I've had a few questions about making money on Ebay. My motivation and mentor was the blog My Dear Trash. I read the entire blog and took copious notes, which I've condensed for you here.
What to Buy:
Items that are NWT sell best.
Larger sizes of ladies clothing, maternity, and kids clothing are good moneymakers.
Some of the Best Resale Brands: Chicos, Ann Taylor, Citizen for Humanity, BeBe, Ralph Lauren, LEI, Talbots Gap, Armani, Venezia, Jessica McClintock, Tommy Bahama, Geoffrey Beene, Fresh Produce, Lela Rose, Blue Fish, hot cotton, Land’s End, Eileen Fisher, Jam’s World, Life is Good, Lane Bryant, Tahari, Belldini,Nat Nat, Lovely Day, Patagonia, Horney Toad, White Stuff, Chico Travellers, Burberry, Deisel, 7 for all Mankind, Flax, J Jill,Ralph Lauren Plus, White House Black Market, Charlotte Russe
Leather and overalls are good sellers, even if not a brand name.
Sell in season- tweed in fall, linens in summer.
Avoid Petite clothing, doesn't sell as well. Talls, on the other hand, do quite well.
As a general rule, your price point should be $1.00/ item of clothing. Call around your local thrift stores to see if they have a dollar day, and try garage sales. Just last weekend I found 7 excellent quality Pendleton wool skirts at a garage sale for $1.00 each.
Ebay lists your first 100 items free each month, so it doesn't cost anything to give this a try. They will take a 12% cut of your selling price, though, and Paypal takes a cut as well. To help off-set this, attach a handling fee to your shipping price.
For shipping, anything under 13 oz ship in a manila envelope first class. Charge $4.95 Over 13 oz, cram and squeeze the item into a (free) Priority Flat Rate envelope, which ships for $4.90. Charge 6.95. Grab a stack whenever you go by the post office. If you want to offer International shipping, charge 14.00. You can still mail in the flat rate or manila envelope, you just need to fill out a customs form.
With my mail order sister missionary clothing business, Sorella Bella, and doing all the shipping for Parker Planners, I feel like I live at the post office. I'm trying to start printing postage at home, but until then I swear by the Automated Postal Machine. It is fast, typically has no line, and is open 24/7.
If you end up liking doing this, invest in a postal scale. It will let you print shipping at home, then you can arrange a free package pick up online. Recommended- Escali Primo Digital Multifunctional Scale - It costs $24.95 and weighs up to 11 lbs.
People will most likely find your item by searching, so cram as many descriptive words in your title as you can.
List each item for four weeks- Week 1: Full price, Week 2: Full price, Week 3: Reduced Price, Week 4: 2.99. This allows your item a month of exposure. Avoid pricing at $.99. Even though someone may be willing to pay more for it, if they are the only one interested that week they will get it for the .99. You then barely break even.
- Get inventory- seek brand name items in excellent condition.
- Photograph all your items. Some thrift stores take returns, so if you paid more than a dollar out for an item you are unsure about, hide the tag rather than removing. This job is best done with a partner- one photographs, the other lays out and arranges each piece.
- Sit down with your tape measure and list the items on Ebay. Save time by grouping like items then using the 'Sell Similar Item' link.
- When you auctions end, sit and write out the addresses on each envelope. On the back flap write the item name, then take the stack of envelopes to your store room and stuff with corresponding item.
Phew, that was a long post! I highly recommend trying thrifting and reselling out- it has been fun so far, and I can see the supplemental income potential. Keep in mind Ebay is a numbers game- the more items you have for sale, the better you'll do. If it doesn't sell the first week (as many items don't), try again! Let me know if you have any more questions, and feel free to share your thrifting experiences.