not in active listings type in coffee or mug
Highlight those listings and hit editÂ
A new screen will pop up with columns
Hit this same Edit button on left of the listings and select all
Select Edit then Â select shipping internationalÂ
a new screen will pop upÂ
For For Priority Flat Rate Envelopes you will change it all here. Â Edit in Bulk Â Flat (not calculated) Â you can do your Canada and add another service for worldwide. Â
Save and submit. Â All have been saved.Â
You can do the same technique if you offer a flat rate on items that are a flat fee per item that you ship first class… do the steps I suggested such as breaking into categories of if you know the weight of each highlight those. Â Follow the steps for First Class International and you are done.Â
I talked about the Priority Flat Rate International rates going up quite a bit on the 27th of January last week in my blog.
The good news for other international Priority is it is a slight increase.
Make sure you have your Flat Rate International Envelopes and Boxes Fixed in your shipping on eBay! Â If you have calculated shipping on eBay, it will automatically fix on January 27th. Â If you have $16.95 for flat rate, fix by Sunday to $23.95
note that International Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes are MORE expensive than mailing by weight if 4-pounds or under so mail these items First Class if possible.
I wrote last week about the changes to the USPS shipping service for International First Class Parcel that is coming on January 27th. Â
I think the biggest shock is going to be mailing packages to Canada for most sellers. Â
Most of the first class international packages are going to be going up at least 60% Â Yep Sixty percent.. Â Remember you will get delivery confirmation on many first class to Canada for free (you pay for it, believe me). The post office has been secretive about what exactly will be “Select”. Â I have made a form below to give you an idea of the difference. Â Check back tomorrow for Priority Prices.Â
Note: Â this is online prices if you use Stamps.com, eBay Shipping, PayPal Shipping, etc. Â If you go to the counter you will pay more. Â
I have never had a cross stitch pattern that has been so popular. Â These three little witches have taken the world by storm…
It helps to be one of the only people on eBay to carry this design by Lettie. of The Needle’s Notion. Â These little ladies are called Bewitching Trio. Lettie has also designed three Alphabet Dolls with the same look in Colonial Dresses
On January 27, 2013 the United States Post Office mailing prices will be going up. Â Domestic (USA and territories) is pretty standard for increases in the past.
Where I noticed the Drastic Change is in International. Â Priority Flat Rate is HUGE!
Priority Flat Rate Envelopes to Canada was $12.95. It will go to $19.95 Â
Other international Flat Rate Priority Envelopes will go from $16.95 to $23.95
Countries are broken up into regions for first class
Group 1 (Canada)
Group 2 (Mexico)
Group 3 – 5 (Eastern Asia, Europe, and Australia)
Group 6 – 9 (Western Asia, Africa, Latin America,Â Caribbean, and New Zealand)
I ship a great deal of large flat envelopes first class internationally.
January 27, 2013 I will be paying the following rates: (This is online rates) Â Rates at the USPS Counter are higher.
Here are some more International Changes
First Class Mail InternationalÂ is being renamed First Class Package Service International and is being transferred to the â€œcompetitive product listâ€ which allows the mail class to be eligible for Commercial Base pricing (online rate discounts).
2013 rates are seeing a significant increase, with rates increasing as much as 60% for packages that weigh up to 1 lb
Make sure you get all adjustments to shipping internationally done Â on eBay, Etsy, and your business website.
If you want to dig deeper into pricing, grab the whisky and visit the USPS new prices here