083: A Bit of Everything from the Basement – Cynthia Boris

Cynthia and Lars have been selling on eBay since the early days when you had to host your photos elsewhere! They sell what they love, pop culture collectibles, TV and movie memorabilia and all kinds of vintage memories from T-shirts to souvenirs and photos.

Interesting Notes

  • Cynthia is a writer who covered, then the TV collectibles for Toy Shop Magazine. Now, she still writes and is also a social media manager. eBay is a part-time business to her.
  • Meanwhile, her husband Lars has retired. He is a big fan of old media (VHS, Beta, Cassettes, 8 Tracks). eBay became his full-time business. The couple does well on eBay, but they don't make it a full time living yet.
  • Cynthia and Lars's hobby is thrifting. They are big collectors of TV memorabilia like Lost in Space. If they did not sell on eBay, they have a hoarding problem.
  • Like most of the eBay sellers, they started selling their own stuff. Those were the days when they have to wait for people to mail their cheques.
  • A couple of years ago, the couple started to become serious about eBay. That was when Cynthia started buying to resell. One night, she came back from a Goodwill store with a two gigantic bags of things. She said to Lars, “If I can't make a profit out of these, I will never do reselling. But, if I can, then this is it.” And it worked.
  • Back then, she can go to Goodwill stores every night. She can find some vintage items, old toys, and the things that she likes.
  • But, their thrift stores now are selling cast-offs or clearance items from department stores. It became difficult for them to find a deal and to find the things that they look for.
  • So they shifted to Estate Sales and find the kind of things that people have saved all their lives. It formed a new kind of hobby for them. On the Estate Sales, Cynthia felt like walking into someone's home and see the whole life laid down in front of her. She felt depressed sometimes. But, she also felt like the conduit to get the stuff to people who would really cherish it.
  • One Saturday night, they spent watching some people's home movies.
  • One of the high-end collectibles they have got is a beautiful pair of Alice in Wonderland Mickey.
  • Cynthia tries to list a couple of things every day. At present, they have 450 items listed.
  • One day, the couple had a Magical Adventure. They are going to an Estate Sales and passed a sign for an Estate Sales they did not know about. They drove farther and came into a house owned by a professional magician. It was full of magic tricks items and costumes. While she grabbed things, she has these doubts that she might be picking the wrong things. Nobody else is buying the stuff and she did not know the price either. Yet, she filled one of those plastic totes with professional magic tricks. Then filled another plastic tote with costume pieces. To her surprise, she was charged with only $30. They went home and she could not sleep thinking how much she had left behind.
  • The magic tricks were sold quickly with so much money. People were so thrilled because they are selling way below what the customers knew. The costume pieces have started to take off too now that Halloween is coming up.
  • Cynthia found out that the secret to the magic trick is the money. What has sold $40 to $60 from a magic shop is because you are buying someone's trick that they have perfected.
  • Cynthia and Lars eBay business are bigger now than what they have been. They want to continue and keep it going as long as it gives them fun.
  • Cynthia's BIG ONE DAY is to get to an Estate Sales of somebody who worked in a TV business. She loves scripts and all TV paper works, and she wants to buy the items and bring it to her collection. That is her holy grail.
  • As an author, Cynthia published an eBook – Start Making Money on eBay Without Spending a Dime. It is available on Amazon for $2.99. It is a step by step account of how you can start sourcing just as they did by selling things that you don't have to pay for. She also covered dumpster diving.

Advice, Tips, and Tricks

  • For pricing their items, their practices are:
    • 1. They start to look at the sold prices of the same or similar item from the same era.
    • 2. If the item is one of a kind, they put it on the Auction.
    • 3. Cynthia would pick a price she would not cry over when it is sold and then go up a little bit.
    • 4. Think like a buyer – think of what you will pay for it not what other people would pay for.
    • 5. Start to price high and have a Best Offer. Best offer helped them scale out the prices.
  • Cynthia observed that a lot of people are afraid of the Best Offer. People think they will never get their selling price. But, having 80% items on Best Offer, they saw that nobody has ever beaten the Best Offer. Buyers just pay what they asked. Besides, the couple don't always take a deal.
  • On thrifting, Cynthia tends to stay with things that are light and small. This is to keep packing easy for her husband.
  • Start selling your own cast-offs or your neighbors cast-offs. It could be an outgrown clothes or toys that are not of use anymore.
  • In fact, Cynthia's son set up his own eBay account and started selling. He has been selling for four days. He got a great feedback and $30 on two different sales in a span of two weeks. He sold the stuff lying down in his room.


  • “When it is not fun anymore, we are not going to do it.”
  • “Home movie is a museum of our everyday existence.”
  • “Having kids change our abilities to collect the stuff we wanted.”
  • “It is funny. As connected as we are in this world, you still find very different things in our stores than you would find in the thrift stores in Kansas or New York City.”
  • “People throw away good stuff.”
  • “You don't have to risk any money to start your own eBay business.”
  • “eBay is a way to both clear out, and a great way to get started.”
  • “eBay is a way to both clear out, and a great way to get started.”
  • “Half of people who started selling on eBay never sell again.”
  • “It is work especially if you want to get a regular income out of it. It is a process.”

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