Wednesday, 11 July 2012

cowgirls guide to ebay

As I mentioned in my last post I have been spending rather a lot of time on ebay lately.
This isn't really anything new, the difference now is that I am selling rather then buying. I've always gotten quite excited when I'm bidding on something and looking likely to win a bargain, but it's even more exciting when I'm the one that's selling and watching the price suddenly rise at the end.
I swear there's been a couple of times when I almost pissed my pants had a heart attack.
I've not done too badly as it goes, it started because I had a massive clear out of my wardrobe and decided to get rid of all the things that I am too fat to fit into never wear anymore, and other stuff that I just don't want. A few times I've been quite surprised at how well things that I think aren't that good seem to do.

Did you know that a half full 25ml bottle of Fendi perfume that only cost a tenner when full was now worth TWENTY FIVE quid ?

Neither did I.
But I was very happy when I found that out.

As a result of this, and a couple of friends then saying I could sell some stuff for them (at a percentage of course - I'm no fool), I decided to try and turn it into an ongoing business. I've bought a few job lots of dresses and found some amazing things in second hand shops that I hope will sell at a profit. One good side effect of this is that it satisfies my urge to spend, but not in a way that's going to fill my wardrobe with yet more stuff that's not going to fit me going to be outdated in six months time and never worn again.

And all it really costs me is my time.

I have learnt quite a bit as it goes, there's certainly a knack to getting the best out of it, and being a generous person I am going to share these pearls of wisdom with you my faithful flock.
So here it is. . . . .

Cowgirls Guide To Being An Ebay Entrepeneur

1. Presentation is everything.

Take plenty of pictures of your items, and make sure that you show it looking as good as possible. If there are any faults show them as well.
If you are selling clothes then IRON them first.
This. . .

. . . is not the way to sell anything.
And check your lighting, too little - or too much camera flash and your "ladies chocolate brown genuine leather skirt" will just look like a wet crumpled turd.

That is how someone pictured a green dress that I also have for sell. It just looks a bit bizarre, if I was scrolling through page after page of green dresses I don't think this would catch my eye - although I might look at it and wonder how the hell you're supposed to wear it.

Whereas I used this picture :

Show back and front views, especially if the detail is on the back.
Just not like this :

When it's supposed to look like this :

The best way to show clothing, is to either buy a mannequin or get a friend to model it for you.
Just make sure that the friend you ask is the right size and shape to show your clothes so they look their best.

People need to look at something and think that's how I hope it will look on me.
And nobody wants to look like this . . .

It also a good idea to use a model who's the right gender. . .

And finally make sure the picture actually shows what you're trying to sell.

This was a listing for a job lot of underwear.
Not hangers.
Although you could be forgiven for not realising that.

2. Make your listing stand out from the crowd.

Ebay uses the words in the title to list your item in it's searches, and people search for items by size, colour, brand, style, occasion, detail etc. So you need to get as much information in the title as you can in order for others to actually see it. "Blue dress" (which I actually saw as a title) is just going to get lost amongst 35000 other blue dresses - you need to be more specific. And certain words will attract buyers more than others, anything "vintage" "retro" or any designer name is always going to get the views, as does my personal favourite "fetish".
(Which is possibly the market the fella in the last pic was hoping for).
If it is high heeled, short, fancy dress, pvc or leather then I use that label.

But beware - sometimes it might attract the wrong kind of attention and then you can find allsorts in your mailbox. . .

Pervert alert.

I mailed the second fella back and said "£20 and we might have a deal".

He never replied, but he won the shoes and a black lace bra.
I am trying very hard not to think about what he probably looks like in them.

3. Timing is key.

If you want things to do well then think about when the listing will finish. Just because you're awake at 4am or at home on a Wednesday afternoon doesn't mean everyone else is. I list everything on a Thursday night between 8 - 10pm for 10 days - then it finishes at that time on a Sunday.
More chance of people being sat at home with the laptop on then.
And I get the excitement of watching the price going up and up.

