057: FUNsational Engineers On eBay – Sharon and Gary Pleines

Sharon & Gary were selling part time on Ebay for 8 years in Indiana. Last year they moved to Ohio to be closer to family and began selling full time. They were able to find the perfect warehouse with room to grow. A house came as a bonus. In June, they rebranded as FUNsational Finds. The focus of products now is clearly on fun.

Interesting Notes

  • Both are Engineers who manage to run a top-rated sellers plus eBay store since the beginning.
  • eBay is their livelihood – how they feed their children and send them to college.
  • During their part-time years on eBay, they called their store Sharon's Deals, but because they felt that it does not fit them anymore, and would go full time, they re-branded it.
  • The couple has lots of fun products, has lots of fun while working, and because fun is fun, they figured to niche into fun items. Thus, the store's name FUNsational Finds.
  • They've been buying on eBay for a long time, but only tried selling on eBay when Sharon's job moved out of state and chose not to follow her job. And it works out really well in their family, and Sharon got to spend more time with their kids because they seemed to need her more than they needed her when they were younger.
  • As they go full time on eBay and make it a 100% real business, they figured they needed a warehouse and keep the merchandise out of their house and into the warehouse space. At present, their warehouse is about 3600 sq. ft and is very well insulated.
  • For their method, they maintain a database to keep track of all their products, which each has an assigned unique SKU number. They use racks with shelves and boxes so when the items sell, they can go right into the rack, find what shelves and box the items on, and within a few seconds they have it in their hands and get it ready to ship.
  • Their biggest struggle is trying to get the inventory be converted back into cash. To overcome it, they run some auctions, drive traffic to their stores, and tried the new program Campaign Go.
  • One of their weaknesses is marketing and niching their products so they hired Danni Ackerman as their business coach to help them focus and work on that area, and so, their business expanded exponentially in social marketing.
  • They very rarely have negative feedbacks. They avoid it by: 1. Being honest and upfront to their customers such as telling them they're out at a conference or on a vacation, and so the products will be out 2 or 3 days later; 2. Get right to their one (1) day handling rule; 3. Being organized so as not to get loose of their products (know where they are and keep a good count); 4. Being accurate in listings and descriptions; 5. For items with slight defects, they take pictures of the scratches and note it in the descriptions.
  • They eventually have evolved into a routine with its main focus on MAKING CUSTOMERS HAPPY. Here is their routine: 1. Read and answer messages daily; 2. Print and pack multiple times every day until the postman shows up and takes everything; 3. Keep listening to the “chi-ching” constantly; 4. Start packing for the next day; 5. Schedule days to work on listing products; 6. Schedule some days of social media marketing
  • The advantage of selling new products is that they don't have to make decisions right away. They have time to go to Tradeshows, collect catalogues, and do research at home. This way, they avoid compulsive buying which usually ends up to buying more but selling less.
  • The couple wants to keep on growing, doing more fun things, and getting more fun products.

Quotes

  • “One of the nice things being self-employed and do eBay full time is you can make your own schedule and do what you want when you want.”
  • “It is a matter of focusing your time on the subject at hand.”
  • “Everything works for different people.”
  • “Find a coach that works for you.”
  • “Get help on focusing on your weaknesses.”
  • “Make the customers happy.”
  • “Focus on your routine.”
  • “Things are going to start to fall into their place when you start doing it full time. You will know what needs to be done, then start doing it.”
  • “By setting goals and tracking what you are doing, you can keep on track on your target or your plan.”
  • “Try to stay up with modern technology.”

Tools

  • Microsoft Access and Excel
  • inkFrog Open
  • eBay App
  • Terapeak

Contact Information

Sponsors