Sunday, September 19, 2010

What Sells on Ebay?

I've been selling on eBay a while. I think a lot of people don't do it because it's A LOT of work. Take the picture, do the write up, list the item, answer shoppers' questions, ship the item. It is not always super fun, but I get extremely motivated after a big sale - when something goes for WAY more than I was expecting. To help you get motivated to get rid of things you don't need or want anymore to make some extra cash to pay down debt, squirrel away money for Christmas presents (how many shopping days left?), or just to have some extra change in your pocket, here's my list of things that typically (no guarantees, see last week's blog) do really well on the Bay.

1. Anything with Harley Davidson on it. I know this because the hubby used to work there. When he got a new job I sold his HD shirts and got between $10 and $20 for each of them (even the t-shirts). That's way better than yard sale prices!! And I'm not talking about just clothes - posters, brochures, mugs, stuffed animals, literally ANYTHING with Harley on it is gold. Also, any kind of motorcycle gear - helmets, riding jackets, boots, gloves, bike parts - all do VERY well. About 85% of everything I have ever listed that was a Harley item has sold the first time around (meaning within a week). This includes and maybe even applies more to the Buell brand. Buell is the sport bike Harley came out with to appeal to the younger generation. They actually discontinued the Buell brand last year, but it still has quite a following. Anything with Buell on it sells (again no guarantees).

2. Vintage Barbie items. Do this - if you are an Ebay user and have an ID name and a password, sign in to your account. Type in "vintage barbie" in the search box and hit ENTER. Then scroll down and click on "Completed Listings" under preferences (left column). Directly above the listings on the right there's a little drop down box next to the words "Sort by". (Stay with me, it's worth it.) Click on Price: Highest First. If the price is in green, that is what the item actually sold for. Amazing. Barbie people are crazy. I've never been fortunate enough to sell a vintage Barbie piece for thousands, but I came across two vintage skippers at a yard sale I picked up for $2. One sold for $16 one sold for $28. Not bad. Also, I had two pink wool sweaters. One for Barbie, one for Skipper. They had belonged to my mom, and she played with them when she was little. The sweaters had the original Barbie tags in them, but they also had lots of moth damage. I did an experiment. I put the two sweaters on eBay, started the bid at $0.99 and clearly noted the damage (and showed pictures). The sweaters sold for $9!! Did you hear me?! Nine bucks for very damaged Barbie sweaters most people would have thrown away and that were a breeze to ship. (Buyer pays for shipping, in case you were wondering.)

3. Littlest Pet Shop. This is my biggest score to date. I knew Littlest Pet Shop toys did well on Ebay. You can do the same search that you did above for Barbie and see what Littlest Pet Shop toys are going for. It's insane. Anyway, I knew these toys did really well when I happened upon a brother and sister selling their entire set one day about a year ago. They wanted $0.25 each for them. Me: "How much will you take for the whole bag?" Them: "Uh, we'll count them." Hm. Obviously newbies to the yard sale world. When somebody says, "How much will you take if I buy all of them?" they mean "The price per unit had better go down." They counted 102 LPS animals and of course wanted $25.00. I now know that that's a very good deal, but I talked them down. Yes I haggled with little kids. I'm not proud of it. Moving on. Those 102 animals that I paid $15.00 for sold for $215.00. It's my greatest victory so far. :)

Actually, a lot of times if you sell things as a "lot" it gets more attention and it's less work for you than selling them individually. "Huge lot of Littlest Pet Shop Toys", "Huge lot of Build a Bear Clothes", "Huge Lot of Mary Kay", "Huge Lot of Vintage Fisher Price Little People". These are real listings - check them out and be amazed.

4. Wake up and pay attention. What's hot in pop culture right now? Every time a new Harry Potter movie comes out Harry Potter stuff on the Bay is really popular. If you have all 4 Twilight books in hardback and you don't plan on reading them again, you might try putting them on Ebay. Looks like other people are getting $30-40 for their sets (I refuse to sell mine - they are sooo good). Oprah stuff might be super popular the closer she gets to her last show. Take note of the guest mentor on American Idol or whose songs the Glee kids featured this week - their stuff might get a little more attention the following week. Who just won the Sprint Cup? Superbowl? World Series? Nothing major - just take the free marketing buzz in pop culture to get a few extra dollars on the stuff you don't want any more.

5. You are the expert. Sell what you know. I can't sell a baseball card on eBay to save my life. I don't know anything about them and am not interested enough to figure it out. But someone just sold a 1952 Topps #406 Joe Nuxhall Reds PSA 9 MINT LOW POP (I don't even know what all of that means) for $14,500.00. That's four...teen...thou...sand...five...hun...dred...dol...lars...!! Same with comic books and jewelry and art and vintage coke items and sporting goods. I don't have a clue, but maybe you're the world's greatest expert. Or, next best thing, maybe you know the expert. When I find a Longaberger basket at a yard sale (and the one time I did was the one time my mom wasn't with me), I called up my little mom, who is my own personal expert and started telling her what it looked like. She finished the description for me, told me the year it came out, the occasion (Mother's Day) and what it's selling for now. Amazing. Maybe you know everything there is to know about collectible glass or vintage military items or altered art or scrapbooking items or kids toys or cooking tools. There are sooooo many categories on eBay - I guarantee you're an expert on something. Start looking for things you're interested in and see what they're going for. Just remember you're here to sell, not buy - mostly. :)

6. Vintage Halloween items do really well. Not sure why, but I can't ever seem to get my hands on any of it to sell.

7. Animals do well. Not actual pets, but, for example, horse enthusiasts take their love for horses very seriously. I had a pack of vintage playing cards that had horses on them. Paid $1. Sold for $90. Surprised the stuffing out of me too. Anyway. Dog people are crazy for their particular breed. Cat people throw down the money for cat stuff. Chicken people are avid about chickens. Just so you know.

8. People shopping on Ebay are very name-brand conscious. Kate Spade, Coach, Vera Bradley purses; Ralph Lauren, Gymboree kids clothes; Anthropologie, True Religion, Roxy women's clothes; Hurley, Billabong guy's clothes, Timberland, Dansko, Nike shoes. Just keep in mind that while brand names do well, you're not going to get back what you paid for them. People on Ebay are looking for a deal.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. You could write a blog every day for 395 years and not come up with an exhaustive list (that may be a slight exaggeration). With eBay, just give it a try and see what happens. And if you're just not motivated to do this at all, find somebody who will. I bet you know an eBayer. Give them a box full of stuff with ZERO expectations (again, see last week's blog) and offer to split the profits. Yes - 50/50. Ebay is a ton of work. Whatever doesn't sell, take to the Goodwill or save for your yard sale. Your house will actually feel lighter with the absence of all the clutter.

"Now isn't this better than sitting at a table? A girl hasn't got but two sides to her at the table." Scarlett, Gone With the Wind

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