125: The Queen of Multi Task – Barbara Colson

Barbara has been selling on eBay for 6 years. She grew up with picking & sourcing in her blood. She loves selling vintage items and connecting people with pieces of their past but sells a little bit of everything. She runs a Facebook page for sellers that love vintage. Other than eBay she loves making quilts, singing and playing the piano.

Interesting Notes

  • Barbara is the Queen of Multi-Task.
  • Her dad was a picker before there were pickers. He loved to go for a long drive and would always find a car part or an air-conditioner broken down on the side of the road. He would take it home, fix and sell it. Sometimes, he would keep it for somebody who would need the part.
  • Barbara uses her iPhone in taking pictures of her items. Her husband does most of the picture taking for her.
  • She and her husband work as a team. Her husband likes to go to thrift stores and garage sales. Barbara, who has a back problem, goes to Estate Sales. Unlike a thrift store, the Estate Sales,  always have a chair or a sofa or a bed where she can sit down and stretch her back if she needs to.
  • There are a lot of Estate Sales companies in Dallas. Every weekend there are 15 to 20 sales going on in the area. They also have friends who own one of the best Estate Sales companies in Dallas. Barbara and her husband get some of the best stuff from those Estate Sales.
  • Her husband is taking a night class for further education. As soon as he can, he would take pictures of the item they source. Meanwhile, Barbara would start researching the items and see what prices she needs to put on them. If her husband has a batch of pictures ready for her, she would sit and list them.
  • On some days, Barbara does 10 listings. On the other days, she would do 20. She also did 100 listings in three days.
  • She does a lot of research on her prices. She is not afraid to hold out for higher prices than what other people are doing.
  • She would look at what the item is sold for before and what it is selling for on Amazon. She might price the item for $14.99 or $19.99 and then run a sale. Right now, she runs 33% off everything on her store.
  • She uses Markdown Manager when she runs a sale on her store. Sometimes, she would set her sale by category. For example, if she will clear out a lot of CD, she would put those on for 50% off. Her Jewelry category would have 25% off. She changes her sales price every week and sees what happens.
  • Barbara loves selling to international customers. This week, she ships to Canada and Australia. On the morning of this interview, she sold a toy going to Norway.
  • She uses calculated shipping on everything. Sometimes, she also does free shipping. She does not notice any difference in their sales whatever shipping method she used. Yet, she likes to stick with the calculated shipping.
  • In calculated shipping, Barbara would weigh everything and put the weight in the eBay system. Then she would give an option of First Class or Priority.
  • Her husband does the shipping. He would drive every day to their local post office. It is a fifteen-minute away drive.
  • They observe the one-day shipping policy. That is, if you buy today, the item will be shipped the next day. If you buy early in the morning, it gets to ship on the same day.
  • They box and take to Goodwill their stuff that did not sell.
  • Barbara's favorite weirdest thing that she sold is a Plastic Jesus Magic 8-ball type.
  • Barbara's eBay sales were not doing well before. She even started to slash the prices and almost give things away. Her friend told her that she needs to re-evaluate her store. Her friend encouraged her to raise the prices and run another sale and it worked.
  • Today, their eBay store is doing great. In fact, eBay is their only source of income. They have 1500 items listed. They keep it to small and manageable things. They don't have big, bulky items because they don't have a room for those things.
  • Barbara and her husband live in a one-bedroom condo. Their eBay inventory takes over their living room and half of their bedroom.
  • They would like to move one day soon. Barbara would like to have more room for a little bit more inventory. She can't think of anything they would not sell because they have sold a little bit of anything.

Advice, Tips, and Tricks

  • Take advantage of the editing tool that eBay gives. You can zoom in on something or crop or turn something.
  • Take a lot of pictures and fill all the fields in the item specifics. Doing so prevents you from return items with a reason of “item not as described”.
  • As part of your Q4 preparation, make sure to have all the shipping supplies that you will need. Stack up on boxes, tapes, envelopes, tissue paper, etc.
  • Always change things up. If one title is not working, switch the words surrounding the title or change the pictures.

Quotes

  • “Take a picture as if you don't have a description and write a title as if you don't have a picture.”
  • “I price high and let it fly.”
  • “Just keep it (inventory) manageable! Sell what you love. Sell what you know.”
  • “eBay is a lot of fun. I get to meet some great people.”
  • “You have to keep up with what is working and what is not working.”
  • “I love eBay! I don't think I would be doing anything else right now.”

Tools

  • Markdown Manager

Contact Information

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