Cheryl has been selling on eBay since 2001, full-time since 2012. She's a Top Rated Seller and Silver Power Seller. Her eBay store, Funkarelics, specializes in all things vintage, retro, antique and eclectic – with a few new items slipped in on the side.
- Cheryl is the only child. When her mother passed away, she brings all her mom's stuff, from St. Louis to Kansas. It filled Cheryl's basement.
- Her mom's stuff gave her an inventory that did not have any cost. She decided to give eBay a shot. eBay at that time is still young and new.
- She cut her teeth in selling learning all that and got hooked on eBay.
- She takes her own pictures using her iPhone7. She has a photo booth of a linen tablecloth. It has a natural lighting from a window close by. The set up works well for small stuff. She goes to another room if she will take pictures of clothes and use a mannequin.
- There is not much of a thrift store in Cheryl's area. Most of their houses have a basement because of the tornado. So, everybody saves everything.
- She goes to Estate Sales and Auctions to source her inventory. It was in the Estate Sales that she got her postcards. She got a stack about 12 inches high for only $5.
- The night before this interview, Cheryl sold one of the postcards for $40.
- After sourcing, Cheryl would go through each of the items and get real photos. She would work on the postcards first because it sells the best. She would dump the damage stuff unless it is rare.
- She would start to take pictures and put them up. She would take a whole batch of pictures, edit it and list the whole batch too.
- It is so much faster if everything is in the same category.
- Some products would take her long to list. She can list the postcards in 5 minutes. There are only 2 sentences to write and the title.
- If you know what to charge for, then it would be very fast.
- After this interview, Cheryl would work on the German Doll House. It would be slower because she has to search a little bit to figure out the brand. It would take her 15 minutes to get them listed because it needs to be measured.
- Cheryl does all the processes by herself.
- Estate Sales in their area runs every Wednesday to Saturday. So, she spends her Mondays and Tuesdays working hard on the listing process. She sources on the morning of the other days.
- Cheryl bought Troll Dolls separately from an Estate Sales that has a couple dozen of trolls. She grabbed some that look interesting and were only a dollar.
- With her longtime experience, she came to know the brands and about what they should sell for. She already sold 3 of the trolls, the more expensive ones.
- Recently, the best item she has sold is the 3 Studio Cards. They are cards that Fleers Dubble Bubble Gum put out in 1959. She bought 7 of them for $9. She figured it would go for $30 to $50. One card in that batch is good for collectors and was sold for $1035.
- She prints all her labels through eBay to get the discount and not have to stand in line at the Post Office. Their Post Office is 3 blocks away. She would run down and drops everything off.
- Cheryl appreciates the beauty of living in the Midwest. Since it is in the middle, her shipping time is a lot shorter compared to Coast to Coast.
- She is working out on the paper lots from the last year. She has huge boxes full of all papers that she is going to sell in a big lot. She wants to get her investment in it.
- Her store has a 99.9% positive feedback. She only had one person last year that gives her negative feedback. It was something that the buyer did not like and nagged her.
- When a buyer says “I don't like it. It is not what I have expected!”, it does not hurt her anymore. As much as she would rather have a 100%, she tries to roll with it.
- If you keep on selling, you bury the negative feedback.
- Cheryl has rubber-made totes that she can seal. With her totes, she can keep anything, especially plastic things.She also has shelves in her room for the paper stuff that are in flat. She has shallow containers so that she can stack them.
- She uses the bedroom of her 2 kids, who were grown up now, to store her eBay stuff.
- One of the most exciting moments in her eBay life is when she got to visit the eBay Corporate Headquarters for a couple of times.
- Another is every time she sells bigger items at a time when she needs money. She recalls selling a $700 Lion's Club pen that she paid for only 50 cents. It was a 1955 coconut pen from Lion's Club meeting in Hawaii. She had no idea what it was worth so she put it on auction.
- Cheryl worked as a Secretary in the middle school for about 5 years. Then she pursued her college training which is Freelance Writing. She got a novel published and a couple dozens of magazine articles. The problem was she realized it did not pay as much.
- She also managed a gym for a while. But, when eBay came along, it was perfect! She stayed home with her kids when they were younger. She enjoyed flexibility in her schedule. She loves being an Entrepreneur.
- She wants to raise her average selling price. She cannot do much more, but she can learn to do it better and sell more expensive things. It takes a higher learning curve and a higher risk.
- Now, she wants to learn more to do some expensive items and make more money by selling less. Her husband keeps on telling her, “It takes as much time to put up a $50 item as a $10 item. So why don't you just do a $50 item”. She followed her husband's suggestion and sees where it would take her.
Advice, Tips, and Tricks
- If Cheryl goes on a vacation, she would put an “on vacation” setting on. Then she would run auctions when she is gone. Items on auctions can stay up since people can't buy them. It can keep your revenue going a little bit if you are going out of town. Then she will come back and bring the auctioned items on, a day before she gets home.
- She does not convert all her items into the auction. When she goes out of town, she makes sure she has 50 or 75 items on auctions. Then she would have 940 others that she will take off for a week.
- On pricing her items, she would check on eBay what the item is sold for.
- A lot of her stuff is a long tail and would take a while for the right buyer to come. So, if she has put the items on the Buy It Now, she would give it a couple of months. After which, if it does not sell, she would put it on sale using the Markdown Manager.
- If she takes pictures, she would take two and uses one as the main photo. She would flip them so it would look different. She would rewrite the title and try to sell it again. If it does not work, she would put it on sale using the Markdown Manager.
- If a postcard does not sell by itself, she would put it in a lot and would sell 20 of them. If it does not work, then sometimes they go out.
- If she does not know what something is worth, she always put the item on auction first. Then she converts it over to Buy It Now if it does not sell.
- She starts her auction at a price that she would be willing to take for and be happy if it sells.
- Sometimes, she would do 95 cents auction with her junk that is not selling. Her goal is to pull people in and hope that they would hover and look around her stuff.
- She uses Promotions Manager and Promoted Listings.
Q & A:
- Member: How do you know what description to write? I struggled with writing good descriptions based on something I never had. Like on the postcards, how would you know what to write about?
- Guest_Cheryl: I would check what is on the product as far as a factual stuff. Like on most postcards, there is a title at the bottom of the real photos that would tell you what it is. A lot of times, I would copy the title straight off. If I would flip the postcard over, there is a stamp box and a website playle.com. If you would look at that you can tell where the stamp box is made and so you could give a date. Sometimes, I would take a magnifying glass to a straight view to look up signs. It just takes some detective works, sometimes.
- “It is not smart to sell damage stuff unless it is really rare.”
- “It is a full-time job where I can wear my pajamas if I want to!”
- “I love being an Entrepreneur!
- “The Post Office is the eBay seller's best friend.”
- “If you keep on selling, you bury the negative feedback.”
- “I'm not here to make a profit. I want to get my money back!”
- Markdown Manager
- Promotions Manager
- Promoted Listings