082 – A to Z Pirate Booty – Anne Zarraonandia

Anne Zarraonandia is a long time eBayer beginning in July 1998. She sells just about anything you can put into a box and loves “moving stuff around the universe” and getting cash for it! A former teaching tennis pro she still sells tons of used, dead tennis balls to dog owners around the country!

Interesting Notes

  • Anne started selling long before eBay has started. She started with mail order catalog called I Love Barbra Catalog. It is a Barbra Streisand's memorabilia — records, posters, and books. She sold it to people and fans all over the world. Back then, they used a snail mail form to send the items.
  • Later, she sold memorabilia of Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and anybody moviestar-wise. Aside from memorabilia, she also sells games, books and baseball.
  • Recently she sold a Mohammad Ali autograph to a collector.
  • Anne describes eBay as a collectible marketplace. Everybody collects something. If they want to get rid of their stuff, those that sell collectible things got something to sell.
  • Her interest in selling things and her want to get rid of her tennis balls led her to sell on eBay.
  • Now, Anne sells tennis ball boxes of 25, 50, and a 100. Every day she puts balls in the box and sends them anywhere around the country.
  • Her secret sources are her sister who is teaching tennis pro, and her friends who are working in clubs.
  • Tennis balls go dead rapidly giving her an endless supply. In fact, in the US open tournament, they change the balls every nine games.
  • Anne also sells for other people. As a consignment seller, she gets a variety of things that she does not know about. She gets to learn those as she lists. That is where she gets the idea on what to price the item for.
  • The first thing listed on her store is a Thomas Hart Benton 1944 signed Lithograph priced at $40,000. Some of her friends had it in their cabin. She thought that it was something that she saw in an antique road show. She did a research and there were only 250 of them and it went for a bundle. She looked it up and realized it is valuable. So Anne priced it higher. She is just sitting on that one, waiting for the right buyer.
  • Anne has 15 active clients (on consignment) who just drop off their items to her.
  • She has a couple of teen agers who help her list. They are freshman high school students who want to earn some money. They are not afraid of technology and so they work faster and more efficient.
  • She moved her eBay biz from her home into sharing an office space with an Architect. She uses the backspace of the office while the architect uses the front. Her office has a shipping area, a photography area with a background, and then a lot of shelves. The shelves contain her items. The items are classified per category and labeled by persons as well to keep track of what she have.
  • She uses a code system to easily locate the items sold. She uses a software called SellerVantage. It is a consignment software that gives you a line where you could put the items. That keeps her from searching and losing things.
  • She also uses Auctane, a thrid party add-on software, to help her determine the shipping cost. It gives her an amount by putting the weight of the box and choosing the service she is going to use (priority, first class, etc…).
  • She also calculates for across the country by putting the zip codes. She does this when she lists so she will know in advance the farthest it could be and its cost. Then she builds the cost of her free shipping.
  • Anne observes that when you do free shipping, buyers would not even question what it cost you to ship. Doing so, she takes off the stress out of her calculation. It also takes the stress out of buyers if they would like what they paid for in shipping.
  • The best part of doing eBay is that Anne gets to make her own schedule. If she wants to take an afternoon nap or go out to lunch with friends, or play tennis on Wednesdays. It makes it all possible for her. She is her own boss so nobody would get mad at her if she won't show up @ nine o'clock.
  • Anne likes shopping because she is always looking for a deal.
  • The weirdest thing she sold on eBay is an open box of 10 pounds.
  • The initials of Anne's complete name are the beginning and end of the alphabet. Anne feels like that somewhere in the initials of her name is a gold mine coming her way through a pirate booty. She feels like she is getting those riches from doing the fun game on eBay. Thus, the eBay name A to Z Pirate Booty.
  • Her goal is to list the things that are actually in the basement of her house. She has a two-year plan. If she can get one box listed for a month, she can get to two years and can go shopping. She is holding back the shopping now. She tries to keep moving her stuff around the universe to get as much as she can and see what happens.
  • Anne loves to talk about moving stuff in the universe. True enough, something goes back to her. She got back her father's painting through eBay. It makes her feel good that she was able to give it back to him so he could enjoy it still.

Advice, Tips, and Tricks

  • Anne has a variety of stuff in her eBay store. Her experience taught her that everything has a value. She prices her items by doing this:
    • 1. She starts to do auctions. This way, she could see that people start to spend money.
    • 2. When the auctions went out, she put a fixed price.
    • 3. Sometimes she put a dream price. She hopes that somebody would put an offer with a price that she thought is going to be worth in the first place.
  • Everybody seems to get the paralysis of analysis. They worry too much. But to Anne, this is her philosophy: “I will try it. And if it does not sell, I will take it down and sell it later. I barely throw anything away.”
  • On photographs, she goes with this line of thinking: “It would still be going to sell, whether the pictures are perfect or not.” She takes returns. If the buyer sends it back, then she will accept it. She will sell it higher the next time, though.

Quotes

  • “eBay just made selling easier for me.”
  • “Everything has a value.”
  • “It's really cool to be able to learn each new niche and category.”
  • “The more you list, the more you sell.”
  • “I don't have to go looking for it (stuff). The business is just right there.”
  • “Just try it (eBay)! You just have to give it a try.”
  • “eBay is so unique because it is not just a standard barcode you buy in a regular store.”
  • “Some old things were made better than the things that are current.”
  • “There's a couple of different categories, of age, of types of things that you can't find anywhere but eBay.”
  • “No one knows what people buy! If everybody did, we will probably be doing the same thing.”

 

Tools

  • SellerVantage
  • Auctiva
  • Auctane

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