Friday, May 20, 2016

Summer Break


     Spring continues to have its ups and downs, good days and bad, warm and sunny to chilly and grey.  Such is life. Meanwhile I am distracted from blogging, and most everything else, by family staying with us for the summer and feeling that I should do what I enjoy most, which is being with them. Family is what matters most on this earth. So if I don't post again for a while (or I might!), don't think I have forgotten you, Dear Reader.  Enjoy the fast approaching summer, with your family whenever possible. Be very thankful for the small, but most important, things. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Ebay (Selling) Addiction Essentials

     Some people have a buying addiction.  I don't have that. (Well, not so much.) But I do have a selling addiction. On Ebay. Or you could say I have a scavenging/thrifting/hunting-for-stuff addiction, and Ebay is my excuse. Whatever. Anyway, my husband doesn't mind because, after all, I usually manage to bring in more than I spend, and it keeps me out of even worse vices. (Most of the time.) So the way I see it, it's a win-win!
     I have been selling on Ebay for several years now, and the habit seems to be growing rather than diminishing. I enjoy it most of the time, and when I don't, I quit doing it for a while. I probably will cut back substantially this summer due to a lot of things planned. So I like that I can do that--"work" when I want to, and only when I want to.
     For those of you who have the same addiction I thought I'd share some of what I have come to call my "essentials" for Ebay sellers, some of which I only recently acquired and wish I had gotten from the beginning. But who knew I would keep it up this long, with no stopping in sight?
     My most recent acquisition is my Zebra label printer. All these years I have printed out each label on a piece of computer paper, then cut around it with scissors, then used exactly 3 pieces of wide clear tape to tape it onto the package. Now, thanks to Sweetface's intervention, I just hit the "Enter" button on my keyboard and within a second I have a professional looking label that is self-adhesive. Absolutely wonderful invention!
     Another thing that Sweetface insisted on buying for me was some professional lighting. (Are you noticing a pattern here--me being a cheapskate, and him making me invest in professional technology?) Before spending what was required to buy these lights I have now, my attempts at cheaper mediocre solutions proved to be a waste of money, with not so good results on my photos. Now I can go into my spare downstairs bedroom with only a small window any time of the day or night and come away with very nice shots. And we all know that better photos bring in better sales.
     And after having a hard time finding decent boxes for shipping large pictures and art, even at the UPS Store, I finally discovered my very favorite source--FedEx. They have the most wonderful shipping boxes for large pictures, and in several sizes for what I think is a reasonable price.  (You can access their all of their box choices on their website.) What I love about the picture boxes is that you only have to slide the picture into the plastic sleeve and fold the sides inward and slide it into the box. No other packaging required--not even bubble wrap! Who can't love that?
     Another big requirement, of course, is lots and lots of sturdy shelving and storage area, bins and boxes, and a decent wrapping table. Add to that USPS free Priority boxes.  Packing paper, large and small size bubble wrap, and packing peanuts. And tape--lots of tape!
     My shelving is mostly the deep, heavy duty plastic kind from the hardware big box stores. It has stood the test of time with no problems.  I buy the nice see-through plastic storage bins on sale as needed as my store inventory grows. Cardboard shipping boxes, other than the freebies from the USPS (thank you!), are kindly supplied by a variety of kind-hearted friends and neighbors who save theirs and pile them on my front porch from time to time. (Thank you!) My wrapping table is a sturdy wooden one that used to live upstairs, with a great fluorescent light installed over it by my son. (Thanks son!) And the other packaging materials I either buy online or dumpster dive from behind a store I frequent. (I never dreamed I would be a bonafide dumpster diver!)
     Another great bonus of selling on Ebay is all of the other Ebay sellers you get to know, and like, and befriend. It's quite fun to go scavenging with a friend now and then, or just meet up for lunch and talk "business".  Not to mention the friends who you never meet other than online. There is a huge community of sellers across America, and even around the world. I only see Ebay and other similar venues becoming more popular with time, as technology makes it more easy to buy and sell there. With all the disadvantages (having to be there every day, employees and all their legally required benefits, government rules/regs/restrictions/overhead expenses) of owning a brick and mortar business, how much easier it is to sell via your home computer or iPhone! 
     After a sale I always try to pack my sales nicely, with clothing wrapped in tissue paper (Costco has huge packages every Christmas season and I stock up), and jewelry goes inside nice kraft boxes I buy on Uline, and are taped closed with pretty Washi tape. Inside each shipment I include a piece of paper with my contact information, and a little "Thank You!" note. After all the effort it takes to run an Ebay store, I mostly want my customer to feel like they were treated especially well. 

     What do those of you who sell online do to make your process work for you? And how do you make your customer feel special? Please share your ideas with us in the comments.


Thursday, March 17, 2016


     Sorry it has taken me longer than usual to post; I was having difficulty with downloading photos. (I am still an official Technotard.) It has been rainy/sunny/warmish, so I can't complain. We had some steady rain for a couple of days which brought up tiny spring bulbs--I am always happily surprised to see them, so cheery and colorful while the trees remain barren.  We had a record breaking 82 degrees on voting day Tuesday. I didn't even need a sweater to go vote in the morning.
     I took a break from my routine one day to enjoy an afternoon of shopping at the IKEA store with great friend Nancy--after lunching on their famous Swedish meatballs for lunch, of course.  It's hard to resist just buying things because they are so darned cute. But I got out with only the couple of things I needed. Why don't we take the day off like that to enjoy a friend more often?
     Sweetface and I have enjoyed our weekly dinner and fellowship gathering at our dear friend's home. But I am afraid they are going to have to add an extension on their dining room to lengthen their already long table! (And we may have to extend our waistbands.)
     We also enjoyed a rare evening out at the downtown Bistro for Jazz St. Louis, to see the fabulous Bosman Twins Band. Honestly, they are the most amazing musicians I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, and while dining, at that. It was a memorable evening enjoying some real, honest St. Louis blues.
     I'm including a little mossy greenery for you--have a happy St. Pat's!