Scott Henshaw told me about a new feature for eBay sellers you can subscribe to. Â Webstore by 3D. I looked it up tonight and decided to give it a try. Â We will see how it goes. Â At $5.00 I will try it for six months and see what happens. Â Thanks Scott. Â Â
When I am teaching eBay classes to stay at home moms, I always seem to get asked the same question, â€œWhy eBay?â€ I tell them that after years of having a brick and mortar specialty needlework store where customers would come in and work on their projects, socialize and bring their lunch, I wanted a place where there was a sense of a community and I found it onÂ eBay.
My husband and I were shocked to find out around our 19th Anniversary that we would be blessed with another child. My husband Jim, an airline pilot, and I decided our son Thomas would go to work with me at the store. At 4 days old, he made his debut at Stitchery X-Press and became the store mascot for over three years. As he grew older, it became more unmanageable as he pulled linens off shelves and tried to run our hemstitching machine. Some big decisions needed to be made when every time a customer opened the door little Thomas would run for the parking lot and street.
We received notice that our already high rent would be going up, so I needed to make a quick decision if we were going to stay open or close. I wanted to give eBay a try by selling my existing inventory before having a clearance sale. I had been a buyer on eBay for a number of years so I took the selling plunge and jumped right in. It was surprising how fast bids came in right after listing them.
Within a month my eBay sales were more than my physical store. eBay became a logical choice to sell my inventory. It gave me an opportunity to be at home and have my own work hours instead of being tied to the shop 24/7, six days a week. I had already had the usernameÂ BubbaCanDanceÂ as a buyer from the country music group Shenandoahâ€™s hit song (whom I worked for). When it came time to open an eBay store I decided onÂ Stitchery X-Press, our established name since 1982. After a few months I was going to change my eBay ID to the store name but my customers said no. Seven years later, Stitchery X-Press is one of the largest needlework stores on eBay with customers from all over the world.
I knew I needed more space and looked into renting. One of the reasons I closed the store was to stay at home so we decided to build a warehouse and office in the back yard. We now walk a few feet to work each day.
eBay is part of our family and I feel at home. eBay has allowed me to home school Thomas who has become part of the business team. He is the shipping manager and makes sure all packages get the labels on them. Our other son Steven delivers all packages daily to the post office. Steven is headed to join the Marines to be a pilot next year (we hope) and Thomas is trying to figure out how to get his driverâ€™s license by age 11 to take over that job. Jim will move into a job here when he retires from the airlines soon.
My journey with eBay continues to grow as do the personal relationships that cultivate along the way. One of my favorite sayings is â€œlike what you do, do what you like!â€ This is who I am and it has shaped the fabric of our family business! I am eBay!
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
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