Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sometimes You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money (an eBay experiment)

Today is my eBay anniversary. 5 years ago today I first signed up with eBay and shortly after I sold my first item. I had NO clue what I was doing, everything I learned was from reading blogs and websites to learn how to sell. So today I thought I'd give you a little of my eBay selling history.
My first sold item was a Teddy Ruxpin bear that I bought for $5.00 at a garage sale and sold for....wait for it..,$10.00! WhooHoo! Yes that's laughable now but back then I was so excited! I've been selling ever since. My first few years was very part time. I started with auctions but quickly switched to BUY IT NOWS (I hate auctions) After a few years I nervously took the plunge to getting a basic store. Best desicion ever. For those first 2-3 years I had about 100-150 things in my store and did pretty well. I remember one of my first "big flips" was a set of Martha Stewart copper Noah's Ark cookie cutters. I found them in the original  
box at a thrift store for $5.00 and they sold for $200.00! I couldn't believe people would actually pay little ol me for crap that I found for cheap! Over the years I slowly built up my store to almost 500 listings. I am happy with that, I have a full time job as a respiratory therapist on top of eBay so any more than that is way too much work. (On a side note today is also my anniversary at my real job, started March 3, 2001, weird hu?) eBay has been great extra money, fun, frustrating, busy, slow, and everything in between. But I love to thrift, I love a great flip, and I'll probably always do it in some capacity. 
The title of this post is You gotta spend money to make money" First off you gotta know that, like most resellers, I'm cheap. I don't like to spend much money when I'm buying stuff to sell. Garage sales where everything's a quarter are my favorite, however sometimes you gotta trust your instincts and go for it. In November I happened to see a sign for an estate sale in the neighborhood next to mine. Huge house (6,000 sq ft) packed to the gills with stuff. These people had a SERIOUS shopping habit, and most of it was from the 80's and 90's. He was a lawyer, she was a socialite, and their favorite places to go were Las Vegas, cruises, and vacations. They bought everything from high end stores and they had more clothes and shoes than I've ever seen crammed into a house. Crazy amounts of stuff!! The whole basement was full of decorations for every holiday. One room was all Christmas, one room all Halloween, one all Easter. It was like they couldn't have one of anything, they needed 10. The estate sale people told me that the clothes alone were estimated to have cost (retail price) over a million dollars. I can't even wrap my head around that much money spent on clothes. Anyway, where am I going with this story besides rambling? Well I attended that estate sale, on day one when it was full price. On day two and 3 when it was 1/2 price, and yes on day 4 when it was 75% off. They had so much left that they had to do it the following weekend as well. I spent a total of $370.00. That's A LOT for me. More than I've ever spent at one time. It made me nervous, but I also figured if I was patient I could make some decent money. So how have I done you ask? Well, I've made back my initial investment plus about $980 in profit. I've sold quite a bit but still have around 30 items I haven't even listed yet. I thought I'd share some of the better flips with you.  
This was one of my favorite finds. I paid $8 for this robe and I got my full asking price of $150.00

80% of the stuff I bought was clothes but I did buy a few other items like this topsy turvy doll (a black baby doll that the skirt flips over to a white baby doll) I paid $10 (on 1/2 off day) I was asking $150 and took a best offer of $100.

Two vintage Ralph Lauren Polo beach towels, I think they were around $6.00 each.  Also sold an MGM beach towel for $40.00

Saint John 

More St John

Bought 3 of these linen Blazers, sold the green one and a blue one exactly like it, still have a red one to list.

There were several of these Exclusively Misook cardigans that sold on eBay for $20-$30. I knew it was worth more and I priced it high. It sold within a month for my full asking price. Patience pays off.

Found in the basement for $8.00. 

$3.00 jammies. 

This post is not to brag (ok, let's be real, I'm bragging a little) but really it's to show that sometimes you gotta roll the dice and go all in. My store is small potatoes compared to some people, I really am a very part time seller, but if you put in the work and do your research you can make some great extra money on eBay. And now I must go, there is an estate sale starting in 30 minutes;)


  1. I always like the story behind the story. Thanks for sharing and high five on that profit

  2. That's amazing. Those crazy houses that are just filled with stuff just blow me away.

    And didn't realize you're a respiratory therapist! We were having wheezing issues with our infant last week which threw us for a loop. She's better now but it's not comforting seeing her O2 around 89. Night in the hospital wasn't fun but she's doing much better now.

    1. I'm glad she's better! 89 is scary low for a baby! I always hate calls to the ER when it's a poor little baby!

  3. I love your story because I can relate to it! I have a full time job that drains my mental energy so I don't have anything to give to eBay (or Etsy) by the time I get home. I've squeaked by with a listing or two here and there. But I've got a whole house and some storage units full of treasures I need to list. But I'm reading the blogs and getting motivated - hopefully this time next year I'll have a store. Until then, thanks for sharing your awesome buys - great eye, great job!

    1. That's what I do, read a few blogs and it motivates me to get up and list! Good luck with that and thanks for stopping by!

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