4. Let people think they might get a real bargain.

Things that start at 99p in an auction will ALWAYS get more watchers, most likely they are all hoping to get it for that price, but if they're watching it then they see it on their list every time they look at ebay and are more likely to decide that they MUST have it.
Whatever it ends up costing.
Think about it, you're more likely to end up blowing half your wages on a pair of shoes if you have to look at them in a shop window on your way to work every day. Or is that just me ?
And since your first 100 auction listings every month are free if you start them at 99p it saves you money too.
But if you really think that you want at least a certain amount for something it's much better to set that as a starting price then have a reserve set which people can't see.
If it's a reasonable start and you get watchers it's a pretty safe bet that they are prepared to pay at least that.

Of course you could just take a chance and not bother with a picture or a proper description, but set a ridiculous price and just hope for the best.

I've used that picture in a post before but it's still by far and away the best example I've ever seen of how NOT to sell anything.

5. Feedback is essential.

Leave it for your buyers and they are more likely to remember to leave it for you. And other peoples feedback is really your only clue as to how reliable a customer or seller they are.
But there really is no pleasing some people.
Ideally you want to keep it at 100%, I've been keeping an eye on mine and last week I noticed it had gone down.

Neutral ?
Who the fuck left me neutral feedback ?
I get things posted out as fast as I can and I wrap them well, I describe everything accurately, I respond the same day to any questions and up until this ALL my feedback was great. I have even had people mail me and say how pleased they were with the things I sent them.

So I looked at the details . . .

Sometimes you just can't win.
Well not everything. I had the last laugh because she paid me £8 for pair of shoes that cost me £1.99 in a charity shop.

Before I go off to check how my empire building is going let me leave you with something I never thought I'd see on ebay.

Have a look and see if you can figure out what this is . . .

Any idea ?
And no, it's not anti-snoring.
It's actually a DIY nose job device.

I'm off to see if I can make a DIY liposuction device using the hoover and some straws.
Someone's bound to buy it.


  1. Wow! This post is very informative, yet still funny (but you're always funny). I like that blue dress that just has the strap across the back.


  2. I love all of the outfits DCG, great guide to Ebay, a website I admittedly have never used before in my life haha.

  3. You can do DIY lipo but I don't advise it. Working eBay is kind of like working the stock market. Buy low, and sell high. I'm way too much of a hoarder to sell what I already have though and too moralistic to buy something cheap and sell it for more. Plus I'm far too fekkin lazy to actually get things mailed. So it's not for me.

    Not yet at least.

    When it is for me though I work at a charity shop that gets plenty of good stuff and I have a staff discount. I'm going to be raking in the profits. I could even console myself that money is going to children when I buy things, even if I then sell them on for more.

  4. Cool post cowgirl! I have been an ebay seller for twelve years, and no one has ever asked me for my worn are very lucky

  5. Do people really buy this stuff?

  6. I bet you could sell that nose job thing it you called it something dirty.

  7. Ive always been wary of buying/selling anything on e-bay but you have managed to peak my interest and I might just try andflog a few bits of crap thats lay around the place (wonder what i could get for Mrs H with her leg in a cast??)

    On another note, I have a friend (not me!! honest) who sells "used" underwear for a hefty price to discerning gentleman from all over the world and makes more money in a week than i do in a month.

    It takes all sorts I guess.

    nice post. thanks for the insights.

  8. I sold on ebay for years (years ago!) and decided to start up again. I found your site through a google search and you are HILARIOUS! But very good advice! It's really helping me remember how to do this the right way. Thanks!

  9. This was a great post, DCG - thank you for putting it together! I read it to the hubby and he was impressed too. Good luck!!

  10. I've done a little with eBay never been a big success on it.

    One guy buying from me once refused to accept the item if it wasn't sent using Royal Mail! I was but he said this after the winning bid was in - I felt like rejecting it on principle

  11. Fat feet LOL ! I mite have a go on ebay the next time my daughter has a clear out some of the clothes she gets rid of still have lables on them.

  12. I am just going to say reading this post is a sign. I was thinking of selling clothes on ebay. There's this great thrift store the next town over which sells everything for a dollar on Fridays.

  13. darnit all! tell that bitch to take some trimspa for those feet!


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